It can’t just be bad luck, but neither can my husband and I have angered anyone enough to justify our being singled out for such generally incompetent service as we’ve been receiving in recent years. While we generally try to maintain a positive attitude toward the twists and turns of life, this poor service is happening, so much so that it must also be going on all around us, driving other people crazy, too. Regardless of who we deal with–tradesperson, sales office, insurance claims adjustor, dispensing optician’s lab, car repair shop, bank card processing center–the odds are short that somewhere along the line, the process will go awry. Doing it right no longer seems to matter.
A number of people are wonderfully courteous while they make their inexplicable mistakes–“sweet idiots” my husband calls them. Yet a little cynicism is nudging its way into our attitudes now. Incompetence is so commonplace that we no longer really expect anything to be done right the first time. Of course, we then enjoy that delightful surprise when something does go right. For example, when we added an item of value to the personal articles floater attached to our homeowners insurance, it was handled both promptly and correctly. Thanks, Vic. We appreciated that.
Certainly not just uncaring sales clerks or poorly-trained tellers spoil the reputations of their conscientious colleagues and provide their customers with inconveniences and delays that could easily have been avoided. Often, a situation is out of the control of the local representative. For instance, we recently ordered electronics equipment for a family member to use in his employment. It did not arrive at the retail store when it was supposed to, nor did it come the following week. After the equally angry, frustrated store manager made a phone call to the opposite coast, the test equipment was sent out. But it is minus a critical part of the order, so still cannot be used.
A popular but expensive photographic filter, paid for in advance — as required at another establishment — and promised for delivery in ten days, did not arrive for 3-1/2 months, with no explanations being given for the delay, in spite of numerous inquiries. The outing that had required the use of the filter came and went, as did several others.
Continued on next page