I still cannot deal with customer service people. I’m sorry. I can stay pleasant 92% of the time, but when I have to deal with resentful agents who act as though I have no right to seek their assistance, I just cannot remain composed. When you combine the natural surliness of the folks on the phone with discovering that the customer service section of the Circulation Department of the local newspaper has been outsourced to the Philippines, I’m lost.
Driving home from work after spending hours dealing with the Star over my stolen debit card and the failure of the auto-pay which I forgot to switch to the new card, I contemplated the last eight percent of my voyage to complaint-free living. I really don’t understand why the Star can’t have live bodies sitting in an office here in Kansas City helping its customers. While the Missouri unemployment rate has decreased to 4.9%, it’s 6% in Kansas City. This means that a lot of folks here could use those jobs that the Star (owned by McClatchy) has sent to the Philippines. I looked at McClatchy’s website and here’s the headline on their “About Us” page:
The McClatchy Company is a leading news and information provider dedicated to the values of quality journalism, free expression and community service.
I suppose the catch is that they are dedicated to community service, not community.
My thoughts about the newspaper waning in its commitment to our town mirrored my rueful thoughts about my own wavering in my commitment to nonviolent communication and complaint-free living. My secretary Miranda rolled her eyes at me when I got done convincing the Star to re-start my paper. They truly did not want to do it, either! I finally shamed them into talking with me from an office in Kansas City by tricking someone into giving me a local, direct-dial number. To my surprise, instead of wanting to help me, the woman waxed self-righteous. As though I tried to steal from her or something. As though i had orchestrated the theft of my debit card and deliberately failed to transfer the Star auto-pay to the new card.
But Miranda’s eye-roll tells it all: I was not being gracious either. I met rudeness with discourtesy. I’d broken my promise to myself and to the world which I had made in the winter of 2013 in honor of my uncomplaining mother-in-law after she passed away.
Broken promises mean a lot to me. I have not always kept my promises; and I remember every failure. Humans owe each other trustworthiness. Our relationships should be founded in faith and integrity. If we say we are going to do something, by Gosh, we should. I want to divest myself of any connection with people who fail to abide by their commitments, and I want to renew my determination to honor those which I myself make.
One of my small but important promises was this: To put a smile on my face no matter how I felt at any given moment. I spent a lot of time in the last two years crying over one sorrow or the other; and even more time in the last few decades scowling with displeasure, irritation, or anger. Flashing a genuine grin from my Irish eyes to my pixie chin shows the world that I have committed myself to joy. I’m renewing my resolve. I want to give the world one of the most satisfying experiences that human beings can offer — an unrestricted, radiant smile.
I make you all this promise: When I see you, I will smile. I intend to keep this promise. You can bank on it.