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Rundles Wrap Up: Hold the Snark

Isn't technology supposed to simplify things?


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A stop at one of those more upscale fast-casual restaurants the other day got me thinking about customer service and the difficulty these days getting what you want from business establishments. I approached the counter, and a rather snarky clerk greeted me at 10:33 a.m. I asked for a breakfast sandwich and was rudely told that breakfast ended at 10:30. Three minutes. No appeal, no discussion.

All I wanted was a breakfast sandwich and a little less snark. I would have taken just less snark and that now-ubiquitous, “Sorry, but I don’t make the rules” comment that actually shields companies from doing anything of a real customer-service nature, but that was as forthcoming as the breakfast sandwich. I won’t be stopping there anymore – not that they care. 

I have had a similar experience with my cable television company. If you want this, you have to take that. If you want that, it comes in a package with a gazillion channels no one ever watches. What I want is to pick and choose the stations/ networks I want to watch, and skip the rest. They send them all out on the cable, right? Then I just want these 15 channels and not the other 233 channels. I want this to be Burger King: Have it your way. 

But, no, that’s not available. So I have been looking into cutting the cable – just like all of my children have at their homes – and go with Roku or Amazon Fire Stick or one of the other myriad devices and streaming services that advertise ad nauseam. But even here it’s a little of this and a lot of that in a patchwork of things that might save me money over cable but still won’t be everything I want and a lot of what I don’t need. 

It’s so simple. Here’s what I want: I want a television service that delivers just the 15 channels I want, and one that automatically mutes itself when an advertisement comes on for Bachus & Shanker, and one that turns itself off and takes a shower if Frank Azar appears. 

Is that too much to ask? Apparently, yes. 

But every now and then, you just have to ask for what you want. 

I want to buy batteries and breakfast cereal that a normal human being without tools can open. 

I want to visit my doctor for the second and third and fourth appointment and not have to fill out the paperwork – again. 

I want to buy a car that comes with a sunroof without springing for the Luxury Convenience Package that has 10 other things I don’t want. 

I want a congressperson and state representative and city council rep – or their minions – who stops by my house to “chat” when it isn’t campaign season. 

I want cellphone reception in my den. Preferably without having to upgrade my phone and service agreement. 

I want to make a reservation at a restaurant even if I don’t have five friends joining me. 

I want every company on Earth to comply with the Do Not Call Registry. And while we’re at it, the removal of an exception for political organizations. 

It just seems to me that in this day and age, with amazing technology coming at us from every angle at nearly every moment, some of it should be aimed at eliminating the common hassles of life. What with all the data collected about all of us and our habits, and all the money some companies make off that data, that we should all be compensated by being able to have high expectations and have them met. 

There. I’ve vented. I realize that it is all asking too much. That businesses are trying to make a buck and cut costs, that rules pretty much have to be followed even if it causes inconvenience. I also realize that, in the long run, things aren’t so bad, and I go to bed happy most nights. 

It calls to mind those rock ’n’ roll sages Keith Richards and Mick Jagger: 

You can’t always get 

What you want 

But if you try sometimes 

You just might find 

You get what you need 

Just hold the snark. 

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Jeff Rundles

Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at jrundles@cobizmag.com.

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