Oct 9

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM? PART TWO

 

PART 2

 

After George Orwell nuh more dan me! So…picture this…

 

 

We are now in the year 2030, 12 years after the Great Financial Collapse that saw the Jamaican Dollar hit an overnight low of $350 to one US dollar. The shock to the economy brought about a rapid swell of public outrage as prices of basic consumer items spiraled out of affordability! [Flashback]…Meanwhile, two months before the crisis struck, a game changing international conference had been held in the then troubled City of Montego Bay. It was called ‘CanEx Jamaica’ and was attended by representatives from around the world, seeking alliances in the swelling global Cannabis revolution. Jamaica was finally taking advantage of its natural prime position and the conference was as a bright flame to many moths.

 

MYSTICAL MESSAGES

 

 

 

At that conference, a mystic man dressed in white robes ignited the passion of the matriarchs with an earnest plea for them to take charge of the future of Jamaica, it’s Cannabis industry in particular, in order for it to fulfill its prophesied potential of becoming ‘the healing of the nation’. He spoke to the throng about Cannabis saying…”talk to that plant yourself from the root up…the females have been appointed by Mother Earth herself to heal the planet…“. Spontaneous applause erupted in the packed auditorium. One woman, at the helm of the new giant industry, heeded the Sage’s call and gathered unto her a team of Jamaica’s brightest, upstanding, integrous and nurturing women, then rally-cried to all the women of the nation to join them in heralding lasting peace and prosperity for ALL on the island.

 

 

We will all recall that day in history, when powerful women from down town and uptown joined forces and marched on ‘The Government’. Mothers across the island unanimously echoed the refrain that enough was enough…too many of their sons were dying, far too many of their daughters lived in fear! Collectively and without the shedding of a drop of blood, the matriarchs ‘persuaded’ Government officials to stand down from duty. Fairly and squarely, under the collective leadership of twelve conscious, virtuous and genius Jamaican women (sorry men, it was unanimously referendum-ed, that you had been at the helm a tad too long and basically…destroyed the fabric of our society…along with the environment), a new island order was established. Integrated left and right brain reasoning, heart centred women’s intuition and wisdom from a few ‘elder’ matriarchs were the orders of the day. Security force personnel were replaced by an all-woman troupe of Peace & Love Keepers…Wakanda style of course!. My brothers, I’m hoping you are still with me and not hissing your teeth at this point in the fantasy. Anyway, for those still open to their untamed imagination, read on.

 

THE HEALING OF A NATION (Bob Marley)

 

 

With the donations from the booming Cannabis industry…the trusted stewards of which having seen to it that development and integration programmes were set up to assist the stalwart ‘ganja farmers’ of yesteryear…a cohesiveness and communal spirit spread across the land. Those with ailments who previously could not afford medical care/treatment were given natural herb medicines at CBD Clinics set up across the island and run by Jamaica’s first class NHS (Naturopathic Health System 😉 ). The headquarters were at the newly rebuilt Cornwall Regional Health Oasis.

 

Refocused former ‘Scammers’ put their brilliant young minds to jobs created in legal Cannabis related business ventures that seamlessly replaced their previous illicit gains. Prisoners were trained by freed GRC (Ganja-Related-Crime) inmates, in the cultivation of Cannabis from soil to reaping. ‘Mi Likkle Ganja Book’ (written by a dear friend of mine, Nereree Edwards) was the official comprehensive text! Students in schools were similarly taught the rudiments of cultivating Cannabis (alongside other beneficial herbs and organic vegetables), about the numerous beneficial products derived therefrom and about the various business opportunities within the sector. The sustainability and longevity of the industry was therefore secured, causing it to overtake tourism as Jamaica’s main income earner…resulting in the rapid development of the island. Loans to international donors were paid off earlier than scheduled and imports reduced significantly while demand for Jamaica’s agricultural exports, Jamaican culture and Jamaica’s new army of expert Cannabis Consultants, grew exponentially worldwide. The Queen of England reigned no more as the Queens across the nation rose to assume their rightful royal roles.

 

 

All citizens of this beautiful paradise island were nurtured and cared for…by other more able citizens; Neighbours practiced the true meaning of the word and all ‘ate a food’, sharing, bartering, exchanging. Over a period of only two years, crime levels had fallen to mere minor skirmishes (mainly amongst the group that had experienced major trauma at losing their material status symbols. Jamaican people recreated communally based communities based on a co-hesive, co-operative livity and family life flourished once again. Eased of financial stresses, mothers and fathers reunited and harmoniously co-parented the children.

 

 

Environmentally sensitive  architects designed future builds that no longer represented the industrialised, non-family-oriented structures, but areas fostering the wholesome development of children and peace of mind of their parents. Pre-existing concrete structures were ‘softened’ with greenery e.g. roof gardens and the children played in the numerous new parks across the island, constructed as gifts by conscientious Chinese corporate donors. Corrupt law enforcement officers were rooted out, internally. Peace and harmony reigned for and within all people, from all sides of the island and former colour lines (political and racial). Citizens were keen to relinquish excessive material possessions in exchange for the harmony and happiness of a crime free land. Former Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, was given a national honour by the Women, in recognition of his prescriptive and prophetic declaration some years before, that Jamaica needed ‘Divine Intervention’. He was spot on! The changes that came about in Jamaica could indeed be described as nothing short of miraculous.

 

RIGHTEOUS HONOURABLE LEADERS

 

 

In the true spirit of resilience and as evidence of relevance, The Communal Party still remains in SERVICE today, without challenge, fuss or fight. They represent all citizens without bias or curried favour, having been assembled by the Council of 12 Women, from the pure of heart found within the dissolved political parties (don’t ask me how many), proud upstanding Jamaicans (from home and the diaspora), the spiritually awoke/conscious ones and the ego-free elders. An arm of the party is dedicated to the Rastafarian movement and led by a wise Empress named Barbara, in recognition of one and one’s sacrifices made over the years to keep the sacramental herb burning in the land. One named Chronixx is their appointed Youth Leader, who consults with members of all the houses of Rastafari that were re-assembled in unity, under the Seal of Solomon ;). The Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, was used as a model for groups across the island, and subsequently the world, wishing to learn a successful nature based way of living. A new Communalism…

 

FICTION ASIDE

 

 

The story above may read a little far-fetched, as I’m sure George Orwell’s ‘1984’ seemed at the time of first publication, but I don’t think any of us will disagree that we are living in serious times, that cry out for radical change. Could it be time for us to consider, then vision and then (re)build our communities based on a more all-Jamaican-lives-matter basis? It may not be called ‘Communalism’, as the strict definition of the word speaks of governments and federations, but we sure would be living and working together in harmony…supporting one another. Living in the ‘spirit’ of what communes of cohesive citizens represent. Perhaps we can simply call it Community-ism? Again, it may sound utopian, but that’s the reality I would use my vote to achieve! Now just to work on my detachment from unnecessary material things.

 

POST CONSUMERISM ERA – CAN ONE DETATCH?

 

 

[DISCLAIMER: Only read further if you are already considering detachment from the consumer treadmill and resultant routine lifestyle, considering an alternative, less cluttered life or on the verge of a stress-induced breakdown. The content may be particularly disturbing to staunch Commercialised-Capitalist-Consumerists, causing possible in cold sweats and panic attacks at the visualization of the outlined content]

 

 

So, here we go…

 

1. When all is said and done it is up to YOU to create the time and dedicated brain friendly space to be able to take a real stock of your current life-style. First thing in the morning when you first awake from slumber, catch your thoughts! No, literally, if you don’t consciously step in front of your thoughts, they will race ahead of your consciousness like a racehorse galloping from the stalls!

 

2. Hold a ‘meds’ (quiet time of reflection/meditation/prayer) each morning. Make the time! It’s important. Start by taking at least 5 refreshing deep breaths. Then in ‘your right mind’, ask yourself some simple questions, like…”Am I happy?”. “Am I healthy?” If you have just asked, “Am I wealthy?” return to the beginning and start the process again…maybe breathing in and out a little deeper. Don’t ‘tek dung’ when the answers come. Simply become non-judgmentally aware of your current realities.

