25 things vanishing in America, part 2: Customer service

A day in modern life-

  • Drive-thru at the coffee shop. Attendant shoves change, receipt and coffee at me simultaneously. Hurry hurry.

  • Stop for gas. 10 customers are pumping their own, while the single employee is inside selling lottery tickets and smokes. Never even glances at me as I spend $40.

  • Call my Doc to double-check the time for my physical; ninety seconds wasted listening to a menu.

  • Check email. More unsolicited messages from companies letting me know about all the wonderful new programs they have to suck cash out of my wallet. One, Dell, charged me $49 just to talk with them the last time I had computer trouble.

  • At lunch, pop over to K-Mart for some toiletries. Ten aisles, two open, with boxes stacked on either side of the cattle chute leading to the register. The clerk shoves my purchase in a bag, which she leaves lying on the shelf for me to pick up. At least they don't use the merry-go-round bag stand that WalMart does; I've left purchases behind, lost on the bag carousel, several times.