Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Can I help you?

I spent many years working in retail in sales, management and staff training. I was a successful salesperson because I didn't try to sell just any old thing, but had the skills to listen to a customer's needs and find the right product or service for them. That just means that I knew the features and benefits of the products for sale, and genuinely wanted to meet the customer's needs so that they would come back to me the next time they wanted something (which many did). For the years I was with a nationally branded women's clothing store, I consistently had the top sales figures for the state even though I was only part time. A good work ethic is vital: the desire to work as part of a team but step up as an individual when required, to do the best possible job no matter what the profession,and give an honest day's work. I've also worked as a "mystery shopper" which involves going undercover and checking out customer service in various stores to make sure their staff are meeting the company's expectations. Interesting work, although I don't do it now. You must remain objective and follow the instructions issued prior to the visit, including different purchase scenarios complete with objections and problems. So why am I on this soapbox? I've just been to a shop I hadn't visited for several weeks, and the last time I was there a trainee was pleasant, friendly and helpful. This visit I encountered a young woman I believe has been employed there for some time, and she barely made eye contact, kept doing another task while "serving" me and even started talking to another staff member while I was paying. Not good enough. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to buy some boots and was cashed up prepared to spend $150-$250, so I went to a local sho store I'd visited before. 2 senior staff were talking behind the counter, and although it's a small store, neither acknowledged my presence let alone came over to offer assistance even though there were no other customers. After picking up the same boot 4 times I took it over to ask for my size. I was told that they probably didn't have my size, because "We don't usually have big sizes" .I asked if she would mind checking, but her mobile phone rang so she sent the other woman who returned with a pair 3 sizes smaller and informed me "Nup, no big sizes". The was no suggestion of other styles or any apparent desire to sell me anything that day or in the future. I am an obliging type of person, so I won't be going back to disturb them again. My point: if you are receiving payment for doing a job, or even if you have volunteered for a job, please DO your job, and to the best if your ability. I don't care if you are a salesperson, garbage collector, politician, lawyer, dog catcher, bus driver or brain surgeon. Just do your job! There are certain checkout operators I avoid at the local supermarkets because I don't want to hear how they can't wait to get away after a 4 hour shift because they hate their job. Or the ones who believe that throwing items across the scanner and cramming them roughly into bags is being efficient. Many employees just don't receive good training, but a good attitude and work ethic can overcome many obstacles. Well, that's my venting over for now. Oh, and "Have a nice day".

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thank you for the smiles

It was a beautiful sunny Tasmanian autumn day today and our backyard was full of bird life to observe and smile about: 3 Tawny Frogmouths sleeping in a tree, Cockatoos & Bronzewings feeding from the seed trays,a pair of Ravens making their daily visit plus an assortment of other species going about their business. It was the Tawny Frogmouths that made me smile the most today, because they were squashed up together in a fork of the tree trying their very best to look like another branch. We often go outside at dusk to watch them stir and take off for a night's hunting. We also have frogs in our yard, but perhaps the Frogmouths know that already! Other memorable smile moments today: chatting with my husband over a morning cuppa, a delivery driver who smiled and didn't complain about having to work today, a smile and wave from our neighbor as we both got in our cars, the young lady on the supermarket checkout who accidentally pulled a lid off a tub as she passed it through the scanner, the lady behind me at the checkout when I gave her those supermarket school sticker, teaching a friend the basics on the ukulele and seeing her joy at being able to immediately play a few songs, my husband arriving home from work and spending an evening together, and numerous other smiles at thoughts, sights and sounds during the day. A special day? Yes, every day is special, so is every smile. I'll close with a poem I wrote in 2009 called "Smile" If I say and do silly things it's all worth while If just for a moment I can make you smile Allow me to give you a little advice Frowns make you look ugly, but a smile looks nice! Make that frown disappear and in its place Let a smile spread out across your face! Even if just for a moment forget your woes Put a smile on your face; just under your nose! You'll be quite surprised once it's there That it's such an easy thing to wear. There's no need to put it away: You can leave it there for the rest of the day. And if there's an occasion it needs to hide You can wear a smile on the inside!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

I am still having adventures!

I obviously haven't blogged for some time, and in fact haven,t written many poems or songs for a while either. It's not from lack of inspiration, rather just a case of re-direction: I've been creating some new craft items, taking holidays and celebrating birthdays. Apart from making some simple (but fun) door hanger signs for my market stall, I've embarked on a journey of discovery with resin jewellery, using glass shards, rhinestones, enamel, even spider punches to create various styles in pendant bezels and on flat discs. I haven't really presented them at markets yet, so this month will be their earliest outings. Missed out on a market yesterday as it was pouring with rain, which reminded me why I normally only do indoor/undercover markets.

Musically I had 3 full weekends off, and suffered withdrawal symptoms quite early on. I took a ukelele on holidays, but only had one little play for a few minutes. Back to my regular performances now at Brookfield Margate, Southern Lights Hotel, open mic and seniors groups/ nursing homes. I really must create some time to record my album of comedy songs this year: too many things have delayed me in the past 18 months.

That's the thing about being different people; well, I am really just "me", but I have different areas of my life overlapping and blending all the time. Singer, songwriter, poet, crafter, marketer, mc, wife, mother, daughter...... Oh yeah, just like most women!

I love life.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bits and pieces of bits and pieces

October is nearly over and I haven't written a blog for a while, in fact I haven't written any songs or much in the way of poetry either. I have been busy typing up song lyrics and adding guitar chords to an app on my iPad, as well as performing and crafting. I'm entertaining regularly at 2 nursing homes (both in Launceston!) and 2 seniors' groups, as well as craft stalls at Margate and Snug markets, and will have stalls at nursing home fairs in November and December (yes, one will be in Launceston). Doing a spot of MC work here and there as well as regular weekly & monthly gigs, so I am still happy and busy :) Hoping to read an original poem on ABC local radio tomorrow morning about 5:40 am, so tune in if you're n Hobart.
If you know af any groups that might like me to perform (for petrol money), check out my music on and send me a message. Oh, and I like gigs that pay as well! I can't do all the shows that people want, but love to get out and perform.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Itching, singing, the garden, crafts, hacking ...typical week!

