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Bill Kalmar

Quality Insider

Just Wondering

Thoughts of a rainy day

Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 - 05:30

Every now and then I like to relax in my comfortable Lazy Boy chair and contemplate what’s going on in the world and how it affects my life. Being retired gives people that option. Obviously it is beyond me to change any of the following thoughts, but perhaps there is someone reading this who has the ability and power to do just that. Here’s what’s running through my mind on this overcast, rainy day:

Just wondering why we have so many food recalls, particularly with meat. We never had any recalls when I was growing up in the 1940s. Maybe we were eating contaminated food back then, but never knew it. We never had to worry about defective baby car seats, because there weren’t any. Since we are all about quality, why do we keep having recalls on children’s items, such as cribs? 

Just wondering why we keep importing lead-laden products from China. The latest products to be concerned about are women’s leather purses. Based on experience, let’s conclude that everything coming out of China has elements of lead and appropriate warnings have to be issued. Therefore, can anyone tell me why we are still importing these contaminated products?

Just wondering if phone calls to customer service departments are really being recorded for “training and quality assurance.” Based on some of the assistance we get from certain phone jockeys, I doubt it. It seems that every company has utilized this recording, but I suspect that there is little, if any, follow-up on the recordings, if in fact, there is a recording.

Just wondering if there are actually some people with rotary dial phones. Certain recorded customer service lines state, “Please hold for the next representative if you have a rotary dial phone.” I wonder if these people also have a scrub board in place of a washing machine.

Just wondering why health care and education form the nucleus of Baldrige applicants and winners. Don’t manufacturing and service companies want to improve their internal processes? Once the Baldrige process was opened to health care and education it was as if a floodgate of applicants was released.

Just wondering if the Detroit Lions will ever in their lifetime appear in a Super Bowl. Heck, even the former lowly Saints are in the Super Bowl—and they are an expansion team. And if the Lions ever have a winning season what will late night comedians do for joke material. 

Just wondering if anyone ever purchases that E85 fuel. It’s made from corn and, as such, production of this substitute for gasoline has raised the price of corn and popcorn. There are few stations that stock it. What a joke. Wasn’t E85 all about improving the quality of the environment? Maybe the environment is not ready for E85.

Just wondering why organizations that are downsizing find it necessary to escort long-term employees out the door with armed guards. Are these employees that dangerous? What could they possibly extract from the company that is so valuable? Most companies have a mission statement indicating that “Employees are our most important asset.” Yeah right.

Just wondering what “Blu-ray” is. I just learned about high-definition television or HDT, so don’t boggle my mind with anything else. Please.

Just wondering what prompts ice fishermen to travel onto ice that is in a melting stage.  I’m sure during the next few weeks we in the Midwest will be hearing about some anglers floating down the river on an ice floe.  I say let them go all the way to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Maybe that will discourage them in the future.

Just wondering why so many people are enamored with Facebook. I had my own page for a while but people whom I had never been friends with while growing up now want to be my friend. Of course reading someone’s Facebook status and learning that he or she woke up and then spent the morning trimming their nose hairs has little appeal to me. On the other hand, trying to quit Facebook gives you a guilt complex, because the site almost infers that you are abandoning all your friends. Friends? I hardly knew most of the people who want to be my Facebook friend.

Just wondering why President Obama goes tie-less. I want my president to dress appropriately, especially in the Oval Office, and not appear as if he is going to a Jimmy Buffet concert. Say what you want about President Bush, but he always looked presidential.

Just wondering why teachers and professors are not measured based on accomplishments in the classroom. If there is no level of learning taking place why should someone be allowed to retain his or her job? Many of us as consultants are measured on presentation, deliverables, and follow-up.  Shouldn’t teachers be subjected to the same criteria, and if there are any deficiencies shouldn’t they be put out to pasture just as those in the corporate world? 

Just wondering who would win in a no-holds-barred cage fight between the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. My vote is for the Michelin Man. The Dough Boy should have Mr. Clean stand in for him.

Just wondering if anyone has ever been arrested for removing a tag from a pillow or a mattress since, supposedly, doing so is illegal and “punishable by law.” And if arrested, do you get a padded cell?

Just wondering if anyone who subscribes to Quality Digest Daily reads my column? And if so do they consider me cerebral, humorous, interesting, and compelling or just a whacko who should be locked up in a tagless-pillow padded room and forced to read Facebook entries all day from people who have rotary dial phones?


