Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Devaluation of Recommendation

Online social networks and communities have become a very real way for many to build relationships, and to do business in much the same way as it is done offline. We browse the communities for people and groups of like minds, we introduce ourselves, and we connect with other people. As relationships grow and members feel comfortable with each other, the chances of being asked by a member to write some sort of recommendation is more likely than not. This is an opportunity to feel honored that the person thinks enough of you that your recommendation of him/her would be respected, and it gives the member requesting the recommendation the credibility he/she is seeking. Or .... it can devaluate the value of recommending fellow members, altogether.

One definition of recommend is "to praise or commend another as being worthy or desirable". If there has been no communication, or interaction, or experience with the person requesting the recommendation, just how valid or valuable is the recommendation being made? The other concern is for those giving the recommendation.

We base what we buy, who we hire, what movie to watch, which organization to join .... and so on ... very often, on the recommendations of others. We do that because we believe and respect their opinions ... and their "word" that they have enough experience to give a valid opinion or recommendation. When people simply "dole" out recommendations for whoever makes the requests, the value of that person's "word" simply becomes less valuable.

There is an "art form" of requesting a recommendation and giving a recommendation.

As the person requesting the recommendation:

  • Have something concrete upon which to base your request. This could be in the form of blogs, articles, verbal communication, and other materials related to what it is you actually do.
  • Ask for recommendations from those who have actually experienced your work, service, or products. At the very least, those who have had some kind of interaction with you at some point. The more the interaction, verbal or written, the better.
  • Don't concentrate on the "request." Concentrate on building relationships first. If they have no interaction with you, and there has not been some kind of relationship built between the two of you, don't put them in an uncomfortable position of writing something that is not based on actual fact, or having to say "no" to your request.
  • Don't minimize the value of someone else's "word" or opinion/recommendation by thinking that "It's just a short paragraph, so what's the big deal?"
  • Be prepared for people to decline your request. Especially, if you have had very little or no interaction previously. If the request is declined, you owe it to them to at least thank them for their time to respond. The smart thing to do would be to ask them their reason, and ask what you would need to do to help them reconsider at a later time.
  • Give them a reason to want to recommend you.

If you are the person receiving a request for a recommendation:

  • Think first about the value you place on what you say, your opinion, and who you feel should be recommended for what they do. Have valid reasons, easily backed-up, for making the recommendation.
  • Hopefully, you have some kind of relationship with those making the request, (even if it is that you have read their book, or subscribed to their blog, or you are in the same groups, etc.), and you can find valid reasons why you would personally recommend this person. Look for the good, but do keep it honest.
  • Refrain from doling out recommendations in hopes of building a list of your own recommendations. This does become transparent at some point, and doesn't do much for your own credibility.
  • Should you decline writing a recommendation for someone, do it in a way that is respectful of the other person's feelings. Never attempt to humiliate that person. You can send a positive message back to that person, stating that you would, at a later time, be interested in reconsidering the request, but you don't have enough information at this point to give an honest recommendation. Let them know what it would take to make them feel more comfortable.
  • Do not compromise your own values at the sake of losing a follow/friend/connection, or making someone mad. This is the very person you probably should not be recommending in the first place.

Having recommendations, testimonials, and referrals is more important than ever .... especially as the internet becomes an integral part of our lives. We most certainly should ask for recommendations and testimonials, in which to build our credibility. And most of those whom we ask will more than likely want to contribute to our success. There is, however, a right way to go about it, and a wrong way to go about it.

Here's a concept to consider, as well. Rather than wait for someone to ask for your recommendation, why not send someone you know a well-deserved recommendation or testimonial, and make their day a little brighter. Who says we have to wait to be asked for a recommendation, in the first place?

There are several online communities that offer special tabs specifically for recommendations or testimonials. It's a perfect opportunity to make someone's day, and to also be able to share what others think of you, your products, and your services, as well as to recommend you for employment. The value of what's being "said", however, is still in the sincerity of the person offering the recommendation. And that's saying a lot ... or nothing at all.

Friday, August 13, 2010

You Ought To See The Other Guy

Unless you live on another planet and don't have a satellite dish, you have more than likely heard about ex-flight attendant Steven Slater and his "slide to fame". However brief his "5 minutes" may be, I doubt if he will be forgotten. Just two days after his meltdown and surprising (and a tad bit unusual) antics on a Jet Blue plane that had just landed, he is now a folk hero to many. T-shirts with his likeness and comic remarks are already being worn by his supporters. There are already several different ballad versions on YouTube in attempt to immortalize him in song.

In fact, there is probably nothing that I could put in this blog that hasn't already been said about Steven Slater. But this blog isn't about him's about the other end of customer service ..... it's about the other guy.

Most have seen the bump, cut and bruises on Slater's forehead caused by a piece of luggage that got in the way of Slater and a passenger, while in the heat of confrontation. But has anyone seen the other guy?

It's my understanding that the whole incident started just after the plane had landed. A passenger stood up to take his bag out of the overhead storage area while the plane was still moving. Slater told the passenger to sit back down and the passenger refused. Now clearly, we know that we are not allowed to move around the cabin while the plane is in motion. And, we know that luggage flying from the overhead area can definitely do some damage. I am wondering why this particular passenger thought that he was excluded for this very sound and basic rule of "flying the friendly skies." Personally, I felt it was a very selfish and foolish act on the part of the passenger.

I just recently came back from a trip, and I have to say that the attendants on all the flights were friendly and very pleasant. I will also say that has not always been the case. However, I feel it is my responsibility to give them the respect and consideration that I feel I should receive.

