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Do-It-Yourself Trend Could Be His Undoing


You just can't get good help anymore.

I know this, because everywhere I go these days, I'm the help.

I do lunch, I have to order it, serve it, and clean the table afterward.

I buy clothes, I have to find them, size them, and decide if they're me.

I need surgery, I have to check myself in, check myself out, and check on me in the morning.

Frankly, I know myself well enough to know this--I'm not someone who should be working so closely with people. I don't have a table-side, bedside or haberdashery-side manner, and no prospects for developing such.

Which is why everyone shouldn't be so all-fired eager to employ me.

Granted, by making me wait on myself you cut down on things like overhead, arguments and complaints. But at what cost?

For example:

If I go some place where I have to serve myself, I almost never go back there because I'm so dissatisfied with the quality of the service.

And who could blame me? For the money I'm paying, I shouldn't have to put up with some snippy smart mouth.

Yeah, this whole do-it-yourself mania is really out of control.


Remember when you would pull into a gas station and an attendant would greet you, pump your gas, wash your windshield, check your oil and tires, take your money and send you on your way with a smile?

Whatever happened to that?

Oh, sure, you can pull into a station today and still receive this level of service if you want to pay through the nozzle. But most places you have to be willing and--more important--be able to provide it yourself. And I don't know about you, but any time I pop the hood on a car, new meaning is immediately lent to the word dipstick.

The super-sized, super-duper, supermarkets are even worse.

It's not enough that they make you load, unload and bag your own groceries; somestores now require shoppers to scan their purchases, deduct for coupons, and make change.

Does this mean that in the very near future one will also be expected to:

Get on the intercom to request a price check?

Close the register just before you get there?

Kick oneself out of the express lane for too many items?


And let's not even get started on banks, where it is now possible to orchestrate multinational leveraged buyouts at a drive-up ATM machine--as long, of course, as you are willing to pay the $1 nonmember's fee.

The point here is that if I wanted to be self-sufficient, I would have been a pilgrim or something.

The other point here is that while a certain amount of self-service is inevitable, a thin red line has been crossed. Increasingly, do-it-yourself means do unto yourself. And, frankly, I'm sick of the incompetence. I'm sick of me.

And I'm the customer, and the customer is always right, even if I am a jerk.

And, yes, I do want fries with that. But I'll get them myself.

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