Wednesday, January 9, 2013



  1. (esp. of a system or machine) Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
  2. (of a person) Working in a well-organized and competent way.

One of those buzz words like sustainable and green that seem to be everywhere. 
Business results show that we need to improve upon efficiencies. 
High efficiency washing machines. 
And Light bulbs. 
We're going to start keeping metrics so we can track efficiencies. 

I've tried to work on my efficiency lately. I usually just re-start the dryer for a third time to avoid taking the time to iron.

I was on the phone with a phonebook salesman a while back, completely unimpressed with anything he had to say. For a week I let him know that we weren't interested in spending marketing dollars in his phonebook.

Creepy phonebook guy, Teddy: Here's what I'm telling you, Miss Bowsman...."
Jean: It's Bowman. No "S"
Teddy: Yes! I knew that, it's here in my notes. 
Jean: Yes, because I corrected you last week. 
Teddy: Right, right, right. But here's what I'm telling you. Phones, websites, apps, they will never replace the phonebook. It has been around forever. People still use the phonebook every single day. 
Jean: You know what, Teddy?
Teddy: Yes, Miss Bowman?
Jean: You're right. I use the phonebook everyday. 
(Teddy, under his breath: Yes, yes, yes)
Jean: It's in my dining room. Under the table leg on the right side. Keeps the table from rocking. 
SILENCE - it was beautiful. 

Teddy: Miss Bowman, I will go ahead and cancel your advertising with GoldenPages, but you'll need to go through a confirmation that will be recorded. I will give you the verification code and you just repeat it after me. Do you have a pen and paper ready?
Jean: Yup. 
Teddy: T as in table, D as in David, V as in victory, 1, 5, G as in giant, M as in Mary, 7. Now, please confirm that code. 

How efficient, I thought. He paired every letter with a word so that I didn't immediately ask if he said B or T. I loved it. It saved time. And questions. 

And, it presented a challenge: an instant, on-the-spot, word game. I had just seconds to find the best letter/word matches before anyone asked for clarification.

Two days later I was on the phone with Priceline with a travel inquiry. They asked for my confirmation number. 

BINGO: A chance to use my new, efficient communication tactic. 

"Ok," I told the gal. "I found my number: G as in good job, B as in bumble, 1 as in one-way street, V as in very good, 3 little pigs, 3 more, and 7."


I had to repeat it, no "efficiencies" attached. Realizing how thoroughly I had confused the gal, we concluded the conversation with a $100 flight change fee. Bummer. 

Nearly a month passed before I could use the word game/clarification efficiency again, this time with AAA. 

Jean: "Tempooorrrraary membership coooode....." I drug the words on as I searched the mailer for my code. "Ah! Found it. Ready?" I asked. 
Kind, patient AAA man: I'm ready. 
Jean: P as in pine tree, R as in real, K as in the jeweler that every kiss begins with, 7...deadly sins? Then C as in Chrissie Cartmell, Chrissie Cartmell again, 8 maids-a-milking, 4 square, T as in Tommy Boy, B as in boy and P. Like, Purdue.


I had failed. 

A New Year resolution of mine is to work smarter. That's why I gave the gal at Fidelity my social security number this afternoon, rather than my client code. Until I master the word game Creepy Teddy taught me, I'll find other ways to improve my efficiency. Like...deleting my Pinterest account. 


  1. Efficiency is a 4-Letter word! The more you try, the more people expect, and then the less efficient I seem to be.

  2. Deleting Pinterest? Seriously? I thought that was an integral part of everyone's wedding planning?! I see why you might. I've considered it myself but then I'd lose all of the recipes and craft projects and DIY tips I may never use and a wardrobe I'll never afford

  3. Oh no - you were perfectly efficient. They just have no sense of humor.

  4. Loved reading this! I was laughing out loud!!