I’m Turning into THAT Guy


I told my wife on Friday or was it Saturday okay, today, that I think I’m turning into a curmudgeony old man.  I forget stuff, get irritated at others when I do.

I DON’T like it when people drive on my grass [i’m still cool with kids, so I guess I’m not wholly there yet] and I like my driveway leaf free.

And I’m noticing that service ain’t what it used to be.

I have begun to notice that when I go to places I have to be very clear on what I want and when I want it.  If I’m not, well, I get what they want any ‘ol time they wanna give it.  And I guess when I was young and poor I had all the time in the world and really, I wasn’t in a place that would lend itself to speedy service.

But times have changed some.  Mostly my time has become more valuable.  Literally, it’s worth more to me now.  I would rather pay to not have to do a thing.  [though back to my yard, I haven’t yet agreed to pay someone to handle that.  Call it a hobby]

Anyway, the point is, I am much more attune to service than I used to be.  And I’ve noticed that some places are better at it and others aren’t.  And I wonder why.

Then I listed to this.

In this episode, Freakonomics author mentions that service is related to tolerance.  That is, when people tolerate bad service, they get bad service.  And when folks don’t tolerate bad service, they get better service.

It reminded me of a time I went to my local hangout; Manchesters.

I’ve been going here for years, regularly for at least 8, more like 9.  AND I’ve been in the industry; I have an extremely high tolerance for service that may not be the best.  Serious.

But on this night, this one waitress was just too much.  I simply could not get her attention and when I did, she didn’t seem to understand that when I asked for a thing, I would like that thing at some point.

Anyway, I made my displeasure known.

I didn’t confront her, I didn’t talk to the manager and I didn’t talk to the owner; all of whom I know.  What I did was reduce my tip from the normal overly generous amount to the more pedestrian 10%.

I STILL gave her money.  I just gave her less.

The next time I walked into the place, the manager asked to speak to me.  He wanted to know what happened and if I was upset.  He asked if they could make it better or if this was a one time affair.  And he totally apologized and bought my first beer.

Moral of the story?

Demand better service.  You’ll get it.

Curmudgeony or not.

 

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6 comments
  1. Karyn said:

    but what do you do when bad service happens in say a tipless environment….say Target? when the 18 year old cashier REPEATEDLY squishes your bread and Tostitos by putting them in the same bag with your canned goods….or thinks nothing of sticking your raw chicken in another bag with butter or some other good….FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, its raw meat people!!! IT GETS ITS OWN BAG!!! not that this bothers me. i am COMPLETELY that girl.

    but regardless, it still raises the question – I can’t do much to change this one with a tip. I could go to Harris Teeter where they are more likely to be friendly, but the lower costs keep me at Target. Market wins.

    • pino said:

      but what do you do when bad service happens in say a tipless environment….say Target? when the 18 year old cashier REPEATEDLY squishes your bread and Tostitos by putting them in the same bag with your canned goods….or thinks nothing of sticking your raw chicken in another bag with butter or some other good

      I think that you have to confront the person right then and there. In the audio content, the author of Freakonomics feels that it’s a matter of personal income of the shopper that determines the level of service. He mentions that as folks make more money, they demand better service. And as they demand it, they’ll get it.

      I could go to Harris Teeter where they are more likely to be friendly, but the lower costs keep me at Target. Market wins.

      I’m not sure whatch’a mean by “market wins” but if you’re using it in the manner I think you are, then it proves the point, “The market adjust and adapts”. In other words, the market does it’s job and is providing choice and price. If you want that better level of service, you can get it at Harris Tetter [they will cart my groceries out to my car if I ask them]. However, if price is more important to me, then I have the option of Food Lion, Wal-Mart or some other outlet.

  2. Henry said:

    The problem is that speaking up often takes more time than we want to invest in a solution. I do not know how many times I have waited at the service desk of a store while my wife got a refund of 30 cents that she was over charged. I would never deny her the right to get justice from the store, but I also know that we are paying a big price in time for that refund.

    A year ago, my dad bought a box of pretzel and was annoyed to find many broken pieces in the package. He sat down and began to reassemble the parts. When he was done an hour later, he had many three quarter pieces that had no matching piece. It was clear that these were broken BEFORE being placed in the box. He sent a letter off to the manufacture and received a coupon for two free boxes.

    It takes a lot of work to speak up. As a consumer, we just do not have the time to fight every battle.

    • pino said:

      The problem is that speaking up often takes more time than we want to invest in a solution.

      Hi Henry. You are, of course, correct. Everything has a price. Often times it’s our time.

      It takes a lot of work to speak up. As a consumer, we just do not have the time to fight every battle.

      Yup.

      My gut tells me that as a society, we are signaling that price is more important than service.

  3. Karyn said:

    @Henry – even though I don’t know you or your Dad, the vision of someone reassembling pretzels gave me the best laugh I’ve had all day!

    @Phil – yes, by “Market Wins”, I meant that the price benefit that Target provides is worth some crushed bread to me….I’ve done the adapting by learning to pack the groceries on the check out counter in the order I want them to be bagged, but this only works when I don’t have 2 kids in the cart vying for my attention.

    • pino said:

      the price benefit that Target provides is worth some crushed bread to me

      For me, it’s the benefit of being able to buy socks, a coffee maker, DVD player and I-Pad along with my ‘tater chips and Mac-n-Cheezy.

      They say that as the Cold War thawed, we brought over Soviet central planners to show them our grocery stores. They had been told we offered only vacant, cold, dark and unsanitary building with rotted food. When they saw an American grocery, they stood with mouths literally open. They couldn’t believe that no one planned it.

      Amazing.

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