I attended a conference recently where a major takeaway from the event was customer service or the lack thereof. It got me to thinking about my daily interactions from a customer service perspective.
Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. Checkout this morning was pleasant. Ash was pleasant, engaging and efficient. He scored a solid 7/10.
Harbour Air checkin…another solid job. Polite, pleasant and alo efficient. Another 7/10.
Harbour Air coffee shop. Bright, cheery and very pleasant. A great start to he day. I asked for a dark roast and stupidly didn’t notice it was self serve. She walked around the counter and poured it for me. Above and beyond. 9/10.
The good streak continues, Prices Alarms for new keys to be cut. First rate again…7/10. Capital City Tuxedos, Sid was first rate last week and equally good today. You leave feeling like you are his best customer. 9/10. Broughton St Deli for a little breakfast..another good experience. 7/10.
Prior to today’s post, I have been lamenting the absolutely deplorable state of customer service in general and now that I decide it’s blogging material…it’s all great. Stay tuned…the journey has just begun.
Joan and I headed off to Phoenix earlier this month, with our daughter Jenn and her boyfriend Iain. We had made a trip to Vegas with them in the spring, to see a NASCAR race. I enjoyed it so much that we headed off to Phoenix for the second to last Sprint Cup race of the season. Jenn has followed NASCAR and her interest got me hooked and I too watch the races on TV, if I am around to watch them. Much more exciting however, to see them live. That NASCAR is a marketing machine and is really quite a spectacle!
Headed to Phoenix via Alaska Airline and it was a full flight. It seems that not only was NASCAR running that weekend, but the Seattle Seahawks were playing in Phoenix that same weekend and the NHL franchise Phoenix Cayotes were also home with a game that weekend. I met several people who were heading down for hockey, football and one of the three NASCAR races, Trucks, Nationwide or Sprint Cup. A well rounded sports weekend I would say.
Headed off on Friday touring the city and checking our a few “speed shops” for goodies for Iain’s Teryx quad. Finshed the afternoon off with a trip up South Mountain for a view of the city.
While I have many family who subscribe to my blog, many of you are not family and so it’s required to bring you up to speed on the Retread Reunion. My wifes family name is Tyre, and 33 years ago, this thanksgiving classic was started. We met at Beach Acres in Parksville for what would become an annual event. The venue has changed several times but always has involved cabins, somewhere on Vancouver Island. As the family grew, we had to keep moving on to bigger premises and we are now utilizing something like 10 cabins at Pacific Playgrounds, just south of Campbell River.
It’s important to note that the family has NEVER celebrated Thanksgiving dinner within our own homes, in 33 years!
A new tradition was started last year. The 2nd generation gets to Pacific Playground a day early, namely Thursday of the long weekend. We get together for dinner, wine and a lot of laughs. These next two shots were actually taken the previous year but you get the idea right?
Those of you that know me, might know of my love for HDR photography. I am still experimenting, but thoroughly love the process. Yes…in some cases, the shot is a little “overcooked” but it’s all part of the learning process.
Last month, on our island vacation, I was processing a few shots and noticed Photomatic had an update available. Downloaded and installed and I am very impressed with the presets they now offer. Makes at the very least a good starting point before additional tonemapping. I own Photoshop CS5 and the pundits are of the opinion that the HDR Pro within CS5, does a better job than the Photomatic plugin. This hasn’t been my experience so I have stuck with Photomatic and now with the update to Photomatic Pro 4.0, it’s just so much better.
I didn’t bring along my trusty 24-105 mm this morning. I thought it was on my camera but I had on my Tamron 17-50 mm 2.8 instead. The 2.8 was nice but I could have used the extra reach of the 24-105 mm.
I have taken many shots of this area and it never ceases to amaze me at just how beautiful it is.
I was so impressed with Photomatic Pro 4.0, that I went back and reprocessed a few shots of my earlier HDR attempts. The improvements were partially due to the new version and maybe my level of expertise is improving?
In August, my sister-in-law, Karen Webb passed away from cancer. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years previous and although we thought she had beat it, that proved not to be the case. Karen maintained contact with a group of ladies from her high school grad class and they got together regularly. The group was affec tionatly know as the “6 from 69″ and one of the things they do, is annual participation in the “Run For The Cure”. This year, with Karen’s passing, her husband Fred, daughter Jodie and Jodie’s boyfriend Kirk, did the run with the “6 from 69″, in Karen’s memory.
These photos are an attempt to capture the day and in a small way, show what goes on at this event.
This is a photo on a Caring Quilt that was made to aid Karen in her recovery from Breast Cancer. These are the “6 from 69” on their grad night and the messages they wrote on Karen’s quilt.
Here’s the girls at the 2009 Run for the Cure and the group at this years run.
But best of all…here’s the full 2010 team!
My dog walk that morning showed a beautiful view of the beach and Mt. Arrowsmith.
And the weather looked fine so we headed out to see Cathedral Grove. We had stopped there at the start of our vacation but it was pretty wet so we had lunch and headed out. This day however was different. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful walk through this Old Growth Forest, but before we got to Cathedral Grove…the obligatory stop at “Goats on the Roof” in Coombs for the typical tourist snapshot. Hell…we were on vacation so we can play tourist right?
Now it was off to Englishman River Falls…another jewel here on Vancouver Island. I had seen this place along the way and want to photograph the old gas pumps. It turns out the real old ones are in front of Karma Coffee. http://karmacoffee.com/index.php We had thought we could buy a coffee but instead had to buy a bag of beans. Had a great chat with the owner about coffee in general. Haven’t tried the bag as yet but I suspect it will be very good. He turned me onto a coffee press, that’s ideal for camping. It’s all made of plastic and works like a reverse bodum. The best part is that the grounds pop out like a puck for easy disposal. I would have bought one but he was sold out. http://www.aeropress.ca/
Now it was off to Englishman River Falls… (By the way, most of the shots of the falls were HDR)
After Rock Bay, it was an overnight at Carol and Chris’s and then off to Park Sands in Parksville. It’s one of our favourites as it’s right beside one of the nicest kite flying spots on Vancouver Island. Over the last few years I have not flown so I was determined to bring my kites along for the trip. They have installed a very beautiful boardwalk along the beach so we headed out for a stroll. Just before we left for our walk, I heard this rather haunting bit of music, but was unsure where it was coming from. I thought perhaps one of the big motor coaches here in the park, might have a movie playing too loudly and it was the soundtrack I was hearing. Well when we headed out for our walk, we found a musician playing in the Pavillion, just outside of the park. He played on an electric guitar with a reverb and echo box. The sound was great and I kept thinking how good the music would be for background music for one of my slideshows. I got talking to him and it turns out he has his own rock band but this solo performing is a new direction for him and he hopes to have his music available online shortly. He had a videographer there to record that day, but technical difficulties made for a no go. I was able to snap a few shots of Peter Rainbird and have sent them off to him.
The weather wasn’t the greatest on the first full day in Parksville, so we packed up the dogs and headed out to see the Little Qualicum Falls. They are located in a Provincial Park, just outside of Parksville, and I am embarrassed to admit never having seen them. Not any more!! Very beautiful and a very nice walk to both the Upper and Lower Falls. All the following shots of the Falls are HDR photos. (High Dynamic Range) They are each three photos merged into a single shot.
After the Falls, it was back on the road, enroute to the local animal refuge.