Vintage Business #4: Service with a Scowl

The convenience of online banking is great, but if, dear God, you have to actually visit the establishment, pray for death.  The lines, the ineptitude, the rudeness.... actually, it's a lot like every other service industry in the country. Can you even imagine a smiling mini-skirted stewardess making sure you're comfortable in coach? Hell, no. You're packed like sardines and lucky to even looked at by the grumpy heavyset flight attendant.  At the rental car, the hotel, the restaurant - it's the same old thing.

The days of "live girl tellers" are long gone. Not just "live tellers", but "live GIRL tellers".  It sounds like a cross between a bank and a strip club.

I'm not stupid enough to think there was no such thing as bad service back in the day, but let me just illustrate my point with an example, then I'll go on my merry way.

One of my earliest memories is pulling up to a gas station with my mother. The service attendant would happily take care of her car, doing the windows, checking under the hood. All with a relaxed smile. Nowadays, if my wife needs help at a gas station, she is S.O.L. If maybe the pump doesn't work and she has to go into the convience store, the cashier acts put out, like it's her effing fault!

I guess I'd be grumpy too if I had to work at a gas station with no retirement, no health insurance, and barely enought pay to feed myself, let alone a family. Perhaps, it all comes down to being paid a living wage. If I'm treated like shit by Wal-Mart on a daily basis, common sense tells you that I'll probably not be an eager smiling worker, ready to go the extra mile.


  1. It is a sad change, but like you mention, not without a basis. Frustrating for all.

  2. The All live girl tellers is great!

  3. Difference being that in the old days, most service stations were manned by the owner. Now, everything is a faceless corporation. Banks? Heck, if I EVER have to go inside one (and it has to be a damned good reason), I completely expect to be treated like crap. No one cares anymore. Soon, we won't even have customer service...you won't be able to deal with a human at all. Technology has not helped EVERYTHING.

  4. I love going to the grocery store (Stop and Shop in Port Chester, NY) and using the laser beam pistol and the self service check out. I can do all my grocery shopping and never once talk to another person.

  5. Yes it is. But it must be for some good.