Monday, April 15, 2013

The Willing Eunuch


Let's face it. We are increasingly a society of eunuchs.

Lily Tomlin's wonderful character, Ernestine, the telephone operator, sums up much of what has led to this situation with her classic line: "We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company." This attitude is apparently shared by fully 95 percent of all corporations and businesses upon whom our lives depend, and the endlessly repeated assurances that "your call is very important to us" while you sit on hold for 45 minutes is nothing but bullshit. The worst thing is that the company knows it is bullshit and, like Ernestine's employer, they simply don't care. Why should they? What can you do about it, anyway?

My nearest supermarket is a large Chicago chain, Dominick's, and the one closest to me is located adjacent to DePaul University. It's a much smaller store and it is patently obvious that the corporation uses it as a dumping ground for outdated products. Because it's located near a university and its customers are largely college kids who, it is highly unlikely, even realize there is an expiration date on anything (including their own lives), the company rightly assumes they'll never notice they're being ripped off.

I have complained to the manager at least six times about the fact that their dairy products are, 80 percent of the time, either past their "sell by" date or within one or two days of it. The manager listens patiently each time, assures me that it is all purely coincidental, that there is absolutely no conscious effort on their part to try to pawn off older products at this particular store, and sends me on my way.

Yesterday while shopping there, I saw a product I'd not seen before....a packaged coffee flavoring, which I decided to try, and grabbed without looking. This morning, as I fixed my coffee, I opened the package and took out one of the six packets. Looking for the calorie count, which I always do since I need all the calories I can get, I noted "Expires: 04-10-13." I plan to return it to the store, and I will again speak to the manager, who will apologize and again assure me that it was purely coincidental. And I will once again be sent on my way, fuming. I'm thinking of asking for the name and address of Dominick's C.E.O. and writing him/her. But we all know where that will lead, don't we?

Ours is increasingly a society in which the individual is constantly made aware that he or she is totally at the mercy of whatever greed-driven whim strikes those too powerful to be affected by what anyone thinks. The feeling of being totally, utterly powerless is frustrating, and too much frustration can easily lead to madness. Is it really any wonder that people wander around with loaded weapons (thanks, N.R.A.!!) finally venting their frustration by shooting people at random?

I realized that asking for the name and address of Dominick's C.E.O., and expecting some sort of redress would be pointless. It would either never be read or if it were to be read, be viewed through the glazed eyes of total indifference. To counter that inevitability, I have just finished a note to the Chicago Health Department. Let's see them “coincidence” their way out of that one. And I hold the romantic's hope that if enough other people actually did something...anything...to let those in power know they're sick and tired of being shat upon, there might actually be hope for change. Perhaps pigs can fly.

When is the last time you felt taken advantage of? When's the last time you were treated rudely or ignored by a sales person? Or had poor service in a restaurant, or been served cold or overcooked food? But more importantly, when is the last you did anything about it? When is the last time you asked to speak to a manager?....Think, now..... Exactly. There does come a time when when if we refuse to stand up for ourselves we forfeit the right to complain, and every time you allow yourself to be treated poorly without saying something....well, I'm sorry, but you get just what you deserve.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1)










2 comments:

Kage Alan said...

Actually, I had a rather loud row with Best Buy a couple of years ago. The district manager in my area refused to price match items in his store to their web site. They wanted me to order the item online and select "store pick-up." This struck me as silly if I don't know what I'm going to buy when I'm in there.

After several calls to corporate and discovering that they'd instructed this DM to price match, that he was supposed to have been all along, they expressed their frustration to me. This prompted a "I'm sorry, are you telling me that you, corporate, cannot enforce your own rules with your own district managers?"

So, I'd go the store, buy what I wanted, then go home, call corporate, ask to speak to a very specific department and have them issue me refunds over the phone for what I overpaid at the store.

This went on for the better part of 4 months. Meanwhile, I filled out the online surveys each time and kept a running tab from one week to the next of how much I was overcharged in that DM's stores.

Lo and behold, and it took four months, they started price matching. I'm assuming corporate got tired of my weekly calls and the store managers got tired of my weekly tabulations. Together, they forced the DM to do what he was supposed to be doing.

Perseverance won out.

Dorien/Roger said...

Were there 20,000.000 more like you, Kage!