When in doubt, writes Kenny Bodanis, divide the world into two groups: Those who don’t give a s**t about you, and those who do.
I am an atheist.
However, the Serenity Prayer may be the truest verse ever written:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference
My recent epiphany taught me to accept that sometimes people do what they do simply because: they don’t give a shit. Especially customer service folk.
1) Part of my salary is derived from a telecommunications giant which recently bought the media outlet I work for. Among the perks: 35% off the Giant’s services: cell phone, internet, and fiber-optic television. Great, right?
It took forty-five minutes and three inter-departmental transfers before I was connected to a woman in a call center located several hundred miles away who informed me the fiber-optic network had not yet reached my postal code. Did I mention that not only had I been solicited for the new network several times via phone and snail mail; I began the initial conversation by confirming to the sales agent my name, address, phone number, date of birth, and my mother’s maiden name?
Could the Giant’s I.T. department not develop a system whereby my name would immediate flash green if fiber-optics had reached my quarter, and red if my block was still cable-locked?
The lady apologized, and promised to call me when the upgrade was complete.
2) Continuing with the Giant: I switched my wife’s cellphone supplier to the Giant assuming a telecommunications behemoth would seamlessly transfer one of their own employee’s accounts from a competitor to their own network, even if it was under the umbrella of employee pricing.
Twenty minutes of yoga followed by my lips kissing my own ass would have been less painful.
Four transfers between the same two departments, and no-one could specify which cell program I should subscribe to in order to be eligible for the discount. Apparently the one initially recommended to me by the simpleton behind the counter in the Giant’s retail outlet could not be discounted.
All calls ended with: “I really wish we could do more to help you.”
Translation from Canadian: “We really don’t give a shit.”
3) My wife digs around on internet groupon sites. We’ve netted some decent deals: 50% off dinner in fine restaurants and weekends away; in other words: hobnobbing with the elite while sneaking in through the back door.
As I write this I sit in the dining cabin of a four-star resort in Quebec’s Laurentian region. The voucher we purchased flaunted this ‘great deal’ at a lakeside cabin with access to: canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, a heated pool, and great cycling. Upon our arrival, the dude at the counter informed us: all the facilities are closed: no watercraft, no heated pool (no pool at all, actually), no bicycles.
We’re very sorry, the dude said. Feel free to speak to the manager (who’s not in today).
No doubt the manager will tell me it is not her responsibility to oversee promises made by the groupon people. The groupon people will counter they posted the information as it was provided to them by the Resort.
These two conspirators will no doubt call each other asking if the other had spoken to that irate fellow from Montreal.
“Yeah. He was pretty pissed.” one party will say.
“Yeah. But really, you give a shit?” the other will counter.
I’ve been asked before why I think I had kids. I could never really come up with what I felt was an adequate answer, other than: without kids, humanity would cease to exist in a hundred years or so.
Now, I have a better one: until they become smart enough to know better — at around the age of fifteen — kids give a shit about you. They really do, and that feels good.
Close friends offer the same comfort.
So do husbands and wives: until they become smart enough to know better — about fifteen years into the relationship.
These people not only care about you — even a good general practitioner cares about you to some extent — they really give a shit. When you need to drink and cry; or cuddle and laugh; or borrow five-hundred bucks; these people stand up and allow themselves to be counted.
They give a shit.
As for the Giant and the Resort, and the Groupon people: they’ve driven me to swear in my blog post…I never swear in my blog posts. But now, I don’t give a shit.
Image of businessman shrugging in indifferent way from Shutterstock.com