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1.26.2012

THE NEW NOT RIGHT NORMAL

Isn't it funny what we get used to over time?  Prices of commodities and poor customer service are just part of normal now?  Banks charge fees up the wazoo.  And, they have done it somewhat gradually.  A desire for larger profits become greed to pay for outlandish corporate bonuses.  Clerks talk on their cell phones while handling a transaction with a customer standing in front of them. Remember the summer of 2008 when gas prices soared to $4.50 a gallon?  We were outraged!  People started watching the needless trips they made.  It seems that when something occurs slowly over time we take it better.  It seems less bad.  Less intrusive.  Less wrong.  NO!!!  It's that story of putting a frog in a pot of cold water and putting it on the stove.  If you gradually heat the water the frog will stay in the water and perish eventually.  We are inundated and bombarded with stuff daily that deadens our senses, desensitizes us to its toxicity.  To its moral and or ethical offages.  We compartmentalize so many things in life.  We think watching this, letting our kids play a violent video, going to that site for a pleasurable moment doesn't hurt our marriage, that greed is ok just part of capitalism, eating fast food constantly, or being rude to those around us doesn't affect us or the world.  We have become a society much like the car insurance commercials for Safe-Auto Insurance - the bare minimum coverage.  The bare minimum effort with the greatest return for ourselves.  Yesterday I got a call on my cell phone.  I did not recognize the number.  On the other end was a man named Brock from our bank.  He told me he was reviewing accounts and thought he could possibly save us some money in fees.  And, if we met the criteria, all fees would be eliminated.  Well, first off I was impressed that he reviewed accounts.  Why should I have been so wowed that he was doing his job, but I was.  Banks should always be reviewing accounts.  It seemed almost unheard of to me any more that a corporation would care more about its customers than their profit line.  My interest was piqued.  Because my husband is a Navy veteran, it qualified all our personal and business accounts to be exempt from bank fees.  He told me the document I would need to provide him with to initiate the changes.  I found myself almost stunned.  In total disbelief.  This is not a local bank, but a very large national bank.  "Brock, you do not know how impressed I am right now with you and your institution." I said.  Oh we all get calls from our credit card company, our cable or cell phone company under the guise to "save us money".  Usually though, it is a sales call designed to redesign the package to sell you more and make more revenue from you!  When I was a kid pumping gas was full-service.  You didn't pump your own gas.  While the gentleman pumped your gas, he washed your windshield and checked your oil level.  Above and beyond the call of duty behavior (which really should just be normal expected behavior) is not common any more or the norm.  I am not a letter writer or a boycotter really.  But in this case, I may pen a letter to my bank's CEO.  A little goes a long way.  It made me realize that I have become jaded in how commodities, the business and retail worlds operate.  That I now seemingly automatically assume some measure of dishonesty from them and large measures of distrust from me.  I will thank Brock again for pumping my gas and washing my windshield in a world where that has gone by the wayside. 

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