Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hurry along now…

For years I’ve pondered the lemming effect social conditioning has on people. Why do we folks accept poor service as up to standard? Why, we don’t even complain when it’s handed to us. That’s just the way it is, good enough.

The current buzzword describing this social phenomenon is “sheeple” and it is apropos, as large numbers of we the people allow ourselves to be led down a path of apparently inevitable substandard service. Sheeple implies that those people (as sheep) believe whatever they are told, without processing it to be sure that it is an accurate representation of the real world around them.

In so many ways, as much as I resist this trend of substandardness, I feel like I am nit-wittingly going along with it. Heckfire, just try to stop being a part of it, and folks look at you like you are the problem, not the business. Let’s take a look at a couple of real world scenarios we have all bought into.

On the hellavision I’m told if I want the best of the best of the best in service, go to Home Depot to get superior products and exclusively expert advice from the legions of crack sales associate/owners, which, of course, are lined up to answer my myriad of confusingly intricate questions, and then with a Cheshire cat grin, they will patiently explain in the simplest of terms, that even I can understand, the most direct and least expensive way to solve my household problems.

The reality is it’s difficult to even find sales staff of any kind and the person who handles whatever you need… is off that day. Step two? Leave the store and attempt the same thing at Lowe’s and after the same experience, come back and bear it like the well-behaved shoppers we have been trained to become…or you can go to Eastham’s Home Center on Business 146 or Thomason Interiors on N. Main and someone will personally assist you.

The next scenario we all buy into is at the doctor’s office and involves making appointments and keeping them. Call for an appointment and when the prescribed 2 weeks go by, show up 15 minutes early. Sign the paper and sit down. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then when dutifully called to the window, pay your deductible (copay), if insured and then like an obedient animal companion, hunker down for “the wait”. This could be a long time, so bring at least 2 Snickers bars, a book or watch “As the world evolves” on the idiot box.

The first thing that goes through our minds is “I wonder what they are doing behind that frosted glass”. The second thing we ponder is “I wonder why I bothered to make an appointment, when it doesn’t seem to make a difference if I am on time”? And last “What a grand waste of my precious time”!

It’s time for Doctors to take a reality check and remember they are actually a business and they have paying customers and to instruct their office staff to be considerate of our time and discomfort. “Excuse me folks, the extremely important and busy doctor is still in surgery and I know some of you have been here for three hours, so we are having sandwiches and sodas brought up to hold you over and make the wait a little more pleasant”… Fat chance, but then again, we have learned to accept this as the norm, so why should they change?

Recently, my wife contracted a drywall/sheetrock man, who was truly an expert and a joy to employ. She told me his name is Mr. Martin Serrano and he came when called, had his crew do the required work in a timely and professional manner and the only time he delayed was in billing us. He wanted to make sure we were happy and personally came by to recheck their work. I rate this man’s work ethic right at 5 stars, whatever that means, but you get the point. His business delivered in a fashion reminiscent of the old days when customer service meant something and it was a totally refreshing experience.

We also found ourselves in need of a plumber due to a cracked water line at the meter and since I did not want to leave work, she was able to get immediate service through “No B.S. Plumbing” and I can attest that there was no B.S involved. He came, he fixed and we paid. Wow! I now have him fixing a few more items inside my house and guess what? He came directly and is doing the work as I write this.

We have learned to settle for less and it’s high time we put our foot down on poor service and give our business to those who truly offer personal service.

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