punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Commercials Lying on Services

To say my father hated commercials was an understatement. He claimed it was the main reason I was not allowed to watch TV as a kid. We only had two TV's in our house when I was a kid, a small color TV in my parent's bedroom, and a small black and white in the kitchen. If, at any time, one of those TVs was playing commercials, my father would yell "COMMERCIAL!!!" very angrily, and we had to scramble to turn the volume down to zero. To sing a commercial jingle in my house would have been punishable by... well, something way out of proportion. I never did find out why my father hated commercials so much, but when I got older, I kind of liked some of them out of spite.

But one thing I hate is commercials that tell you how awesome their company's service is. Good service, in my experience, is so rare... it's almost a joke to hear any commercial show you some smiling operator excitedly telling you something. Now, I have actually had good service before. Citibank, for instance, has pretty good service. American Express does, too. But Sprint is full of incompetent people, Verizon and Cox Communications (phone and cable) have appallingly bad attitudes, and other companies I have called have angry, bitter, or just plain stupid people who don't listen.

What started this rant is another Cox commercial that shows these WASP cable men with crisp shirts being welcomed into the community like the favorite newspaper boy. No. Let me tell you what I get from most utility companies: lazy, angry people. Cox Cable sends these foreign-speaking guys who have the technical skill of a spoiled young child. And each technician has a different way of doing things, and a different explanation as to why my cable doesn't work. It took them about a year, since the enforced "digital upgrade," to get cable to work on both my TVs. In that time, the exchanged about 5 different boxes, rewired my house and yard twice, and made a mess in my attic and drilled holes in my walls that they didn't end up using. Only one out of three of the "technicians" (and I use that term very loosely) spoke English. The other two were often yelled at by the one who did, and there was always one "designated peon" that got left to do 90% of the work while the other two went back to the truck. This peon often never spoke a word English, and often looked around like a confused small mammal stuck to the realm of the forest floor, looking at my house like he was surrounded by threatening Redwoods. If spoken to, even nicely, I'd get a sheepish grin, followed by him leaving and getting the angry supervisor. It's like a circus, and often they can never fix my problem without "going to get something," and then they never return. So we have to call Cox back. Then they sent three different guys, who fill the same roles.

Then I see this "Welcome to McDonalds" crap. Has any of the morons that do these commercials ever been to a McDonalds? No. It's complete fiction. Appallingly brash and bold lies. McDonalds out here are often damp filthy places run by disgruntled dregs of society who have an attitude like they have been forced to do the most degrading thing in their life. I have heard that the way they treat their employees borders on the edge of barbaric, and judging from the churn of bitter employees, I'd believe it. They never get my order right, and I have pretty much given up on them, and will only go if I am with a group that goes. This is universal to any McDonalds I have been to in the last ten years, from San Jose to Baltimore.

Commercial: Smiling young girl in crisp uniform, who says in perfect English, "Welcome to McDonalds, may I take your order?"
Reality: Some angry person who slurs in a dirty untucked shirt, will not make eye contact, says in one long sigh, "MeccumDaMcdons, haMinaHepya...?"

McDonalds has not been doing too well recently. They think it's that the food isn't fast enough. No, it's because you treat your employees like crap, and so they don't give a rat's ass about the customer, so the food is awful and the service is so uncaring, it's like going through a meat packing plant in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." And it's not about "only the dregs of society/immigrants can get work there," because Taco Bell has the same pay rate and environment, and their service, on average, is far, far better. Immigrants or not (and, for the record, being the grandson of immigrants, living in a country built by immigrants, I am totally for immigrants). My order is always right, I get smiling service, and the overall attitude is better.

Now onto phone reps. No, skip that. This post is long enough. I don't have solutions for this problem. But I know a good start:

- Pay your employees better. Treat them like humans. Fire those who have poor attitudes, and don't encourage poor behavior.
- Stop advertising what you can't deliver. Instead of saying how great your service is, claim something else that is... you know, true. "We're Red, white, and yellow!" might be a nice start for McDonalds.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000359.html
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