August's Guest Columnist is Ydnar, Randy's dark side Doppelganger with a penchant for payback.
In the olden days, before the cult of Customer Servitude came to power with their warm fuzzy fantasy seminars, customers were dealt with according to their level of honor and integrity. Then, things changed. A new CS doctrine emerged, born in a classroom environment, with an eye toward making money off of big corporations for social engineering training sessions. Over-complexified and heavily laden with psycho-jargon and cryptic language, the early re-education camps were blended with Mary Kay style corporate pep rallies and subtle shaming techniques.
The cryptic language probably dates back to just after we touched the monolith, when the tribal shaman developed mysterious chants and indecipherable phrases to make their job seem amazing and vital. (You know, like . . . Latin and economics.)
In the primitive Honor & Integrity CS method, the “good” customer received a quick response to concerns, combined with concessions like apologetic behavior, rain checks and freebies. The “bad” customer, however, was ignored, ridiculed and banished from the village. Yet, somehow, the new wave of CS prevailed, due to weakened educational standards and diets based entirely on corn syrup. The next generation of customers were taught that “kicking up a fuss” would produce success in their retail adventures.
Soon, the Pavlovian response kicked in and customers were wailing, complaining and shrieking like they had been harpooned. The instant ticket to free stuff was addictive. Just like the modern methods for raising children, all this New CS did was reinforce terrible behavior with rewards. (Much like if Pavlov had given his dogs sausage and biscuits for biting him.)
By the late 80s, customer boot licking had become widespread, and that’s when the “Unintended Consequences” surfaced. “Good” customers were often ignored in favor of a policy of appeasement directed toward silencing the loud, obnoxious customers, the very ones we didn’t want anyway.
It was sort of a squeaky wheel gone Mad Max result.
We secretly practiced a form of selective CS, in which we differentiated between our reactions to the complainant, based on past encounters with the individual. If the customer was new, we allowed more leeway for the individual to display true colors; then we took positive or corrective CS action.
For example, if a fine, upstanding member of integrity and honor accidentally stepped over the line, we smiled, waved and offered assistance. Like the time Mr. Chedwell, a retired spook, decided to avoid buying range balls and used the 17th fairway as his own personal driving range, complete with enough divots to give that chicken pox on turf effect. Rather than screaming at him, we smiled, waved and turned the irrigation up on him.
Dealing with scoundrel customers required a different approach.
Bubba Poltroon, a Top Tier Scoundrel, had a habit of bullying the pro shop personnel into letting him go off the back, regardless of the maintenance operations in effect. Mowing, spraying, top-dressing . . . none of these made any difference to Bubba. He was entitled to play when and where he wanted, without encumbrance from staff.
Bubba was even immune to frost delays.
. . . you would have thought I had stomped a fluffy little kitten with a logging boot.
One morning, as I made the turn with a four hole gap to the nearest golfers, (in the days before LEDs gave us a bigger head start) I saw Bubba already teeing it up on #10. He demanded I turn off the mower so he could hit and then he instructed me to hurry up, as he had things to do. I did hurry, but on #11, Bubba and his toadies hit into me, forcing a mower dismount to remove two balls from the putting surface. I used a gentle foot-putt and put both into the nearest bunker, but by their reaction, you would have thought I had stomped a fluffy little kitten with a logging boot.
With unrestrained fury, Bubba yelled “Man-made obstruction!” and hit another range ball at me. Sensing Bubba had very little Honor & Integrity, I unsheathed my 6-iron (Wilson Staff Tour Blade) from its special scabbard on the Toro, dropped Bubba’s ball beside the bunker and hit it right back at him.
This resulted in a short firefight of dimpled projectiles, and although I was outnumbered, my fire was more effective than theirs. Most golf bullies have never experienced return fire, especially the kind where you hit one high and one low. (They can’t watch both balls.)
As a reasonably experienced veteran of golf firefights, I took advantage of their failure to spread out and practiced basic fire and maneuver until they hastily withdrew.
I was forced to attend a week long CS course—which gave me time to catch up on paperwork— but Bubba learned his lesson. He never again attacked a crew member; for a while, he had to play alone, as being his playing partner was deemed “unsafe”.
Over the next 14 years, I would be sentenced to ten more weeks of CS, but with each exposure, my immunity grew. Yours will, too.