Let’s cut to the chase and not waste any of your valuable time, shall we?
Some of you may disagree, but service on the east coast can be a vastly different experience from anywhere out west. My wife and me moved back here after 13 years and noticed the difference immediately. From supermarkets, landscapers, HVAC service providers, shitty waiters and fast food stores.
I remember Susan coming home from food shopping our first week back swearing and throwing the groceries on the counter after the check out lady at Shaw’s reprimanded her for not knowing how much an item cost. Compared to Arizona, these people are doing you a favor. Ask ’em, they’ll tell you.
When we lived out there, the grocery stores all had the “six foot rule,” meaning that if a customer came within six feet of you and you were an employee, you should greet them. By name if possible. I thought that was weird at first, but I got used to it. I thought these guys were hitting on me. Waiters would kneel down next to you and point out specials on the menu and just about follow me into the men’s room with tongs. 🙂
It’s not unusual to check out of any store around here and never make eye contact as they mumble “Have a nice day” in a Stephen Hawking-like voice. We recently had our water heater go out on us and had to have it replaced. We called the family owned company that had just installed all new appliances in our kitchen. He was the oldest son and very customer savvy. We were happy.
But the water heater was his dad’s specialty, so he shows up and within four hours we are up and running again. I pay him and never think to go down to the basement and check it out. That night I go downstairs for something and see a drainage tube strung across the room like a clothesline. I couldn’t believe it. This was the absolute dumbest, not to say dangerous, setup I had ever seen. Surely this was a temporary fix.
We called and he showed up the next morning, looks at it and says “what’s the problem?” Long story short, I get him to take the clothesline down and have it drain into the floor like it had been before. On the way out he says “You happy now?” He walks back to his truck shaking his head. The nerve of me.
There’s worse disappointments but these are the most recent. I am not shy and I am not averse to giving out as good as I get. Having worn knee pads most of my professional life, I’m not taking shit from a rookie.
The real catalyst for this rant has to do with an experience I had with a landscaping equipment rental store near my house. We got tired of dealing with the latest methadone addled crew who like to make crop circles on our lawn and thought we would try and do this stuff ourselves.
I have zero experience in this field and barely knew how to start the lawn mower. I had to find out the hard way that you should never try to mow down a steep hill with a push mower. Man, that hurt but I’ll do anything to entertain my neighbors.
To make my life more exciting, I rented a power saw to cut down some trees blocking our entrance way. When Susan’s family heard that I was in possession of a dangerous power tool, they freaked. No, Bobo, No!
So now I have the stump I have to get out of there and figure there’s a tool for that and drive over to the equipment rental store for a thigamajig or whatever. I took a picture with my iPhone so I could explain the situation. This guy gave me so much shit I couldn’t believe it. He says “yeah, it’s a stump, what do I look like McGuyver?”
He goes back to filling out a form and makes a phone call. I wait because he’s the only one in this big store at the moment. He hangs up and says, “look, you wanna buy something, or are you waiting for me to go over and pull it out for you?” Besides, he said, “you’re in the wrong department. See that sign up there? It says SERVICE!”
Oh, sorry, what was I thinking? Why was I bothering that poor man? I couldn’t understand how I could have been so insensitive. I was stumped!
I asked if he owned the store and he said no. I said “Yeah, figures” and left.
If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.
113 Wintergreen Lane
Groton Ma. 01450