"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.
- What Does Dolly Parton Think of Taylor Swift?
- Nick Jonas Can't Wait to Be Slimed as Host of the Kids' Choice Awards
- Miley Cyrus, Ashton Kutcher Slam Indiana Governor over Anti-Gay Legislation
- Conan O'Brien Learns Never to Ask Will Ferrell About His Bird (VIDEO)
- Andy Cohen on Why He Hearts New York City: 'I Didn't Move Here to Sleep'
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