"Can I get a human on the line?"
How many times have you tried calling a big-box store, a large corporation or a zillion other commercial establishments only to get trapped in a nightmarish conversation with one off those phony, uber-cheery, pre-recorded, non-human message zombies whose only purpose is to elevate your frustration level to the point of hanging up?Video: ’Throwback’ store is ‘doorway into the past’ (on this page)
Well, guess what?
That is their point.
- 5 Things to Wear on Thanksgiving That Have No Bearing on Your Waist Line (Phew!)
- A Partial List of the Things I Intend to Lie to My High School Friends About When I Go Home for Thanksgiving
- Miranda Lambert Breaks Her Silence on Blake Shelton Divorce: 'Man, This Sucks Right Now'
- Try This Super Simple Workout on Thanksgiving Morning
- Mark Zuckerberg Is 'Thankful' for Family, Shares Sweet Photo of Pregnant Wife Priscilla Taken By Annie Leibovitz
The faster you hang up the better, because "helping the consumer" is so passé.
Customer service costs money, which is a drag on the bottom line which translates to a lower stock price which triggers layoffs which means less customer service.Story: At this coffee shop, random acts of kindness top the menu
Does it have to be this way?
A few weeks ago, in need of replacement blades for my hockey skates, I called the Wilmette Bicycle and Sports Shop in suburban Chicago, a place I have frequented since my teenage years, and talked to Larry.
Larry is a human.
And he actually speaks to people on the telephone!
My skates were fixed in a day and that's when I came up with the idea of doing this story.
The Wilmette Bicycle and Sports Shop is one of those stores that shouldn't exist in this big-box age.
It's small, cramped and off by itself, miles from the nearest mall.
But it works…for all the right reasons.
Watch this story and find out why.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints