Monday, December 19, 2005

Hate: Bad Service

Perhaps you've been able to tell by now, but I'm an impatient sort. I don't want you in my way at the grocery store and it bugs me when my wife digs around in her purse/steamer trunk for the car keys. I don't have enough time in the day to do all the things that I want, so waiting for other people isn't something that I enjoy. I've become especially impatient and intolerant of bad service because, in the end, it means that you are just sucking more time right out of my watch and that just takes away from being able to do the important stuff in my life like, you know, sitting around.

This topic was prompted by a trip to the mall with my lovely bride last weekend. I know what you are thinking. Yes, I went to the mall a week before Christmas. Yes, I should have been more patient and tolerant in light of the whole Jesus thing. Yes, I should have known that everyone in the entire world would be at the very same mall bothering me. Anyway, I experienced some pretty crappy service and I just had to share my feelings with you . Can't a brother just expect the lackies earning their $6.50 per hour (plus a 10% discount from the store!) to do their jobs?!

We were looking for a gift for her dad. Some kind of goofy things that you strap on your shoes to prevent you from slipping while you walk. We could debate whether this gift was going to be any good or not (Amy has the very same thing and has yet to use them but she wants to get a pair for her dad?) but that would take time away from talking about the Employee of the Month at Dick's Sporting Goods.

So we're kind of wandering around looking for these things. We have that look about us that just screams "I hate everyone here and if you could just point me in the right direction, I'll be happy to spend my greenbacks on your overpriced crap so I can then stand in line with the rest of the sheep". Finally, I make eye contact with Skippy and ask him if they carry these stupid things. I knew I was in trouble when he kind of scrunched up his face like he had bitten into a bug and repeated what I asked him. I could hear the little gears turning in his little melon and then grind to a halt as if someone had poured a bucket of sand in there. With great confidence, he announced that, despite the enormous catalog of inventory that Dick's carries, they do not have such an item. While unfortunate that I would have to traipse off to another store, it was even more unfortunate that I saw an entire rack of these goofy things not 50 feet from where Junior had just told me that they weren't! (If that didn't make sense, it means that Dick's really does carry these things and the high school punk had no clue but lulled me into a false sense of security by speaking "confidently".) So off I went to buy the boot traction things and Sporto no doubt went off spreading more bad information. I know that I shouldn't expect much from a chump making $6.50 an hour but come on! If that's what you signed up for, at least do your friggin' job! Maybe Dick's is a little overwhelming for him. Perhaps a place like Hot Topic would be more his speed where the junior high girls aren't as demanding as impatient bastards like me .

Here's another example - and much shorter! I was at Starbuck's (imagine that!) in Meijer's the other day. As we all know, my VentiNonfatNoWhipMocha costs $3.76. Because I didn't want to get a whole bunch of change back, I gave the chick a fiver and a penny. The problem was that I gave her the penny AFTER she had already rung up my mocha goodness. Good God, you'd think I asked her to perform some sort of calculus right on the spot! See, normally her nifty little cash register would have told her to give me $1.24 but now I had given her the extra penny and she froze up like she had stepped on a rusty nail when she was a little kid and the lockjaw had just now set in. She kind of made that bug-biting face and let me know that she "isn't very good in math" and looked pleadingly at me to take back my penny. Standing my ground, I gave her the penny and let her know that the change should be a buck and a quarter. "Not very good at math", she said. She should have said "I'm pretty stupid and I can't think for myself so please don't mess me up by giving me money after the cash register tells me what to do." Again, this transaction took valuable seconds away from watching another video of a guy getting hit in the nuts by the fat kid on his little league team and who wants to miss that?

OK, last example. Most of my monthly bills are automatically deducted from my vast fortune every month insteading of mailing them in. One of those bills is from the evil cable company. Don't get me started on these guys but one month they screwed up and didn't get their grubby mitts on my money. So what do you think they did? They took twice the usual amount the next month. So I got on the horn to the idiots at Charter Communications and asked them what the deal was. It seems that they had a software upgrade that went awry and they weren't able to take their money in the first month so they just helped themselves to my loot in the second month. Huh? What? Does that seem fair to you? You snooze, you lose, man! Let me just say here that you don't want to screw me in the money department. I don't have that much in the first place so I get pretty protective of it. I proceeded to chew on the ear of the Charter person until I thought I was going to have a grabber - all for about $100 that they were entitled to in the first place. Yes, I fully acknowledge that it was no big deal for them to delay their debit a month and the mortgage company wasn't going to change the locks on my house, but that's not the point. The point is that all this crap is done electronically and there is no reason why my little life should be affected by your electrons going haywire. If you have a software "upgrade" (now they can play solitaire and minesweeper online!) have a backup plan, you dolts! People do this stuff all the time. That's what IT nerds are for.

For those of you who think I'm just a whining pain in the ass, allow myself to explain.... myself. This country is becoming more and more service orientated (love that "word" almost as much as irregardless!) and yet I get crappy service! What's up with that? I work in the automotive industry so I see plenty of manufacturing jobs moving to our amigos in Mexico and our (whatever the Chinese word is for "friends") in China. This is done usually because the labor is cheaper and, if those folks can make the same widget with the same quality, then more power to the capitalists who want to reduce their costs. If the punk at Dick's was smart (of course, by definition, he isn't) he would strive to be the best darn flunkie he could be or we might ship his service sector job over to India like Microsoft has done.

Please stop before you try to explain global economics to me. I don't care about the globe. I'm mostly interested in me. Please improve your math skills. Please improve your knowledge of the company for which you work. Please program your software so that it does what it's supposed to do. And, for the love of Pete, quit sucking the time out of my watch!

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