March 14, 2006

Even though the rain of Saturday and the snow that powdered the McDowells and Superstitions have become a memory, the humidity has stayed. That, combined with the cleansed air and the damp earth, has given us evenings full with a gloriously sweet, lovely fragrance. The fruit trees are especially powerful, the scent they give off reminding me of the honeysuckle I used to love on humid June evenings back East. Spring has sprung here in the Valley of the Sun, and, at least for now, it is lovely to behold…

Ben Stein’s column of a few days back could not have been more appropriate given my experience today with what has become, unfortunately, all too familiar – bad customer support. It just so happens Tracey and I ordered a new TV from Shop NBC. Supposedly, included in the price we paid was home delivery with setup included. So today, I stayed home from work because the company responsible for delivery (BTW, sub-contracted out to Bekins, the moving company, which should have been my first clue things had gone awry) was scheduled to deliver the set today.

Well, they said they’d call me first thing to let me know the 4-hr. window I could expect to receive delivery. By 10 AM, no call. So, I call the number they gave me, and I speak to the same lady I spoke to yesterday – the one who recited back to me the phone number where I said I could be reached today. As it turns out, somewhere between her reciting the number and writing it down on paper, well, things got confused. No big deal, I say, I give her my number again and await their call.

An hour later, I get called – they’re on their way! But, they want to make sure they don’t have to climb up steps. No, I assure them, as I told the lady yesterday (along with the number she got wrong), there are no stairs. 25 minutes later they arrive – a dude with a skull cap and tatoos all over, with two obviously illegal aliens who can’t speak or understand a word of English. No, he tells me, they’ll drop the set off but there’s no install included. And, he cautions me, don’t bother to call the office to complain, they’ll tell you the same thing. 3 minutes later, the TV is dropped off and they’re on their way.

As an idealist (not unlike Mr. Stein, I think), perhaps I’ve come to expect too much in the ways of 21st century American commerce. This, on the very day we hear Northwest Airlines is going to start charging more for aisle seats on flights, and (perhaps by the end of the year) it is expected that you’ll also start paying extra to bring a carry-on on board. Overall, I think it’s pretty sad because young people nowadays will only grow accustomed to this lack of service, not knowing the proper way to conduct business with the public. Please excuse me if I sound like an old fart, but this kind of thing – and not that many years ago – would almost have been almost unheard of in the American retail industry. With the explosive growth and increasing competition from the Internet and e-commerce, you would think that attention to customer service would be something a company would take seriously to gain an edge in the competitive wars. I guess not. Unfortunately, this is yet another example of how our society and culture is suffering as a result of our own diminished expectations; if you don’t desire and expect excellence, in the end there’s no way you’ll ever get it.

Well, this comes as no surprise. Me, I’d rather be invited to the upcoming Nicollette Sheridan/Michael Bolton wedding than concede defeat and ask directions from anyone. Which is OK, I know it’s a guy thing. What bothers me about this particular news item, however, is that the article exclusively concerns British male drivers, yet the author tosses us all – half the entire world – in the same chum bucket, like shark bait. And, notice no one has the guts to admit authorship of this article. Might it be, perhaps, a member of the, er, female persuasion, perhaps? Hmmmm?

I guess that means tomorrow there’ll be yet another anonymous article, this one titled, “Women waste ten million hours a year”, describing the time it takes most women to get ready in the morning, right? Don’t count on it. 🙂

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:44 | Comments Off on On a Fragrant Night…
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