Civility and Chivalry

Image from: festivalphoto.net

This article from USA Today concerns me. I’ve seen examples of this behavior on other college campuses, in office lunch rooms and most recently at a bar and on a plane.

I’m not saying we need to revert back to men holding doors open for women or a return of the Knight’s Code, but instead going back to generally being polite to each other.

You won’t offend my sensibilities by launching into an expletive laden rant (within reason), but then again I worked in a newsroom. You will, however, offend me when you jump in front of me in line or pull a chair from the table I’m sitting at without asking.

As for where this attitude stemmed from, George Mason University lecturer Leslie Morton, quoted the USA Today article nails it. “People don’t take time to think about consequences. Who am I hurting? Will this be embarrassing?”

The person you are hurting is likely not you and if you are acting that way, you likely won’t be embarrassed, but someone else might. It isn’t about you.

Great Customer Service DOES Exist!

About a year and a half ago, the wonderful coffeemaker my husband and I received for our wedding broke. Not just a little broke, really broke. Big mess. After much research (Thanks, Consumer Reports!) We decided to buy the Black and Decker Smart Brew. It worked beautifully. Coffee was good. We could set it to be ready when we woke up. All around very happy.

It did occasionally over fill when we didn’t put the carafe back in just right or when the coffee filter folded over itself, but nothing dramatic and nothing to make us fall out of love with it. That is until Tuesday morning. Something strange happened. The carafe was in just right, the coffee filter hadn’t folded over itself, but still the whole thing back up.

Not worrying too much about it, my dear husband unplugged the machine and rinsed it out. When I got home, I finished rinsing it out and put in the recommended cleaning solution. When I plugged it in, the entire front panel lit up a la Christmas. Thinking this was not good, I unplugged it and tried another outlet. No dice. I then decided to call Black and Decker. After 45 minutes on hold for an “estimated wait time of five minutes,” I hung up, discouraged and frustrated.

Willing to give it one more try, I called on my way home from work on Wednesday. Given the hold time the day before, I called before I even got on the high way, left it on speaker on the seat next to me and went on my merry way. Imagine my surprise when before I can pull in the driveway a real person answers!

He was very polite and seemed to genuinely want to fix my problem. After some initial trouble shooting, he said to discontinue using my coffeemaker (as if I could!) and they would be sending me a free replacement in seven to 10 days. He said not to dispose of the current one that there would be instructions included with the new one. The entire call took less than 10 minutes.

I was amazed. I didn’t think customer service like this still existed.