This holds true in any customer service communication that we may have. I do feel that really good customer service is lacking in so many areas. But I also know that being in a customer service position is really stressful, and can sometimes be a very thankless job. I believe that most sincerely want to help their customers and make them happy, but do have to adhere to certain guidelines and policies as defined by their employers. In the case of flight attendants, they have some very severe and strict guidelines that they are responsible for enforcing. Some are not obviously convenient for the passengers, but hey, I'll forgo a little inconvenience for a safe flight, any day.

I will also admit that I have called customer service to complain about my disappointment in a product or service, or to dispute a bill, with my game face on, and ready to do battle. I'm sure I don't always make speaking with me a very pleasant experience for them. I also believe there are those who are arrogant and just a bit over-the-top in their demands (not me, of course).

Bottom line, I think really good customer service is reliant on two main factors, a customer service representative who is sincerely concerned for his/her customers satisfaction, while adhering to company policy: and, a customer who recognizes that the customer service agent is trying to help to the best of their ability, and deserves the same amount of respect and consideration expected from them.

As for Steven Slater is concerned, I've seen the cuts, bump and bruises on his forehead .... I'd like to see the other guy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Are You Hall of Fame Material?

I love the game of football, and I am one of those who did watch the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held on August 7, 2010. I was especially excited because two of my Favorites, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were being inducted. It was the most inspirational two hours that I have spent in a long time. I thought about a motivational event I had attended last year. The experience had been expensive, and I suppose I did come back somewhat inspired … but not nearly as much as listening to the speeches of three inductees. Emmitt Smith and Floyd Little were literally power-houses of emotion and inspiration. Jerry Rice’s speech was more toned-down, but his message was as inspirational.

All three men spoke about their long journey to the Hall of Fame, and what it took for them to get there. All three agreed that being gifted, alone, was not enough to make them Hall of Famers.

While each speech was different, the message was being delivered echoed the same principles of what it takes to be a Hall of Famer.
Anyone can have a dream, but not everyone fulfills that dream. Fulfillment requires a plan and action. It takes dedication, perseverance, and determination. Emmitt Smith suggested that you write down your dream. Once you write it down, it then becomes a goal. It is the goal that requires a plan and execution.

All Three spoke of faith and their spiritual beliefs … and the faith they all had in themselves, against all odds.

Floyd Little spoke on responsibility, finding good mentors, and then becoming one. He said it was important to never believe the nay-sayers …. ever … but to believe in yourself, despite all the odds against you.

Jerry Rice spoke of hard work and discipline. He spoke of taking pride in all he did, whether it was catching bricks (while working for his dad) or catching footballs on the field. He spoke about respecting his fellow teammates.

While all three speeches were different in content to some extent, the one main common denominator was that they had all proved everything they said in their speeches about what it took to be a Hall of Famer . Standing there, being inducted that day in front of their peers and fans, family and friends, they are all living proof of what it takes to be a Hall of Famer.

Yes, it was a great induction ceremony, and it did get me to thinking about what I’m doing about my dreams. This might be the question that turns your dreams into reality …. are you Hall of Fame material?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Segway to Gate D-38

I recently flew down to visit my mother for a few days. The flights going and coming back were uneventful ... that is .... once I was actually onboard. I'm not sure who actually sets up flight times to specific destinations, but I suspect this person(s) has a perverted sense of humor.

The first legs of both trips (going and coming back) were stopovers in Atlanta. My flight to begin my journey was 15 minutes late on taking off. This was a bit disappointing since I only had 35 minutes to land in Atlanta and get to another gate (in a far, far away land.) The flight from Atlanta to where I was going was late, consequently I did make that flight (barely).

On the trip coming home, the plane to Atlanta left a couple of minutes early. I was celebrating (quietly) because, again, I only had 35 minutes to catch the flight back to my home city. The plane pulled away ever so slowly from the gate and then stopped. Then came the announcement from the cockpit. Due to traffic in Atlanta, the crew had been directed to remain on the tarmac for twenty minutes before actually taking off. Again, I got this sinking feeling that I was going to be doing yet another 2-mile sprint though the airport upon landing. Once we did take off and land in Atlanta, I was happy to find that I wouldn't be changing gates. However, the sprint was still on as I was at gate 15 and the plane was leaving from gate 38. I got there in time to show them my boarding pass and board.

So here's the thing. I wouldn't find my trip truly "blog worthy" if this had been a one-time experience. But, this happens almost every time I fly. Ok, I use to complain about long stopovers, but what with Starbucks, good restaurants, and of course mobile devices for computers, it's not really so bad. At least my dignity remains in place and I am not sprinting through an airport with a computer bag on one shoulder and a purse half my size on the other shoulder, dodging people, and chanting ... "My legs have wings .... my legs have wings."

So here's my solution .... Segways. I believe that there are airports around the world that are providing Segways for their security personnel. I would love it if when I'm checking in online, just after the field in which I put the amount of bags I will be checking, they had a field asking if I am requesting a Segway at the gate, when I land. Then when I land, I could jump on the Segway and away I'd go. Of course Segway lanes would need to be constructed (I'd hate to think how many innocent bystanders I'd take out on my way to the next gate, otherwise). It's either Segways or I'm going to have to explain the pair of roller skates I have strapped over my shoulder on my next trip.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hang On Mary, While I Swipe My Phone

You are sitting at a lunch counter talking with a client on your smart phone, checking your email, and tweeting about the great sandwich you've just eaten. And then, with one swipe of your phone, your lunch bill is paid.

This is the vision of three unlikely rivals, now in alliance to change the way we pay our bills. AT& T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA are exploring a joint venture to develop a mobile-payment service that uses cellphones. This, according to The Wall Street Journal dated Tuesday, August 3, 2010, in the Corporate News section.

