Expectations of Service


Not too long ago I was on a small shopping spree. I needed to pick up a few items for my new home having recently moved to SoCal such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, the Container Store, and various others. As I was going from one store to the next picking up odds and ends I found myself in desperate need of a bathroom.

Being too far from home, I ordinarily search for a gas station (learning all sorts of new things about me today), however none were in sight. The urgency of my need forced me to look anywhere and everywhere. I came upon a row of stores and went from one to the next. In my yellow haze, I noticed a grocery store and thought to myself perfect; they must have a bathroom.

The sounds of water misting vegetables, customers filling large water bottles, and even seeing a few employees downing cans of coke was becoming too much. At last I found the bathroom. I went for the handle. It wouldn’t open!

Now I am a patient man, and regardless of the pain I was beginning to feel I stood their, trying my best not to do any sort of dancing in place… and given the circumstances I think I did quite well. Figuring there was someone in there, obviously the door was locked, I had no reason to expect something more sinister was afoot.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Not only was there no one in there but a second glance of the door knob struck me cold. There was a coin deposit attached to the door. For a low installment of two shiny quarters you too can pee in an area deemed socially acceptable. I checked my wallet, my pockets, my car… no change. Now I had thought of many ingenious ways of making my displeasure known. Granted most of them are illegal in 17 states and some 30 odd countries; I decided to refrain. Defeated I climbed back into my car and drove off.

I know a lot of companies are looking to save some cash. Who wouldn’t? But there are levels of service that are expected. There are some features that should not be served a la carte, but come with the solution as a whole. That grocery store is not in the business of selling convenient plumbing or water service. It is in the business of selling food and supporting items. The amount of money they gain from selling bathroom rights is minimal. The amount of money they save from not having to clean the bathroom is also minimal. In fact, I would wager that they are either at the break even point or are losing money.

I was not the only one to leave in a huff. There were a few other customers who saw the cost of doing their business and were equally frustrated. I imagine at least one (other than myself) simply left the store without purchasing anything.

In the Web hosting space, don’t offer me 24/7 support and then tell me I have to pay for additional support tickets after my first 5. Don’t tell me I have unlimited space and then say I can only have 1 database on my account.

Don’t tell me I am a welcomed and valued customer and then in the same breath charge me for nit-picky fees for items that cost you next to nothing to provide, but help to make me feel at home and comfortable.

Coincidentally, the first store where I need to go actually had a free bathroom in it….

Categories : Commentary

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