Sears vs. Black Friday – A Comedy of Errors


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday was Black Friday, normally a day I will shop for Christmas gifts in the afternoon. Never do I fight the early lines, simply because years ago, when I worked in the retail industry, I saw people losing their dignity and integrity over an item on sale. Originally on Black Friday, I do shop at Kohl’s, or other places where sales are really a bargain; however, this year, it is unfortunate that Sears repair, or I should say, Sears Blue Service Crew dictated my Black Friday.

Allow me to explain. If you read my blog on a regular basis, you’ve probably read my recent post, https://barbieperkinscooper.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/definitely-not-a-friday-reflection-sears-kenmore-and-here-we-go-again/

This morning, I feel I must share the ‘latest’ about our issues with Sears…the Sears Blue Service Crew program…and customer service with the Sears toll-free number. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Here’s the scenario from yesterday:

Our scheduled appointment for the ‘repair of my Kenmore front loader washer was scheduled between the hours of 3 – 7:00 pm yesterday, November 28, 2014 — Black Friday. All day long I was fearful to go shopping because there was a possibility the service tech would arrive on time, or earlier. He arrived about 5:15 pm. Upon arrival, we noticed only ONE technician, not the required two to repair the machine. The unit is a stacked unit. The washer is the bottom unit. To repair it, the entire unit must be disassembled so the washer can be repaired.

‘How do you know that?’ Yes, I heard you mumble that question, and the answer is simple. I’ve been down this road with Sears before, on June 26, 2014 the washer broke – when the technician arrived he determined it was the computer board. I should mention it took over two weeks, if not longer, to get a technician to arrive to check the unit. He determined it did need a computer board, since all electronics are computer generated now and he would order the part. It would take seven to ten days to get the part and it would be sent to our home. He scheduled the tentative repair for July 11 — PROVIDED the part arrived beforehand. July 11, the repair was completed. While the technician was here, he mentioned to my husband that this washer has had lots of problems with it, and we might consider replacing the machine. Little did I know that he was suggesting that our machine needed to be replaced at Sears expense since we had the ‘extended warranty.’ All I heard was the suggestion that we needed to replace the machine…meaning we needed to BUY another washer. I should mention I was just a bit annoyed with Sears at the time since the washer is only four-years-old!

I did make enough noise with the Sears Blue Service Crew online and one of the department heads attempted to reach out to the service department to get the service changed to an earlier date. Reportedly, we were placed on the list of cancellations — in the event someone cancelled an appointment. Nevertheless, from June 26 – July 11, I did not have access to my washer and went to the laundromat several times. No doubt today I will return to that laundromat. Supposedly, Sears has me on the laundry vending list, or whatever they call it, and I will have to let them know I need compensation at $25.00 weekly for the lack of my washer. When this incident happened in July, I received a check for $75.00. Now, history is repeating itself – so I still say, Hello Sears…HERE WE GO AGAIN!

What is so annoying with Sears and the toll-free number you must phone for service is the customer is placed on hold repeatedly. While on hold, the customer waits…and WAITS…AND WAITS. If on hold for a bit of time, your call is transferred to another customer service agent…and then — YOU — the customer — must share your information over…and over…and over AGAIN! Of course, by this time even the Pope would be a bit annoyed!

When the repair was scheduled for Black Friday — the EARLIEST appointment we could get — my phone conversation was transferred to THREE different people. I will admit, I started the conversation nice and diplomatic…by the third person conversation, my patience was thin!

Bryan, the first customer service agent mentioned that I might consider ‘replacing the machine…since I’ve had so many issues with it and it was an ‘old’ machine.’ I reminded him it was only four-years-old. Again, he suggested replacement since I had the extended warranty and it would replace the machine! Based on the history with this four-year-old, undependable Kenmore washer, I might consider replacement.

Bryan transferred me to another department. After holding the line, I spoke with three additional departments. I mentioned I needed to inquire about replacement for this machine since it was unreliable and ‘four-years-old’ with a history of breaking down. Again, I was placed on HOLD!

Paula was the next agent to service me, telling me that the technician would need to come to the house and determine what was wrong with this machine. I inhaled…exhaled and said, the computer board is out — AGAIN! The machine is doing the same thing it did in July. No power. Nothing!!!

She listened, told me she understood the frustration, but this was the procedure. She could not order the computer board until the technician determined it was indeed the computer board! I suggested a replacement, she mentioned that ‘she could not do this. All resources have been used.’

Whatever that means!

We were trapped in a debate going no where. She did mention that according to the guidelines of the extended warranty, I would need three more appointments to determine this machine had a history of needing repair and would need to be replaced. Yes, you read this correctly, to get a replacement, I would need three more incidents –within a 30-day time frame!

RIDICULOUS!

Tuesday afternoon while away from the house, I received an e-mail about a package delivered from UPS. Arriving home, I got the package — from the parts and service dept., College Park, GA. Opening the package I found parts — not a computer board — but something that resembles the front panel of my Kenmore washer — ??? The question is WHO ordered this part? Odds are — it is the wrong part!

Yesterday when Kevin, the Sears Blue Crew Service Technician arrived, I showed him this box. He responded that since the unit was a ‘stackable unit’ he could do nothing since the repair needed two techs to do the repair. He made a phone call to another tech. No answer! Truly my Black Friday was a wasted day! Nothing was done. No service. No repair. Nothing! Never did he check the machine!

Before he left, Kevin suggested I needed to phone the Sears Blue Service Crew hotline. He booked ‘the earliest available date to repair the unit — December 11, 2014! He suggested asking about a replacement and he said, if they do not assist you, just hang up and call back! Reluctantly, I agree to this date — what choice did I have? This is the way Sears schedules appointments. On December 11, my washer will be broken for 21 days — THREE WEEKS!

I phoned the Sears Blue Service Crew hotline, speaking with Laura. Now, this is where this comedy of horrors really gets interesting!

Laura was kind. Compassionate. I was kind. Frustrated, but still patient and kind. Laura was the first agent I spoke to that shared that a ‘case number for customer solutions was assigned.’ That was news to me! No one even mentioned a case number of customer solutions previously. She placed me on hold – what I call as voice jail. I listened to the music and waited…and waited…to see if Laura could establish a way to get this machine replaced.