The owner enables the phone for wireless payments by inserting a small card with a radio chip or by affixing a sticker with an electronic ID tag. The cellphone is swiped in front of a wireless reader that connects to a credit card or bank account and withdraws money for payment. Some cellphones may have the ability to display information at the end of the transaction such as account balances.

Phone companies in other countries, (Japan and South Korea, to name a couple) have been successful in rolling out payment services. However, the U.S. has had it's technology problems, as well as regulatory issues. There has also been a lack of demand by U.S. consumers. Once the challenges have been met and resolved, however, the demand by consumers may change.

Looks like smart phones may be getting just a bit smarter, but personally, I'm not ready to turn a smart phone I purchase (still using a "dumb" phone until my current contract runs out) into a credit card. I wonder just how much the cost of the "smarter" phone will go up in price for the consumer. And, of course, the most obvious concern would be in how companies will prevent fraud. Until a phone becomes smart enough to eradicate fraud and identity theft completely, I think I'll pass on this one .... at least for now.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's The Point?

FaceBook has been around for a long time, but only till the last year, did it become one of my favorite social networks. Ever since FaceBook incorporated fan page options for it's members, I have become a huge fan. I can keep up with friends on my profile page, and share my business interests on my fan pages. I know there are those that are on FaceBook strictly to communicate with family only. And then there is that member-base that is interested in building a large friend or "like" following. This is the member-base I am addressing.

As I browse and read other profile and fan pages, I am sometimes very surprised, and wonder .... just what is the point.

One of the most common things I see, time after time, is the failure to put up a clear and distinct profile picture. I guess if one wants to maintain anonymity, and his/her friends know how to find the profile page among all the other profile pages with the same name, then I guess this works (still doubtful). If, on the other hand, one wants to build one's friend or "like" base, then a profile file picture is crucial. I'm one of those that will not accept a friend request without a profile picture. And, if there is no picture or logo on the fan page, then, well ....hasta la vista, baby.

Another thing that surprises me are the pages that will not allow it's members to interact. The pages are there solely for one-way communication. They are there to update and inform, I suppose, but ... apparently ... they are not interested in your feedback. Kind of reminds me of our family reunions. I just think that if you want build a relationship with your friends and prospective client base, there needs to be a little open communication.

Another thing that I find curious, is when people post a wall comment in question form, and then get upset when someone answers the question. I've actually read a response from a member asking a question which basically said, "this question was for a select few and your are not one of them." In reading the answers from the respondents, I'm not sure who the comment was directed at, or how he or she was suppose to know the question was for a select few.

In relationship to the aforementioned, I actually responded to a question someone had posed. I didn't know the answer off-hand, but considered this an opportunity to learn something new. I went online, and found the answer. I went back and posted my answer, along with a link to the page where I had found my information. Then someone else answered the question. The member who posed the question responded to the other member who had answered the question by saying something along the lines ..."Very good little Johnny, you go to the head of the class!" "I was looking for people who would not have to look up the answer to the question." Apparently the person who had asked the question was either born with an encyclopedia inside her head, or there really is something called a "smartpill" and is passed out to an elite few. Nevertheless, I was surprised that someone would ask a question to the masses in Facebook, and then make a negative comment concerning a member who took the time to read the question, and then took the time to find the answer and respond. I notice that there were few responses after that (one response wished her luck on finding the kind of people for which she was apparently looking.)

So, my bottom-line thought is .... if one is in FaceBook to build relationships and/or a client-based relationship, but one refuses to put up a profile picture or logo, one elects not to have member interaction, and one posts a comment and then is rude in addressing the respondents, then ... really .... what is the point?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is T.O. In The House?

I was reading an interesting article on Terrell Owens and the timeline of his antics (or in my own words .... self-destruction.) over the last few years. It brought to mind a question that was asked by one of our members in The question asked was whether or not a company could have too many superstars. I replied that I didn't believe there could ever be too many superstars .... just too many prima donnas. I felt that this article served as a good example of what I meant by my answer.

First, for all of the fans of Terrell Owens ... also known as "T.O." ... (and those that aren't family or on the payroll), my intention is not to bash T.O. I respect his ability as an athlete. And, according to the Sporting News NFL , he may very well be playing on a team this year, after all. I wish him, and which ever team signs him, much success. It's just that it's no secret that while he can be a super athlete, he is no superstar in the locker room. This fact has caused irreversible damage to a few teams. The same thing can, and does happen in the any work place.

What a "dream team" situation to have several superstars working on a project. What a disaster to have even one prima donna on the team.

This is the team member who blatantly boasts his/her importance on the team. This is the team member that blames everyone else when the project takes a wrong turn and takes the credit for all the right turns.

This is the person who points a finger, and brings unnecessary attention to the mistakes of other team members.

This is the team member who openly mocks his/her other team members.

This is the team member who makes rude remarks about others, and who starts rumors about his/her team members.

This is the team member who causes rifts between the other members.

This is the team member who thrives on, and demands attention above his/her other teammates.

This is the prima donna. Most all teams seem to have one.

And this is the person on the team that is absolutely brilliant at what he or she does. Therein lies the dilemma. Do you keep or take a chance with some one who is a well-known prima donna, at the risk of dividing your team and creating dissension, or do you move on without this person, in the hopes of finding someone who is not only a superstar at what he/she does, but a superstar who is a team player?

I don't think there is any easy answer, but the next time you see a team project falling apart before you very eyes, you might want to look around to see if there is a "T.O." in the house.

(c) 2010 Debbie Barth

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Wise Girls Talk With Sharyn Abbott

Sharyn Abbott is a charismatic business women who captivates her audience with genuine and sincere warmth. She continues, time and time again, to receive high accolades from her audiences as one of the most dynamic and compelling speakers of our time.

