Everybody says customer service is dead. No, they’ve exhumed the body, burned it, shot it in the head, and then walked away without reburial. Maybe it’s always been like this? Perhaps two-thousand years ago folks were experiencing the same frustration as I?
All I need is to have three-figures worth of work done on my hovel. I can’t do it myself because I’m not a master plumber. And I’m also an idiot. It’s simple, but requires an expert. Yet after a month of trying to get over a dozen potential companies involved, I have no reasonable estimates in hand. None. I’m not trying to get my plumbing to spit gold leaf. I just need like two hours worth of work done.
Last night I mentioned these facts to my exiled guests, who were heavily intoxicated. They agreed that this was probably a longstanding human trait, and for whatever reason, agreed to help me investigate trends throughout history. They have a room they keep only for themselves. I don’t go in there because I value my dogs’ safety. So twice during the evening, one of them walked into that room, and then emerged with a tale. They claimed they observed these stories via “confrontational destructive time travel” in an attempt to “watch you scum in your proper primitive state”.
– Luoyang, circa 173
Customer: Good afternoon Sir, I’d like to have my iron dagger repaired. The hilt has become damaged in an unfortunate accident.
Proprietor: Ah, let me take a look. … Yes, yes, well I might be able to get to it in about three weeks or so.
Customer: Uh, do you think you could get to it a little sooner? I need it to stay alive. The latest bout of eunuch inspired intrigue has made this a rough town recently.
Proprietor: Hey, I’m a busy man, I get to it when I get to it. You’re not the only one with ongoing issues.
Customer: Could you go a little faster? Can we work something out?
Proprietor: Listen jerk, I work for a living, what do you do?
Customer: Work for a living.
Proprietor: Two and a half weeks, that’s the best I can do.
Customer: Well, maybe I’ll take my business somewhere else.
Proprietor: Yeah, you go ahead, I don’t care, nobody else does my work.
Customer: You’re insane, there’s like six weapons stalls in this alley alone.
Proprietor: Hey! Kiss my ass buddy, who do you think you are anyways?
Customer: Okay, see you later.
Proprietor: Yeah, fuck you, fuck your mother.
– Rome circa 249
Customer: Good morning Sir, I’d like to have some work done on my household plumbing.
Proprietor: I don’t do that kind of work, ask somebody else.
Customer: Your shingle shows you’re a plumber?
Proprietor: Yeah, but I don’t do that, I’ve got other stuff to do.
Customer: But you were recommended by a respectable knight of the empire I know.
Proprietor: Hey, you don’t tell me what I do, okay buddy? I don’t want to work on your pipes.
Customer: Okay, I’ll just go hire somebody else I guess.
Proprietor: No, no, wait, so sorry, bad fish this morning, ah, how about next Tuesday between high sun and late sun. I come by and check it out? Maybe it’s an aqueduct transfer problem?
Customer: I’ll have to check with my overlord and see if I can get off then?
Proprietor: What? You Gaul pig, what are you talking about? I can only be there around noon. You’ll be there.
Customer: I need to work too, I make sandals for the guy. It’s hard work but pays fairly well.
Proprietor: No, I need to work, on your pipes. You’ll be there because that’s when I’ll be there. Who the fuck do you think you are?
Customer: Can’t you come by in the early evening, after I get back from work? That’d be better for my schedule. It would take you five minutes to look at it. Then, if we decide to do business, I can take off work later.
Proprietor: [throws chair] Get the fuck out of my shop pig! Get the fuck out of here!
So I was delightfully amazed at how similar my experiences were to those of two ancient empires. I loved the tales, and felt a lot better that it wasn’t just our time that had degenerated into insanity. I bought into this as reality, and thanked my guests for their kind acts.
But then they all started laughing, laughing so hard they started to cry. I’d of course been had. They can’t travel through time, nobody can. Who knew? Not me, not at all. So then they beat me with a discarded windshield wiper for four hours so I would remember to be less gullible in the future. I doubt it’ll work. And in any case, they’ll just find another reason to beat me, it’s their thing.
Anyways, apparently, my local plumbers just hate money. Because they certainly don’t want mine, or anybody else’s as far as I can determine. Here are just a few examples of the inexplicable behavior I’ve observed over the last few weeks:
– The inability to return a phone call
– Telling me on the phone that they don’t do the work their website says they do
– Not returning a call for two weeks, and then calling multiple times in one morning, and leaving belligerent voicemails about how I won’t answer my phone
– They schedule a firm appointment, I schedule time off with work, but then they call back one hour later and say they made the appointment in error and need to reschedule
– They don’t understand why I have to check with my work to be at home during normal working hours, and get loudmouthed when I ask if they can come late afternoon or on the weekend. You see, they say, they don’t work outside of normal working hours. I guess they expect nobody works except them?
– Calling inside the active four hour window of the appointment, after I already took off work, and saying they can’t make it, and then getting angry when I refuse to reschedule
– When actually on site, refusing to listen to what I need, and instead proposing hair-brained, expensive solutions that have nothing to do with the problem at hand
So there you go, live the dream. By the way, that’s seven different, independent companies right there. That’s not one company doing multiple stupid things. Most of them got great reviews online. This tells me, like most things, that online reviews are rigged. There’s more, but I’m tired. Like I said, I’ve tried about a dozen guys. At this point, I’m probably just going to bash my pipes with a bat and see if that somehow solves the problem. I mean why not? What could go wrong?
So if you run a business, and you can somehow not do the seven things I’ve listed above? Then friends, lucky you, because it means you’re ahead of a least 95% of your competitors. Let it ride.
At this point, I’d hire these assholes to do the work because at least one of them is motivated to accomplish things