After waiting a bit of time, you’ll never guess what happened! Yes, the phone is transferred back to the hotline. Now, I am speaking with Edna. She wants to inquire about my call. Reluctantly, I start the entire story over again…and then I ask Edna if I could speak with Laura. Oops. She doesn’t know who Laura is! No surprise there!

Was I speaking to a ghost previously?

And so, here I go again — sharing all of the incidents. Edna tells me I sound frustrated. “Duh. Wouldn’t you be too?” I ask her. Edna proceeds to lecture me. She also mentioned I should’ve requested two techs since I have a stackable unit. Really? I should mention that Sears has all of those records since I purchased the washer and dryer as a stackable unit — and Sears is the party that stacked it in the beginning upon delivery! Edna could not determine if the scheduled appointment on December 11 was scheduled since it wasn’t on the computer. By now, I am about to explode, so — I hang up.

I do not know what or how this comedy of errors will end, but I do know I have contacted searshomeservices.com and I plan to post this blog on their site too. I’m hopeful that this comedy of horrors and comedy of errors will end on a positive note. Personally, I am sick of Sears. Once I had total confidence in Sears. After all, Sears was the only place my grandfather would purchase his tools. He reminded me “Craftsmen tools are the best and Sears takes care of their customers.”

My grandfather would never believe the incidents I have tolerated at Sears Home Services.

Be advised — my growing number of readers — I will keep you abreast about what happens. Hopefully, I’ll have clean clothes soon!

Thank you Sears for making my Black Friday a nightmare. A comedy of horrors and a comedy of errors!

Thanksgiving, 2014


Dearest Readers:

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the USA in two days, Thursday, November 27, 2014. Because it is always a busy day for me, I would like to take a moment to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I begin the process of the infamous Thanksgiving meal – prepping, baking and getting the table set with my china, crystal and silverware. After losing my dad in July 1999, I still have an emptiness deep in my heart, missing him so much. It was a tradition for us to celebrate Thanksgiving together. He enjoyed the fuss I made over him, and over Thanksgiving. I should say I make everything from scratch. I do not believe in using processed foods, and if I say so myself, I am a decent chef! Never do I use paper plates or plastic. For that special day, I enjoy the best that I have.

This year my menus is:

Roasted turkey
Cornbread dressing
Macaroni and cheese
Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes
Gravy
Cranberry Relish

Dessert:
Pecan pie (I’ve never baked one so this will be a first!)
Cream cheese pound cake, served with fresh strawberries and Cool Whip

Today, I am busy polishing furniture, preparing for guests and cleaning the fridge — how I dread that ordeal!

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? For our family, it is a time to give thanks for all that we have, the people in our lives and a Thanksgiving to give God thankfulness and gratitude for our lives. This year is a good year for this household. Yes, we are missing a few of our loved ones, but we are happy that we’ve celebrated many Thanksgiving holidays together. Unfortunately, our first Thanksgiving as a newly married couple, I kissed my husband goodbye while knowing he was leaving me for a war zone. The next Thanksgiving, I prepared a feast, anticipating his arrival. He did not arrive until December 5, of that year, so Thanksgiving means a lot to us. It is a time to share our love with each other and with our family members. Perhaps one year we will get together with my sister in Georgia — but that is for another time. If it does happen, I will be more than happy to cook the entire meal.

How about you, readers? What do you do for Thanksgiving? I pray you will celebrate the festivities with your family and friends, and I pray that you will give thanks for all you are blessed with in life. No doubt, our extended family of five precious animals will enjoy a bit of turkey and dressing.

Let us all give thanks for the United States of America, especially to our soldiers in harm’s way. May this day of Thanksgiving bring us peace. Please, if you are traveling, be safe and if you see a soldier, please tell them thank you for their service. If you are a soldier, I say thank you and may God bless you, and all of us.

And now, I must close this and clean the fridge.

Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving to All!

Definitely NOT A Friday Reflection – Sears, Kenmore and HERE WE GO AGAIN…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, I understand – today is Saturday, not a Friday reflection. I had every intention to write a Friday reflection yesterday, before all H— broke loose. Allow me to explain. I awoke dreading the day due to another battle with insomnia. I do believe insomnia won this week. Almost every hour I have awakened, unable to sleep, and so, I turned the TV on. Are you aware of how many Christmas shows are running daily now? Lifetime has Christmas shows, Hallmark does, and so does the Hallmark Mystery and Movies Channel – on DirecTV, channel 565. I was amazed as I flipped the channels, attempting to sleep.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! After several cups of coffee, I was ready to start the day. I planned to glue my butt to the chair and write, but first, I had to do laundry. I sorted. Threw a load of colorfast laundry in my Kenmore front load machine. Hit the buttons to turn it on. NOTHING AGAIN.
I mumbled a few choice words to myself, realizing I had to phone Sears again – just like before in July. I dialed the number, listening to the automated system – awaiting a real person. Never did I realize my voice was already being recorded. Let’s just say, even Julia Sugarbaker would’ve disowned me this time!

“Oh great. Here we go again,” I said. “Welcome to Voice Jail.”

Finally a male voice answered, lecturing me that I needed to calm down and not assume that “Here we go again.”

How dare him!

He looked up my warranty, doing all the things that customer service reps do while we the customer waits for a reply. After several discussions, he mentioned that I had an extensive warranty and might consider getting another washer.

“I bought this one in 2011, or earlier. I believe it’s less than four years old. Just HOW LONG does a Kenmore washer last?”

“The machine was purchased in 2010,” he responded, according to his records.

Funny, never would I consider a four-year-old washer “OLD!”

I remained on the phone with Sears for over one hour. You know the drill. Transfer to one department. Please hold for another so they can schedule your appointment with a technician, and then I asked to speak to someone about getting another washer since mine was ‘so old’ [four years???]. I was told I needed to have three or four more complaints before they would consider a replacement for me. After all, my washer is old. [Four years…!]

The technician will be at my house next Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. I must go without washing any household laundry for another seven days, unless I choose to treat myself to another day at the Laundromat.

