I have issues. There, I said it. This is not a secret; bathroom incidents follow me wherever I go. Anyone who knows me is keenly aware of this, and my friends, bless their hearts, love me anyway. But this is a story about my dad and his toilet issues. Maybe this runs in the family, I’ll have to explore this further in therapy once I find a therapist skilled in potty problems.
My dad is in his 80s. He wears hearing aids for all the good they do, which is none. I talk and then re-talk the whole time we’re together, and by the end of the day, I’m exhausted from all the talking. So when he sent me a text saying his toilets, scheduled for an afternoon delivery, still hadn’t arrived by 7:30 pm, and he couldn’t raise anyone on the horn (old school for telephone). I said I’d call and see what I could find out.
I called the big box store (you know which one) where he chose his new toilets, the phone rang and then disconnected. I called again and was promptly put on hold. Intuitively, I knew I was in for the long haul. I went about my business and kept an ear out for someone to answer. Every 60 seconds a nice voice came on the line and thanked me for waiting and reminded me how important my call was, adding that all associates were presently busy assisting other callers. I call bullshit here. Nobody who thinks my call is important leaves me on hold for 30 minutes.
Phone in hand, I left the house and went to get a frozen yogurt. I tasted all the flavors and finally made a selection. People stared as I walked around the store with this idiotic message coming on every minute, but what choice did I have? I was in the hold queue, and you have to go the distance with these things. The phone in the frozen yogurt place started ringing and the girl at the counter just pretended it wasn’t happening, and in that moment, I had a realization. Businesses don’t care about their customers anymore. The relationship between the service provided and the employee’s paycheck has become so blurred it no longer exists. I write to CEOs of companies about this all the time. Most of the time, I get the results I’m after in the moment, but nothing really changes out there in the real world.
Eventually, my dad’s toilets were delivered. He called me to let me know he’d gone to the store where they told him the toilets were already delivered, and then he let loose on them with a barrage of salty language like I’ve ever heard from him.
I used to work at this, not so great anymore, home improvement store. My department was…wait for it. Kitchen and bath, the place where they stock and sell toilets. When I left there, part of the reason was a lack of customer service. It simply wasn’t a focus and it left me unable to do my job effectively.
It all seems like a metaphor of sorts, maybe. Possibly it’s just another sighting of my totem animal.