Precautionary Shoegazing: Our 2020 in Pandemic Floor Decals

Donut Shop social distancing floor decal.

Can’t remember which donut shop in Avon has this decal. We visited three of them in 2020.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: pandemic! Pandemic! PANDEMIC!

Among the 6,000 things we hated doing differently for our own safety in 2020, one of the easiest yet weirdest was going into businesses to buy whatever, approaching the register, and having to take standing lessons from social-distancing floor decals. Because in a world where those infected with the coronavirus could unknowingly kill innocent bystanders with their breath like a clumsy ninja Godzilla, some folks were poor judges of distance and/or medical hygiene. As always, in a pandemic or otherwise, some people need practical advice.

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A Right Way and a Wrong Way to Do Coffee and Donuts

Hilligoss Bakery donuts

Three fine ways to kick off a Saturday morning before a shopping spree.

Behold my Saturday morning sugary wake-up call from Hilligoss Bakery, a local establishment in the nearby town of Brownsburg since 1974. They relocated several years ago to a standalone building that once housed a frozen custard joint, but have made the place their own with an exemplary array of donuts and danishes, as well as fast and reliable customer service. They sell a limited selection of drinks on the side, including a couple of different varieties of freshly brewed coffee — nothing fancy, no aspirations to double as an artisan coffeehouse, but they keep it brewing steadily for not-so-finicky coffee drinkers like me. They’re pastry purveyors non pareil located fifteen minutes from our house, but in a direction we rarely find reason to travel, so we’re not quite regular customers (yet). We do recommend them to anyone with an excuse to be in the vicinity.

This morning I made the command decision to go out of our way toward their vicinity. To be honest, Hilligoss wasn’t our first stop, but our day had started off on the wrong foot and I knew they’d set it right.

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Freebies Our Household Will Never Need Again

free calendar

…thank you? I’m not required to treasure it always, am I?

When I was a kid, no one ever warned me about all the free calendars we’d receive in the mail every year. And everyone needs a calendar, right? It’s handy reference material you can nail onto your wall for easy glancing whenever you need to center yourself at a fixed point in time, or for scribbling reminders of important future dates. As an added bonus, the good kind of calendar comes with twelve free mini-posters to liven up your living space and remind you of things you like. While today’s smartphones can duplicate most calendar functions and render them mostly obsolete, they make terrible wall art because of their miniature nature and their resistance to clean nailing.

In my mind, an effective calendar needs to contain enough artistic merit that I’ll want it in my presence for twelve straight months. It helps if its content is somehow related to any of my interests at all. Free calendars, which are nearly always a promotional giveaway in honor of someone’s product that I’m probably not buying, are not consequently never my thing. Exhibit A: the example shown above, which landed in our mailbox today as a token of good will from representatives of certain non-renewable energy concerns. Because all my friends know my name is synonymous with “geek pipeline safety”.

And the non-essentials don’t stop there…

How Not to Celebrate Customer Service Appreciation Week

Are YOU ready to make your employees feel like kings and queens for a week? It’s rewarding and legal!

Anyone who’s in the same general field as my wife and I should be gearing up right about now for this year’s Customer Service Appreciation Week. I’m not sure if this annual internal salute to service representatives was invented by the same Hallmark scientists who created such business-based holidays as Boss’ Day or Secretaries Day, but since it benefits me each year, I refuse to be an ingrate.

The premise, for those of you in other fields with your own traditions of positive reinforcement: each year for five consecutive business days, customer service supervisors who can spell and pronounce “morale” treat their employees to a series of extra fun perks. Sometimes it’s free donuts for breakfast and/or a a catered lunch. Sometimes there are team-building exercises or one-on-one contests, with useful prizes at stake. For companies with relaxed dress codes, there can also be themed clothing days — e.g., Hawaiian shirt day, sports apparel day, jeans day, etc. If it’s different from a normal work day and doesn’t double everyone’s stress level, it’s welcome this week.

Between my wife and me, we have [mumble-mutter] years of experience in customer service, many of which have been blessed by superiors who observed CSA Week. We each have multiple fond memories of the occasion.

For those about to party on the clock, we salute you…

Indiana Ad Campaign Targets Unsuspecting, Hopefully Well-Connected Times Square Tourists

Indiana business ad

There’s more than corn in Indiana! Now we’re gonna have trips to MARS. Your move, Kentucky.

I’m used to seeing other states infiltrating Indiana’s airwaves with their vacation ads. Ohio, Tennessee, and even faraway Florida have been grasping at our wallets for years. Michigan even stepped up their game a while back by hiring the Tim Allen to narrate their radio ads in dulcet, nature-loving tones, mesmerizing us with the possibilities of boating and hiking and exploring the wonders of God’s creation due north of us, all while carefully sidestepping the whole Detroit thing.

This week, Indiana decided to strike back and dream big. Rather than harass our mediocre neighbors, the Powers That Be struck a deal that leapfrogged over Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the northwest corner of New Jersey to target the Big Apple itself. In an even brasher move against the colossus that is New York City, we’re not even bragging about our welcoming tourist trade, our copious sports-related attractions, or our much cheaper downtown parking. Apparently we’re looking for a few good businesses.

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