November 13, 2007

Instant Gratification = Whining Adults

It's a really great thing to be able to go online, and read the news anytime you want, instead of waiting for 6pm or 11pm. It's awesome to shop online before you hit the store to get an idea of what you want, or to check flight times and book your flight and hotel for your vacation. But there is one problem with all this instant response stuff: It turns adults into whiny little brats.

I work for a company that wholesale distributes products to the retail store. This means that we deal with the retail store owners and their employees whenever they call in to place their orders, or have questions about a product. I have several problems with the behavior of these people.

First and foremost, is that they call in constantly with questions about how the product works, what it looks like, etc. Seems to me if you're going to sell it, you should be somewhat familiar with it. I, for one, am not impressed by the high-pressure salesperson who says, "I don't know how it works, let me call my distributor and ask."

Second is their attitude. These people will call up with the worst attitude I've ever heard in my life. Who do they think they are impressing here? They call up and they say to me, "I want to speak to so and so." I say so and so is on a call, but I can put them thru to voicemail, and in return, I hear, "Look, I have a customer here, so just get up off your butt and go tell so and so I'm holding, I need answers and I need them now." Excuse me?! If I ever heard a salesperson talking to someone that way, whether or my behalf or not, that would be the end of it right there. I would walk out of their store immediately.

What really gets to me though, is the whining. These people whine more than my children! When our computer system was down one day, it was supposed to come back up in 30 minutes which was when one of the salespeople went to lunch. When I told his customer that it would be up in 30, he says to me, "But he'll be at lunch then. How will I place my order? I need to do this now, before he goes to lunch. What will I do if I can't?" Uh, hello, the computer system is down. You can't place the order, even if I do put you through to your salesperson. When I try to explain to him that his salesperson will call him back when he gets back from lunch, he whines about the wait.

I realize we all have things to do, and I realize that the customer can just go on down the street to the next customer, but seriously: can we not wait 15-20 minutes for a return call? Why must they act like it's the end of the world instead of thinking of it as an opportunity to try to sell other stuff while they wait?

And they always want to hold, as if their salesperson doesn't have 20 other people to call back, and they are just the most important customer we have. I want to know how they can stand to sit there doing nothing but listening to cheesy hold music? That would drive me nuts. I never want to hold. I'd rather call back or leave a message and have them call me back.

Oh, and let's not forget the threats. I actualy had one customer call up (he does maybe $2000 worth of business a year) and when I said his salesrep was on a call, he said to me, "Put me on hold. And I better not have to hold long or I'll call Corporate. I don't want to call them, but I will if I have to." LOL. I guess that's supposed to make me leap from my chair and run at full speed to his salesperson and tell him that if he doesn't get off the phone with his $250,000 customer right now and take this other guy, he's going to call Corporate. Big friggin' deal. And frankly, when I'm threatened, I tend to respond by doing the exact thing they say they don't want me to do. I left him on hold for a half hour. Gee, he never did call Corporate. Hmmm...maybe he couldn't figure out how to dial all those numbers.

We claim our children are becoming selfish, and want everything now, now, NOW. I think, though, that if these people are any indication, it's our own fault. We've come to expect to get everything immediately, and have therefore taught our children that this is acceptable. I'm guilty of it too, although I do try very hard to teach my children patience and that there are times when you just can't have what you want right when you want it. I think I do a pretty good job.

Although it's great to have easy access to things, I think we should take a step back in time. Credit cards weren't always around; you had to save your money for things you wanted. You see it all the time in old movies, or even "Leave It To Beaver" and shows like it: the kid who stares longingly in the window and the bike he so desperately wants, but can't have until he gets enough money from mowing lawns. Most people would not have a lot of the debt they have if they quit using the credit cards to immediately buy what they want, and just saved for it. Don't misunderstand me: I have one credit card, and I'm broke. I'm a single mom with a sucky job that doesn't pay nearly well enough. But, I'm not broke because of my credit card. I use it one time per year: to pay for Christmas. That's it.

I'm just saying: While you can get most everything you want right away, sometimes you have to accept that it's just not going to happen, and be gracious. Be patient. Don't whine like a child. It's very unattractive.

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