Customer Disservice

I’ve got a lot more to say about this topic than would make a proper length blog post, so I think I’m going to compose a theater piece about my rants related to the terrible, awful, lackadaisical and lazy service that seems to be everywhere you turn these days. But in brief – or as brief as my posts tend to be I guess – here are a few examples from the past week:

  • Having my apartment spruced up. Repainting, new carpet, new floors to follow in September. This is a major, major undertaking requiring almost as much prep time as actually moving. I went through all these painful preparations and disrupted both my life and my son’s during the first week of school so that he and I would have a nice place to live. One that looks fresh and clean and nice. The painters were slated for Weds and Thurs. Wednesday they came and painted the living room and kitchen, during which time they unplugged my fridge to paint behind it and then never plugged it back in. By the time D and I got home at 6:30 that night, everything in the fridge was warm and moist and dangerous. indicates four hours max for basically everything I had in the fridge, from cut up fruits and veg to dairy to cooked and uncooked meat to soft cheeses to eggs. Into the trash, everything. I am very lucky. I have some very good friends who arranged for food for me and my son so he would have things for his packed breakfasts and lunches the rest of the week, and dinners for both of us.
    • The painters came back Thursday, and I called to tell the office what had happened. The secretary for the maintenance department used a phrasing that makes me so fucking livid, it inspired this whole post. More on that in a moment. The good news is they agreed to reimburse me for whatever I have to buy to replace what I threw out. I can’t shop until next week because my kitchen will be jammed full of furniture for the carpeting job on Monday, but at least they’re going to take care of it.
    • When the painters came back, they must have been drunk or extra lazy. The paint job in my bedroom is the worst I’ve ever seen. Not just big patches with no paint at all, but whole areas they didn’t bother with or where the roller didn’t have enough paint. A big white patch where there were dark stains from several plumbing leaks in the corner, and no matching paint put over top. No detailing at all – if it couldn’t be done with a roller, like around an outlet, it just wasn’t done. Water stains not covered. Half the ceiling left unpainted.
  • Spent an hour on the phone with the cable company because my bill had some errors and had gone up a ton. The errors on the bill were completely their fault and had to be removed. My “promotion had ended” but they signed me up for another one at around the same price with the same channels.
    • After I finally hung up the phone, my cable was out. This just was not a coincidence. I had to spend another half hour on the phone with them for them to figure out that one of the things they deleted when they were removing extra charges caused my cable to be cut off. OOPS. So they had to fix that.

When I called the maintenance girl to tell her about the fridge, the first thing she said was she didn’t know why I threw the food out, AS IT SHOULD BE OK FOR TWENTY FOUR HOURS. I don’t know what ever living fuck face planet she lives on, but that is looney fucking tooney. I pointed out the federal food safety guidelines for a fridge with no power, door closed, is four hours. Then she said the thing that NOBODY WHO WORKS IN ANY SERVICE CAPACITY SHOULD EVER SAY TO ANYONE, EVER:

“We’ve never had anyone complain about this before. Not in all the years I’ve worked here.” She just HAD to get that dig in before checking to see if they would reimburse me for new groceries.

What EXACTLY is one supposed to do in reaction to being called a liar? IS THERE ANY REASON TO GIVE THIS STATEMENT TO SOMEONE, OTHER THAN TO CALL THEM A LIAR? I don’t give TWO SHITS what has happened to OTHER people. You know who is really, really guilty of using this statement? Restaurant managers. I try not to complain in a restaurant unless it’s really necessary. I had an abysmal, horrible meal in a restaurant the other day, but it was cheap food and we were in a hurry and I knew it wasn’t going to be good when we went there, there was no point in bringing it up. So when I complain, that, say, the dish is missing things that were described on the menu or there’s a piece of wadded up plastic wrap in my french fries or a bug baked into my pancake (all of which have happened), what exactly does a manager hope to accomplish by saying, “We’ve never had any other complaints.” WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS ACCOMPLISH? OTHER THAN TO MAKE ME SO MAD I WANT TO SAW SOMEONE’S NECK THROUGH THE WINDPIPE TO THE VERTEBRAE WITH A RUSTY STEAK KNIFE?


I remember complaining about a very expensive party I had catered for work some years back. So many things were wrong and didn’t go the way they were supposed to or weren’t what was ordered that I sent a detailed letter to the manager and faxed it to them. Their answer? “We’ve never had anyone else complain,” and they scanned several positive letters praising their service and sent those back to me in their fax.


Maybe the other people that had a bad time just LEFT and complained to someone else. Their friends, their family, an online forum, whatever. Maybe they just decided not to come back.

What am I to say, exactly in response to this phrase? “Well, I guess I’ll go play the lottery, since today is clearly my lucky day?”

I mean, if you’re really agog because this has never happened, maybe you could try something like, “Geez, I’m really sorry that happened. They have a really good track record and I’m sure it was just an inadvertent accident. We would be happy to reimburse you for anything you have to buy new, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll make sure someone tells them what happened so they make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else going forward.” Period. Done.

I’ve been a tenant at this place for 12 years. I pay my rent on time. I don’t have a bunch of wild parties or back the sewer up with the thousands of people I have over for a religious celebration, like the other people in my building, or cause a fire hazard because of the hundreds of pairs of shoes in the hallway or the dozens of bikes and strollers blocking the stairways when I’m having a religious celebration, like other people in my building. I’m not out to screw you into giving me free groceries. Jesus Christ I have BETTER THINGS TO DO.


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