As you can see, my Friday was a waste. I planned to jump on the treadmill; however, the only workout I got yesterday was my mouth and jaws! Today is the BPOE show at the Elks Lodge, so another day of so many things to do. Tomorrow, I will work out. My body feels deprived if it doesn’t achieve the daily goals of an intense work out.

I’m still annoyed with Sears. The machine is not getting power. Believe me when I say it needs another computer board. I am hopeful when the technician arrives next Friday he will repeat his suggestion that “You might consider getting another washing machine to replace this one.”

Remember — my washer is old. That’s what every person I spoke with said! [FOUR YEARS OLD!]

Never did I realize, until the discussion on the phone yesterday, that my warranty would grant me a replacement – HOWEVER, I must have three or four more complaints to determine I need a replacement. I suppose they are hopeful my warranty will run out and I’ll have to purchase another washer!

I ask you – what part of LEMON does Sears not understand? I paid my hard-earned money to purchase that machine and now I truly regret it!

My Kenmore front load washer should be painted yellow, to match the lemon that it is!

Enough of this. Maybe I’ll write more tomorrow. Now, I must go get dressed so I can dazzle the audience tonight. If only I could dazzle Sears and Kenmore to stop making lemons.

Maybe I’ll squeeze some lemons and mix a bowl of sugar and water with them – to make lemonade. On second thought, I think I need a large glass of Moscato wine!

How about it, Sears – are you listening? HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Grammy’s Heavenly Homemade Biscuits – Chattahoochee Child


Yesterday while reading an e-mail from an online writers’ group, I discovered a food writing contest. The directions discussed a contest for Thanksgiving. The assignment was to share a family recipe for the holidays. Humph. I thought. I don’t have any family recipes to share.

That assignment for a contest got me thinking; nevertheless, I cannot enter the competition, simply because the recipe I would share would be Grammy’s homemade biscuits.

My Grammy was a good ole’ Southern cook, rarely did she measure anything. Her recipes were never written on index cards for others to share or to preserve for family members. A tiny woman, with long white hair, early every morning she rolled her hair up in a crochet hair bun, clipping the left and right with wavy clips. Spraying the hair with a light spray, she was ready for the day. No makeup or fancy earrings did she wear. She was a natural beauty with bright, beautiful blue eyes.

Grammy encouraged me to help her in the kitchen. “Always remember to wash your hands several times when cooking,” she said. Only 10 years old, I remember stepping up on a chair to watch her make baked goods, especially her homemade biscuits. Grammy had a special large pottery bowl only used for baked goods. In this bowl, she placed all-purpose flour, Grammy preferred Gold Medal Flour, baking powder, a bit of salt, shortening, Grammy preferred Crisco, and milk.

I watched my grandmother carefully; curious as to how she knew just the right ingredients to use to bake the light as a cloud, fluffy hot biscuits she made daily. Never did she measure the ingredients. Never did she make a mistake.

“Grammy,” I said, watching her fingers moving the ingredients into a soft, moist mixture that rolled into one soft ball of dough, ready to pinch off and pat into a cast iron skillet. “How do you know how much to use? You always make the best biscuits. They melt in my mouth.”

Grammy laughed. “I just know.”

“But you don’t measure anything. If I tried to make these, how would I know?”

Grammy laughed again, her blue eyes almost dancing with delight.

“Well child, I suppose I’ll share my recipe.”

Grammy’s Homemade Biscuits
“Use a large pottery bowl that you only use for biscuits.
Place a bunch of flour in the bowl. If you are making biscuits for our group, a family of 10, then you place a lot of all-purpose flour in the bowl.
Add a pinch of baking powder.
A dash of salt.
Shortening. I always use only Crisco, and if I’m baking biscuits for all of us, including Rusty, I use more Crisco and more ingredients.
Milk. I don’t like it real cold. I let it get a bit warmer before I use it. I let it sit out for about five minutes before I pour it in. Before I pour it in, I make a well with the ingredients with my fingers and I pour the milk into the well. Then I mix it all up.
I have the oven ready by letting it heat up a bit. The temperature is warm, about 400 degrees when I put the biscuits in the oven. My secret to get golden biscuits is to roll a bit of the dough in your hands to make the shape and size you want and place each biscuit in the pan. Pat each biscuit in the skillet with milk. That helps them to get golden brown and stay moist.”

I listened and listened while wondering what a bunch of flour was. A pinch of baking powder. A dash of salt. Enough Crisco for all of us, including Rusty? And – just HOW would the biscuit bowl KNOW it was only used for biscuits, nothing more?

I shook my head. I would never be able to bake Grammy’s homemade biscuits.

When I was a teenager, our family fell apart. My mother and father divorced. Mom moved us back to Bibb City, to live with our grandparents. Cramped together in a small brick mill house with only two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a tiny kitchen, I chose to devote my time to cooking. I asked Grammy to teach me how to bake biscuits. Following her directions, I scooped up a bunch of flour. My fingers pinched the baking powder. I shook the salt shaker, hoping to get just a dash of salt to make my biscuits as fluffy and tasty as Grammy’s. I took a large measuring cup filled with Crisco, plopping it into the well of the flour mixture. And then, my fingers worked their magic, pouring in just enough milk to make the ingredients work together into a magical ball. The ball my mixture made was lumpy and dry.

Working my fingers around the well of dough, I hoped and prayed my mixture would follow the lead of Grammy. I moved my fingers strategically, just like Grammy. The mixture refused to follow my lead.

“Grammy,” I said. “My biscuit dough doesn’t move around the bowl like yours did. What did I do wrong?”

Grammy looked at the table, noticing the measuring cups.

“I don’t measure, child. I just scoop it all up in my fingers.”

“Oh…but how…how do you know what a bunch of flour, a pinch of baking powder, a dash of salt and enough Crisco is? Did I mix too much milk in my well?”

She laughed. “You just know child. Don’t fret none. It’ll come to you.”

For two more days I attempted to learn how to bake Grammy’s homemade biscuits. On my last attempt, Grammy suggested I stick with baking my homemade pound cakes. A Betty Crocker recipe, I make those pound cakes every year, and each time I do how I wish I had my Grammy’s vintage pottery bowl.

I lost my grandmother to breast cancer in 1973. Unfortunately, her recipe for homemade biscuits vanished with her death. Today, I suppose it is to my benefit that I do not have that delicious recipe, or her magical vintage bowl. One can only imagine how such recipes require willpower, just to abstain from eating them – at every meal.

