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Pitchin’ the fantod

I gotta get rant-a-rific here for a few.  I just got off the phone with a major American airline which I won’t embarrass by naming outright, but if you like, you could say its name rhymes with benighted.  I was on the phone with them for a fucking hour trying to correct, or verify the correction of, a $75 mistake they made.  And when I say I was on the phone for an hour, that means I was on hold for most of that time, listening to an endless loop of Rhapsody in Blue, except for the two times early on when the menu selections I made failed because those parts of this Dinosaur Corp.’s phone system no longer work, and the few minutes toward the end of this when I finally got to speak to a person (who was actually in the United States, which pleases me, atavistic chauvinist that I sometimes am (an effect of growing older, methinks)).

A fucking hour.  It’s like I was dealing with an obscure bureau in some third-world country, address 1984 Kafka Avenue in Downtown Chaotica.  An hour!  A major airline!  Now, I’m an old but I’m not ancient.  I’m well over a decade away from retirement, should I in fact be able to retire.  I well remember a time when in this country–in this country, boys and girls–that simply never would have happened.  Americans had more pride than to pretend to run a business where people were kept waiting on the phone for an hour.  I like to think we still do, but here I am dancing the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to a tune I don’t recall having any part in calling, and it’s a whistling past the graveyard for anyone to think it doesn’t matter that major businesses are run that way.  Look around.  See all the crumbling?  Yeah, we sure as shittin’ all do.  Anyone care to dance?

And at the end of it all, the poor soul who tried to help me, bless her heart, couldn’t provide any sort of verification that the problem had actually been solved, even though she said she’s pretty sure it was.  But that’s not acceptable.  It’s not acceptable to run a business like that, or a government like that, or a school like that, where there’s no one on duty, no one who can assist, no one who knows what’s going on, no one to take responsibility, no one who is willing and able to get to the bottom of things, no one to step up and say, We can fix this–we are better than this.  It’s time to clear away the rot.

Published inEconomicsVerandah

6 Comments

  1. YES. We rented a dolly to tow my husband’s car for the move, and the rental company (rhymes with Fudge-It) gave us the wrong one. When we tried to load the car, it immediately bottomed out and then ripped the front bumper off. We called to find out what to do and were left on hold, transferred and cut off (twice), and when we finally made contact with a human being, the dude blamed us! We’d barely put two tires on the dolly, and he acted as if we’d deliberately shoved the car into place and deserved whatever damage had been done. Then they sent us all over town to replace the dolly and find something that would work. Seven hours’ delay on moving day. What a pain in the ass.

    I too remember the days of customer service. Now the responsibility is so diffuse that no one gives a shit, it’s all about getting you off the phone–preferably to someone in another department.

    • It troubles my heart and mind, Averil. Here we are, the Western World, mired in an economic tar pit. No one can throw us a rope because the pit is so large and we are all in it.

      And it’s not just the money, that’s not really the issue, as my post and your comment attest. It’s people not giving a shit. What is to become of a people who don’t give a shit? They will be overtaken by a people who do. Such is the fate of all empires.

      And why do people not give a shit? It’s because they know the game is rigged and there’s no way to win, so why the fuck even bother to play?

      Please listen to our entire menu, because some options may have changed.

  2. I don’t watch a lot of TV and I imagine you don’t either, but if you can get your hands on last Sunday’s premiere of The Newsroom (HBO), give it a look. The main character goes off on a rant that sounds remarkably like yours.

    We HAVE to find out how to give a shit again.

    • True, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I have one of those old-fashioned analog sets, I didn’t get a converter, I haven’t had cable since Jimmy Carter was president, I know I’m missing a lot, and I don’t know how to care. Susan and I have NetFlix, which suffices. We’re going on a four-at-a-time binge for a month to mimic some sort of vacation we can’t otherwise afford. Last night we watched a documentary on Fonteyn and Nureyev. Susan was a dancer in younger life. I was never much into watching highfalutin high-stepping, but last night I saw two dancers do things that were so extraordinary they brought tears to my eyes. Tonight it’ll be a John Wayne movie where he doesn’t play a cowboy (he plays a boxer).

      I don’t know what happened to our culture. Is it the death of God? Is it the high tide of the counter-revolution that grabbed hold in 1980, leaving all us idealistic children of the Sixties and Seventies feeling dope-slapped and betrayed? Is the redemption now in the hands of a younger generation? Has the collapse of the neo-liberal global economy only been delayed, and is it necessary for the collapse to be complete for necessary changes to come?

      When my son was a teen he used to call for revolution. I would tell him, Be careful what you wish for–look to France and Russia for the true fruits of revolution, and see how after a generation (or two or three) of bloodshed, the status quo ante reasserts itself like a Phoenix bird arisen from the ashes. People never change. There is no Age of Aquarius. There is no Occupation that can’t be emptied out by uniformed thugs. But will someday a real rain come and wash the scum off the streets of Wall and Main? Will it wash our sins away, too? Leave us cleaned and refreshed and ready to care and to give of ourselves one unto another?

  3. You’re missing very little, as far as I can see. HBO has the only dramas worth watching, and for documentaries (my staple entertainment) I can use Netflix or Hulu.

    I do think a global financial catastrophe will shake us in the coming years, but will it make any lasting difference? I doubt it. Things may change for a while, the balance of power will shift from one house to another, but I don’t believe it will ever truly belong to the people.

    I don’t know enough about group-think to understand why we always give it away. Are we all missing daddy so much?

    • Marx was never a working man. He didn’t realize that the proletariat never wanted to own the means of production.

      I’m given to understand that back when hunters and gatherers made the transition to farmers and herders, their standard of living went down. What they got in return was protection. It seems to have worked well enough. Ever since then, the protection racket that is the underpinning of civilization has seen human population grow and grow and grow.

      Still and all, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It’s hard to be eternally vigilant. Jefferson said we needed to have a revolution every, what? Twenty years? Oh, shit, do we gotta revolt again? Seems like it was just yesterday and we were revolting.

      Anyway you look at it, life’s hard. So we all dream of the womb. It’s not daddy we miss.

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