Remember Customer Service?

I remember a day when customer service was more than providing basic service to a customer. More than just being politically correct and not abrasive (even that is missing occasionally). I remember when customer service was a skill learned from common sense, apathy, respect and from receiving it yourself- not from attending a special training course from some corporate headquarters. I remember when putting groceries in a bag and operating a point of sale credit card system were skills. Now at the big stores, someone with no training just shoves everything into a plastic bag (why be careful, it’s all going to move around in there anyway) and expect us, the customer, to learn their credit card machine. I have even received snotty looks when I take too long to figure out the buttons on one I haven’t used before. They tell me it’s for security, but then ask to look at my card anyway. Who are they trying to kid? They pay the employees less money and expect less from them. This keeps products cheap. To me, they are saying “We don’t need to treat you well, we know you’ll be back because you’re cheap”.

Does that mean you have to pay more for products to be treated well? Sometimes. Fancy, pricey national chains usually have great customer service. But if you want great customer service without paying extra, just look around you. Literally. Look locally. Small outfits in your neighborhood want to see you again. They want you to tell your friends about them. They’re not paying for a corporate office with training rooms and certificates. They have common sense, feel for you and respect you. To me, they are saying “You are a good person doing good things and we want to help, so we will be good to you and see you again soon!” How do I know? I’m on both sides of the wallet too.

What is art?

It may be hubris to attempt to describe what art is. It certainly isn’t easy. I mean, art was around before people wasn’t it? This may be a bit of the “if a tree falls/sound” thing. Can a truly magnificent sunset on a beach be called art, or is it only after it is reproduced on paper that it becomes art? According to several definitions, art is only human- This comes from Wikipedia; “Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the sensesemotions, and intellect.”. Intellect is defined as a human trait, although I think there are animals that create art (the bower bird is a good example with not only thoughtful design, intent to provoke emotion (in a female), but also song and dance).

If art can only be created, admired and judged subjectively by humans, then there will never be a definition of art because we can never agree with each other. By most definitions of art, graffiti and tattoos are art, but who would want to hang those on their wall? A very artful poster of Steve McQueen on a Triumph motorcycle on the set of “The Great Escape” hangs on my wall, but who would call that an image of self expression worthy tagging or inking? Don’t even get me started on music!

Anyway, let’s just say what I say is art is art and what you say is art is art and what we both say is not art is not art. Since you and I are the only ones who matter, that should do it, don’t you think?