I have no idea what happened to that beautiful biscuit bowl. Never did I receive anything tangible in remembrance of my precious grandmother. I do hope someone in the family has it, although I doubt it. My mother had the tendency to take such precious items to antique shops to sell. Perhaps the next time I go ‘antiquing’ I will search for such a bowl. If my memory is correct, the bowl was an off-white color, deep with two blue bands across the width of the bowl. A bit heavy for a young child, but I cherished that bowl, along with my grandmother.

During the holidays I still crave my grandmother’s homemade biscuits. No one that I know has ever been able to equal her magic recipe. I suppose some recipes should remain secrets for the family to enjoy. The next time you eat a homemade biscuit, just pretend you are eating a light, golden brown biscuit – from Heaven, in memory of my Grammy!

Friday Reflections — Enough Said!


Dearest Readers:

Late autumn always depresses me when the sun sets so early and darkness blankets the skies, much…much too early. I enjoy evenings where I enjoy the sun setting later. Tomorrow evening is the Elks show in Murrells Inlet, SC. Since the show started traveling “on the road” with our talents, I have always attended. This show is different because I am not going. It was my decision to remain at home. Many reasons that others do not understand. Quite simply – my budget at this time of year is not one I want to stretch to the limits. Allow me to explain. Many of the casts are driving up tomorrow afternoon. After the show, they are going back to Charleston. Yes, it is true. I could go. And I could drive home late at night, but I don’t think so. Driving after 10:00 at night is just a bit testy, considering all of the drivers under the influence, and of course, the deer roaming around the highways. Then, I must consider, I would need to arrange a pet sitter to come to my house two, if not three times daily while I am gone — at the expense of $20.00 each visit. I do not believe in boarding my animals. They are most comfortable within their atmosphere of HOME. After all, my four-legged friends are rescue animals – four of them tolerated much abuse previously, and now, within our home, they are happy. LOVED. SPOILED. Considering all of the expenses of ‘going on the road’ for the Elks Lodge show, the amount of money it would cost us was just not worth it. While it is true, I could get a cheaper rate for a hotel, I think I made the right decision. I am the type of household finance manager who does not believe in tapping into the budget, squeezing it too tightly. After all, the holidays are approaching! I do wish the entire cast of the show to have a good time. I understand I was ridiculed when I said “Break a leg” to the cast. I got the distinct impression a few of them were thinking I was wishing them to ‘break a leg’ physically. Now honestly…Those of us who have been on stage, or a thespian truly understand the definition of “Break a leg.” Those who do not — well…let’s just say, while I am the type of personality defined as “Julia Sugarbaker,” never do I wish anything bad on anyone. SO, cast members, I still say, “Break a Leg!”

Next week is our show at the Elks Lodge in Charleston, and I still wish everyone to “Break a leg.” Enough said!

This week at Weight Watchers, my weigh-in showed another small gain. This time, .06 of a pound. RATS! After weigh-in, I turned to look at the magic mirror. Have you ever seen one of these? They instantly give you a 10-pound reduction. I want one for my home! Maybe I’ll tell Santa. Perhaps if I sit on his lap, maybe — just maybe — I can convince him I will make this generosity worthy of my talents! Looking in that mirror, I do see a difference. Heck…My body is shrinking, even IF that disagreeable scale says otherwise. I think I’m looking pretty good! I’ll say it again — RATS! I want that stupid scale to stop dictating who I am. Age is just a number, and so is a Weight Watchers scale! Enough said!

Looks like this epistle should be titled “Enough Said.” After all, I am free writing, and I have no idea what my fingers will pour from my soul as I write this. I am sitting at my desk. My little love bugs, Hanks the Tank, and Sandy Bear are resting next to me, curled on the pillows, probably getting warm. The weather is changing drastically…almost momentarily…The present temp is 42.8 degrees…OK…let’s round it up to 43! I am wearing a short black lace skirt with black leggings. Black boots! The temperature inside the house is only 69 degrees, but the house is warm, so I refuse to cut the heat on until later. Yes, I will turn on the electric blanket before going to bed. I simply love curling into a warm bed!

See…I told you, I am free writing. This week has been a better week than last. During that time, for three days, PTSD was dictating the behaviors of my husband. If you’ve never lived, or been around, someone with PTSD consider yourself blessed. Simple eye contact…body language…ANYTHING can ignite strange behaviors and when it happens in this house, I simply close myself away. I do not like to argue, or to be mistreated, so I am thankful this is a Friday Reflections where I can say, this has been a better week. Thank you, God.

On Friday’s, I like to give thanks to God for all that I have endured, experienced, or learned this week. When my dad was alive, and all of us lived at home, I recall him asking me, “What did you learn today?” And when he asked, I shared my lessons learned. How I miss that man. Holidays just are not the same without my dad here with us. After his death in 1999, Thanksgiving was the hardest holiday ever. I cooked the meal, set the table with linens and china, only to notice my dad’s chair was empty. The emptiness I felt was almost unbearable. This year, I feel his loss still — even though it is 15 years later. I’ve asked God, “How long does one grieve?” Funny. I’ve never heard an answer. I believe the grief process last for eternity; however, we who grieve, must learn to walk through the grief and — as my dad would tell me — Move On. That is truly a hard lesson learned.

Now that I am finally writing again, I must give thanks and be proud that the words are flowing — a bit. I still have people ask me — ‘are you EVER gonna finish your story?’

My answer — “Yes…writing takes time.” It isn’t a process where you can just sit and write. NOT ALWAYS!

And so, tonight – while it is still Friday, I am reflecting on life…gratitude…and my personal reflections for this week. My thoughts just strayed a bit while listening to the TV. Honey Boo Boo’s Mom was speaking on the network. Sorry I do not know her name…All I do know is she has two, if not three chins! Oh…my goodness…she is undoubtedly the most non-photographic woman I have ever seen. Just how she became a household name is beyond me. Not a good mother…and certainly not someone photogenic or pretty, or someone I wish to reflect on… Make up doesn’t help her at all! And most women really are glamorous with makeup. So, I suppose I shall keep the remainder of my opinion about that woman — to myself. Is that a first? Perhaps!

