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‘Customer Feedback’ or ‘Customer Service’ are dirty terms in this house. I’m sure that’s the case in many homes. Gill and Crazy D are experts at dealing with such annoyances and, if they’re in house, I get them to take over for me. They have no more patience than I do, but I’m the one with high blood pressure. I don’t know of anyone who wants direct contact with their phone, cable, or internet provider. It only results in losing valuable time from your life that you’ll never get back. Rarely is the outcome positive.

Alas, I had occasion to call my Cable company recently. I called to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for trying to watch a movie on pay per view. It was so badly pixilated I gave up after 20 minutes. (It was the Steve Jobs movie and, if I’m being honest, the few minutes I did manage to see between pixilations showed me that I probably didn’t really want to see the rest of the movie anyway. Steve came off, even when he was frozen in place and silent, as a total jerk. But it did provide a brief respite from sorting my socks.)

The rep from the cable company was quite helpful (after I managed to decode his accent) and agreed to delete the charge from my bill. Fine. It only took a few minutes of talking and five minutes of holding. In my experience, that was record time! The following day, I opened my email to find a “Customer Satisfaction’ query, complete with survey to fill out about my recent interaction with the company and a bribe. If I actually DID the survey, I COULD win a $100 gift certificate to shop at a store I don’t frequent. No matter…it was the thought that counts, I guess.

I did not chose to waste five more minutes completing the survey, especially since they explained that it was to determine my level of satisfaction with the experience. Considering that my original call had been to complain vehemently about their crappy service, I should have thought  my mood would be obvious! Apparently not…

Last week, the day after I took my car into the dealership for its scheduled maintenance  look-see, I received an email from them asking me to fill in a similar survey about my experience. I had left the dealership smiling, pleased with the outcome, in no way indicating any displeasure. While I appreciate that we’ve become a ‘let it all hang out’, let’s talk about our feelings’ society, I draw the line at spilling my guts to a commercial enterprise–especially when the outcome is in no way helpful. Trust me, companies everywhere, I am well-versed in the art of sending complaint letters, and if I think you want to hear what I have to say, I’ll make sure you do!

Even the grocery stores have gotten in on the act. On my latest bill, I noticed a plea to  enter a survey to ‘let them know how they’re doing’. Well. let’s see…I’m always tempted to complain about the pick-up guy who hasn’t smiled or given me a cheery ‘hello’ for five years. I always smile at him and thank him for loading my groceries in the car, hoping for a civilized reaction from him. Nope. But I doubt the store really wants to hear my comment. Besides which, I don’t want him to take his repressed anger out on my fragile carton of eggs or bananas. We pay a price for everything in life…broken eggs and bruised fruit is not a price worth paying.

I don’t often order things online, but I hit the J. Crew site before Christmas and again this week. After I had placed my order, they sent me a lovely (and I’m sure sincere) Thank You notice…along with an “Are You Happy?” questionnaire to fill out. I didn’t quite know how to answer them. Do they mean, “Am I existentially happy?” Or am I happy I just dropped a boatload of cash on clothes I don’t really need that probably won’t fit anyway and will have to be returned?”

I must say, I’m likely as happy as anyone could be with an online shopping experience. I mean, I didn’t get to touch the fabric to see if I like it; I have no idea what the ACTUAL color will be; and I have no idea if the garments are worth the money I paid. It’s all a big mystery, only to be solved when the package arrives sometime in the future. Oh, I could track its progress online but that’s just an exercise in frustration. Besides, if I can’t keep track of my own grown children (haven’t seen hide nor hair of Crazy D for weeks despite his promise to pop in), chances are slim that I’ll be successful finding a random package that is at the mercy of Canada Post.

So I guess all I can say to the Customer Feedback Authorities is :”If I’m not happy, you’ll be the first to know. Trust me on this…”

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