Let me start this off by saying that I am an anarcho-capitalist. I believe in the free market, I believe government has NO right whatsoever to be involved with PRIVATE business so long as that business does not bring harm to another. That being said, I am noticing things that are becoming cultural trends that affect private business in very negative ways. These cultural trends are a lack of customer service by business, and a lack of caring about customer service by the customer. It is a vicious cycle that takes any enjoyment out of being a consumer and makes it a dull and cold business experience with no sense of thanks, caring or even the feeling that the community was served in the slightest way. It seems that we have become so diluted in our thought processes that we accept things that we don’t want.
Think about it!
A prime example of this is something that happened to me just before I decided to write this little rant. I ordered lunch to be delivered, and when I got it, it was one hour and twenty minutes late, cold, and the sub that I ordered was so pitiful to look at that I was in shock someone had actually said it was ready to be delivered. I’m from a New York Italian family, but I am currently living in the South; that being so, I enjoy going out (or ordering) and seeing what private restaurants are like, because that is almost a part of my culture (it’s a New York Italian thing—maybe you get it, maybe you don’t). Now, being a “Yankee” and coming south, let’s just say that as soon as I crossed the Mason-Dixon line, the first thing I noticed was Mom and Pop businesses stop and McDonalds, Walmart, Hardee’s and Burger King begin. It’s like the land of dull and grey…there is no variety. I don’t want to make it seem like I am picking on the South because, in truth, the lack of connection between customer and business or employee and business is everywhere; but it is a little easier for me to describe my immediate surroundings—so I will, without holding back.
So, back to my order that pissed me off enough to actually write about. I ordered an eggplant parmesan sub (or wedge, or hogie depending on where you come from), which entails fried eggplant, marinara sauce (or, as us New Yorkers say, red gravy) and parmesan cheese…not that complicated, right? Wrong! In the South, it is almost like Einstein’s E=mc2 formula…oh wait! That’s right! Einstein was the Devil’s helper, there is no scientific logic in the American South. But I digress. So now that I explained those three basic steps, here is what I received over an hour and 20 minutes later: a sub, two thin cold strips of eggplant…that is it. I just paid $10 for two pieces of bread and two cold strips of eggplant. So, I call this place, and of course I get the typical ditzy girl between 18 and 23 on the phone who hasn’t quite found Earth yet. I explain my issue and in response I get, “Oh!…I’m sorry.” A few seconds pass and I ask if I can get another one, or a refund. Once again I get, “Oh!…um…..” Silence, for like 10 seconds. I say “Hello?” and ask again, and this time I get “Oh!…um…we can make you a new one! It’ll be about 45 minutes to an hour!” So I ask if I could just get a refund and sure as shit, once again: “Oh!….um…..” (10 seconds later) “Hello, sir…? I’m still there. “Oh!… um…yeah, we can give you a refund, it’ll be like 45 minutes to an hour!” So, losing my mind with wanting to kill this clueless creature, I just said “Fuck it,” and hung up. To me, $10 was worth not talking to that empty skulled moron.
So, what is the point of me writing this? If you think it is a rant over a damn sandwich, then you are completely missing the point. The point is, it feels like for years now this has been my experience, and for everyone I know, when dealing with customer service of ANY establishment. NOBODY cares, because jobs have turned into nothing more than wage slavery. Twenty to thirty years ago, there were still “community” stores…you know, the store owned by Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones, and has been there for 50 years. Now, with Wally World Walmart and other megachains like that, they are not serving the “community,” they are serving a small region. I live down the block from a Walmart and while it is convenient, it is also packed with people who live as far as two and three townships away from me…how does that serve the free market? How does that aid in local revenue for the townships that don’t have a Walmart chain, but do have hardware stores, food shops, home goods and clothing stores? It doesn’t; all it has done is create a factory/assembly line kind of market where there are no bonds between the people who shop and the store that provides. Let’s use a hypothetical, yet realistic example. Let’s say you shop at Walmart and an employee is rude to you and gives you one awful shopping experience…how can you, as a customer, get any satisfaction that can make amends for your distress? You can’t! You know why? Because nobody gives a shit! What are you going to do, start a Walmart boycott? Yeah, right. Megastores like Walmart, Home Depot, McDonalds and Burger King are nothing more than giant vending machines with live workers. The ONLY way a customer would get any justice would be if that mega-corporate chain did something illegal that caused an injury. Other than that, it is one big TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT mindset!
And if you think it is only shopping experiences, think again. ANY company you deal with could care less about you, because you are a number in an endless count. Just the other day, my sister was getting her stuff ready for the college classes she will be taking next month, when the college decided to make a brazen and illegal attempt to extort more money from her by waiting until after she had all her financial aid set up, then claiming she was an out-of-state resident—which she wasn’t, and had the paperwork to prove it. They (cough-cough, Trident Technical College of South Carolina) didn’t care that she is 23 years old, working five, six and sometimes seven days a week—many times over 13 hours a day just to make enough money in this shitty economy to live! But in the land of TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, this is what we have come to accept: an evil, soulless machine known as the modern economy, that runs on policy and statistics, not logic.
I think it is time for people to break the mold and start coming up with ways to make this country feel less like a plastic Barbie doll existence and more like one big community with people who have names—not customer order numbers. I don’t think that is an unreasonable or utopian delusion. I think if people put their heads together and stopped saying, “I can’t find a job, so I’ll take what I can find,” or “I don’t like shopping here, but I don’t feel like driving down the block,” and started creating new systems and technologies, it would make life more pleasant and bring back that human component we are all missing so desperately.
These are just my thoughts, take it or leave it for what it’s worth (no pun intended).
About the author: My name is Jay Gondolfo. I’m a 6 year USCG vet originally from the Soviet Russia… pardon me, typo… I meant I’m originally from the wonderful state of New York now currently living in Germany… Typo again…I mean South Carolina.