About The Author

Bill Kalmar’s picture

Bill Kalmar

William J. Kalmar has extensive business experience, including service with a Fortune 500 bank and the Michigan Quality Council, of which he served as director from 1993 through 2003. He served on the Board of Overseers of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and has been a Baldrige examiner. He was also named quality professional of the year by the ASQ Detroit chapter. Now semiretired, Kalmar does freelance writing for several publications. He is a member of the USA Today Vacation Panel, a mystery shopper for several companies, and a frequent presenter and lecturer.


Love your articles!

Since you are wondering..... I read your article everytime you are in Quality Digest. Yours is the main one I look for! Love your take on MI life - lived there for 19 years but call sunny, warm eastern North Carolina home now. Keep 'em coming!

Just wondering

WE DO have in our house, TWO ROTARY DIAL PHONES, simply because they work, and have for over twenty years! Over that time period we have had to replace our cordless pusbutton phones/answering machines three or four times, the pushbuttons quit working! In fact one of the last set we purchased (three phones/one base station) will not charge the battery, therefore it sits in a drawer all of the time, if ever we needed to have three cordless phones, and two dial phone going at the same time, we would have to put a charged battery in the one handset (it works otherwise). And NO we do not use washboards to do laundry. Until recently when our electric company instituted a policy of voice recognition we were unable to contact them during a power outage (only TT/PB phone in the house is cordless and therefore worthless in a power outage, and therefore only a hard wired phone (dial, in our case) is useable. We do have cellular phones, too, but if battery is down, no calls can be made there either.
On other subjects in article, supposedly the tags are removeable, once you get home. Theyaren't to be removed before you buy it and install the item.
I don't necessarily read columns by author, mostly by subject.
Blu-Ray uses a blue laser in lieu of a red laser, therefore putting more information on the same sized disk. We have not upgraded as we see no need at present. I want to be able to record TV shows as necessary for later viewing and refuse to apy an ongoing fee to TIVO, so the DVD recoder is what we use.

Just wondering

It has been a record warm winter in the Pacific Northwest. In fact it was a record warm summer too. While the Midatlantic is getting covered with snow, it has been sunny and mild in northern New England. I guess that is why they call it "Global".

The reason teachers don't get measured on how much their students learn is they are too busy dealing with child abuse, drug abuse, public law 94-142, 504 plans, school security, etc. to actually teach anything. Maybe all parents should have to come up with a QA plan, and be audited to become a certified supplier of children.

Great article!

Always love your articles and we have corresponded a few time over the past few years. Retired from Pfizer in 2007 and am now retired too. Lately I have been fighting the good customer satisfaction battle with a few different companies. I have found that if you can't get satisfaction from the customer service people (they aren't empowered to make you happy anyway) it pays to write to the Director of Investor Relations if the company is publicly traded. Many companies list who these people are on their web site and typically provide an email address as well. In one instance I received a direct phone call from the President's office of a major corporation in response to an email that I had submitted. Now that was real customer service! Currently I am doing battle with Sears over some rechargeable batteries for my drill that won't hold a charge for more than a few hours. I am awaiting a response on that one any day.

Well, keep them coming!

Re: Just Wondering...

Well, since someone asked - the reason we should care about global warming isn't because of the health of the Earth. On the geologic timescale, we're actually in a brief warm interval between long Ice Ages. But the effects on humans could be catastrophic. Look for New York and many other coastal cities to be underwater if the ice caps melt, not to mention a huge shift in the arable farmland that feeds us.
To answer your last question, Bill, no, I've never read any of your columns. I don't like the things you say in them.

Just Wondering

I was just wondering about Global Warming ( a scam bigger than Y2K) ...during one of the COLDEST winters in recent memory in many parts of the world. In fact, I was just wondering whatever happened to Global Cooling, which was the crisis of the hour when I was in college.....Just wondering.

S Moore

Just Wondering about Cap and Trade and CO2 as a Pollutant

I was just wondering why the EPA declared Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant when in fact it is a renewable energy source and most if not all of the plant and animal life on this planet depend on it to live. Look into your refrigerator and ask yourself where does all this food come from? The answer is from CO2, water and plants.

CO2 is not the cause of global warming it is merely a symptom not the cause. Why are we wasting so much money and effort on a symptom and not finding the root cause? My root cause analysis has determined that it is the Sun. I can show a correlation between the radius of the Sun and periods of warming and cooling on the Earth.

Edward Malsh - ASQ CQA & CQE
Quality Engineer

Nu-Way Industries Inc.
555 Howard Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Phone: 847-298-7710 - X3137
Fax: 847-635-8650
Email: malshe@nu-way.net