To those of you in Murrells Inlet at the Elks Lodge, I hope you all enjoy the show, and to the performers, I still shall say, “Break a Leg!”

Until next week…

New Production Launched in Myrtle Beach, Thunder and Light, Featuring All That!


For Immediate Release
Gilmore Entertainment, The Calvin Gilmore Theater
November 12, 2014
Media Contact:
Jordan Watkins, Director of Marketing
(843) 913-1453
JWatkins@GilmoreEntertainment.com
Low res photo attached, high res photos available at the link below:
http://www.gilmoreentertainment.info/Public/ThunderAndLight/

New Production Launched in Myrtle Beach, Thunder and Light, Featuring All That!

Calvin Gilmore, the groundbreaking producer and director that introduced live entertainment to Myrtle Beach nearly 30 years ago, debuted his latest production to standing ovations this past fall. Thunder and Light, directed by Jeffrey Gilmore, opened with a limited number of preview showings in September and October and was so successful that Gilmore is now announcing a full Thunder and Light schedule for the 2015 season. These shows will be in addition to the normal full schedule of TCO and Good Vibrations shows.

This entirely new live production features the nationally renowned clogging group All That!, combined with a multi-million dollar laser light show. The show blends exclusive, original choreography by All That!, thrilling contemporary music, interviews and background on the group, and the same multi-colored 5-laser show that toured with Pink Floyd and Madonna. Additionally, vocalists from TCO and Good Vibrations will make guest appearances on a rotating basis.

All That! have become a phenomenon amongst visitors in Gilmore’s award-winning productions, TCO and Good Vibrations, over the past 10 years, and will continue to appear in those shows nightly. Known nationally for their recent success on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, All That! has gathered a fanatical following. Gilmore commented, “The popularity of All That! has just been through the roof, this show will fulfill a great demand. These guys have worked tirelessly on new material and we have put together an incredible show. The footwork of All That! combined with the choreographed laser show is really amazing.”

Discounted group pricing is available for groups over 22 and special package rates for those attending other Calvin Gilmore Productions. Tickets are expected to sell fast for this rare opportunity to see a hit show on the ground floor. Visit ThunderAndLightShow.com for a full schedule and online booking, or call the box office at 800-843-6679.

More Information about Calvin Gilmore and Gilmore Entertainment

Gilmore Entertainment and The Calvin Gilmore Theater have long been the leader of musical variety show entertainment in the Southeast, with the classic TCO show, retro Good Vibrations, and their newest hit, Thunder and Light. Gilmore and his shows have been featured by USA Today, NBC Nightly News, Southern Living Magazine, Variety, and a host of other newspapers and television shows. It is the only Myrtle Beach show to receive the coveted South Carolina Governor’s Cup, as well as being voted South Carolina’s Most Outstanding Attraction. In recent years, Gilmore has performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and he is designated as South Carolina’s Official Country Music Ambassador.

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Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I haven’t written much in this column in about two weeks. Last week was truly the week from Hell for me. Beginning with suspected car problems where the technicians replied, “The engine light wasn’t on when we checked it…” Of course, that is a typical response from men to a woman at a service department…now, isn’t it — WOMEN! They were slightly mistaken. The engine light icon returned, and on Wednesday, it took over three hours to get it repaired. Of course, the main reason it took so long is due to the fact my car warranty was purchased with the car ($1549.00) at Car Max. Still, I am furious with Car Max; however, I will go on record to say that the service tech at Dodge possessed an amazing amount of patience with them — JUST — to get the warranty approved. Thank you, Dodge…and NO THANK YOU…to Car Max!

But — that chapter is closed and I am pleased to share that the repair that I had to pay for in the amount of $477.21 has been compensated to me – minus the $100 deductible since I DID NOT USE CAR MAX FOR THE REPAIR… Heck, I could not get Car Max to return a phone call, or the Mouse Lady to acknowledge me! Can you detect my frustration with Car Max???

Enough about Car Max! I suppose this post should actually be Friday frustrations, instead of Friday Reflections; however, since I am a person who looks for the positive in life and not the negative, I will do my best to reflect with a positive attitude.

While I am reflecting on Friday and this week, I would like to share that I was finally able to attend my weekly Weight Watchers meeting yesterday — the first meeting I’ve attended in four weeks. I confess, I anticipated a weight gain of 3 or 4 pounds and was a bit happy when I had only gained .06! It was wonderful to get back to my REAL life again. This reflection proves to me that I cannot complete my Weight Watchers journey alone. Like someone with an addiction, I must attend weekly meetings to share my ups and downs with all. I confess, I think the only reason I did not show a weight gain of four pounds or more was due to the fact that I have worked out on the treadmill every day since last Saturday. It was suggested at the meeting for me to ‘shake up’ my exercise routine a bit, so this week I will go for an extended walk — on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and I will return to walking my dogs again. I’ve been slack about walking my dogs ever since we lost my precious Shamey-Pooh. The last time I walked the dogs on our three-mile journey someone actually stopped me to inquire where the ‘beautiful silver dog was,’… when I replied that he died, they apologized and I burst into tears.

Undoubtedly, there has been a black cloud over me for a few weeks, or maybe it is the full moon returning; nevertheless, this week started off — shall I say unpredictable. Monday afternoon, Phil and I left the house a few minutes after 5pm, headed to the Coastal Carolina Fair. What would normally take about 30 minutes was at least 1.5 hours. We arrived at the fair at about 7pm. Never did Phil get annoyed about the traffic and we had a great time at the fair. Little did I know how things would change within 24 hours!

For those of you who do not know – My husband has PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you do not know what it is like to live with someone with PTSD — count your blessings! Tuesday afternoon when Phil returned home from work, he had a strange look in his eyes. I know that look well — PTSD! Within 30 minutes, we were fighting. I cannot recall what set him off, or me off – but our fight continued. I decided to shut myself away in the bedroom. That night, I broke our rule – a rule made when we were newlyweds…the rule of “never going to bed angry, or without a good night kiss!”

