the boxster blog with a different spin

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Thinking about industry and service today. I heard a history of shopping once which discussed the conflicts that arose when shopping became available to the middle class. Luxuries had traditionally only been available to the upper classes and this new thing (a middle class with money) tended to level the playing field, which created a conflict. If just anyone could purchase luxuries how could the upper crust distinguish itself? To quote the preeminent vocalist Cyndi Lauper, “Money Changes Everything”.

I grew up with so many ideas of what to expect when I was older. One of them was “the customer is king”. A lifetime of shopping experience proved just the opposite. In a world of multi-nationals, the customer is sh-t. That was—until—I called the Downtown LA Porsche dealer. Hello Miss Ashlund, your service representative today will be…Valentin. Finally, the way the world was always supposed to be, all because they imagine…I have money! The jokes on them, but I’m not talkin’.

I think from now on, I will only shop at Gelson’s and Nordstrom’s because the people who work there have learned the ancient art of graciousness. I believe it will also make me a better person. Also, quite possibly, I will need to take fewer vacations. Why not live in a kinder gentler place?

Speaking of good customer service, I was heartened to read Jim Collins' book giving testimony to that practice in: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. The book devotes an entire chapter to Nordstrom's (and it's employees... "nordies").

One more thought on service (or the lack thereof) …today I called my apartment manager to ask him to fix a broken cabinet and get the closets put back on their tracks. Ben bopped over five minutes after I called, got out the hammer and nails, fixed up the cabinet in a jiffy. Then I nodded toward the closet doors and he said it... “Gotta go have a massage”. The words hung in the air. At first I thought I misheard, but he gave me an affable smile, shrugged and then—he left! OK, OK, maybe everything isn’t better in LA!.

1 comment:

Maria Palma said...

After working at Nordstrom for over three years, I can understand where you're coming from. It wasn't until recently that I realized just how phenomenal their service is :) Goes to show - you never know what you have until it's gone! But, I do love working from home :)