Customer service. We have all seen the decline of courteous clerks with helpful smiles on their faces over the past few years. Walk into most stores and try to find someone to help and it is as if no one works there. If you are lucky enough to find someone, you may get a surly, “It’s over there in aisle three,” answer instead of having someone nice show you where to find the item. It is frustrating and in turn we as consumers have turned into jerks ourselves.
So, is it the consumer with their own bad attitude, looking down their noses at those who must work at these often low paying jobs, who have helped with the decline of the former friendly sales person? How long would you be happy working in a situation where people would come in and treat you like you were their own personal assistant, without so much as a please or a thank you? I think it is high time we look at ourselves as the consumers.
Take, for example, a young woman just starting out in her own business of selling a line of skin care and cosmetics. With this kind of business, she asks people she knows, often friends and family to host a “party” for her where she demonstrates the product and hopefully makes some sales. The only thing the hostess has to do is to invite people she knows and to provide a light refreshment of some kind. The young sales woman has invested her own money in the product to get her started and often has to drive miles on her own gas and her own time to do these demonstrations. It is difficult to get started in a business such as this unless one is very motivated and believes in the product.
She asks her mother-in-law to host a party for her and she agrees. The mother-in-law sends emails to people she knows and asks them if they would be interested in attending the skin care demonstration put on by her daughter-in-law. Most people respond back with negative answers, citing other engagements already or just not interested. Those that say they are coming are a small group of three women. She is very disappointed in the response, not for herself, but for her daughter-in-law. The young woman says not to worry. Most parties of this kind start out small and three people are just fine.
The evening of the party comes and the young woman and her husband make the 45 minute drive to her mother-in-law’s home. There, she sets up her demonstration kit for the women they are expecting. Her mother-in-law has provided a fruit and cheese platter and a veggie tray along with some wine and soft drinks. They are ready and they wait. They had gotten three yes responses, so they wait. An hour after the expected start time, no one has shown up. The young woman is not surprised and packs up her things and she and her husband leave.
No one called to say they could not make it as planned. Not one of these women took into consideration the time and effort it would take this young lady to make the drive, the gas money and time to come do this just for them because they said they would be there. As far as two days before the “go” date, there had been confirmation that two of the women would be attending and one of the women had confirmed she would be there the night before and not one of them showed or bothered to call and say they couldn’t make it.
Why do we think this kind of behavior is ok? It is selfish and rude and utterly not OK!! We do not take into account the other persons time and effort that they do to present their product to us. We don’t take into account the hostess’ time and effort to offer her home as a place to come and provide a little light refreshment for the guests who don’t show up. If we think this is ok behavior when we treat people we know like this, is it any small wonder that we treat strangers who are paid to provide us with customer service like they did not even exists?
The service industry has become a not so nice bunch of people, but with people like us to deal with, do you really blame them?