Saturday, September 17, 2011

Something Special in the Air

After stalking every single senior executive at American Airlines (within legal limits) about our disastrous Chicago to Tulsa to Dallas to Vegas "direct" flight that arrived 8 hours after our original ETA, I put the matter out of my head.  It was cathartic to vent all my frustration on faceless executives in a somewhat venomous letter.  I figured my odds of getting a response within the year stood at around 9%.  Not that I'm allowed to gamble anymore.

The detour through Oklahoma did have its points of interest.
Of course the universe never fails to surprise.  I got an actual call a week later from a Deanne Mudd over at American Airlines (I wonder how many times she's heard the old "you're name is mud" from angry funny is that?). 

Deanne was pleasant, apologetic, and sent over a couple of vouchers should Joe and I ever find the time and money to take another trip.  I was confused:

Me: You're from the airlines?

Deanne:  Yes, I work for American.

Me:  You're not some kind of outsourced professional smoother-over?

Deanne: (confused):  Smoother-over?

Me:  You know, someone they hire because nobody there knows how to talk to people. Be nice.  Do the customer-servicey thing.

Deanne: Customer-servicey thing?

Me:  I mean you're calling me back and not acting like I did something wrong.  I guess my question is,  your paycheck says American Airlines?

Deanne: Yes, ma'am.  I work directly for American Airlines. 

I was dumbstruck.  With all the recession woes and job insecurity, I have found it shocking how so many people in customer service vilify and mistreat the consumer.  I've had Walgreens' cashiers refuse to get off personal phone calls with a line 6 people deep.  I've screamed for help in the middle of Home Depot and nobody came.  At Champp's this weekend, my friends and I waited 20 minutes before the waitress pulled herself away from her chums and flirty boy manager to finally take our order. 

I've worked these exact kinds of jobs (and worse) when the economy was great and finding a new gig was easy, but employees were still held accountable for their actions.  I just can't understand this take-it-or-leave-it philosophy.  And the sad part is, we're all learning to take it.

So Deanne is the reason I will be having crow for dinner tonight.  She couldn't have been nicer, more sympathetic, or happy to make things right. 

I just wish she'd get a job at CPS' contracted bus company.


  1. No matter what the economy, or the job, we should always treat each other with respect. That, and when you accept a job, you should at least attempt to do that job well.

    It bothers me the other way around too, when people treat those in the service industry with disrespect. Just like it wouldn't kill a wait-person or cashier to actually.. uhm.. DO THEIR JOB (or be pleasant while they do it), it certainly wouldn't kill the customers to say "please" and "thank you"...

  2. Skwishee - I agree with you on both counts. The bad thing is, I'm so used to poor customer service, that I almost give off an "I already don't like you" vibe because I'm just waiting for people to be rude to me. I should re-think this approach and try giving people the benefit of the doubt again. Thanks for the reminder. (: