A Richer Understanding: Making Dollars and Sense

Brian Tramuel helms this series. He lives with his wife Michelle, their children Geneva and Brian, and their Cocker Spaniel Maestro in Charlotte, NC. They, along with his two older children from a previous marriage, Davina and Aaron, provide a constant source of inspiration. Aaron lives, works and plays in Charlotte and Davina lives, works and plays in Roanoke, VA.

A Richer UnderstandingI’m generally conscious of the service I receive while out; restaurants, retail stores, the gym and the grocery store to name a few of the places I frequent. No matter what environment I’m in, I often observe how the fast-food worker, bus driver, nurse or anyone providing a service and/or selling a product interacts with me and other consumers. Some do it well and are consistent, while others fail at simply offering a salutation or a well wish.

My personal vexations are acknowledgment and appreciation; two very important customer service skills that every employee should master if they are in a customer facing environment. I’ve had a number of bad experiences where rather than asking for a manager to register a complaint, I simply chose not to return. A recent negative experience sparked a conversation with peers where they shared their point of view, and it led to a debate about (1) raising the minimum wage above the current rate and (2) if $12-$15 per hour is warranted for every industry.

“Don’t give advice, suggest options.”

The conversation shifted in and out of points and counterpoints.

Society Socks - Good Customer Service

Society Socks – Good Customer Service

Point — it could hurt low skilled workers. Counterpoint — workers should look to improve their skill set, whether it is helping customers, food preparation, or other vocational training. Point — wages for jobs that require advanced training should not be on par with one that requires less sophisticated skills. Counterpoint — workers will get left behind by those willing to invest in improving their skills.

The debate seems to be part of a larger conversation about how technology is integrating more and more into our lives. Banks use mobile image depositing, reducing the need for banking centers and tellers. Casual theme restaurants and fast food chains are using electronic keypads for order entry, reducing the need for servers and cashiers.

I believe we all agree, no matter what side of the debate you’re on, everyone desires an adequate, livable and respectable wage for employment offered, business services offered or art created.

I Am.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I love the fact that an organization took the time to write a personal thank you note. I’m heading over to their site now to get a better idea of how their donations work.

    • Ha. Great minds think alike. I just completed my purchase, a pair of the Metropolis – Blue and a pair of the Visionary – Red. Good stuff!

    • Thank you Karen. I really appreciate the kind words. I am one of the co-founders of http://www.mysocietysocks.com . With every pair of socks purchased, we donate another pair of socks to a charity. Please let me know if you have any more questions!

      • Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Filip. I love what you guys are doing and the unique way you are going about it. While the wife and I regularly donate clothes – to the Vietnam Veterans of America and Big Brothers, Big Sisters – it never occurred to us that socks are the least donated, but most needed clothing item. Best of luck!

        • Precisely our thoughts James! That is why we decided to start up Society Socks! It’s a great opportunity to make a change in the world while buying some awesome socks for yourself or as a gift for someone you love.

          • Looking forward to receiving mine. Thanks again for joining the conversation, Filip.

  2. Yes, I agree that people that invest in their skillset are going to leave people that don’t in the dust. As it should be. If you aren’t willing to be productive and add value in the marketplace, why should we pay you? The absolutely beautiful thing about the country we live in is the fact that if we don’t like where we are at, we have the option to create and change that. People can start a business, learn to do something new, create value in other people’s lives and they will be rewarded. I think the days of being able to just get up and do mindless work that machines can do is almost gone and we are seeing it disappear because of how the marketplace responds to value. We are willing to pay for value. Add more value, get rewarded more!

    • There is no doubt that it behooves the individual to maximize their potential – and opportunities – through training and education, something I have advocated for ad nauseam on this blog … technological advances and the current economic environment require it. And as Brian astutely notes, the individual always needs to be mindful of providing superior service to customers, irrespective of their current station. In doing so, not only will they add value to their employer’s bottom line, a wise employer (or customer) will recognize the value they add and look for ways to reward them and assist in their development (e.g. bonuses, advanced training, education payment, tips, etc.). Thanks for stopping by and kicking off the conversation, Steve.

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