Redline Doc

Jan 12, 2012 - 4 minute read - Commentary of the times

Sin service

I’m astounded at what passes for service. I probably shouldn’t be.

Recently I went to a BestBuy.  They employ college grads, young folk, with slicked hair and ‘tude.  I’m usually in there, an older guy, tie, shirt looking about for what I need. At first I thought “bad clothing” or “bad BO” but that’s not it.  You can be systematically ignored in the store.  Asking a tech question may or may not get you a human to help, but for me it has worked to the extreme opposite, sent to some corner of the store so that when I get back, that person is gone and another in his/her place.

I have some news for BestBuy and their ilk. Of the monies we spent on tech this past year, and we spent a fair amount, we spent less than 5% at BestBuy, maybe less this year. These guys are circling to be the next CompUSA. The CompUSA  dudes had it down though.  Customer and service never made it on the same line with them.

As I watch the no-eye-contact cashiers, the smiles from the managers as they pull the goods through the turnstiles but neglect the customers paying for them,  they fail to understand that it is not employers who pay the wages, they only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages (Henry Ford).  They too are doomed, dinosaurs of a different age.

I wonder how in this economic race to the bottom, rather than increase the service, turn on the warmth, bring the people in the doors, the assumption that build-it-they-will-come still prevails. I am fortunate but have become much more picky about disbursing my funds, preferring service and knowledge over glitz and push.

Its a lesson the car industry has yet to learn as well.  Chrysler, famed for its CEO statement of yore “well we don’t make that model anymore” as an apologia for lousy engineering and a corporate culture of not caring. Bellied up to the National Soup Kitchen they took the money to renew themselves but if “bring back the Dart” is any measure of what that means, we’re in for more of failed engineering (the PT Cruiser), harum-scarum tactics (most of the SUV’s), and less attention to the consumer.

Sure advertisement can push the consumer into believing that more pollution is better,  that higher standards (be cautious of that word) would make the industry unprofitable and that what we need is a return to the over-sized, overpriced, under-engineered cars of the 90’s or 70’s.

Service at its worst is at the front lines of restaurants. Somehow, the ‘tip’  has become part of the expected payment, even for non-existent service.  I mean, how much service or even humanity do you get at the local donut parlor?  Mindless avatars push out coffee and what passes for food without ever making eye contact.  And there it is, the tip mug. It doesn’t say ‘por service’ anymore, heaven forfend, just TIP MUG.   I’d rather tip the machine at Horn and Hardart!

Out for breakfast recently we waited as other’s were menu’d, coffee’d then served then left!  I thought wow, we much be invisible. I snagged one of the waitstaff who said, oh excuse me then disappeared, forever. Another came over with coffee offering to get out check. We almost left the restaurant. I demurred and said we’d had neither coffee nor menus nor food yet!  Oh my gosh. And she too disappeared. The third came over without eye contact, without ‘gee I’m sorry’ and took the order.  Coffee appeared similarly. The food was delivered but without a rehash or recall. Who knew we wanted a bit of a warm up. Customarily I’m a very good tipper but rose to this occasion to tell the person at the register, quietly, what had happened.

“We get a lot of that around here”, she  said ruefully.  Dinosaurs. I can hear them falling all over the place.

Pish tosh Scammed again!

comments powered by Disqus