Saturday, October 13, 2007

Customer Service is Dead

My cold fries and wrong change sent me a message: Here comes the end of customer service.

In recent weeks I have come to the realization that the tight labour market has sent employers scrambling to hire anyone with a heartbeat. Because of this, I will never have hot fries, a correct order, or a free smile again! My beer will just sit there empty all night unless I interrupt the waiter and bartender's conversation. Because there are less people willing to flip burgers or the double-double button, it is more difficult to enforce customer service standards through firing and hiring someone new. In fact, they have recently invented a new job category: "Full-time Problem" - reserved for the workers employers wish they could fire but they hang onto them because they are slightly better than no one at all. In the end, you can say good-bye to the time when you could go to McDonald's and have them tell you that you are right.

And NO! Raising wages will not magically bring forth enough people (although maybe some) into the workforce; just ask my friend Neil in Alberta; it might help in the short-run to attract the best, but as time goes on all wages rise. And then, you got it, the end of customer service.

Yes! This is sad. From now on every time I travel I will expect only the worst from that highway A&W. And I am reminded each time I step into a Timmy's by the help wanted sign.

Why does this hit me so hard? For several summers I worked at McDonald's and Eastside Mario's to save money for university. I remember being happy that I had a job and I remember competing for my position and the hours I got. From all the help wanted signs on Spring Garden road, including the $100 signing bonus at Subway, I am sure I would be less concerned about loosing my job if I was 15 yrs old today. It must be nice to not care.

In summary, fast food is no long fast. Expect less. And if you get good service, tip really well in hopes that they will be there next time you visit. Lastly, if you think this just applies to low-end cookin' just wait ...