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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Gripe

Lack of Service Is Dumbth-Founding

March 17, 2001|ROCKY MIDYETT

Has the business world gone crazy lately? Or are they purposely trying to stick it to us with their lack of service? You be the judge:

Let's start with the post office. All I wanted to do was track down a certified letter in Whittier. But you can't just call your local post office anymore. You have to call the post office at the 800 number. So, I told the 800 guy that I needed to speak with the Whittier office directly. He said OK but asked for my name.

"You don't need my name, I just want the Whittier office."

The helpful 800 guy says, "We have to have your name so we can introduce you to the Whittier office." Introduce me? To a post office? How could I tell him I already have a relationship with another post office?

Next example: I'm waiting in line to pay for a pair of jeans at a local department store and I hear the clerk at the register say, "I can help the next guest, please." Guest? I look around and wonder if there's a cocktail party going on that I missed, but all I see are customers like me, with jeans and underwear and sale items standing like lemmings in line, then I realize she's talking to me.

As I left I would have said goodbye to my hostess and thanked her for the lovely party or whatever, but she was nowhere to be seen. Probably fussing over the hors d'oeuvres.

One more, then I'll stop. There are a couple of radio ads for banks advertising loans. I have no problem with the fact that everybody wants to loan me money. But when I look for a loan, I usually hunt up a loan officer. Not with these banks. No, with these guys, you see a "relationship counselor." A relationship counselor? What would the nature of this relationship be? How do you get to be a relationship counselor in a bank, anyway? By introducing people to post offices?

The late Steve Allen coined a word describing, among other things, the decline of service in this country. The word was "dumbth." I feel like I've had too many brushes with dumbth lately. Here's a wild idea: How about a real effort to provide better actual service instead of these superficial, insulting illusions of service?

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Rocky Midyett lives in Covina.

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