Friday, December 12, 2014

Cars I Love: 1969 Brawner Hawk MkIII

The 1969 Brawner Hawk MkIII which was driven to victory by Mario Andretti during the 1969 Indianapolis 500. This is a replica of the original. 

"Andretti Hawk" by Dan Wildhirt | Wikipedia

As a matter of fact, I love the looks of this car so much, I happen to have a 1:18-scale Ertl model sitting right on my desk at home.

Cars I Love are photos of automobiles I find and collect during my journeys around the Interwebs. Whenever possible, I credit the source. —Luis

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Is Customer Service Becoming a Thing of the Past?

I sold my truck over the weekend, so early Monday morning, I walked into the DeBary, Florida Bank of America branch, in order to cash the check.

It was 9:03 a.m. when I walked into the lobby, where I was greeted by a gentleman who—I assume—was the branch manager. After exchanging a few quick niceties, I took my place in the line, with three other customers in front of me.

The long counter, which had enough room for (I am guessing) at least five tellers, only had one window open, with another teller working the drive-through window. The "manager" made the rounds and greeted customers as more walked in.

By the time I reached the window—after waiting for about ten minutes—the line behind me was approximately eight-people long, while the "manager" kept doing his "I-have-to-greet-customers" routine. I assume bank "managers" are above menial tasks such as helping take care of customers, and this attitude is not reserved for Bank of America managerial staff, as I've seen the similar issues at the TD Bank DeBary branch.

Anyway, the teller cashed my check and that was that.

Later that same day, I stopped by the Barnes and Noble store in Winter Park. I had an appointment in the area and wanted to kill some time.

After looking through the magazine rack and finding one, I made my way to the counter so I could pay for my purchase.

As I waited in line, I also picked up a package of Moleskine notebooks. I love having something to write on handy, and have used them for years.

Just like at the bank, I stared at the long checkout counter with room for eight to ten cashiers, with only two at their stations, who were busy waiting on customers. So I waited and waited, but after about five minutes, I exited the line after leaving the magazine and notebooks on the counter, since I was starting to run really late for my appointment.

Not that my opinion matters, but it seems that the trend across the land, is to discourage people from banking and even shopping in person. Call me old-fashioned if you must, but it is no wonder that retail commerce is suffering today.

Recently I read a book about The Container Store, in which the author (and CEO of the company), waxed almost poetically about their great people and service. So a few weeks ago I decided to go visit their Orlando store to experience their so-called "Yummy culture" and be amazed by their customer service.

We walked through the store for at least ten minutes, looking at stuff and getting some ideas for the house and the garage, and with the sole exception of someone welcoming us to the store as we walked in, not a single person approached us or asked if we had questions. I left the place thinking that they really have a "Yucky attitude," instead.

The only large company I know of that truly offers amazing customer service, is Publix supermarkets.

When you run into an employee, they greet you in a pleasant way, and if they see you walking around with a lost look on your face, he or she will offer to help, and they will walk with you to the aisle where the product is located.

They really make "shopping a pleasure," as their slogan states.

Not sure what the heck is going on with the rest of the retail world, but if companies want to prosper (or even survive), they will have to do a U-turn and go back to training their employees about properly taking care of their customers.