Daze of My Life: You Make The Call

Daze of My Life
You Make The Call

As a long-time customer server, I have had ample opportunities to do what I'm supposed to do; do what is right; and to do what is above and beyond, sometimes all together and sometimes independent of one another. As such, I feel somewhat qualified to discuss some of the customer service I receive and some of the customer service that I don't receive. And though $4 per gallon gasoline and $4.29 per gallon for home heating oil doesn't exactly put me in the best of moods, I'll try to be reasonable in my rant.
To quote the actor Peter Finch, in his role as "deranged ex-anchor," Howard Beale, from the 1977 release of the Oscar-winning movie, "Network," "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." And furthermore, I have decided that I am no longer going to confront the foot soldiers, those front-line customer-servers with whom customers/consumers initially and most often engage, in their pursuit of truth, justice and what was once the American way, fairness. Henceforth, I am going to stop dealing with the infantry and follow Lt. Col. Sherman Potter's advice to Radar (from the long-running television show, M*A*S*H): "Always go to the top, Radar." To which Radar responded, "You're closer to it than I am, sir."
Well, I'm not any closer to the top than Radar was, but I am as close to a telephone as anyone else is, and since I am extremely comfortable and capable speaking on it, I have decided to complain up. The lack of on-site accountability has forced my hand - and fingers. No longer will I mumble in disbelief when treated disrespectfully, no longer will I grin and bear it when "policy" gets in the way of courtesy and this customer's satisfaction, and no longer will I attempt to resolve disputes with in-house management while backing up a line of frustrated customers waiting impatiently. I will remain calm. In fact, it will be as if I'm Katie Winters from the Secret brand deodorant commercials from yesteryear, "I will be cool, calm and collected." I will simply ask for a phone number for someone in customer service/customer relations at the main office/regional/corporate level to whom I can speak at a more convenient time.
I have never been a squeaky wheel, but after years of getting greased and neglected, of being disagreed with and generally speaking, taken for granted, I am officially mad as hell and I am now going to start doing something different about it. Enough is enough!
It is too difficult, especially in this economy, to make the money I make, incur the expenses I do and pay the bills I must, simply to be treated as if there's plenty more where I came from. And there may very well be, but that fact doesn't feed or assuage this bulldog. I'm done, locally.
In the future (heck, make that the present), I will be communicating my dissatisfaction to those in a position of authority. I am not going to waste my breadth or expend my energy complaining to the unempowered person standing in front of me. I am going to follow Sherman Potter's advice. I have tried the other way and it doesn't work. It's time to start at the top and work my way down. Wish me luck. I'll probably need it.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.