Living the Dream

This is how you get what you want…

How to be assertive without being a bitch October 5, 2007

Have you ever been taken for a “ride” by a cab driver, been treated poorly by sales reps, had to wait for hours cuz your flight got delayed, or had your order botched at a restaurant? These are all things that we put up with that we don’t have to. Feeling like you just got screwed over sucks. Now don’t get us wrong- we’re not suggesting that you make a fuss over every little thing that’s not to your liking. Human beings make mistakes, and many times it’s a deal-able situation. For instance, if on your sandwich you get provolone cheese instead of the Swiss that you ordered, it might not be fuss-worthy. That said, if you’ve got a hankering for Swiss, and you indeed ordered it—get it! In addition, there is a class of behaviors, or lack thereof, that is just plain inexcusable. For instance, you get in a cab and the meter says $42, 309 (which is what happened to The Dream Team last weekend). WTF is that about? Unaccepts for sure! In this instance, The Dream Team asked the cab driver what was up with the meter and laughed with him about how it was clearly broken. He said he’d charge a flat rate to our destination, which was a few dollars more than what the frequently Mammy-travelled route would usually cost. The solution in this case was for us to realize that his requested fare included his tip– done. There is a way to go about these situations without being a jerk. You need to behave with a sense of calm, confidence, assertiveness, and grace. It doesn’t have to been an awkward confrontational situation, the fear of which prevents most of us from asking for what we want. The Dream Team proposes the following recommendations.

Taxi drivers who overcharge

Only challenge the fare when you’re certain that he overcharged you on a route you travel frequently. Keep in mind that gas prices increase, so if you haven’t ridden in a cab for a while, this could be the reason for an elevated fare. Getting a lower fare can be difficult because often cab drivers doggedly defend their fares when they’re clearly just trying to get a few extra bucks. When you arrive at your destination, what you need to do is stay calm, and state with confidence that you travel the route frequently and it costs $x. Tell him you’ll give him that amount. If he tries to argue with you, repeat yourself until he backs down. Mammies have successfully used this strategy countless times. Which brings up a whole other issue– Why all the shady cab drivers?!

Dealing with online order problems

Consider that if your order involved postal service delivery, the mail may be to blame, and it might be inappropriate to use the approach below. Follow these guidelines only after you’ve determined that the order company is clearly at fault.Email customer service with your complaint, and make sure you include all the relevant details (order # and such). If you don’t hear back from them within a few business days, simply forward your original email to them. If a week passes and you still haven’t gotten a response, resort to the use of threat. Email customer service again, notifying them that this is your third attempt to get in contact. Copy and paste your complaint, and let them know that you’ll be contacting the Better Business Bureau if you don’t hear back from them within a week. Usually this will result in a swift move to appease you. The key here is to use email as a way to document your attempts to contact them.

Airline delays and baggage problems

You can get a free ticket, or frequent flier miles, for certain types of delays. Delays due to weather conditions won’t get you anything, since (clearly) these are out of the airline’s control. However, mechanical failure falls under the responsibility of the airline, and you can get something out of this. For instance, due to mechanical difficulties, Mammy’s recent flight was delayed by 3 hours. She couldn’t get on any stand-by flights to the original destination, but she did manage to get on a standby flight to an airport near the original destination. Of course there was the luggage concern- Mammy’s luggage ended up at the original destination. The ticket agent at the departing gate had told her she wouldn’t be able to have the luggage sent to her house. Mammy refused to accept this and took matters into her own hands. Mammy got her bags delivered to her home that evening, free of charge. She also received frequent flier miles for the delay. Here’s how you can do it:

Getting bags delivered. At the arrival airport, calmly explain to the baggage claim agent the situation. There’s no harm in telling him or her (calmly) that you are frustrated with the situation. Just remember to be friendly, calm, and treat the agent with kindness. Use your manners – “please” and “thank you” will get you a long way.

Getting miles. Write and mail a hard copy of a letter to the CEO of the airline (contact information may be found on websites), explaining your frustration with delay situation and how it ruined your plans for the day. Keep in mind that it can take up to 6 weeks to receive a response.

Sending food back at a restaurant

Mammy is constantly asking for exclusions and substitutions in her restaurant orders, so often her orders arrive at the table messed up. Mammy’s protocol for handling this situation:

1. If it doesn’t come naturally, express the disappointment on your face.

2. Remain calm, and explain how your order differs from what you really ordered.

3. Say you’re sorry for sending it back, and acknowledge that it wasn’t the server’s fault.

4. Smile and say thank you.

5. Wait for your correct order to arrive. Possibly steal a French fry or two from your companion’s plate to hold you over.

Easy. And what’s more, many times your meal will be comped without you even having to ask. Should this occur, add to your server’s tip at least half the price of your meal. If you have to wait an excessively long time (please use your judgment here) for your meal to be delivered and perhaps go hypoglycemic, ask for the manager and calmly explain the situation. Tell him you don’t think you should have to pay for your meal. 9 times out of 10, you won’t have to.


How To Live Aloha September 26, 2007

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 8:58 pm
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We’ve all heard about “The Aloha Spirit”. Usually it brings a smile to our face as we conjure up images of being on vacation in a tropical paradise, where people are happy and nice, and we’re feeling carefree. It used to be funny to me, because it just seemed like that’s how people behaved when they were entertaining tourists. Well, I found out that my assumption was not true at all. Aloha’s a real thing, and oddly enough it’s even an official law in the state of Hawaii that’s intended to inform personal conduct.

A: Akahai       Kindness, to be expressed with tenderness

L: Likahi           Unity, to be expressed with harmony

O: ‘Olu‘olu     Agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness

H: Ha’aha’a   Humility, to be expressed with modesty

A: Ahonui       Patience, to be expressed with perseverance  


If you don’t know what you want, you can’t get it September 20, 2007

Filed under: Archives,Goals — mammyflop @ 12:15 am
Tags: , , , , ,


To get what you want, you must first know what you want. This might sound annoyingly familiar, uninspiring, worthy of an eye roll. Yeah, that’s right, I bet you can relate. And I bet you can relate to the following, as it’s a pretty common experience: have you ever found yourself wrapped up in something, and in the middle of it you somehow manage to check in with yourself, and stumble upon a sobering revelation-


Why the hell am I doing this?


Yet you continue with the task. Or the relationship. Or the career.

This is a wake-up call, ladies. In order to get what you want, you must first define what you want. You must define your needs. And I mean YOU. Not others in your life. Rid yourself of the “shoulds” and the fear of others’ judgment. Get in touch with yourself- explore your needs, your wants. Define what it is that you want. The more specific, the better! (After you’re finished reading the next few sentences) visualize what your life would be like when you are perfectly happy, when you are as successful as you can be, when everything around you seems to be going your way, when life is better than you ever hoped it could be. Take note of every detail- who’s there? Who’s not? Where are you? What are you doing? Get some different time perspectives while you’re at it. Imagine what a typical day, a week, a month, would look like in your personal blissland. Ok, open ‘em. Questions to consider: in your daydream, what’s new in the picture- that is, what’s there that’s currently lacking in your life? Conversely, what things were absent that currently are in your life?


The above questions should bring to the surface some ideas that you can use in defining specifically what you want. Stay tuned if you’re interested in this topic- there’s more to come on specific steps you can take in getting what you want. In order to live your dream, you need to first dream your dream. Then you make it your reality!