Friday, June 25, 2010

Reaching Tilt Level

Is anything easy anymore? Does anyone care? Is "service" just a cruel joke to relieve us of our hard earned money? Is business so damn good you can just piss off or ignore your customers at will? And really, is the anniversary of the death of that clown Michael Jackson really more important than the on going gulf oil disaster, the fucked up wars, the continuing nightmare of the US political landscape...???

With frustration levels above the "tilt" level for many, it is no wonder so many Americans are on anti-depressants, beat their families, kick their dogs or go completely Howard Beale and join the Tea Party. I am about at that level, but rest assured, I have no intentions of drinking the tea; more of a coffee guy here anyway.

With the world on edge, it takes little to send one off into rant-and-rave land. Case in point: after 6 years of good service, I am going ballistic over my dry cleaners. They lost one of my favorite and expensive shirts last week. I was going to wear it at a funeral this past weekend, but since it was first, late in getting back and second, lost in laundry purgatory I had to change plans. So do you think they care? On the surface, maybe. I gave them a week and then inquired yesterday. Nothing. I don't think they have even looked. The clerk, who knows me as a regular customer, told me she "has to light a fire under their butts" when something like this happens. It could take months she said. So maybe by the time I need it again, it will reappear. Meanwhile... I am looking for a new cleaners.

This was combined with a second hassle-fest regarding setting up a new Dr apt. My old clinic was so swamped that getting an appointment was as about as likely as winning Powerball. So I was referred to a local Doc who had an office near by only to find out he had closed it and went to online consultative services managed by "HelloHealth".

With a name like that I should have been suspicious but I decided to play along. On Monday AM I registered, set up an appointment and then went on with my morning online routine which involves checking my bank account at UMB. Imagine my chagrin finding that within a few minutes, "HelloHealth" had tied up over $100 in charges on my debit card. I canceled everything and wrote to them to take the charges off. "Oh, don't worry" came the somewhat condescending reply on Tuesday, "these are just pre-authorizations and will go away soon". It took them until Friday and now I am being billed for $25 monthly service fee. MESS! And I never talked to the Dr at all. So here we go for round 2.

Internet, automation, cell phones all that was supposed to make things easy with around the clock instant access. Yeah, that can work just fine until something goes wrong Then you find you are thrust headlong into the virtual reality world of cyberland, whatever that is. Try to reason with a computer or an email service... it will drive you to drink. Well... try to reason with a human anymore... that does about the same.

Maybe I should just join in and do shoddy work, make excuses, ignore people (I am still waiting for a fellow to come out and give me a bid on my roof, I know I will never see him, guess he didn't need the business.... oh yes, my elevator emergency light battery and a call back from the insurance agent too,) and generally not do a thing until someone calls me on it. Seems to work out for a lot of folks.

When all seems frustration and despair, there can be a ray of light. I was perusing the Land's End catalog and noticed again some stylish and colorful summer Madras shirts, now on sale and with free shipping. So I went online to order one. The one I wanted said it was back ordered until June 14th. Since it was June 21st the day I was ordering, I wondered if it was actually available. So I called their number to inquire. Amazingly, a nice lady answered live on the first ring! No "press 1 for English" or "listen carefully as our menu options have changed" a real live person. She checked and sure enough the shirt was still on back order and probably would not be available again this summer. But, she went on, here are the colors immediately available in your size. My second choice was available but in very limited quantities. "Here, let me order it for you know while you are on the line," she offered. And I did. And it is on the way.

See it isn't that hard to do good business. Unlike Plaza Ford Ideal Cleaners and HelloHealth, Land's End has my business. Hopefully for a long time.

No comments: