Slide to Perdition Part 1

I am reminded today of how much our world changes during economic downturns, how everything about the world changes some for good and some well not so much. This time though, this time I think it has been worse than others times, I have to ask myself, why is that what is different? I believe there have been some very real changes in the social dynamics, as well as, business dynamics of this nation. Sure, we complain about the perceived and very real slights but we don’t seem to be willing to take any real action to change course. Instead, we continue to pour oil on the slide to perdition and plant not only our own asses but those of the next generation so we can give them a push almost as if we want to see just how hard they will land.

Did you read that, scratch your head and say to yourself Val has gone off her meds, wonder what she is rambling on about this time? I just want to talk about some observations, provide you with my personal aggravations some that you also might encounter, things I notice these days that I think weren’t like this before, things I have heard everyone complain about yet we continue to live with. I have to say first, this might be a bit of a rant, yeah I might sound a little like some old women sitting on the front porch shaking my cane and in a wavering voice stating the obvious;

‘It wasn’t like this when I was young!’

Clearly not, when I was young things were indeed different. First, when I was young, there was a complaint department; every single last company in the country had one. The funny thing about the Customer Complaint Department was there were real people in that department, they answered the phone and spoke respectfully to you when you called. They were concerned that you were not happy with their companies product or services and they were committed to finding a way to ensure not only were you happy this time, but that you would be a return customer. These days, not so much, if at all. In fact, if you get a live person on the phone their goal is to convince you it isn’t the product that is the problem it is you, after spending 30 minutes on hold and another 60 minutes asking the person on the other end of the phone to repeat themselves as they speak some language other than your own, you will find out that — You are the problem and even if you aren’t the problem, well it doesn’t really matter cause there is not one damned thing

Just one of many off-shore call centers

you can do about it; no refund and no competitive product or service, tough nuggies.

Oh Val, really aren’t you being a bit harsh you ask. No, I am not. I am not at all. That much vaunted and wonderful free market has created a nightmare. The only thing trickling down is products made of toxic materials and made-to-break for which we pay 1000 times more than the components used to build them. They will break and when we try to return them for service or because our child becomes ill, we find they can’t be returned or the warranty ran out the day prior to them breaking. I dare you, walk through your house and grab ten random items, I will bet eight of them were not made in America, do not even have American parts. I will go one-step further, if you picked up any electronics if you call their Help Desk, you will not get anyone on the phone who speaks English as a first language.

You are likely thinking to yourself right now, that is a bit over the edge Val, a little off sides. Well maybe it is, perhaps that was a bit on the cruel side, I am not feeling charitable to business today. In fact I am feeling downright uncharitable to businesses that don’t stand by their products and services.

Yesterday was two weeks without air conditioning on my second floor, the part of the house with my office and my husband’s music room, frankly where we spend a large part of our time. For 26 years and three houses, I have maintained a home warranty on my house through the same company. On average, the cost of this service has been $38 per month, so the total price I have paid for peace of mind has been $11,856. This year the cost went up and new conditions were added to my contract, new conditions such as the 24-hour wait time for emergencies, another increase in the co-pay. I thought these new conditions weren’t great, especially during a recession but still this is the best Warranty company around, or so I thought. Until yesterday when I found out the part required to fix my air conditioner was on back-order, had been on back-order two weeks ago and after two weeks in 105 degree weather I still wouldn’t have my air conditioner fixed, they hadn’t bothered to call, look for an alternative …. Nothing. I had to call them. When I did, because I hadn’t received confirmation of my appointment, the only excuse was:

‘We don’t call when there is a back-order, that isn’t our problem to notify you.’