 

3. Now it is time, after being in your right mind consistently for at least 14 days…consecutively, to start thinking about and visualizing an alternative way of living. Start gradually. Perhaps focus on the more intangible ‘things’ (read less consumer driven), like peace of mind, joy, good health, harmonious family life, quality time with children…the positive things you want to manifest in your life. See them clearly in your refreshed mind’s eye.

 

4. Then PAUSE for as long as feasible, to bear witness to the joy these thoughts alone bring to your being. Start preparing space and time for your revised livity…and watch it unfold.

 

5. CONTINUE TO OBSERVE STEPS 1-5 THROUGHOUT.

 

6. Once the self and family lifestyle has permeated your psyche, extend the vision outward over the next 30 days until you have visualized your-self, your family, the community, then the whole of Jamaica in harmony. Sound fool fool? Try it nuh, just in case.

 

7. Once you can see clearly now, because the strain has gone…prepare for the eureka moments, in those quite contemplative moments you have awarded yourself daily, when the penny drops, the big reveals as you catch your-self and determine…there is NO REAL NEED for the item you were about to purchase/order online!

 

8. CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to detachment!

 

I know it’s not easy. Even when we all know, even when we studied marketing (like myself), the ‘apparent’ need for certain ‘things’, a need created without our ‘knowing’ has becoming overwhelming to many of us. That was the plan. But there is hope. Mass detachment by market force or voluntary detachment by building a better alternative livity.

 

ROSE TINTED GLASSES?

 

 

Label me a ‘rose tinted glasses’ wearer, but I truly believe that we each have to go back to basics, especially in these pivotal times on our plane. Be courageous enough to press the mental refresh button, review our current ‘livity’ then re-define our selves and what is really important to us, from the heart & soul perspective and not the intellect or ego. Given that our perceptions of our world are fed by our thoughts and solidified in our beliefs, surely we have nothing to lose in collectively re-thinking a better reality? Join me in the optimistic visualization of such. A new dimension awaits us all.

 

P.S. Of course Sarifa Insurance Brokers, with its diversified service offerings, remained intact after the crash, as the vibration emanating from the entity resonated with the new cosmically aligned paradigm. 😉

 

 

Oct 5

JAMAICA’S CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE!

 

Customer Service Rep.

 

This week, 4th to 10th October 2015, is being recognised and celebrated as ‘Customer Service Week’ across Jamaica. Led by the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA))…[I must admit that I didn’t know they existed until a few weeks ago]… the charge is being made to deliver and celebrate sound customer service across our beautiful island! We are also invited to highlight (‘big up’) organisations exhibiting excellence in this very important area. It is an indisputable fact that good service is tied to the success or failure of our organisations. Take it as read also that it also plays a key role in the building of our nation. No, I’m not being grandiose…think about it…..[Finished?]

 

Now before we explore ‘Customer Service’ on a deeper level, I just want to address those of you that scoffed at the title of this piece [i’ll wait while you scroll back up to refresh yourself]. Those of you that made either a mental or verbal comment about the chronically poor levels of customer service on the island. You might even have recalled a personal example of encountering a ‘facety’ shop assistant, sour faced bank clerk or dismissive hotel receptionist. For those of you, yes indeed, there are without doubt an uncomfortable number of individuals out there that make our collective blood boil as we seek to go about our daily consumer business. However, please indulge me and halt those negative thoughts while I invite you to venture with me into another world of service…[did you hear the Twilight Zone music just now?]. The world of service that is taking Jamaica by storm…starting with YOU! Stay with me now.

 

WHICH WORLD?

third_world_map

 

 

Let’s put things in perspective. Mine of course, but again, indulge and follow me. I have lived in only two countries in my lifetime and have been blessed to have travelled to many parts of the world. I can categorically report that ‘Bad Customer Service’ is a global problem. It doesn’t matter which world you [think] you are in, 1st, 2nd (oh, there is such thing!) or 3rd…there is only ONE world when it comes to service, good or bad!

