Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Surveying Surveys

July 24, 2015




Although complaining is par for the course with many bloggers, I try to avoid it. It isn’t because I can’t think of things to kvetch about; it’s because of my philosophy of complaining, which goes something like this:


Half of the people you complain to don’t care

The other half are glad


But something is bugging me these days and I’ve decided to speak out. It seems that more often than not I’m being requested by service providers to give an assessment of their performances. I worked in retail for many years and I clearly understood that if I provided good value and gave quality service, my customers would become loyal to me and the company I worked for and return. They’d also tell their friends and word of mouth would increase profits and add to my bottom line. These days (I sound like the old fart I am) I’m being asked to fill out evaluations for people servicing me. It’s getting harder to make a purchase without receiving homework. It goes like this.


Mrs. Chatterbox needed a new clasp for a necklace so we went to a prominent chain jeweler for a clasp replacement. It was a small sale, but when finished the clerk gave us a receipt and a form to fill out rating their services and our retail experience with them. The form was several pages long. We were also told by the clerk that the score for rating her was 1-10, with ten being the highest. We were cautioned that anything lower than a 10 would land her in trouble with her boss.


I recently went to a local hardware store for a replacement fluorescent bulb for beneath our kitchen counter. It was a small sale, but when finished the cashier circled a spot on the receipt that asked me to go online and fill out a survey of their services and an evaluation of their sales staff. I was told that a bad review could land her in trouble.


The community pool where I swim recently raised its rates fifty bucks a year so I decided to call my healthcare provider to see if I had a “wellness clause” that might cover the expense. Turns out they didn’t, but when finished the person on the phone, who told me the conversation was being taped for quality control, asked me if I had time for a few questions concerning their staff and services. Again, I was told how to answer before the questions were given. When I admitted to being over fifty, they tried to sell me a contract for a medical alert system.


At the conclusion of our recent tour of Austria and Switzerland, our guide handed out a ten page evaluation with dozens of questions to be answered. We were told in no uncertain terms that anything less than stellar reviews would compromise her career as a tour guide.


I left school a long time ago, and I’m long past the point where I do homework. Like I said, provide good service for a decent price and I’ll return. Other than that, don’t bother me. And don’t call me; if I want to continue my patronage, I’ll call you.


Note: If you liked this post, please send a positive review to Blogger, The Blog Farm, Bloglovin or Google+. You will probably be contacted and asked to fill out a short survey. Anything less than a 10 score might compromise my ability to provide you with these pithy posts.












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Now that you mention it, I do seem to get hit with a survey every time. At least the email ones are easy to ignore. Until they start spamming you on a daily basis, begging for a response. And I don't like to complain much on my blog either. There's enough negative in the world.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 24, 2015
You are always complaining! Stop stealing fishducky's stuff. OK.I I'll give you a ten. Don't want you to get in trouble.
By: cranky on July 24, 2015
If memory serves my correctly, Seinfield had a solution for telemarketers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hllDWSbuDsQ
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 24, 2015
It's true! My son works for Xerox that contracted with Apple to provide a call center to support Apple products. The pay is abysmal and bonuses are given for good surveys and money is deducted for poor surveys. The problem is that if the customer complains about Apple's products in the survey the employee gets dinged for that also. It's pretty awful how retail etc employees are treated. That's my kvetching for the day!
By: Kathe W. on July 24, 2015
I was getting calls on my cell phone last week from my health insurance carrier. The messages said, "We need to talk to you about a serious matter concerning your health insurance coverage." This soudned bad. Like maybe I had a claim getting rejected or coverage lapsing! It was a survey. A survey by my carrier disguisied as something that could have serious health consequences.
By: Katy Anders on July 24, 2015
i don't mind taking a survey now and then, but i don't like being 'coached' rather emphatically on how to rate a person's service.
By: TexWisGirl on July 24, 2015
I suspect that there is another purpose for the recent flood of customer service surveys--other than just to improve performance, but I don;t know what it is.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on July 24, 2015
There now. Didn't that feel good? I'm shocked that you don't have a cartoon of a pig at a complaint department, saying, "I wish I was taller." I think I heard about it from a woman with a big wall of hair, face like a frying pan.
By: Val on July 24, 2015
A 10! Always a 10 for you, Stephen!
By: Catalyst on July 24, 2015
Good rant! It's true. Finish any service call or sales contact and you get the evaluation spiel. Now that algorithm programs can crunch so well, some enterprising folks have found a new way to offer services to those in retail. No one wants a bad rating. As Billy Crystal might say, "How we doin' here?"
By: Tom Cochrun on July 24, 2015
BRAVO!! I only fill out a survey if the service was poor. Come to think of it, I've filled out quite a few lately! Lol
By: Bouncin Barb on July 24, 2015
I have noticed that some surveys branch into a lot of questions beyond the initial "how was our service?" They seem to be collecting more info about what else they can sell me. At that point I exit the survey.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on July 24, 2015
"Iâm being requested by service providers to give an assessment of their performances." Funny. When I would go to bars overseas, nobody ever asked me for one of those. Times are changing, I guess.
By: Al Penwasser on July 24, 2015
A 10, of course! And i don't mind, when i get a register receipt with an online survey site and number printed, going and doing it if i have time. Otherwise, no, thank you.
By: mimi on July 24, 2015
Surveys like this are a complete pain. I do Wendy's surveys and then I get 2 bucks off my next meal.
By: red on July 24, 2015
I know exactly how you feel! I don't generally fill out surveys unless something really ticked me off. I might possibly consider doing surveys for money - like that $2 off coupon. But really...time is a valuable commodity. Get with it, you retailers!
By: Pixel Peeper on July 24, 2015
I thought the use of verbs was good (10) but when it came to alliteration I thought the piece was a little thin. I'll give you a seven :)
By: Rick Watson on July 24, 2015
That death comic was hilarious! I've noticed some weird surveys online. I just click off. Since I'm in Egypt, there's none of that ridiculous "customer satisfaction" thing over here. No one cares if the customer is satisfied, they only care about money in the register and if they're satisfied with how much you paid (since payment varies according to customer nationality and shopkeeper mood). Have a good weekend!.
By: Lexa Cain on July 25, 2015
I rarely do them. If it's a message on the phone I ignore it, and if I get one via email it goes straight into the junk mail. The only time I would do one is if I've had bad service.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 25, 2015
I just got home from shopping after reading your blog. The clerk said to take the survey later. I had to chuckle. I usually don't take them, but this one I did!
By: Linda on July 25, 2015
I hate doing those surveys and I hate feeling manipulated and told what they want me to put down. I would never do them because I just don't care to. Now of course I went to blog central and gave you a 10 after filling out a short 50 question survey
By: Birgit on July 25, 2015
This is the world we live in today, pay lip service to a service which may be less than good but still wants to have an untarnished image. all face and little quality, at least not in the old fashioned sense where good service was to be expected..
By: John on July 26, 2015
It would be different if service actually ever improved because we filled out a survey..right? I'm not sure, but I think all this paperwork goes in a giant hole somewhere in space. Now Sonic surveys? you can get a free drink for those..heck yeah!
By: Terri on July 27, 2015
I only do surveys if the person was exceptionally bad or exceptionally good. Otherwise it is a waste of time.
By: Tabor on July 27, 2015
I get mad at the apps on my iPhone - periodically they'll ask me to rate the app. I'm fine with telling them how many stars I think they're worth, but then they want me to SAY something. Nope. If I don't have time to write a post for my own blog, I don't have time to give them words - ha!
By: The Bug on July 28, 2015

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