At the risk of being deemed racist, I have to say that the great experiment is over. Or it should be. Over the last few years, many “feel good” corporations began hiring minorities in order to present a more “diverse” corporate philosophy. Unfortunately, hiring minorities from the inner city also means completely giving up on a “customer first” philosophy for most of these corporations.
I first noticed this with Starbucks (you might remember this post dealing with just this sort of experience) and now, it has gained momentum and found its way to CompUSA.
It isn’t racial as far as I’m concerned. It isn’t because they are African American or Mexican (which just so happens to be where I am from), in fact race has nothing to do with it. I believe it is because they were born to young parents. As young parents, for a majority of them anyway, it means that they were not properly instructed in the social graces or in basic manners. When you are struggling to provide for your family at young age, it is all you can do to put food on the table, nevermind something as inconsequential as teaching them basic manners and basic respect. The young people who work in the Starbucks down the street, or the CompUSA, probably had very young parents. While it would be easiest to simply think that mom probably got knocked up at a young age and squirted them out before dad could be identified to help rear the brood, I want to err on the side of caution and think they had two parents who spent most of their time earning a buck. When a child raises a child, that particular family dynamic doesn’t really leave much time for something as time consuming as teaching manners or respect for themselves much less a complete stranger.
So, when you go into Starbucks, Walgreens, CompUSA, Mervyn’s, Target or any of the growing number of corporate service oriented businesses, and you see an minority behind the counter or at the register, chances are better than good that you’re about to experience the worst possible customer service situation. One in which the person behind the counter not only feels that you “owe” them something, but couldn’t care less about your experience as a “customer.”
This isn’t about race. It is about intellect, respect and more importantly, parenting. 90% of the social ills we experience on a day to day basis are directly related to parenting, most of it bad.
So, do me and the rest of us a favor. If you don’t know when it is appropriate to say, “Please” or “thank you,” stay away from jobs in which a smile and a firm understanding of the term “service” is the most important thing you can convey to the person across the counter from you.