There is no one like Bob Newhart. Here is a little clip to make you smile, if not laugh out loud…
It is amazing how some people can’t take a hint graciously, no matter how clearly and politely it is delivered.
I held a post on a volunteer (let’s say that again loudly, VOLUNTEER) board of directors for a few years, quite some time ago. It lead to an interesting observation that I think has wider application.
In that position people tended to suggest that ‘we’ do things, of course meaning that in the end someone else should do them because they were busy or whatever. The end result was months of often singular and invisible labour, lots of blame from those that didn’t actually do, and eventual burnout, for those that actually “did”.
So, in the end, after a few years of service, with the beginnings of stress related health problems, volunteers politely resigned.
Although some are most gracious, as in “sorry to see you go and good luck”?, there are those others who responded “you can’t go until we approve” and “you OWE more service”. They were of course in most cases the ones on whom the responsibility to do stuff would now actually fall. What planet are these people living on? A volunteer, particularly one who has sacrificed much more time and grief than they have, OWES them nothing, nada, zilch, zero…
Anyway, it is truly amazing how self absorbed people can be. No wonder people don’t volunteer readily for some things.
Those readers who are old enough will recall Andy Rooney’s commentaries at the end of many episodes of the 60 Minutes show. You may remember chuckling at (as well as often likely agreeing with) his complains and comments on many of the strange aspects and occurrences of life as he marveled at them. In more recent times, Rex Murphy often writes in the same way, though more politically pointed in most instances. His attitude, though is much the same. In remembering this, you will have some idea where I am headed in this Topic or potential series.
I have already posted a couple and we will see where this leads. The actual threads, comments and discussion will unfold as life does…
If you live in Canada, in a house, you have likely been visited by the ubiquitous door to door sales rep (‘Fix Price Energy’, Telecommunications, Weed Killer, etc.)? They must train these guys at the same school that trains Jehovah’s Witnesses. Amazingly, this continues to some degree even during the pandemic. And to boot, some are either maskless or with one the is a joke.
The guy or girl (though the guys are much more aggressive, comes to the door (selling a product that is often MORE expensive in the short run and definitely so in the long run, therefor most likely NEVER be a good deal) and might say just doing a survey. Or he might ask to see your bill for you current service “just to be sure you are getting the best deal.” That is the first lie. Then he wants to know if you have signed up to save money “just like all your neighbours”. All the neighbours is of course a straight up lie.
I respond “Thanks, but I am not interested”. But being polite is unfortunately an error. Sir, you must want to save money. All your neighbours have signed up (they haven’t by the way), he insists. I try again, “Thanks, but I am not interested”. There must be a sociology paper in here somewhere. We do this dance a couple more times, then I start to get impatient with his inconsideration. After all, this guy is brain dead and I am just being polite. In the end I am intrigued by his stupidity and ask if he is getting the message. He says “Well since the door is still open you must really be interested”. Argh, we are back to night school for Jehovah Witnesses…
I tell him firmly that he should move off my property and I shut the door.
So, did he do his employer any good. Not likely. Not only am I still not interested, but I won’t buy any service from them now.
So now we know that there IS human junkmail, sent out just doing a survey, of course…
Question – What do the following services have in common, from the standpoint of ongoing use?
1. Cleaning lady or service company
2. Lawn service
3. Snow removal service
4. Financial Adviser
Let’s put it in a scenario… You decide that one of these services is to be farmed out – say, house cleaning. That is, you are too lazy, too busy or too whatever to do it yourself. So, you check around and find what appears to be a suitable person or service org. Most of these arrangements are informal, so you say go ahead and they start.
The first few times, maybe even more, are wonderful. If it is a cleaning service, your house is clean and tidy, including places you didn’t think of or didn’t want to think of. You are delighted. You can live in your mother’s standards without effort! Yay, freedom.
A period of time elapses when this continues and you settle into complacency around the service. It just happens as a given.
Then, slowly, the service starts to decline. It is not startling or extreme, just not up to the same standard here and there. A new lower standard settles in and that is what is permanent, not what you contracted for. If you are busy and not looking at it too closely, you may not notice for a while. The provider is too busy or rushed for everything, corners get cut, etc. It is slow creep…
You are paying the same, maybe even incrementally more, and have the same service level expectations. So why is this?
It is like they are on trial for a while, but that is not the real service level. You only see the real level once you are in the bag as a customer and you relax.
There is something wrong here! Isn’t the whole point that you should be able to relax with the assurance that the job is being done?
Now, I don’t have an answer other than vigilance and changing provider occasionally (a pain in the rear end). But this phenomena seems so prevalent in service areas that it is a sociological study in the making. Any Sociology PhD students out there looking for thesis?
I am also willing to bet that this generalizes more widely, but that would be outside of my direct anecdotal experience to date. You can draw you own conclusions.