In the past decade I have been astounded at the varying options for degree programs. Fifteen years ago, one university actually offered a degree in Frisbee tossing. How this would have helped a person acquire a job on Wall Street, I’ll never know. It may however get you an inside job at Papa Gino’s Pizzeria. It seems to me that education is missing a major component today. I ask, why don’t schools from grade school to college teach mandatory courses on ‘proper service techniques?”
Everywhere I turn nowadays, I have to do everything for myself. Restaurants and fast food establishments expect me to serve myself and get my own beverage. If I have to assume the role of waiter and waitress, why don’t they knock 15% off my bill for tipping myself?
Isn’t it a strange phenomenon that when you walk into a department store you see bunches of store help milling around talking, but the moment you need assistance they appear to have been beamed up to the Starship Enterprise? Not one in sight. Last year, I was searching for gift tissue paper. I wanted to wrap up some early Christmas presents. Finding a rare “sales associate” (politically correct term for helper), I asked him where I could find gift tissue paper. He pointed me to aisle 8. When I got to the designated aisle, I found he had sent me to the toilet paper section. I thought to myself, this would be one way to impress your family and friends; wrap their Christmas presents in Charmin. At least the recipient would be flush with pride. (I know bad pun)
Grocery stores are another example of deficient service. You know why milk is on the last aisle? Because if you got it first, shopped and then waited to be checked out, it would look like tofu by the time you got to your car. Why you ask? Because the checkout process is like aging. You start out happy and end up old and cranky. I have no sympathy for die-hard rock fans who camp out all night for good tickets. The only difference between them and me is I don’t lie down in line, and my wait not theirs causes varicose veins.
Murphy’s Law dictates that when I check out, the computer doesn’t recognize a bar code, the sale is over, the coupon can’t be scanned, the checker looks like she could use Fibercon, or the grocery bagger appears to have had maybe 15 minutes of orientation. The proof is in my loaf of bread. It looks like unleavened communion bread. That’s because when I get home, I invariably find my 10-pound bag of spuds in the same bag.
I am now at the point where I don’t want to answer, “Paper or Plastic?” For all I care, you can pack my groceries in a camel bladder, I just want to go home.
The solution to the lack of service in grocery stores is elementary. Store managers need to teach some simple mathematics. 68 customers in line does not equal two checkers and one bagger. Eggs are lighter than all canned goods and in spite of whatever the checker encounters, she needs to remember that from the customers perspective, it’s a lot harder to get angry at a smiling face than one that looks like she babysat for Dennis the Menace.