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What Happened to the ‘Service’ in Service Industry?

I may be hallucinating, but I could have sworn I was living in Louisiana, a state whose economy is driven in large part by the tourism and service industry. If that’s the case, you’d think that we here in LA would have this ‘service’ thing down pat, huh?  Not so much.  Being perfectly honest, if my service is even semi-decent, I will tip you better than most.  But, several times in the past few weeks, I’ve ran into ‘service’ that would get you caned in some third-world countries…

Exhibit A:  I love Naked Smoothies – those little fruit and/veggie smoothies that come in little (or large, if you’re lucky enough to find them) bottles – I’m addicted to them.  You can get them at pretty much any decent grocery store…but I had heard you can get them a buck or so cheaper at (the GD) Wal-Mart .  I hate that (GD) place, but I work in radio, and if I can save $10+ a week on my smoothie addiction – that’s two beers Friday night at the Warehouse.  It’s worth a shot.  So I pull into the (GD) Wal-Mart by the radio station – and before I can find a parking space, my spider sense is telling me that this was a mistake.

I park in the closest available spot…just south of Fouke.  I try to hitch a ride on the cart return Rascal, but the cart jockey was having none of that.  So I pack my lunch, break out my GPS and head in the general direction of the doors.  Once inside, I see that this particular Wal-Mart doesn’t see a need for baskets…so, rather than push a buggy all over hell for a half a dozen smoothies, I’ll wing it.  I also realize that I have no idea where they hide the Naked Smoothies, so i search out one of the infamous Wal-Mart blue vests.  They’re everywhere.  But have you ever tried to stop one to ask a question?  They scatter like cockroaches at a crack house.  So I walk up and down every aisle until I find the elusive smoothies.  A buck twenty cheaper…each.  Sweet.  So I load up both arms and head for the checkout line.  That starts in the electronics department.  At the back of the store.  300 hundred blue vests mulling around this dump, and they have TWO checkout lanes open.  For what appears to be 10,000 customers.  Most of them who haven’t bathed in a week and/or like to show various parts of their disgusting anatomy.  I’m not exaggerating…it takes me 50 minutes to get to the register.  And another 10 to check out.  Service.  Without a smile.

Exhibit B: A friend of mine decide to check a restaurant on Youree that neither of us have previously dined at.  It starts off smoothly.  Too smoothly.  It’s a Tuesday night, so the place is far from crowded, and the hostess gets us a table in less than five minutes.  Little did we know…dining hell was lurking in the shadows.

Twenty five (yes, twenty five) minutes later…the waiter appears to take our drink order.  To save time (the day is only so long), we put in our appetizer and food order along with our drinks. Ten minutes later, I track down the waiter to ask about our drinks.  Another 15 minutes later, I just go to the bar and get drinks myself.  As soon as I sit down – you guessed it! – the drinks arrived.  Which is good.  We’re going to need those two drinks each while we wait the 45 minutes it takes to bring us our ice cold appetizers.  I complain, but my friend opts to keep the frozen spinach dip, using the theory that we could be here for hours waiting for it to be replaced.  So we order more drinks.  And wait.  And wait.  And wait.   Okay.  I’m done.  It would be dine and dash time, if we had , in fact, dined.  I’m ready to bail on the drinks and appitizer, but my friend…being overbearingly honest, finds a waiter (not OUR waiter, who has obviously gone to happy hour at the restaurant next door) who will take our money for the drinks and dip (sans tip, of course).  We leave.  Time wasted: Two hours and nineteen minutes.

Exhibit C: This just happened tonite, and was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The girlfriend unit goes to a local fast food place to pick up the basics:  burgers, fries, drinks.  No way you can screw that up, right?  Wrong.  Both burgers with the wrong dressings – onions where none should have been, no tomatoes where tomatoes should have been, no cheese on a bacon double cheeseburger.  Fries that had been dipped in Crisco and put in the fridge for hours.  And two Cokes instead of Diet Cokes.  They had managed not only to screw up the order, BUT SCREW UP EVERYTHING IN THE ORDER.  And when she turned around and went back to the store, they treated her like SHE WAS WRONG.  That’s it.  Back to the restaurant (term used loosely), where the manager (rudely) agreed to replace the order.  Uh, no…I’d prefer to have my dinner without spit and bu-gars please.  Just give me my money back, and I’ll go somewhere else.  Of course, we had to wait.  But he finally came out with the money.  And not so much as an “I’m sorry”.  Really.  Service.  Industry.

Why I always ask for my money back, and NEVER ask to have the food replaced: watch the clip

And there you have it.  My rant about the (lack of) service industry in Shreveport.  I’m sure there are some places that offer stellar service.  I haven’t found them lately.  Point me in the right direction. Or maybe you have a s***y service story you’d like to share with the class.  Bring it on!  I’d love to hear it.  And, by the way, my knee is killing me today, could someone help me off my soapbox?  What?  Oh yeah…that’s right.  That would require service.

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