Wednesday – we had the same scenario. No matter what I said, we could not stop the fight. Listening to someone is difficult with him. I approached him carefully, telling him ‘we need to talk.’ When someone has PTSD communication does not exist. Every time I said I needed to talk to him, we fought. The real kicker was when Phil shouted to me that I was exactly like my mother. Yes, he does know the right buttons to push! I exploded although with a calm, diplomatic voice letting him know that I was ‘nothing like my mother!’ Never did I behave, or deceive him in the manner my mother deceived my father.

I gathered my dogs and off we went to the bedroom. I pretended to be asleep! No kiss. Nothing! Breaking the rules continued. I should add, Wednesday, Phil called me several times. No doubt, he wanted to end this scenario on the phone. I stood firm.

Thursday morning, after Weight Watchers, I had lunch with a close friend from Weight Watchers. As I was leaving the car to meet her, my cell phone beeped with an e-mail. From Phil. Subject – Peace! He said he was tired of fighting…recognized that at times he could be difficult, only that is not the word he used! And he was sorry. I phoned him. Fight over.

No, I was not refusing to take the first step to end this emotional battle, but when you live with someone with PTSD there does come a time when you must be firm so they can see the issues related to PTSD. I’ve had several friends ask why I tolerate his behaviors and mental treatments. My reply – simple –he is the only person who has ever loved me. He rescued me when I needed rescuing. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, reading my issues with my mother and the domestic abuse of my family, then you must understand. When someone grows up in such an environment, never do you anticipate a life of love and peacefulness. Never did I EVER see my parents hug or kiss, so — due to LOVE(??) that is why I tolerate such behaviors. I do recall my parents shouting and I shall quote:
Mother – expressed to my father: “I hate you…You no good Son of a B—-!”

Dad’s reply: “I wish I never married you!”

Mom’s reply: “I hope you die soon…”

Those cruel expressions echoed in my ears as a child, and they still echo in my ears. Once you live in an abusive family situation, you never forget it!

Maybe that is why I strive so hard to be positive. When I hear others gossiping, ridiculing others, I say something positive about the person. Maybe that is why I’ve lost “friendships” because I do not wish to gossip about others. I do not function well with gossip or negativity. As a child, I recall my mother dragging me to the beauty shop in Bibb City, GA where she would sit for hours gossiping about women, men and the couples within the village of Bibb City. I hated these moments and would rush outside, or sit with my head covered with one of the bubble hair dryers so I would not hear their shrewd gossip. Women can be so dangerous and cruel. I suppose those ‘toxic stories’ made my mother feel better about herself, and I do recall saying to my mother, “God don’t love ugly.” My grandmother’s favorite expression! My mother’s response, “You shush your mouth, you stupid girl!”

Later in my life, I focused on a new definition of STUPID!
S – Sensitive
T – Tenacious
U – Unique
P – Passionate
I – Imaginative; Independent; Intimate
D – Dignified; Dependable; Desirable

Perhaps for today, these are my Friday reflections. I am hopeful next week will be a positive, happy week for me, and for you. What are your Friday Reflections?

Chattahoochee Child — Saga Continues…


Chattahoochee Child
Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Copyright 2014

Walking around the flower displays at the exhibit hall of the Coastal Carolina Fair, I inhaled the aromatic smells of pale orange roses. Garrett touched a rose petal. I tapped his hand.

“You aren’t supposed to touch them,” I scolded. He laughed, stepping back.

“Coral roses are my favorites,” I whispered, my mind rushing back to the first time I received roses. Garrett was in Vietnam. We were celebrating our first anniversary alone while he fought the war. The roses were delivered in a long white box. One dozen beautiful, aromatic coral roses that I would cherish for as long as they lived. I was touched by his thoughtfulness in a war zone, so far from home and so alone.

Our marriage started with everything against us. My family made bets that we would be divorced within six months. We proved them all wrong. Although some family members considered us separated when he left for war, I refused to consider us apart. I wrote letters to him every day, sent monthly care packages and lived only for him. The gesture of one dozen roses on our anniversary meant the world to me. I was stepping into a new journey in my life as a young, married woman and I was determined to make this journey a positive one. Although I was only 18-years-old, I had lived a sad, abusive life. I wanted to close the door and never look back. I prayed God would open a window for me and my marriage when I closed the door of abuse.

Admiring the artistry of the displays of flowers, a familiar song played in the background. I listened, singing the chorus while my mind drifted back in time.

I was about five-years-old when I heard the song, “I’ll Be Loving You Always,” playing on the radio while my mother drove Papa’s fishing car, a 1958 pink and white rambler four door sedan. At our house mom marched around, barking orders, screaming at me, demanding me to hurry up. I was the only child home that morning, so I rushed around, grabbing my activity bag in hopes my mother’s mood would change.

Sitting in the front seat of the car, I turned on the radio. We were driving to my paternal grandmother’s house for a visit. Mom appeared a bit agitated that morning, sharp-tongued and impatient. I turned the volume up, listening to the music. Mom sang the lyrics softly. “I’ll be loving you always. With a love that’s true. Always. When the things you’ve planned need a helping hand, I will understand, Always…”

I looked at my mom as she sang. Never have I heard her singing before. I smiled, enjoying this special moment.

Mom glanced over at me. “What are you looking at?” She asked.

“I’m listening to you singing. I’ve never heard you sing before.”

“Stupid child. It’s just a song.”

“It’s a song you like. I can tell, just by watching you.”

“I like the song,” I said… “And when I grow up, I’ll sing it to you and Daddy when I become a singer.”
Mom laughed, a snickering laughter that made me uncomfortable.

“You’re such a silly, foolish child. Don’t you know that love don’t last. That song is stupid.”

Stupid was my mother’s favorite word.

“I believe in love,” I said, lifting my head to look at the gorgeous sunshine beaming into the car. “When I grow up, I’ll fall in love and I’ll sing that song. You just wait.”

“For a five-year-old you sure have some stupid dreams. You ain’t never gonna be a singer. You’re gonna be just like me…Married to a man who beats you, and having babies again.”

My mother was pregnant again, and not happy about it.

“I’ll get married, and I’ll have a baby, but I’ll never let a man hit me. Never.”

Walking around the displays of flowers at the fair, I listened to the song, wiping a tear from my eyes. This was the first time in many years that I cried over the loss of my mother. I sat on a bench, buried my head in my hands so I could wipe my face. Garrett joined me.