She has experienced a lifetime of entrepreneurial success, and her credentials include an extensive business consulting background. She is also a prolific writer, with a long list of popular books like Create Your Own Reality - The Ancient Wisdom, which is dedicated to help people live their life on purpose, Mixing it Up, her book that is designed to lead entrepreneurs towards success, J.O.B.S. Just Over Broke Syndrome for anyone who has ever thought about starting their own business, Making a List and Checking it Twice an inspirational guide to help singles choose a great mate and Be Your Own Boss Guide which is an in-depth look into finding the right business for the right personality and her first children's book, The Adventures of Master Pineapple.

She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show where she was featured for her innovative concepts on positive communication techniques. She has been a guest on several local television shows throughout the Bay Area, as well as being a featured guest a syndicated radio show.

On Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm EST, Sharyn will join the Three Wise Girls on Blog Talk Radio. She will be discussing several key points including the break-through study of Physiognomy, facial recognition techniques to help build trusted communications rapidly. She will be sharing social media techniques to build one's client base, how to get your blog in the to 1% of all websites in the world, and talk about the 7 techniques to thrive in any economy.

Callers are welcome to call in and ask Sharyn questions at 1-347-994-3835. Listeners are also invited to the chatroom and to bring a link to a website containing a picture. She will be demonstrating how Physiognomy works.

This will be a power-packed hour with an amazing woman with an astounding background and body of work. The link to the website is Space is limited. Once again, the Three Wise Girls promise their audience a great show.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I had to go to the DMV this week to renew my driver's license. While sitting there gazing at the traffic signs and rattling off what each sign meant, I had a thought ... (apparently, I can multi-task after all.)

Wouldn't it be great if there were traffic signs for life, that would visually pop up just at a pivotal moment in our every day life, as needed.

Wouldn't it be great if, just as you were about to say something that would make you look like a complete idiot in front of your peers, a stop sign would appear.

Wouldn't it be great if, just as you think you are the only one with a great idea to increase sales, a yield sign comes up, allowing someone else (for a change) to pass along his or her great idea.

Wouldn't it be great if, just as you are about to take that job, after falsely being told it will lead to future opportunities, a "Dead-In" yellow sign would appear.

Wouldn't it be great if, just when you had an overwhelming desire to tell your co-worker how unfairly you think you've been treated at work, how over-extended you feel, or how upset you are that "Law and Order" has been cancelled, a "No Dumping Allowed" sign pops up.

Wouldn't it be great if, when you are under deadlines causing you to skip meals, work late, loose sleep and endanger your health, a "Reduced Speed Ahead" sign would pop up to remind you to slow down and talk care of yourself.

On a personal note, I wished that several signs, such as "Proceed With Caution", "Exit", and "Warning," would have popped up before my first two marriages ... but that's another story.

The truth is that (for most people, I presume) warning signs shaped like traffic signs do not visually pop up out of thin air. We do, however, have internal signs ... call it a feeling, instinct, or just plain common sense ... that we can rely upon. Unfortunately, I think most heed these "silent and less visual signs" only when it is deemed convenient. My own experience is that the more I "listened" to those "feelings or instinct" (I use to say "inner voices", but people always looked at me rather strangely), the more confident I became in my decisions. Did I stop making bad decisions? Of course not, but I would like to think that I've made fewer than I did before.

Consequently, until I start seeing little visual traffic signs popping up in my head, I will rely on those "inner signs".

Back to the traffic signs. There is one sign that holds more meaning than all the other signs, for me. It is one that correctly defines where we are going in life (that has to be straight ahead.) There is no turning back. There truly are "NO U-Turns" in life. I wonder, when this sign was originally created, if anyone really realized how profound these words really were then, and now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America - I Still Believe In You

Today is the fourth of July. It has been designated as America's "Independence Day".... as America's birthday. And, I still believe in you, America.

I still believe that you are still one of the great countries in the world. And while there are many, I do feel blessed to have been born in America.

I say that, while our country is in an economic crisis with a no viable sign of relief in the near future. I say that, while we are still fighting a huge oil spill that is endangering our wildlife, our waters, and our fishermen's livelihood. I say that even though our sons and daughters are still in foriegn lands waiting for the signal that they can finally put down their firing arms and come home. I say that, while there are immigration disputes and while the religious faith our country was originally founded and based upon is being attacked. I say that because I believe in America.

Just as those before us worked together, and believed that our country would get through the depression era of the 30s, World War I and II, the assination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and then Robert F. Kennedy, and September 11, 2001, I believe that America will get through all the crisis that we are faced with today. Because, as Americans, that is what we, at the end of the day, have always done best.

So today America, I wish you a very Happy Birthday .... because, I stll believe in you.


In honor of Independence Day, I've included a video (above) in tribute of America. Ironically, the woman you hear singing is Canadian born Celine Dion. When I heard this the first time, it dawned on me. Doesn't matter where she is from, this song has never been sung more beautifully. Click to listen and view.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tim Steed -Raised By Opossums-Still Hanging In Trees

For almost a quarter of a century, Tim Steed has impacted the lives of over 1 million people with his television and film acting, his book, award-winning screenplays, keynote speeches, corporate seminars, award-winning comedy shows, video productions, college orientation programs, high school programs, actor seminars, and professional theater.

He’s worked 47 out of 50 states plus Canada and Puerto Rico.
He’s worked with Shaq, Brett Butler, Tony Dow, John Goodman, Bill Engvall, Carrot top, Robby Benson, Kate Mulgrew, Chis Titus, John Hinton and many others.

