I Have a Gripe

July 8, 2014

The American Dream & Happiness

Filed under: company interaction,Economy — alvb1227 @ 12:24 am
Tags: , , ,

I plugged in my headset at the gym today at lunch and listened to a section of Outnumbered on Fox News. The topic? A USA Today study that has determined a salary of $130,000 is required to live the “American dream.”

The discussion jumped around in an attempt to answer the question “why.” Topics included tax policy, student loans, social engineering, a lack of free markets, and housing prices. What really got my attention was when Harris Faulkner, a favorite of mine, tied in the concept of happiness, citing studies that once a person reaches a $70,000 salary, their level of happiness doesn’t change. She was able to turn the entire discussion to happiness and what makes an individual happy as far as their own personal American dream.

The discussion turned again to jobs and what makes a person happy in their work. A point was made that people often focus on their job as their source of income instead of a way of making themselves happy. This is a subject that has always fascinated, and frustrated, me.

In recent years, whenever this topic comes up, the standard answer is “just be happy you have a job.” Yes, I completely understand in this harsh economic market anyone who has a job should just be happy and keep quiet. However, year after year, as this rotten economy goes on, when are we as a society allowed to say “yes, I want to be happy in my work as well as make money?”

Think about it. A full time employee spends on average 40 to 45 hours a week (minimum) at their place of employment. That equates to approximately 25% of your time during the week (including sleeping hours) at your job. You generally spend more time with your co-workers than your family. Why shouldn’t we strive to be happy at work?

Now I  can go down a rabbit hole here and ask why employers choose to treat their employees poorly, especially in a bad economy, but I won’t.

I simply ask this – at what point in our working lives are we allowed to want more than just a salary?

December 26, 2009

Does Customer Service Exist Anymore?

Filed under: company interaction,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 8:23 pm

Every so often I am forced to go to a store instead of ordering products online. Sadly, that means dealing with people, customer service reps and the like. I also have the joy ever six month or so calling Verizon regarding problems with my land line. I would like to share those two recent experiences with all of you.

First, I went to the mall to pick up a few items. While I was there, I noticed the giving tree in the middle of the mall was still quite full. Feeling bad, I grabbed a gift request off the tree and headed to Macy’s. The request was for clothes for a five year old girl. Knowing nothing about finding sizes for a child, I went to ask for assistance from the two women working in the department. I explained what I was looking for and they couldn’t be more helpful! They helped me find sizes and made style recommendations. When I went to check out, they even tried to locate a coupon for me to use. They were just great! I asked if the store had gift wrap available and they directed me to that department.

Well, for as good as my experience was in the children’s department was as bad as my experience in the gift wrap department. I gave the woman the item and the box they gave me and said I just wanted the box wrapped. Nothing fancy, no origami shapes; just wrapped. She them told me the cost would be $15.95! Yup, you read it correctly. I was stunned. I explained it was for the giving tree in the mall and even showed her the request I took off the tree. She said, “well, that’s the price. Do you want it wrapped or not?” I told her that was completely ridiculous and left. I stopped past the children’s department to just let them know and they were very sorry for what I was told and they had no idea there was a charge at all. I told them there was no need to apologize; that it wasn’t their fault. I then headed to the dollar store to pick up tissue paper and a gift box. Assembled everything and dropped it off. Done.

My second customer service joy was just this morning. Every six months or so we get horrible static on our land line. We try to ignore it, knowing the fun we are in for, but eventually it gets bad enough that we have to call in and request a line check and possible repair. Now this is easily the fourth or fifth time we have called for this very problem. The line test always comes back normal (amazing), we are them told the issue is inside (which it never is) and we have to schedule an appointment. Today I was told they would do the line test and call back within the hour. Well, shock of all shocks, after two hours, no one called back. When Glenn called, he was told I had scheduled an appointment for a weekday. Now, mind you, he was sitting right next to me when I made the initial call. He told the rep that I absolutely did not. They said they would change the appointment to Saturday “between eight in the morning and five in the evening.” Oh, yeah, that narrows it down a bit. Awesome.

My personal favorite is when the call ends with “we appreciate your business.” Um, no, you really don’t. There is no such thing anymore as good customer service. You would think with consumer dollars as tight as they are, customer service would be above and beyond. Reality is, it is worse than ever.

So, here’s an idea all you major stores and corporations…drop the “we appreciate” crap and actually show the appreciation by providing good customer service. The rule of “treat those as you would like to be treated,” should be the rule, not the exception.

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