SANITY IN AN INSANE WORLD
Something is deeply wrong. I
don’t really think the world is insane, but there is at
least a substantial part of it that has spun off course into
the strangest of orbits. Like dealing with the power
company for example…
Phone tree for 20 minutes…finally, wonder of wonders, a
human comes on the line.
“May I have your phone number, account number, ID
number, age, birthplace, password, and mother’s maiden
“Uh…I just have a simple question.”
“Sir, if you don’t provide the information, I can’t
help you. Our system doesn’t allow us to answer simple
After ten more minutes of divulging every secret I
have, she says, “And how can I help you today? Customer
service is our most important concern.”
“Really? That’s great. I just want to change my
“We can’t do that.”
“You can’t change an address? I provided you with the
correct address and someone in your company wrote it down
incorrectly. Can’t you just type in the correct address?”
“No. Our system doesn’t allow that. Our system
operates on the principle that if we made a mistake,
we simply blame you. You are responsible for
correcting our mistakes. You will have to cancel your
current account, then pay a new deposit, then establish a
new account, and then your service can be restored.”
“Well, if that’s what we have to do, I guess…”
“Oh,” she interrupts. “We can’t do that here. You’ll
have to call back and ask for the service department.”
What’s going on here?
If you attempt to purchase an airline ticket, a
recording tells you that if you want to deal with a human,
the ticket will cost an extra fifteen dollars! And
this “coldness” is not confined to electric companies and
airlines. It permeates every business.
My wife and I have recently moved which prompted the
need for new purchases of washer, dryer, and refrigerator.
I sauntered into Home Depot and told the manager – who was
reading the paper - that I would like some help in that
area. He replied, “There is no one here at the moment that
can help you.”
“What?” I said. “You’re kidding. It’s eight o’clock
in the morning. I want to spend well over a thousand
dollars in your store, and there’s no one that can
“That is correct,” he said. “The person in that
department doesn’t come in until 10:00 today.” And then, he
went back to reading his paper.
Somehow I got on the wrong planet.
Recently, one of my books was
listed on amazon.com (I refuse to capitalize that name) as
being “out of print.” The book is not out of print and I
purposely did not choose to distribute the book with that
company. I contacted the “customer service” department,
(Ha) requesting that false information be removed. The
“Send us this product so we have it in our inventory,
then the “out of print” statement can be removed –
otherwise, the statement will remain as is.” Welcome to the
What’s going on here?
A number of recent articles in magazines and on the
internet deal with the “death of customer service.” So many
company reps are not interested in any form of
customer service, but rather in not dealing with the
customer at all. I am at a loss to understand how quickly
this group of events could have occurred, and how pervasive
such practices have become in such a short time. All
companies suddenly seem to have the same business model –
and it goes something like this…
If you need a service, product, hotel room, or
electricity – whatever the product is, it matters not – you
begin by looking for a phone number. You learn quickly that
this is the one thing you will not find. That little item
is a most closely guarded secret. So, whether we want to or
not, we are forced to use our friendly, easy to use, quick,
efficient internet! Hot Diggity! Now we can learn words
like “FAQ” – none of which, of course, have a single thing
to do with the question you need answered.
So almost every day, we hear, “Things are not like they
once were. In my day a person’s word meant something.
People would look you in the eye. Deals were sealed on a
handshake. People are different now. They just don’t
care. It’s all about money.”
Is there anything we can do about that? There is. I
have found something that helps – and it’s helped me a great
deal. At first, I thought this solution was feeble and
weak. Over the last few years however, this “answer” to the
coldness of the world has changed my life…and here it is.
I can’t control what the world does…but I can control
what I do.
I can help the world be like it once seemed.
My word can still be my bond.
I can still look other human beings in the eyes and be
honest in my dealings with them.
My handshake can still serve as a permanent covenant
I can care about my brother and sister.
I can make money, and yet also prevent money from
becoming the god I worship.
Giant corporations show
little concern for people, yet when they fail, they cry for
us to provide them comfort. Is it any wonder so few
Americans want to? We all need to be careful in our
treatment of others…what goes around comes around.
Surveys and statistics show an overwhelming number of
people claim to have Jesus in their hearts. After observing
the way we treat each other, doesn’t it make you wonder?
It’s sad and it’s corny, but it’s still true. During our
lifetime, the most important thing we can do in our life is
treat others with kindness. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t
always done that – perhaps my deepest regret. But I can
from this day forward.
After all, I claim to have Jesus in my heart too. And
commandment I give to you, that you love one another.”