Tim will be joining the Three Wise Girls on BlogTalk Radio July 1, 2010 at noon EST to discuss his humble beginnings. As Tim tells, it, he was discovered at the side of a road, at the age of 3 years old, by a family of opossum. Apparently, the opossum raised him as their own and according to him, taught him valuable lessons .... like hanging from a tree.

Tim will also be discussing his hilarious book "My Vow of Silence, the Roughest Three Minutes of My Life.", his current movie release, "The Class of 91", and his upcoming production, "Stone Angels", base on the life of William Edmondson. Edmondson was a hospital janitor in 1939 when he picked up a railroad spike and began to sculpt figures, headstones, and statues out of Tennessee limestone.
Join Tim Steed, Debbie Barth, Dori DeCarlo, and Linda Alexander at at noon EST. or call in at 347.994.3835. A great sense of humor is required for admittance.

We would love to hear your show ideas and feedback, so please email us at, follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook fan page.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hello, My Name is Debbie Barth ... And I Am Current Customer

A few weeks ago, I became aware of just how clueless I was about the policies and procedures of cell phone companies. I was with Sprint for seven years, and then recently changed over to AT&T. It was my practice to get the least expensive phone that had the one quality I needed at the time .... that was to place and to receive calls, which hopefully would not be dropped during conversations. Yes, I am guilty of purchasing "dumb phones". I don't even want to think about the side effects of using "dumb phones."

I changed carriers nine months ago, and of course purchased an inexpensive "dumb phone". However, as it happens with most of us that get up in the morning and vigorously pursue our goals and aspirations, my life/work style changed. It had become increasingly important to upgrade to a "smart phone". And this is the part where I found out how clueless I am ( a side effect of the "dumb phone", maybe? I'm just saying ....)

I called my local company that uses AT&T (I am cool enough to bundle services) to make sure I was able to upgrade. The representative seemed elated that I had stepped out of the "dumb ages" and directed me to a local store. I guess she was so happy for my "awakening" that she misread my contract by one year. ( I found this out later)

I go to the store and talk with a really super sales guy, who gently took my hand and led me through the possibilities of the living in the "smart ages". I began to feel confident that I was ready to embrace my new life as a "smart phone" user. (Yes, it is the smart phone of all smart phones that I am talking about ..... you know ... an apple a day ....)

The sun broke through the clouds, birds started singing, butterflys were hovering over flowers. I am standing there with my debit card in hand, and ready to pay the $199.00 for the upgrade as quoted .... when .... the sales guy says ... "uh oh" .... looks at me with disdain, and says .... "I should have seen this earlier. You are a .....current customer."

A black cloud appears and the room goes silent. He then says ... "the phone will cost YOU $499.00" In an instant my phone went up $300.00. Funny though, because it looked just like the very same phone. He was sympathetic, and did tell me to come back 6 months before my two-year contract ended, and I could get the phone at the price that was originally quoted. Apparently, the quoted price was/is a promotional price quoted to lure new people in, and to bribe existing customers, otherwise unhappy with the service, to stay. I on the other hand, was simply a lowly current customer, who did not meet their requirments, and therefore unworthy.

In all fairness to AT&T and the sales person (who is really a great person and representative), the requirements are placed upon them (according to AT&T) by Apple, and they have no "wiggle room" to accommodate customers who do not fall into the category of the elite few. I also have never had a problem, thus far, with the actual service provided by AT&T. I also know this is a common practice of cell phone carriers, and I mention the above because it deals with my own personal experience.

For Apple, I would suggest this. I signed a two-year contact with the company supplying your smart phone to their customers, and I personally feel obligated to fulfill that contract. I'm a customer for two years, and if the service continues to be good, and I feel that I'm appreciated as a customer, I will renew without having to be bribed. My suggestion would be to replace the requirements in place now with a more flexible contract .... a "lifestyle change" contract ... if you will. This contract revision would allow current customers, without regard of how long they have been a customer, the right to upgrade at the promotion price one time during the current contract. This, in respect for the fact that customers do go through life/workstyle changes, and their customers' requirements change.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that big companies today are more concerned with the "front-end" and "back-end" of customer procurement and retention. My philosophy of "customer retention 101" is simple .... keep current customer's happy by providing great customer service during the contact, and they will remain a customer and will probably tell others about the great service.

But what do I know ... I'm Debbie Barth .... and I am a current customer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is it great r gr8?

Dear Suzie,

Thx 4 ur interest n our facial creme this mourning. It ws gr8 talking 2 U. W r sending the creme out 2day.

Pls LMK if 1 tube will b enuf 4 future delivs.


Marty, Rep for xyz

While it seems improbable that you would receive a business response in letter form or email written as above, I wonder if the above isn't an omen of things to come for the beleaguered American-English language. And, yes, there is a big difference between the "Queen's English" and the American version. I found out just how true this is while living in Sweden for a few years. And due to a variety of social networks, the popularity of texting, and protests (yes protests), the gap may widen.

Twitter has created it's own culture and language with the enforcement of 140 characters per post. Messages are short and not so sweet, as tweeters are becoming more and more resourceful in shortening words in order to convey messages.

When you post to your profile wall in Facebook, you are given a lot more lead-way, but even then, there are times that you need to be innovative.

We learn through repetition We tweet and FaceBook several messages a day using shortened forms of our written vocabulary. And thus, using shortened forms to create your messages become a habit. Point in case, have you ever written an email or written a business letter and wrote, lmk for "let me know", or cul for "see you later?". Have you ever written wld instead of would, or gr8 instead of great? Are you beginning to forget how to spell simple words?

It must really be confusing for students in elementary schools learning the English language, while quietly sitting in the back of the class texting their friends.

And let us not forget that there are those participating in protest rallies at, where else, national Spelling Bees. Apparently, they have had "enuf" of enough.