“Why are you crying?” He reached for my hand.

“That song. It brought back memories of my childhood and my mother, on one of her good days. That was her favorite song.”

Garrett wiped a tear from my face.

“She was singing that song in the car as she drove to my paternal grandmother’s house. I was only five-years-old, but I remember her saying she was having another baby again. It was one of her good days. That song changed her demeanor. She actually smiled.”

Later that night, I grabbed Garrett, hugging him tightly, thanking him for having a fun day with me. Our marriage was slowly improving for the better. I sang the song “Always,” over and over in my mind until I fell asleep. The next morning, the song replayed in my mind. I went to the special window in my home, the wide open window next to my desk. The window I sat by listening to fog horns in the distance. The window that beams sunshine on me. I looked up to the sky, curious if my mother was attempting to communicate to me from the grave.

“Are you there, Mom?” Tears fell from my eyes while the lyrics of “Always” continued playing.

There’s a reason for this memory to be replaying again and again, but I don’t know what it could be. Could it be my mother making the attempt to apologize and say that she loved me? Was it just a coincidence that we walked into the flower exhibits as that song started to play? I’d like to believe this happened for a reason. In 1978, I cut the chords between my mother and me, after another verbal dispute where she told my son I was a whore, nothing more. Leaving her filthy home, I chose only to speak to her when there was a funeral or family tragedy.

During her illness, I was caring for my terminally ill father. When my mother died in 2002, I was dreadfully ill and could not attend her funeral.

“I’ll be loving you, always.
Days may not be fair Always.
That’s when I’ll be there, Always.
Not for just an hour.
Not for just a day.
Not for just a year,
But Always.”

The lyrics of “Always” touched me more than I anticipated. It had been over twenty years since I cried over the estrangement and loss of my mother, and today, the tears rushed down my face like an endless waterfall. I’ve always believed that those we have lost can communicate with us again. Today was that day. My psychic abilities were a gift from my maternal grandmother who could predict good and bad things happening to us and others. Repeatedly, I have had dreams about someone dying, only to realize the death had happened. Two days before Benjamin broke our engagement, I dreamed that he was breaking up with me. When the letter arrived, I was not surprised. When Garrett was in Vietnam, I awoke in the middle of the night fearful for his life. I circled the date and time on my calendar, staying awake the rest of the night to write him a letter. Twenty days later, a letter from him arrived confirming that he was involved in a battle where he was in the jungle fighting while struggling to keep the communication lines working. In my dream, I visualized him in a thick jungle going deeper and deeper into battle. The more I strove to get closer to him, the thicker the jungle became and I knew just from this visual dream that he was in trouble. I compared the date of his letter and the date circled on my calendar. They matched perfectly. Another vision was a reality.

Early July 6, 1999, at 3:45 in the morning, I dreamed my dad was dying. I phoned the nursing home to have them check on him, telling them I’d had another dream of his death. By now, the nursing home was accustomed to these phone calls. They reassured me he was fine. That afternoon, at 5:45 pm, I approached the doorway of my dad’s room, only to meet a nurse who was entering with an oxygen tank. “Oh, God no,” I cried. At 6:00, my dad died.

On September 9, 2001, I dreamed about several men dressed in long trench coats, dark-skinned with thick black beards, entering two planes. The planes crashed killing every one on board. Another group of men, armed with weapons, wearing trench coats approached beach crowds, shooting the families and beach bums relaxing on the beach. Two days later, I awoke to the tragedies of 9-11-01. Coincidence? Visions? Perhaps.

Visions were part of my life. Each time I had them, I recognized the psychic abilities I possessed were a reflection and a gift of who I was in life. No doubt, I was a witch.

Yes, my mother was communicating to me. Perhaps she was apologizing and the lyrics of the song, “I’ll Be Loving You Always,” were her way of letting me know that in death she recognized her cruel behaviors were due to the unhappiness she had in her life. Perhaps through the compelling lyrics expressing her love, “Always” she was communicating her love to me. Sitting at my desk, I found the song on YouTube, playing it over and over.

Today was a new day. A day to believe that now, in death, my mother loved me, Always.

The Top 10 Workout Songs for November 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs for November 2014

Fort Wayne, IN – October 31, 2014 – This month’s top 10 list makes three things clear:

#1. Iggy Azalea isn’t going anywhere. The Levi’s model and rap phenomenon shows up in the list below with two different collaborators—Rita Ora and Jennifer Lopez.
#2. Calvin Harris is quickly becoming the face of electronic dance music. He also turns up twice this month—in a pop hit alongside John Newman and a club track with Alesso and Hurts.
#3. 128 beats per minute (BPM) is the Iggy Azalea and Calvin Harris of tempos. By that I mean it’s omnipresent. Seven of the ten songs below are within a few beats of this tempo.
In terms of working out, 128 BPM’s dominance in pop music means that–if you can find an exercise routine that approximates this pace–you’ll never be short of new workout music. If you’ve already got fixed a routine, you can swap in any of the songs from that range and see how they fit. If not, you might try walking, kickboxing, or a bootcamp-style workout—all of which are good matches for this speed.

Whatever this month’s top songs lack in tempo variety, they make up for in the genre variety thanks to a woozy remix from Tove Lo, some Australian folk from Vance Joy, and the fervent rock of Walk the Moon. Whether it’s the eclectic mix that draws you in or the four-on-the-floor beats, there’s something here that will invigorate your workout.
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York – 117 BPM

Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) (Hippie Sabotage Remix) – 120 BPM

Vance Joy – Riptide – 104 BPM

Jennifer Lopez & Iggy Azalea – Booty – 129 BPM

Calvin Harris, Alesso & Hurts – Under Control – 126 BPM

Demi Lovato & Cher Lloyd – Really Don’t Care (Cole Plante Radio Remix) – 128 BPM

Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance – 128 BPM

Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – Black Widow (Justin Prime Remix) – 128 BPM

Pitbull & John Ryan – Fireball – 125 BPM

Calvin Harris & John Newman – Blame – 128 BPM

To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Contact:
Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: mail@runhundred.com
###

Whatever Happened To Customer Service In America???