 

MY UK EXPERIENCE

 

omg pic

 

 

Now I must state that I am particularly sensitive to people’s energy…vibes, whatever you choose to refer to it as (my mother called it ‘Spirit’). I’m like a walking guage. Well I was quite taken aback when I returned to the UK for a period last year and noticed the shocking drop in service delivery standards across the board. The vibration in so many of the consumer outlets was stagnant to poor. The staff were not engaged…they were’nt fully ‘there’. Then there was the consequent poor service. I couldn’t believe the blatant preoccupation with ‘chatting’ your boss or colleague with a fellow worker…while serving me! The open complaining, expressions of being ‘tired and’ can’t wait for closing time, checking mobile phones etc. was quite alarming. I make this point about the UK because it is still considered by some to be the ‘motherland’ showpiece of best practice and service excellence. Well something has slipped in this so called ‘1st World. The workers are despondent, lacklustre, miserable and ‘not bovvered (bothered)’.

 

BACK IN THE DAY!

 

In the good old days, in the UK, I would go into a store and ask an assistant for a particular garment and he/she would scurry off with a ‘let me just check for you madam’ simultaneously leaving their enthusiastic lips. Nowadays, the standard response is “all that we’ve got is out” or “ if you don’t see it on that rack, we haven’t got it”. Me, being my usual expect-proper-consumer-service self will usually respond, “I didn’t see one, perhaps you would care to look for me”…[silent search]. “Maybe you should check in the store room to see if there is one there”…[pause, followed by reluctant retreat into back room] and “you have other branches, how about calling one of them to see if they have it in stock?”…[by now dem tyad a mi and the body language communicates that to me clearly]. Mi nuh business…good customer service is what I expect and I will continue to highlight the lack thereof as necessary, at home or abroad! In balance (before you ban me from your shops), I also make a regular habit of praising good service each and every place I experience it, even going to the Supervisor, Manager or Owner to voice my pleasure at being served by their staff member.

 

JAMAICA SWEET JAMAICA!

 

Welcome to Jamaica

 

So back to Jamaica I come, [you still with me?]…the so called ‘3rd World’ and I see proactive, positive strides being made by the team at JaCSA to create an island of Customer Service Excellence as standard. Go on, picture it…that unfolding reality has warmed my heart and spurred my passion to connect with the JaCSA. Sarifa and I will be part of their national mission. That’s where YOU, the amazing customer servers, come in. Join in creating this powerful service excellence vision…holding that vision until it manifests. So, starting today (5th October)…

 

1. YOU are required to give excellent customer service to both your internal and external customers.

2. YOU are required to encourage your colleagues to put their best service foot forward for this week in particular and then find ways of sustaining this feel good service giving, because believe me, it does feel good when a customer acknowledges your sterling service efforts. An employer acknowledging is also a bonus!

 

Employers? You might be wondering…(with a pained look on your face), how do you change a bad service giver into an excellent service giver? My take would make this blog too long…i’ll get back to you with my take in Part II. Remind me.

 

 

BY THE WAY

 

chrisreceivingaward_07172015062502

 

As many of you know…because we told you already, Sarifa Insurance Brokers is the current holder of a PSOJ/JaCSA Award for Customer Service Excellence 2015 (Small Business Category). We are not perfect, but we are working on it!

 

An excerpt from the JaCSA mandate reads, “We envision the establishment of a culture of Service Excellence which pulsates throughout organisations and communities across the entire island of Jamaica”

 

Remember, YOU too are invited to do that one simple thing for the national cause…hold the vision!

“Thoughts are powerful, collective thoughts are magical!” [me].

 

COMPETITION TIME!!!!!!

 

Sarifa supports this vision and as part of our ambassadorial role, today, we launched our

‘FB Cellie-Brate Customer Service Excellence’ Competition.

BASICALLY,

1. You get good customer service anywhere in Jamaica (other than at your own establishment).

2. You take a selfie with the staff member (s) at the establishment (show company name if possible).

3.  You post the picture to the Sarifa Facebook page +  a statement about the service you received… and that’s it!

The organisation selected by most ‘likes’ and Judges decision  will win YOU a prize and the organisation, some valuable, well deserved publicity!

Get  ready…steady…CLICK!