Is the Eng. lang. in truble? Who kno's? As 4 me I'm not worried. I'll just keep n mind the impotence of spelling korrectly & knot mispellin wrds.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jason's Law-The Truth About Trucking

On Thursday March 5, 2009, Jason Rivenburg pulled his truck into a gas station that has been used frequently, and considered to be somewhat safe. Jason was only twelve miles from his destination, but could not make delivery because it was too early. His delivery never took place. Jason was shot and killed as he rested in his truck. Jason leaves behind a young son and a wife who gave birth thirteen days after Jason was killed.

It's a fact that if truck stops were required to provide adequate lighting, cameras and if delivery sites provided secure waiting areas crimes of this nature could be prevented. It's also a fact that they aren't required to do so.

Jason's case is not an isolated event. Stories just like this one are emerging everyday, and it's time the general public took note. Anyone thinking that this isn't a problem that affects us all, needs to walk into the local Target, Walmart, or food store and imagine what it would it be like with empty shelves. It is easy to talk for granted that those shelves will always be stocked, without considering the men and women truckers who are literally putting their lives in danger to make sure family and food clothes on their back.

Hope Rivenburg, Jason's wife, will be joining the Three Wise Girls at Blog Talk Radio this Thursday, June 10, 2010, at 12:00 pm EST, to tell her story. We will also be talking about bill HR 2156-Jason's Law, which is seeking safer and more secure places for Truckers to pull over and rest, without putting their lives in jeopardy.

Joining Hope and The Three Wise Girls, Debbie, Dori, and Linda, are Desiree Wood, a well-known Trucker Driver who writes blogs concerning the real life of Truckers, especially women Truckers, and Deva Hoffman, a self-defense expert with some advise and tips for Truckers to keep them safe.
For information concerning Jason's Law, Desiree Wood, Deva Hoffman, click on the links below.

Honoring Jason Rivenburg:

Desiree Wood: and

Deva Hoffman:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Boomer+Attitude = Job

If you are a baby boomer and you have seen 50 come and go, very likely you think your chances of landing a really great job are very slim. And, there is no doubt that ageism is alive and ever present every where we turn. However, it may not be the perception of others that is preventing you from landing that great job, it might very well be your perception of yourself that is stopping you. This writer believes that it isn't your age that might be the problem, but your attitude.

If your are on the backside of 50 and feel that you can't compete with your younger counterparts and have nothing to offer, consider this:

  • You have life skills gained over years of experience in dealing with people and different situations. You know and value the importance of managing emotions at work, and dealing with co-workers that are difficult.
  • You have a skill-set refined over several years of experience.
  • You have, more than likely, experienced many of the interruptions and mishaps that spring up in a workplace, and are more able to handle the situation than your counter-parts who have not experienced similar situations.
  • You have the knowledge to mentor and teach your younger co-workers.
  • Your are probably much more flexible and not neccessarily agressively seeking to climb the ladder of command, thus eliminating feelings of competition amongst younger counterparts.

But obviously knowing all this and having confidence in your ability to be an asset to an employer isn't enough. You also have to project an aura of not only confidence, but energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. And then of course, you need a resume that not only reflects your skills and experience, but one that is more tailored to your age group. Yes, a one-size (or age) "fits -all" resume is not the ticket.

This writer is not implying that it is easy for job seekers that are 50+ to run out and land the job they want, but is saying that it is not entirely impossible, either. Stop listening to all the negative media and believing all the statics (where do all the statics really come from, anyway?), and start believing in yourself. Research and find the resources you need to help guide you through the job-seeking process for your age group. Use local resources, as well as online resources.

Some Online resources that cater to older job seekers are:

The information shared here today is reflected in a guidebook this writer read and recommends. "Land The Job You Love", by Mary Eileen Williams, M.A.,NCC., gives a positive approach to finding a job at 50+. The book is at, and has strategies specific to 50+ job seekers, as well as action steps that help you refine your resume and cover letter to reflect your skills & experience and not your age. Mary Eileen Williams was the guest caller on Three Wise Girls Blog Talk Radio recently, and the response to her advice as been extremely positive.

With all the skills and experience you have, and all the resources offered to you, the number one thing you have in your possession, is your attitude. Bask in the glow of years of experience and skills, and what you can bring to the job. That "glow" won't go unnoticed by your interviewer.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Need a Super Wife?

"I can wash out forty-four pairs of socks
And have them hangin out on the line
I can starch and iron two dozen shirts
Before you can count from one
to nine .... Cause I'm a woman ..... "

From Smokey Joe's Cafe

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you walk in the door after you get home from an excruciatingly long work day? Do you see dirty dishes in your sink and your house is a total disaster area? You then walk into your bedroom to change into something more comfortable and you see that huge pile of laundry just calling your name? Do you think that if you don't take care of this yourself, it just will not get done? That's not necessarily the case.

Patty Marsh walked into her home feeling the very same frustration for years. Then Pattie decided to do something about her situation. She decided it was time to hire a "super wife". Even better, she decided to start her own company called ... of course ..."The Super Wife."

She not only solved own her time-management problem, and had much more quality time with her family, she turned her "solution" into a rapidly growing business.

The Super Wife is a personal assistant service that is custom built to meet individual needs. Patty's service allows you to eliminate that "2nd full time job" that we all come home to when our first job ends. Patty's service is located in the Triad area of North Carolina. However, do not be surprised to see "The Super Wife" coming your way in the near future.

You can find more information concerning Patty Marsh and "The Super Wife" at

Join us on Thursday, April 22, at 12:00 pm noon-time, at, when the Three Wise Girls talk with Patty Marsh.

