Denimbeard's Journal

Exerpts from my writen journal.

Month: August, 2016


How do we tell the customer no?

This is a topic I wish my managers would approach more carefully. The leading argument of customers opinion is that they must always be delighted. Here’s my take on this subject as someone who has spent a few years in retail.

Well fed employees lead to higher customer interactions. If your working staff feels respected and admired, they will pass that feeling onto their customers. I’ve seen this in several forms. From pay structures to company policies. I believe it starts with one easy step: let your employees say no to customers.

Right now, If I talk to a customer and they ask for special pricing or free delivery I have a couple of options. First, remind them of the “already lower pricing”. Second, request a manager to look over the order, or third, tell them that this pricing is as low as it will get. No matter the route I take, I can say with considerable confidence that my managers would offer a discount.

Here’s where this is an issue for me, that paints all your sales people as liars. “I’ve shopped here before, I know the hoops, just go get your manager,” customers will begin saying. This is an issue for a number of levels, namely, your managers become sales people. And if your managers are sales people, why have managers or vice-versa? To counter this I believe the best stagey is full transparency. How are sales people to know what managers are trying to accomplish when they hide reports and goals as “Managers only”? One of my favorite aspects of my current position is the free nature of our pay.

Because everyone knows what they make off their order, the group is on even footing. An issue arises when our leaders make unknown amounts based on our successes. From the point of views of a staff member, this seems to be a way of restricting commission payouts to a different audience. If we had free access to discuss and learn how our leaders are actually monitored and rewarded, I would feel more confident in that leadership.

Effective leaders should maintain a sense of responsibility without strangling their group into dominance. If you only create rules you intend to break, then your followers will not accept them. (Interesting how my inner Machiavelli comes out.)




Reflecting on my Ideas regarding Omaha, I wrote a letter to the Mayors office requesting that they share details regarding some of the major issues I’ve seen. I hope to get a reasonable response, but I feel like I will get a canned message. [If any. As of 04/05, no answer has been provided.]

I was asked the other day, “Is independence the goal?” regarding human kind as a whole.

Independence is officially defined as: “Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid or the like, of others,” So the question becomes something more like, “Is the goal of humanity to have no control, no influence or aid to or from others?” To this, I answer no.

The goal of humanity is not independence but to acquire confidence. Confidence against the elements, against our needs and wants. Confidence in ourselves to provide and grow, physically and mentally. We may become independent from certain effects through this growth but our goals are not to remove ourselves from everything around us.

The best way that I see us becoming a more confident species is by remaining vigilant on our fields of education. A brighter focus not solely on the sciences but the arts as well. We must begin to understand ourselves before attempting to understand the world around us. How can the mind grow confident in its personality and opinion when it’s only given information regarding its surroundings? How do you teach us to answer the hard questions, “Why am I here? Where will I go? How do I feel fulfilled? Are my needs met? What are my needs?”

These questions cannot be answered by memorizing math formulas and periotic tables. However the importance of that information shouldn’t be forgotten either. From my observations, the challenge becomes that balance of finding it appropriately. [What the hell, I have no idea what that sentence means!] For a mass education program to neglect the arts as unimportant to the development of its students is a system that will collapse on poor foundations. Developing a basis for community and togetherness starts with the residents. Promoting involvement and improving all lives. Open, communal spaces, public transit that is effective and meaningful shipping are all factors.


I wish to spend a moment and expand on yesterdays thoughts. I had mentioned the American Dream as a product partially responsible for the lack of gratitude in our culture, I should clarify that; the importance of building an idealized homestead is not the issue. Rather, It becomes something to question [regarding] the morality of the ideal. Is the premium homestead one that is isolated and imperialistic? Much as the Dream suggests, ownership of land and goods above all, how could we establish a system of respect and thankfulness?

If we could instead shift the language of the dream to be more inclusive of the community instead of the self, I would hope we could find solutions for a number of social issues. Locally, here in Omaha, I’ve noticed a serious lack of communal space. Most conversations I have about locations in Omaha will drift toward “How far is it?”. While we have capitalized on our ambitions for space, the expanse of Omaha seams to cause the severe lack of integration.



My father talks often regarding the idea of sincerity and gratitude. The other day he commented on a remark from a member of his nursing staff, “You must have good common sense,” she told me, as I cleared the way for his Lunch.

“It is the skill of appreciation and gratitude for others that will cause you to excel,”

I often wonder if that is the case. Is success really primarily a calm and accepting personality? Or is there more to it, an underlying construct that is framed by the ability to show honest respect? Often it is remarked as “common sense,”. If this is true, why is it so rare? How can we claim it is common if it is so hard to acquire? As I ponder this, a quote finds its way along my Twitter feed. “It is not so much our friends help that helps us, as the confident knowledge that they will help us,” – Epicurus. I had mentioned this entry to Natasha, and told her the following; The reason your gratitude for something as simple as helping you fix a small car issue is so interesting to me, is because of the expression of thanks. Quiet and reserved, as if you have been taught all your life to be wary of expressing it. Lombardo does the same thing, she will occasionally [and] suddenly, say, “Thank you, for everything,” out of context or as we pass in the hall. Recently she mailed me a card from Do Space [a library she works for] to tell me she appreciated all I’ve don’t for her.

It’s these quiet and romanticized sense of thanks that are so interesting to me. I also catch myself forcing a thank you when it’s [seemingly] appropriate and my family rarely seems to say phrases of love or thanks aloud. I’ve only heard my parents say they are proud of me [aloud] a handful of times, and I wonder the impact this has had on my life and mind. What parts of our culture and Lifestyle are so ingrained in us that gratitude is embarrassing? Is it the same reason men cannot show weakness? Or the struggle for equality for woman and people of color?

Is there a fear that by acknowledging or accepting aid we have shown a weakness? If this is the case, then I ponder the state of the “American Dream,”. The attitude of self reliance and homestead vigilance. I wonder if it is possible to create a space to remove that bias. Help shouldn’t be seen as admit of defeat, it should be seen as an acceptance of study. To fail is to learn, to learn is to grow and growing becomes independence.


Democracy in America

I’m learning that I have much to learn regarding American history. Something that I cannot fathom is why our school classes were so boring and basic. In a matter of a dozen chapters from a single book published in 1835 I have a better understanding of not only our government, but a new sense of understanding leadership.

Considering the role of a leader in a way that, admittedly is arbitrary and far from unique, but as I understand it, leaders should be both seen and heard, while maintaining a unique level of distance. Close enough to understand the feeling and emotions of those following, but far enough to not feel as equals. Here, I see the fundamental issue of modern political structures in America. The falsehood that our elected leaders are anything of the sort undermines everything their leadership can stand for. As an example, how can one feel or expect Barack Obama to have a glimpse of what “normal” actually is?

How can it be that our culture has shifted from accepting a leadership role in government for the sake of national progress and fall into a state of political barrenness. Politics as a career cannot be accepted as a realistic goal if the state of our union is to develop further in a positive manner. How can we develop as a nation with pride, knowing that only a handful of reoccurring legal students (and eventual professionals) will absolutely dominate? At what point did the nation decide that the ethics and morals embedded in common law belongs exclusively to one group? Has this been part of the system since inception?

Is there a way to convince the scholarly to pursue a life that is dedicated to debate and standard within the public eye?