Although I tend to think most people are worth a damn until they prove otherwise, frequently to my detriment, it seems like The World is taking a decidedly different direction. In The World, you have to prove you're worth the effort, you have to earn respect, and you have to work to get good customer service. I know, because I work in a customer service oriented field, and although we pride ourselves on delivering "World Class Customer Service," our customers are so accustomed to having to fight to be treated fairly that they will ordinarily demand a supervisor to handle something that our agents are completely capable of doing.
Now might be a good time to note, however, that in order to provide what is considered "World Class Customer Service," you must achieve a level of customer satisfaction of 85% or higher. This means there is still a 15% margin or meanness, rudeness, or otherwise inappropriate "service."
This is new, too. There was a time, not all that long ago, and probably quite alive and well in the time Pretty Woman was written, cast, and produced, in which excellent customer service could be expected. "The Customer is Always Right" was the popular motto and it was the responsibility of the service provider to ensure that the customer was completely satisfied. Call your internet provider, utility service, or the customer service line of any company that does not need to compete for your business and you will understand how far we've fallen from that ideal.
A while back, I was sharing a story of positively wretched and unacceptable customer service with my parents. I live in Philadelphia. My father works in Philadelphia, less than a mile from my home. We are both patrons of a Superfresh store which lies between the two locations. It was at this store that I was trying to purchase pitted kalamata olives for a recipe I wanted to make for a family gathering that afternoon. The only place in the store where I could obtain the object of my desire was the dreaded deli counter. The employees behind the counter were not exactly in love with their jobs and didn't have a problem letting that show. I was in line and a man was in line beside me. We waited and watched as the girl came out from the back, glared at us, moved some things around, and disappeared back behind a door. A few moments later, she reappeared and addressed the man, who kindly pointed out that I was ahead of him. The only reason I knew it was my "turn" was him letting me know. The girl glared at me and said, "well?" Pushing aside my astonishment, I asked for the desired quantity of kalamata olives, which were then sloppily thrown in a container which was taped shut and tossed in my general direction.
I was appalled. I don't care how much you hate your job, it isn't my fault you work here, so don't treat me with such blatant disrespect! Needless to say, I addressed a very detailed complaint to the manager... who did nothing. I have since complained about another employee who appears to be constantly high and who cannot be bothered to run my groceries past her little blinking red light. Finding myself in her lane is all it takes to ruin my day. The management does nothing.
They don't have to - where else am I going to go? There aren't exactly supermarkets on every corner in the city, so they know that my only option is to take some form of transportation somewhere a few miles away and they know I'm not likely to do that. What they don't know is that I am enough of a "stickler" for customer service that I just might do exactly that. I can't say I was surprised when I learned that Superfresh is going bankrupt.
The Purpose of this blog is to review businesses, in a sense. Ever since the Meltdown of October 2008, I know I have guarded my money more jealously, and I believe Americans in general are demanding more for their consumer dollar. I think this is a giant leap in the right direction. I want to help people take that leap by calling out companies who do not value your business and by bringing your attention to companies who go well above and beyond. I want to help you spend your money at places who do what is necessary to make you feel like royalty, even though you're sitting in a diner at midnight, drinking bargain brand coffee. I want to steer you away from high-end jewelers who feel that you need to prove you are worthy to dirty their floors with the streetdust from your shoes.