Patty will be sharing with us how she started up her company and her experiences thus far. She will also be sharing with us some of her money/time-saving tips that just may surprise you. Patty is also on a mission to make her breast cancer patient clients lives a little easier via the services she provides. Patty is the epitome of the super wife.

We welcome you to call in at 1-347-994-3835 and talk with Patty, as well as to join us in the chatroom. After all, this isn't an interview ... it's a conversation!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Real "Man Who Stares At Goats"

"The Predator is 100% biodegradable. It's friendly to the earth,

and can hurt you in a 100 different ways."

George Clooney

Most people know who George Clooney is. And quite a few have seen one of his latest movies, "Men who stare at Goats". But, I doubt if all of those same people have heard of Peter Brusso .... yet. The number of people that do know him is growing in huge numbers.

Peter Brusso is actually the man who inspired, in part, the role played by George Clooney, in the movie. The tool George Clooney is seen brandishing in the movie was invented and designed by Peter Brusso.

Peter Brusso took up Martial arts as a young child of six, due to an incident that happened at school. From that point on, he was destined to become a tenacious fighter.

Peter used his martial skills and warrior spirit in surviving the jungles of Cambodia for 10 months, during the Vietnam Era.

After returning to civilian life, Peter obtained a formal education from California State University at Sacramento (CSUS), where he'd earn a Degree in Electrical and Electronic engineering. He used his training to invent equipment used on a national professional sports level, enabling him to become a patent holder six times over.

Even with all these accomplishments, Peter has always kept martial arts very close to his heart. He is a subject matter expert for the US Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, both as an artist and as a learning specialist.

He holds black belt status in Hapkido, Wing Chun (sash), Ninjutsu, machete fighting, knife fighting, weapon disarms, and close quarter battle. He is also one of the few-registered Ninja’s in America. He is also a filmmaker, and has written and produced several training films and movies on military history.

And ...he is currently in discussions with producers to create his very own reality show.

Join us at http://www., Thursday, April 1, 2010 - noon EST - for an informative hour with this remarkable man. Debbie Barth is lead co-host this week with Dori DeCarlo and Linda Alexander commandeering the chatroom. We welcome you to call in at 347.994.3835 and talk with Peter. It's not an interview .... it's a conversation!

We invite you to visit Peter's websites at and

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goodbye Natalie-Goodbye Splendour

"Venus make her fair, I love the girl with sunlight in her hair,

and take the brightest stars up in the skies, and place them in her eyes for me....."

Frankie Avalon Tribute to Natalie Wood

In November 1981, A beautiful legendary Hollywood star was lost forever. But the mystery behind Natalie Wood's death lingers on. Just when one thinks it's been closed forever as an accidental drowning, new information seems to surface.

Even the day of her death is debated. Most accounts state that Natalie died on November 29, while other accounts state she died November 28.

Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern are making it their mission to get the truth out into the open concerning the actual events leading up to her shocking and untimely death. Marti is the author of "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" and Dennis was the boat captain onboard the Splendour at the time of Natalie's death.

In fact, Dennis was the only other person on board that night, along with Natalie, her husband and actor Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken.

In the book, Marti and Dennis suggest that the police investigation was insufficient, that the parties involved received special treatment because of their celebrity status, and that a grave injustice occurred when Natalie's death was brushed aside as an accidental drowning.

There were many unanswered questions. Why were the bruises found on Natalie never recorded in the official autopsy? Why did Wagner wait to radio ashore that Natalie was missing from the boat? Why wouldn't he allow Dennis to use the boat light which would certainly had help in the immediate search?

"Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" is a detailed account of events that led to the mysterious death of Natalie Wood. It is a story told by a haunted witness, Dennis Davern. Those of us of a specific generation remember hearing about the death of Natalie, and may even remember the details that were given out by the media. Now it is time to hear the story from the man who was actually on board that night, and has been living with the guilt that he somehow failed Natalie by not coming forward at the time with what really happened.

Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern are so driven to finally get the truth out to the public, that they have created a petition to have the case reopened. For more information concerning the petition go to:

For more about Marti Rulli:

"Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" is available at and Barnes and Noble

Join us on Thursday, March 11, 2010, at at 12:00 pm EST., as we talk to both Marti and Dennis concerning what really happened prior to Natalie Wood's death, and how the truth to what happened took on a very distorted spin with the help of the misinformed media, bad police investigating, and Hollywood influence. We welcome you to become a part of the conversation by calling in at 347.994.3835.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Self-Defense

If you're looking for trouble
You came to the right place
If you're looking for trouble
Just look right in my face

Elvis Presley

Every evening, it's the same old story on our local news station.

We are always hearing about people being abducted while getting into their car. Sadly, most are found later in a different location, some raped, most dead. The lucky ones are the ones that live through it.

We hear about people being robbed while retrieving money at an outside ATM machine.

We hear about someone being kidnapped, and later killed by an ex-spouse.

We hear about the young woman who awakes in the early morning hours to find someone standing over them, saying "don't scream or I'll kill you."

And remarkably, we all think that this only happens to other people.

According to the latest crime statistics at and :

In 2008 there were 78,833 rapes reported in the nation.

75%-85% of rapes are committed without using a weapon.

68%-72% of attacks on women are committed by someone they know.

Over 50% of rapes or sexual assaults are not reported to police.

Of those rapes only 40.4% were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

11.7% of clearance by arrest or exceptional means were under age of 18.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that there are any statistics pointing to all those who were victims, and who didn't think it could happen to them.

And, I don't think that for most, when doing a "things to do" list, taking a self-defense class is high on the list, if at all. And yet, it could be the most important thing that any of us do. Do you have it on your "to do" list? Excuse the pun ... but it couldn't hurt.

