Pop Culture
Oct 03, 2008, 05:08AM

Mr. Wrong

Want to fix the economy? Start by treating consumers better.

Fedex.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Photo by brosner.

I am a customer. That doesn't sound like much, but I'm what drives this economy errbody's all het-up about right now. I don't buy shit at cost, I don't know anybody in the business, I pay retail, and I'm sick and tired of the service I get. Seriously, it's like; there's supposed to be a formal relationship between me, the Customer, and Whoever The Fuck is supposed to guide me through my purchase. Yeah, I want guidance, I want help, I want Respect, motherfucker, because I pay for shit. I jam Economy. I don't get my coffee free because I know the person at Dunkin' Donuts, or Starbucks, or the crunchy-granola joints where I will always be a stranger, and really, I don't even want a fucking deal, OK? I want service. That's right, trick, I want to be Serviced to the fullest like the paying customer I am.

Here's what constitutes Service:

1. Greet my ass when I walk in your joint. And this is specifically for people who work in jobs that are not Sales Jobs, see? Just because you are not in Sales doesn't mean you get to be sullen and withdrawn like you are in real life. Put on a mask, be somebody else at work, somebody who is On The Job, Taking Care of Business In A Flash. Just acknowledge my presence, OK? You don't even have to say words, just gimme a nod, or a little wave, a millionth of a nanosecond of eye contact; just fucking greet me. I don't need that weird "official greeter" stuff like they do at Wal-Mart or wherever, I just want one tiny bit of recognition that equals appreciation and approval for being a teensy-weensy cog in the machinery that makes paychecks.

I'm not saying: "Respect, bitchez: I pay your paycheck," I'm just saying "Hey, we're all kinda in this together with the free exchange of Goods & Services for Legal Tender or fair-trade consideration, so lemme know you are On It, jobwise, and feel like I do." Do you feel? If you are in a Sales Environment, greet me like a human being and not a spindly-legged baby gazelle out on the savannah to your Hungry Lioness (they're the ones who do the hunting). It's mostly about being friendly and sociable. Again, non-sales people, "friendly" don't mean phony, it just means greet me nice and make me feel good about walking in to the place of business where you work. Laid back, dig? Put my ass at ease. It's not a lot to ask, it's not hard to do, and it will create a Positive Environment that's good for everybody.

For instance, I saw on Public Television that there's a bacteria or enzyme or something that creates the circumstances for people to develop ulcers in their stomachs. And hey, shocker, guess what causes that germ to multiply like Ice-T's Colors? Stress. And that shit's a two-way street. If you are in your workplace all day being an irritated, sour-faced employee, you are creating a Stress Environment, and not only are you inflicting your stank ulcer-causing attitude on anyone who is unlucky enough to be exposed to your Negative Radiation, you are inflicting that shit on yourself. Act like you know better,


2. When I ask a question, don't treat me like I am annoying and stupid. Even if I am annoying and stupid. Like, if I ask the price on some item, don't tell me some shit like "the price should be right there next to it," just tell me the price on the item so maybe I can buy the fucking item. Don't poop on my purchasing parade, man, I'm in here interacting with you and you're gonna turn my question around into me failing your snotty price quiz? Maybe I can't see or something, jeez. Help me or point me to somebody who wants to do business.

3. If you're Fedex, the shipping company, aka Federal Express, and you deliver a package to my house by mistake, and I take time outta my busy day of enjoying snack foods and trying to get my Satellite Radio antenna to acquire a decent signal and I call you on my fucking cell phone minutes to tell you there's a package here and it's not the right address or person so please come get it, just please to fucking do it, OK? Don't have your Regular-Fedex guy show up and tell me he can't touch it—or even scan it—because it's "Fedex Ground" or some bullshit, and then point to the motherfucking "G" on the package like I'm the idiot who caused the whole problem. Are you kidding me? I'm taking time outta my day to help a Customer of yours get their shit because you goofed. Don't tell me all about how it's a different company or tracking thing, blah blah blah, just get this fucking package that weighs 11 pounds outta my life. I'm thinking it's like a box full of Anthrax or some shit sent by The Enemy to a random Terror-Address and it's gonna explode Dirty-Bomb dirt all over everywhere any minute, or there's like, dismembered body parts or something in there, so don't tell me I gotta call Fedex again to tell them it's a Ground package.
Take care of this shit. I want service. I am America's Customer, and so are you.

  • Great column. I can't stand it when I buy something and the cashier doesn't say thank you. When I go to Starbucks--less than last year--the staff at my local place is the exception to the rule, very friendly, which takes away the annoyance when they try to push a muffin or scone when you just want coffee.

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  • You have a really, uh, interesting way of writing. But I don't mind when people don't say thank you, actually, I just don't notice it. What I don't like is when packages are damaged, like the one in the picture.

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  • My preference is to be completely ignored. I hate when I walk into a coffee shop and the barista wants to know my life story. It's patronizing, really, because I know that the only reason they ask "so what are you up to tonight?" is because corporate thinks that if they ask the customer this question, the customer will feel welcomed. As a kid of the tech age, I get freaked out by such straightforward friendliness. Whatever happened to social boundaries? Sure, you can smile at me, but if I look as though I'm trying to avoid a conversation, I probably AM.

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  • Whoa! I just read my above comment. What a curmudgeon. But I take back none of it.

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  • Usually my interactions with cashiers and the like are pretty neutral: not quite friendly, but certainly not nasty or caustic. I think there's an unspoken relationship between consumer and employee that a muted lack of emotion and a sort of robotic, mechanical operating mode that maximizes efficiency and speed.

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