Well, the hay fever season has hit me hard over the last couple of days with strong winds and the stench (to me anyway)of pollens/allergens in the air.    Had a nice chat with my friendly local pharmacist (is he OLD enough to be qualified???) on trying new anti-histamines, and will see how I fare.   My allergy problems have been around for many years and were quite severe in the past,  with complications preventing me from working and occasionally from singing, I am SO thankful that it is nowhere near as bad these days.

So, that's the itching part; now for the singing!  Still enjoying my weekly Saturday lunchtime performances at Brookfield Margate, and no, I don't get bored as my repertoire is around 350 songs and I vary them, although some standards get used each time.  I had another performance at Mum's nursing home last week, and will perform for a senior's group this Friday.  The ukelele is primed and ready to go :)  I'm also back at Southern Lights Hotel in a few weeks, as well as another nursing home show.

Jeff has built a raised garden bed in the backyard and filled it with all manner of dirt, compost, sheep manure and potting mix, ready for tomatoes in the next month.  I've transplanted all my strawberry plants to another raised bed in our front yard, and we built a frame over it on Sunday and covered it with bird netting (much to the disgust of the blackbirds).  The rhubarb I planted a few months ago is growing vigorously, the garlic is sprouting and we are still eating spinach while waiting for the broad beans to grow.  The rosemary and parsley is in constant use, and I've just about got to the end of last season's garlic.

I've booked 2 tables for the next few Snug Markets (space permitting) and intend to display a fair chunk of my crafts, including Christmas items.  I've just designed iPhone/iPod Touch/mobile/camera pouches, but have kept the first 2 for myself.  I'll make some more soon.   I've added quite a few embossed cards to my stock, mostly hand coloured with ink.  (gel & metallic and my favourites).

 My email account was hacked and it's the 1st breach of any of my online activities, which is not bad seeing as I've had that account for nearly 9 years.   So if any of my contacts have received a message supposedly from me regarding a link for performance enhancing products, it was NOT actually from me. (And it was NOT about musical performance)

All in all, life is still a wonderful adventure; sometimes it's hard going or a little scary, but well worth the ride.

Peace and love

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Life gives ME wings!!!!!

Raptors & Wildlife
I've had a few busy and productive days. 
I was MC at Open Mic 4th birthday where I also sang and played in a trio "Extra Groovy Feelin" and played guitar for a soloist.. The evening was a fundraiser for Raptor and Wildlife Refuge Of Tasmania run by Craig Webb, and we raised nearly $700 including calendar sales.  Craig invited me to a private tour of the refuge, and I toddled off down to Kettering on Monday and was able to present him with the money then.  He has an amazing project, and seeing several magnificent  eagles was a highlight.  A couple are nearly ready for release, but some need to stay at the refuge permanently as they would be unable to survive in the wild.  Take a look at his website and offer any support you can.  Craig is currently building an education centre so that school groups can visit and learn about the human impact on raptors and other wildlife.  The refuge is NOT open for public tours, but membership allows you to attend open days.  The 2012 calendar is avaiulable for sale on the website.  Oh, there should be another story and some pics in the Kingborough Chronicle this week.  You can pick up copies in the Kingborough region or read it online at
The article pre-open mic is on page 3 in the August 26th edition.

As already mentioned, I performed and MCeed Friday night, and followed that up with lunchtime music on Saturday from 12pm -3pm at Brookfield Margate, then Sunday saw me performing more lunchtime music at Southern Lights Hotel in Kingston.  Had Monday night off from Groovy Feelin rehearsals and will miss next week as well, as I'll be in Launceston for a show at Aldersgate Village (Aged care).  That's after I do another lunchtime performance at Brookfield Margate THIS Saturday and take my crafts to Snug Market on Sunday.
Then the cycle continues with the Margate Wednesday Market, Brookfield lunchtime music Saturday etc.

I've got a date!!!!
Out for dinner tonight with my lovely husband Jeff and to see the 1st Kingston Comedy Bar show. Nice to have some time together!  I took today off from the Wednesday Market to give my back pain a chance to ease, which it has.  Chiropractor tomorrow, and I am so much better than I was 6 months ago.

Just as well, as I need all the help I can get to keep up with myself!!

Peace and love.

Monday, 22 August 2011

POEM: "Who I Am"

I promised some of my poems, and thought this would be a good start, as it wraps up my comments from my first blog about being different identities :)

"Who I Am"    

When anyone asks me who I am
I tell my life story as simply as I can.

I'm a woman, a daughter, a mother, a wife;
I'm a simple person living a simple life.

I laugh and smile, sometimes I cry
But I never let the chance of a good time go by!

I was and iron clothes, I cook and I clean.
My mind is full of thoughts when I'm awake or in dreams.

I've given and taken orders to get the job done
I've been seriously seriously, I've had heaps of fun!

I've known sadness and heartache, even despair;
It's a dark gloomy place; I hate being there.

I've been injured and ill, I've been fit and well.
I've felt like I'm in heaven; briefly visited hell.

I've been loved and liked, been hated and blamed.
I don't want to hate back; I won't play that game.

I've felt trapped and cornered, but I'm alive and free!
My favourite day is today, whenever it may be.

So now you feel you might know me from what I say
But I might be or do something DIFFERENT today!!

                                                                                        Fiona Hutchison   Aug. 2010