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March 24, 2006

Comments

Christopher grove

Great post, very pertinent comments and I agree with the quotation.
I'm more of a barrelist; it's clear that a lot of organisations don't do enough to get the service end right, and it is a shame.
Living in France, we get a completely different level of service to you guys in the States. It's interesting to see the number of foreigners who complain about French service (and a lot of the time I can understand them), at the same time they don't always appreciate the good points about French service (and there are some).
What you were saying about the customer's attitude vis-Ă -vis the employee is 100% correct. If you go in there snobbishly or rudely, obviously the person in front of you is just another human being, and will react as a human being. And how many people (customer) look down on employees working at the cash till? It makes me think of an anecdote that I heard of from a girl working at a till in a supermarket (in France):
A mother is paying for her groceries at the till in the supermarket and turned to her child saying something like: "You see dear, if you don't work hard at your studies, you'll end up in a job like that, just like that girl". The girl at the till replied that in fact she was working at the till in the supermarket in order to pay for her Master's degree in engineering...
You're right, we shouldn't forget how bad some of these jobs are, and what the people who work them through.

Jon Strande

Chris, Thank you for the great comment! Wow - that is a fantastic story about the woman in the checkout line... that is just shocking.

The recurring conversation my wife and I have is that the hardest thing to do is walk a mile in someone else shoes, such is the case with this. We've all had a job like this at some point in our lives, and it isn't that much fun.

Thanks again!

Jon

Julian

Jon,

Nice post on this topic. We chatted about this briefly the other day. When we were discussing this there was mention of the phrase "the customer is always right". How do we change this mentality of the "the customer is always right" to the mentality of mutual respect in a social envirnoment or interaction? Especially when located in a professional or business setting.

Julian

Also by the way, a related story to Chris's about the girl in the supermarket. Some family members of mine were in a fast food restaurant. The couple in front of them pulled the exact samething in regards to telling their child this is why they go to college because their order was incorrect. Though the reason their order was incorrect was because they had not paid attention when the girl read the order back to them. The family members said that the couple continued on with some degrading remarks. I just thought I would add this story to exemplify the current customer state of mind.

Jon Strande

Julian, yeah, mutual respect indeed! And thank you for adding the story, I really think that there are far too few people out there who really think about the person on the other side of the counter... what a shame.

fouro

Great stuff Jon. Somehow, "barrelist" leaves me a bit reticent.

Still, I recall reading an interview with Spike Lee, oh, must be at least 10 years ago. He used the analogy of crabs in a barrel to decribe, I think, inner cities and his movie themes, and I'd never heard it before. He related how he'd been at a fish market and seen the fresh, live crabs kept for sale in an ordinary rain-barrel. As he watched the teeming mass of legs and claws, he noticed that a mound of crabs would form and then topple, almost reaching the top. Over and over again this would happen. Finally, one crab would crawl the undulating ramp of of his crab cousins and make it almost to the lip of the barre,l and clamp a claw on it. Just as it seemed he was home free, several other crabs saw this new top step and clamped onto the hind legs of their about-to-be-lucky cousin. Down they all tumbled, down, to the bottom of barrel, fated to start all over again.

Forget the inner cities part, that is so apt for so much of the cultural ethos.

I blame MIT.


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