Thursday, February 02, 2006

Is Customer Service Really a Virtue?

Ok, so i was pondering this one yesterday while i was on hold for a very long time with our local Wal-mart. Now, i know from personal experience that not all Wal-mart's are this way, but it seems the one around here has gotten the idea that good customer service is bad for business or something. I often can't find a person to help me without a lot of effort, and yesterday i never did get a hold of anyone who could even try to answer my question.

I was sitting there on the phone getting really annoyed about having to wait so long, and getting genuinely offended that i was being treated so poorly. Doesn't the store have any respect for it's customers? When it hit me - am i really entitled to good customer service?

Right now i'm in a class dealing with race relations and we've been dealing with racism and the priveleged position held by majority groups. The thing that hit me yesterday was that my frustration with the store started to remind me of what i might have thought if i had lived several decades ago and had not recieved the respect that i thought i deserved from a person of a different race. That got me thinking. What if, as a customer, i'm really not entitled to be waited on hand and foot by the people who need my money? What if that's just an idea that has been generated by our money-hungry culture that worships anyone who will provide us with cash? What if i've gotten so used to being worshipped by stores who see me as a source of money, that i've forgotten that i really don't deserve it?

What if the tables were turned, and the things they sold at wal-mart were more coveted than our money. Would customers have to be on their best behavior to enter stores? Would we have to make sure we made the store clerks happy or risk being forced to leave without the merchandise we desired? Would we all wear buttons saying "the shopkeeper is always right?"

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