Mood: A bit tired, but OK.
Music: Alech Taadi, Khaled.
Game: World of Warcraft, Planetside, Auto Assault Beta, Dungeon Siege II.
Book: The Battle of Mogadishu, Eds. Eversmann and Schilling.
Muffin: Raspberry-Sweet Plum.
This all started yesterday. Not the actual death…which has been happening for years and years. But the final straw which made me realize that we, as a country, are doomed.
Yesterday, my mother called me (as she does every night or so…because she’s my mom, and my mom does that.) She felt the need to explain how she’d had a bad day on the phone.
My mom is recently retired. Like about a week and a half ago, she retired. She is now in the process of moving down to Florida.
She is trying to get insurance for the new apartment she’s moving into.
She called an insurance company that’s across the street from where she’s moving, and since her current insurance carrier was carried by that company, she figured it’d all be OK. So she calls them up and says that she needs a policy, and she’s already got a policy for her current apartment with the carrier, so could they take care of it?
The lady goes on with all these crazy questions about whether or not my mother’s been convicted of arson, and proceeds to get a list and value of EVERYTHING my mother owns. My mother asks if they could just get all that information from her current policy with her carrier. The lady says that the company has to ask these questions. My mother sighs and continues for 20 minutes. Then, she asks, “Is your new apartment within 10 miles of a fire station?” My mother pauses. “When you look out your window, you see my apartment, right?” “Yes.” “Am I within 10 miles of a fire station?” “Well, yes.” “If you KNOW where my new apartment is, and you know the area better than me, why would you ask me this question?” “Well, I have to ask you.”
This was the point where my mother pretty much decided to find another insurance company.
Her day continued with the people from the cable company coming in to change her cable box from analog to digital, because now, apparently in Manhattan in her building, you need to be digital.
The cable guy came, disconnected her analog box, for some reason could not complete the conversion, and left her a new digital box which is not hooked up. So, in effect, the guy came, removed her working analog box, replaced it with a non-working digital box, then, unceremoniously he left. No cable service for my mom.
She promptly called the cable company, and told them what happened, and the lady on the other end of the phone said that they could schedule someone for Saturday. My mother just about lost it, and instead asked for the name of the President of the company, to which the lady replied that she didn’t know. My mother said something to the effect of “You work for a company, and you have no idea who the president is? I’ll wait here while you find out. It shouldn’t be hard.” The lady goes away and comes back and gives my mother the name of the President, and follows it with a snarky “but I don’t have a phone number for him.” My mother responds that it couldn’t be that hard to find that out, seeing as Time-Warner is a fairly large company.
My mother calls the administrative offices of Time-Warner, gets an automated attendant, and enters the President’s name. She gets right through to the President’s assistant, and proceeds to tell her what happened. The assistant understands, and routes the call to a woman. It’s about 4:30pm at this point. The lady listens to the problem, does some following up, and finally says “Well, I’ve left some messages, but it’s 4:30pm, and I leave at 5pm, so I don’t expect to get back to you tonight, but I’ll call you tomorrow to follow up.”
This entire process has taken hours at this point, my mother is without cable when she had perfectly working cable that morning, which some cable guy came in and managed to screw that up, then left, leaving my mother to figure out how to somehow get that rectified. After all that, even after speaking to someone who may, or may not, be able to help her, presumably someone fairly senior at that, that person can’t fix a problem her company caused, because it’s almost 5pm.
As of right now, I haven’t spoken to my mom to see what the outcome has been…but I’m guessing things were probably equally as frustrating this morning…if she even called back.
Then, this morning, my homie ‘Phyxie blogged that even though Moto GP 3 came out yesterday, he does not yet have a copy. Knowing ‘Phyxie, this is about as insane a statement that could be made. Aside from the wife, I’d say nothing more impacts ‘Phyxie’s life than his motorcycle, going very fast on said motorcycle, and when he’s not doing that, simulating being on said motorcycle.
He doesn’t have a copy, you see, because when he went to EBGames, the lady behind the counter said that she was the only one in the store, and so she couldn’t unpack them. The game was IN the store. ‘Phyxie was in the store. The lady, presumably, was taking money for merchandise, because that’s what stores like that do. But she couldn’t take the time to walk in the back, make a quick note, and sell him a copy of the game he’s been lusting after for weeks. Then she topped it off by saying “Come back tomorrow, or better yet, Thursday.”
THURSDAY? Is this lady aware of the fact that videogamers don’t wait two days after release for a game? That he COULD just go home, order it online, and get it next day? No, of course she’s not aware. She has no idea. She’s working in a job she knows nothing about, and she couldn’t care less about whether or not ‘Phyxie will ever come back to that store.
Here’s my problem. The entirety of the United States has moved to a service economy. The problem with that is that it implies that everyone works in service. Naturally, not everyone is suited to work in service. Some people would be better off making cars. Or growing wheat. Or digging ditches. Or rebuilding New Orleans. But since many of those jobs are no longer available, they’re instead sitting on phones in insurance companies, doing complaints at a cable company, or working behind a register at a game shop. They’re not suited to the task, they never wanted to do the job, but they need to work.
They have no desire to be there, and have no pride in their job. They don’t care if you’re happy, or satisfied. They don’t care if their company does well…it doesn’t relate to their success. These people do their job every day, not caring whether or not they’re doing a good job. When you stop caring about doing a good job, in a service industry, or any industry, probably, you’re guaranteed to fail.
And we deal with these people every day.
America has no concept of service. And Americans are generally not gracious enough to accept good service, because they feel it’s owed to them, and never expect it. Then, because they treat people so poorly, service people get annoyed, just reinforcing their completely ambivalent attitude towards their job. If they can’t make anyone happy anyway, why try?
This is only getting worse.
Today, try to be as positive as you can while you work. Focus on doing a good job, and CARE about whether or not your customer, be they internal or external, is satisfied with your performance.
It won’t change the world…but it might change your outlook.