Join us on Thursday, February 18th at noon EST at, as we talk with Deva and Scott Hoffman, two leaders in self-defense training. Deva will be sharing her true-life experience with an attacker. Scott will share some of his experiences as a police officer for the last 22 years. The Hoffman's have vast experience in self-defense training and travel to group functions, as well as to large corporations, around the United States. Their website is in at 1-347-994-3835 and join in the conversation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Teenage Gangs-The New Family Structure?

"Young men ... you have value.
You were not born to snatch the life
out of people you don't even know"

In July of 2007, Rev. Ora Stearns-Smith got the worst possible call a mother can received. Her son, Aric Jai-Shon Lexing, had become the victim of a teenage gang shooting, and had died from his injuries. Jai was not a gang member ... not then ...not ever. No, he was a young man who had said yes to someone he barely knew, who asked him for a ride home after a party. Apparently, the passenger was on a local gang's hit list. As Jai and his passenger pulled up and stopped the car, the shooting started and the gang got their target ... and took Jai's life as well. Ironically, Jai had just received his Masters in Criminal Justice just two months earlier in May, 2007, and was waiting to pursue a career in law enforcement. Sadly, the lives of everyone that Jai had touched would be changed forever.

Teenage gang-related statics are truly no more than best estimates. The obvious reasons are that it's not realistic to believe that people can go door-to-door and gather information any more than it is to think that there is an office where gangs and gang members go to register their activity.

According to one online statistical source and a 2009 estimate, there are approximately 24,500 gangs in the U.S, and one million gang members. It would be wonderful, since these are estimated numbers, if the statistics represented were overstated. My fear, however, is that they could actually be understated.

So, the obvious question is what should we, as a united front, do about this? We all do a lot of gasping, shaking our heads, and talking about it. But, what are we doing about it? And who is to blame for the increasing number of teenagers (and much younger) choosing gangs as their family. Is it the parents, the school system, movies, t.v, music, the lack of teenage role models (I mean the good kind), the law and lack of stricter penalties......or is it....etc...etc...and so on.

I don't pretend to have the answers. I am asking you. Who do you think is responsible for the increasing number of violent gangs in the U.S., and what do you think we should do about it?

I will take this a step further and ask you to join us next Thursday, January 28, 2010, at noon (12:00 pm EST) as we discuss this very topic in our segment of Teenage Gang Violence at I encourage you to call in and talk with us at 1-347-994-3835. It's not an interview, it's a conversation, and I would like for you to be a part of it.

Just talking about the problem falls short of actually eliminating the problem. That will take action on everyone's part. But talking about it is a good beginning.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"I got a black magic woman
Got me so blind I can't see
That she's a black magic woman
She's tryin' to make a devil out of me"

I am delighted to say that 2010 has started out with a real "Bing Bang Boom" on our Three Wise Girls Show. Our show with Christophe Van Der Hogan-Landry took us into the very core of a social and political movement that is sweeping the country, led by this dynamic young man. Our second segment of the year, In Dreams, allowed us to talk about dream experiences with others who have had similar experiences, without the risk of being scoffed at.

And, there is no doubt our third show is going to be no less controversial, or sizzle with less "Bing Bang Boom".

There is a new feline species evolving, and it is preying on our innocent young men.

Now that I've got your attention, I'm talking about Cougars. No, not that kind. I'm talking about the 40+ year-old gorgeous single women out there that are ready for some good times with younger men, and don't feel like they have to apologize to anyone for it. Oh, and the "innocent young men" part, you didn't think I was serious, did you?

The word Cougar, as defined in this blog, conjures up visions of women running in packs, and hitting the bars in search of younger men with which to quench their thirsts. (In more ways than one.) Ah...but what about the ones in the office, the boardroom, your neighbor, or maybe even ... your friend? Cougars are global, and not confined to a specific region or country.

The truth is that there have always been older women who have had secret trysts with younger men. The thing is ... it wasn't as trendy as it is now. We have film stars, movies, and T.V. to thank for bringing this new form of entertainment to the forefront and making it downright trendy.

But back to real life, what about the young women out there? Are they growing resentful that these older and bolder women are splashing into their pool of "love princes"? Are the kids of these self-professed Cougars reading up on the emancipation laws of their states in hopes of changing their names and moving to another state where no one knows who their mother is? Is there a stone-faced mother out there this very moment opening the front door to find Junior standing there with a silly smile on his face, and his arm wrapped around the waist of a woman who just happened to graduate in the same senior class with her?

Who knows? But, I bet there is a 40+ beauty sitting in a bar, a restaurant, or maybe a private club, who doesn't care what the world thinks she sits there smiling alluringly into the eyes of her adoring young suitor, while she leans over and whispers ..."the next round is on me. "

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Update on Big Dog

"You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come runnin' to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend"

A Very Special Update!
(see previous post on Big Dog)

I called the animal shelter providing care for Big Dog. I wanted to how he was doing, and if I could finally drop by to see him. I was put on hold for a few minutes and I was getting my jacket on, looking for my keys, etc., when the very nice lady came back to the phone. She let me know that Big Dog was no longer there.

I'm happy to report that Big Dog's owner did come to the shelter and I'm sure it was a happy reunion. I only hope that Big Dog left with a microchip and that the owner left with relief and love in his/her heart for Big Dog.

I am personally so thankful for the help from my neighbors, and everyone who helped in getting the word out about Big Dog. I've had many conversations with people that I've never met before, and that I now consider friends, bonded by a common love and respect for dogs ( and all animals).

Strange as it may seem, I am going to miss Big Dog. I never knew his real name, or anything about his life, or his owners. But, he will always be "Big Dog" to me. And I'm so glad that Big Dog choose to spend Christmas with me.