Are you always this inattentive?

I found this post while hanging around on facebook

(yes, I do that far too much but because of that I find gems like this)

Jim McHarg has pointed out something we all just accept to be the norm anymore. We settle for mediocrity on a daily basis, so much so that we are ready to give out awards to just about anyone who pretends to give a….darn! Have all our employers demanded so much from us that we can’t even muster up some faint piece of genuine interest in the work we do, and I would like to take this one step further and say that it is not just the people in the service industry. Everyone seems to “feel” they are over worked and stressed to the max, that they just couldn’t give one bit more.

Here is Jim’s take on customer service.  I may have to follow up with a post of my own.

Coffee shops have become fast food restaurants; fast food restaurants are serving coffee – the market has become saturated beyond all comprehension. Restaurant convergence has resulted in the need to minimize the the interaction between customer and server – this ostensibly makes up for the time lost waiting while people place their huge and varied orders. I rarely visit the golden arches. Most of the time I’d rather eat three day old dirt, but there are times when it appears to be the more convenient option. However, here is an almost verbatim exchange between me a gum-chewing burger dispenser:

Me: ” I’d like a PLAIN (pause for emphasis)… double quarter pounder meal, WITH CHEESE, and coke… to go.

Server: (Head droops to one side) Do you want cheese?

Me: (Politely pointing to big sign behind her) yes…I’d like a PLAIN (pause for emphasis)… double quarter pounder meal, WITH CHEESE, and coke… and that’s to go.

Server: What would you like to drink with that?

Me: (pause as I look into her vacant eyes)..Uhm..coke.

Server: (head droops to other side) So… that’s a double quarter pounder meal, with cheese, and coke.

Me: Plain

Server: Yes..uhm..it..is plain. Yes. Is that for here or to go?

Me: (I could have been at home, eating this crap by now)… It’s to go.

(I force a smile)

After an unreasonably long wait, my server shows up with fries, and sits them to cool on a red tray. Once they have cooled sufficiently, she returns with my burger and places it beside the cold fries then turns to pour some syrup over 10 oz of ice and water. Finally, she places the concoction on the tray and slides it a few inches towards me.

Me: (forcing a polite smile again)…uhm..it’s to go.

Server: (not the slightest bit embarrassed) Oh. She takes the cold fries and luke warm burger and drops them into a bag.

I walk to the condiments counter, open up the cardboard burger container and gently peel back the flat bun, which had been mashed by countless fingers – I could see the impressions. There, nestled amidst an oozing, stinking blob of green, yellow and red – I suspect it might have been relish, mustard and ketchup – was a soggy pickle. Okie dokie then. It’s back to the counter with my PLAIN (pause for emphasis)… double quarter pounder meal, WITH CHEESE, and coke.

Me: Uhm… this was supposed to be plain.

Server: (Double checks to make sure I’m not scamming her)..OK.

She returns, without an apology, with another offering – which passes my inspection – and I leave with my melted ice drink, cold fries and gooey, soggy grey lukewarm burger. The red, yellow and green paste they slather on these things serves a dual purpose… mainly it’s to disguise the appearance of the grey ‘meat’, and perhaps it lends something to the taste. It hides the bland cardboard flavour. Otherwise it might be impossible to tell whether you were eating the burger or the container is came in.

It was a valuable experience. It reminded me of why I try to avoid eating at these burger factories and it also drove home my point that customer service seems to mean very little today- at least, not to those charged with providing it. Perceived customer service is everything.

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