So, I am just a little cranky. I have more of these stories. More of these observations of what the ‘free market’, Globalization and Outsourcing has done to us; I think I will tell them this weekend. Frankly, I think we are meaner people over all. Meaner of spirit, meaner in our manners and in our compassion toward each other. I think we are uglier. I think we are turning into a nasty and mean nation of greedy,

Where in Hades is the Fire Extinguisher?

self-serving and self-righteous prigs. Those who have will do anything to keep what is theirs; including lie, cheat, steal and grind those they believe are beneath them into the ground. Those who have been convinced they can join that club will do anything and say anything to slide in beside them.

The rest of us are left out in the cold, or in my case puddled in our own sweat wondering just what in the fires of Hades has happened, and where the extinguisher is.

Comments

  1. You speak the truth, Valentine–nothing but . . .

  2. Nobody can rant quite as interestingly or beautifully as you, Val ❤

    • You should see what doesn’t make it past the first edit 😉

      Thanks Kim. I am ranting a bit these days, all my pissiness coming to the surface. I don’t think I am quite done yet. We will see!

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    I agree that customer service today is difficult and has much room for improvement. Although I want to give a shout-out to the Kohl’s Department Store who does a pretty good job in the store. You mentioned electronics. No kidding their call centers are non-US; after all, the company is probably non-US.

    Meanwhile, your situation is pathetic … and I applaud you for maintaining civility.

    • I am afraid, as each day goes by my ability to do so is flying out the door. I am turning in to Lots wife, a pillar of salt. As the puddle of salt condenses and grows around me it forms the shape of a woman, she has a ugly angry face.

      I was told today, we don’t know where it is. It was shipped Friday (we think) but we don’t have a tracking number.

  4. Did you say customer service?…lol I haven’t hooked up with a decent customer service dept. since, well, it’s been years. I’m with you one this one, Val. I spoke with McFee a few weeks ago, and English was not the reps, primary language, as far as the service, well it was okay given the situation. But then I had to call about my printer…and I don’t wish to describe how bad that went because I may start cussing up a storm.
    No, you certain are not ranting in this post. You speak nothing but the hard cold facts of today’s customer service…it’s all about the seller, not the buyer…unless they want to blame us.

    I feel terrible thinking of you without air on that 2nd floor. With these temperatures we’ve been having too!

    Hugs xx

    • The no air thing makes me stay away from the computer and out of my office. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing.

      I am writing in long hand more. Fodder for the future!

      Hugs back

      XX

  5. It is because even the ice water concession will go bust because the unregulated soda fountain will be running ads water in Hades is poisoned.

    Definitely, not a rant. Just the truth.
    Red.
    xxx

    Still wish I could email you some AC.

  6. It HAS been an ugly week! People have been cranky even with air-conditioning.

  7. I’m with you too, Val. Nothing is made to last. Everything is crap. And there is nobody to complain to. I am preparing to contact my cable company because my internet keeps going out …

    This may at least make you laugh — it is one of my very first posts:
    http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2011/05/31/i-cant-get-no/

    • I loved that Elyse! Yes, I agree with you entirely, automated phone systems are the bane of existence but the ‘chat with our support desk’ is even worse.

      I think today’s Red Hat might deal with monopolies and what I had to do to deal with the cable company. Maybe it will make you laugh, then again perhaps it will make you cry.

      • No matter what you do, you can’t get no satisfaction. No wonder everybody, you and me included, is so crabby.

  8. Val I so agree with you. And its not a rant its the Truth!! And all I have had this happen to me put on hold. Overseas operatives that do not even know their product let alone give you correct info. We have become a nation of greed England too. All our manufacturing is now mainly based overseas. With no customer care. In this throw way world we have created. We have thrown our rights away and our manners. And the CARE went out the window in favour of Profits.
    Loved this. Sue xx

    • I am glad you don’t think it is a rant, though I felt a bit mean spirited raging through it. I know this is everywhere, I see it here and of course feel it here but saw it in the UK when I was there as well. I don’t know why we must crush the spirit of our nations and people, I think that is what bothers me so badly, this idea profit is God and Greed is Good has translated into human beings are fodder to be fed into the furnace.

      Val XXOO

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