Monday, June 16, 2014

What Does It Take, Really?

As a corollary to my previous post -- in fact, an addendum, of sorts -- concerning fading humanity in the United States, I would like to add my acknowledgement and sincere appreciation of the following individuals and businesses which, against prevailing current and a nation changing for the worse, still offer dignity and customer service.  Off the top of my head, there are:

- the super motel in the lakefront northern Wisconsin town I grew up in, and come home to to roost every now and then (although not nearly as often as I should, or would like to), and day manager (high school classmate), Lisa.

- US Airways' gate agent, Gaby, working at Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) this spring.  Gaby, you made my night, by smilingly, professionally changing my flight up the east coast to Boston, so it wouldn't need to stop in Chicago (?) first.  THANK YOU.

- the AirTran gate agent in October 2013, working at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL).  When I missed my connecting flight to FLL there, you shrugged, said "Why not?" and, again, so rare as to be noteworthy, professionally did your job by allowing me to get on a flight to Orlando.  No raping "change fee", no blather about "city pairs" ... I needed to get to Florida, you allowed it to happen.  Why not, indeed?

(True, I had to take a Greyhound bus to get from Orlando to Miami that trip, and that sorta sucked ... but you know what?  I thought of you on that six hour ride, my love!  Your proud, solution-driven face and vaguely admonishing, motherly smile, stayed with me each tropic mile...).

- the Enterprise car rental agent at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), the following month.  You accepted my debit card to rent the vehicle.  You treated it like a credit card -- as really, it should be; because otherwise, what's the point of having the Visa or MasterCard logo there??  These confusions don't exist in other countries, where a bank card is still just a bank card, and may only be used at an ATM ... or for point of sale purchases, but using electronic chip and PIN technology, having nothing to do with Visa or MasterCard.

For these are credit cards.  If their logos are on my bank card, I expect my bank card to be treated appropriately: as a Visa or MasterCard!  Not as a debit card ... so then I'm prevented or disallowed from using the Visa or MasterCard features.

What is the point of that??

Anyway, you, Enterprise car rental agent at EWR in November 2013 ... You accepted my debit card to rent the vehicle.  You "authorized" no amount -- nothing was held on my card in advance -- allowing me to get where I needed to go.  I'm sorry I didn't get your name - but THANK YOU.

To some of you others -- you airlines and car rental agencies and hotels in the U.S., clawing for superfluous "deposits" and charges ("authorizations", sorry!) ... adhering so rigidly to ridiculous "policies", without any kind of case-by-case examining or human level -- you should move back toward respecting your customers.  Not inconveniencing, hassling and, literally in some cases, stranding your customers.

You should rethink, and all be ashamed of yourselves.