Dearest Readers:

Today is Sunday, November 02, 2014, a beautiful, but chilly day in Charleston, SC. Undoubtedly, this week has been a week filled with much stress, starting with last Sunday. Late that afternoon, I drove my car to dinner with my husband; I heard a distinctive ‘ding’ noticing my engine light was on.
“Oh no…what is wrong with my car?”

I purchased the car from Car Max in Charleston in March, 2012. A beautiful gold 2010 Dodge Journey with everything I desired in a car. Although not brand new, it was affordable. I gave my old car, a 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo with 92,000 miles to one of my sisters in Georgia.

I pulled the file for my car, reading through the warranty, phoning Car Max, leaving a message. Since the office was closed, I waited for a return phone call early Monday morning. I left an additional message with the local Car Max Service Center. And so, the wait began. On Monday morning I waited…and waited…and waited. Deciding to be pro-active, I drove to the local Car Max Service Center.

Instead of parking my car in the parking lot, I pulled up to the service center and walked inside. Two customer service reps were at the counter. One, a woman, was moving a computer mouse around the screen while glancing at the computer. The other, a guy, was assisting a customer. The woman never looked at me, or acknowledged me. She continued to play with the computer mouse, never acknowledging me. I was curious if I was invisible. I pinched my wrist. Nope I’m not invisible. I feel the pain. I cleared my throat, hoping the woman would acknowledge me. She was more concerned with playing with the mouse! The phone rang. Quickly, she answered it.

After her conversation, I approached her. “Excuse me,” I said. “I need someone to check my car. The engine light is on.”

“Do you have an appointment?” She asked, in a condescending manner.

“No. I’ve been waiting for a return phone call this morning. When no one phoned, I decided to drop by.”

“You can’t just drop by. It’s been a busy morning and I only received one phone call.” She said. Reaching for her mouse.

“Excuse me…Didn’t you hear me. The engine light is on. I need it checked.”

“You have to have an appointment and it will take two weeks to get an appointment. You can’t just drop your car by for service. You MUST have an appointment.”

“The only service I need is the engine light checked. Something is wrong with my car.”

“You need an appointment…” She repeated.

“No…I need to have the engine light checked.”

By now I realized I was getting nowhere with the tall woman who had the customer service skills of a mouse. Maybe that is why she and the computer mouse were so closely connected.”

“You can take the car to Dodge. They’ll check it for you.”

And then…this woman with the customer service skills of a real mouse returned to her mouse, ignoring me!

I was livid! No one else approached me. I left Car Max with the visual discussion playing in my mind, recognizing that this woman, whom I shall refer to as Ms. Mouse, had reprimanded me? She truly had the customer service skills of a robotic mouse!

I drove to Dodge. When they checked my car, I was informed that the engine light was not on. Nothing could be done. By now, I am ready to attack the next customer service person that walks nearby. I drove the car home. Less than five miles from the Dodge dealership, the engine light winked at me again.

Thus began one of the most disappointing weeks for 2014 for me. When my husband arrived home from work, he wanted to know if my car was repaired. I rolled my eyes, explaining how lacking customer service was at Car Max. “Funny…” I said sarcasm spilling from my lips. “When I bought the car their customer service was terrific.”

I should say, I have a history with customer service, both in retail and the educational industries. I’ve won awards for my customer service skills!

My husband phoned the service manager at Car Max. They placed his call on HOLD…….!

For over one hour, he held on his cell phone and the home, cordless phone. Deciding that one of the calls would be answered. He was mistaken!

When the phone calls disconnected, he slammed the phone down. “Let’s go to Car Max,” he said. I did not want to go back to them. My discussion with Ms. Mouse played in my mind, and I felt like a little girl filled with shame because she did something unforgivable by driving to the Service Center at Car Max, in anticipation of ‘customer service.’

We returned to Car Max. The engine light still on and my lack of confidence growing. I should say, I am one of the rare people who actually does maintenance service faithfully. In August, the oil was changed – every 3,000 miles…the air filter replaced…cabin filters replaced…and the fuel maintenance performed. The engine light should NOT be on!

Arriving at Car Max, Ms. Mouse was still – standing tall – PLAYING with the mouse! The service manager was at the end counter. My husband approached him. Of course, he was on the phone!

When he hung up, we approached. I shared my experience of the morning and how I was reprimanded for ‘dropping by without an appointment…’ Now, I asked, “What is one to do WHEN the car engine light is on and she cannot get a simple phone call returned or someone to check her car?”

“Customer service is a busy, unpredictable service,” Fred began…I interrupted him.

“I have over 18 years of service in the customer service industry and I returned phone calls quickly…”

Ms. Mouse’s ears appeared to be stretching to listen to our conversation, but NEVER…NO NEVER…did she approach. She probably knew I was not one to intercept with her thoughts.

It was suggested that since Car Max was ‘overbooked’…with only four technicians to service cars, we should go to Dodge.

I had an appointment booked for Dodge…for November 3, not until. “I have two important appointments this week. What am I to do? Continue driving my car with the engine light on, in hopes the car does not blow up?”

Fred discouraged me to drive the car. He phoned the Dodge dealership, managing to get me an earlier appointment for this Wednesday.

Rejoice! So much for customer service!

On Wednesday, the car was repaired; however. When the customer service rep at Dodge made the attempt to contact Car Max to get approval for the manifold repair, it took him almost one hour just to speak to someone!

Car Max reported that I would have to pay for the repairs, $477.21 — minus $100 deductible, since I did not take the car to Car Max and they would reimburse me within two days of the receipt of the invoice. Returning home for the evening, I wrote a letter to Car Max, faxing the invoice and letter to them.

Remember – that was Wednesday! I am hopeful that my check will arrive this week – however, considering the customer service at Car Max – I DOUBT IT!

Perhaps my next blog posting will reveal the date I receive the check! Something tells me it will probably be sent to me – via Pony Express, or a slow train!

Whatever happened to customer service in America! Yes…Indeed. Customer service? What a JOKE!

My suggestion for anyone buying at Car Max – I say – think twice! The customer service to make a purchase is most professional. Customer service when you REALLY NEED CUSTOMER SERVICE – well, let’s just say, let us hope you do not meet a “Ms. Mouse…” She cares more for her mouse…not the customers who approach her!