HIGHWAY TO HELVETICA
By Bucks Burnett
August 23, 2007
Went to a Barnes and Not Very Noble book .store by Northpark Mall in Dallas yesterday to buy my good friend Paul a book for his birthday. A young guy came up and asked if he could help and I said 'I'd like to look at all those books that just came out about On The Road by Jack Keroauck (did I spell that right? Probably not). He said, 'what kind of writing is it?'
(I will say that at that moment, my life changed forever).
So I helped him try to find the section for about 5 minutes and then went to the customer service bar. The young man there HAD heard of Jack, and spent a few minutes on the computer not getting anywhere because he kept typing in things like 'karryack' and 'achin'back' - finally told the other kid that it was upstairs so we went up there and spent 10 minutes looking at aisles and endcaps and I said 'can you call somebody?' He did, and we were told it was downstairs.
So back downstairs this kid spends another 10 minutes, or 600 seconds, looking for the section. I had asked for the special Scroll edition. You know the one. It's starting to feel hopeless and my happy place felt shut down for the day, so I asked to see a manager. She arrived and I asked 'Did you know your employees don't know who Jack Keryoowack is?' She looked unhappy and said, 'sir, we can't expect all of our employees to have read every book ever printed.' Hmmm. I then said, 'that particular attitude aside, I've been here 15 minutes and they haven't found his section yet. Is that a good thing?' She said something frumpy, and the kid walked up with the book, and I thanked him. She said, 'Anything else?'
I looked at her and said 'This is a pretty big week in the book business, as you may know, they've put out several books surrounding the 50th anniversary of On The Road, and this is a big store that sells those kind of things. It's taken 15 minutes for your staff to locate a huge new release. I'm not a literary snob, but I will say this has been unfortunate in every way. I'm in a hurry and will buy this book, even though I don't want to anymore. Good luck to you and the chain.'
'Thank you sir.'
At the counter, the cashier said 'was everything okay today sir?' I looked at him and said 'not really.' He asked 'why not?' I said, 'because no one here seems to know who Jack Kuriakk was.' He said "I do - what happened? Let me get a manager for you to talk to' (10 points for him). The same lady walked up to me. By the looks we exchanged, there should've been a theme song playing.
'Yes sir, is there still a problem?'
'May I speak with the Store Manager?'
'I am the Store Manger.'
'Oh dear, how do I put this. Your cashier should be the store manager. He knows how to talk to people and has heard of Jack Knapsackonmyback. Earlier when we spoke I found you rude and defensive, and I won't ask if you require your employees to have read any Shakespeare, which I, by the way, have not, but I work at a music store. So I've bought this book, but I don't feel good about it.'(curtly) 'I'm sorry you feel that way, sir.'
'Yeah, me too. I used to shop at Borders, because it's closer to my house, but now I have a better reason. I don't want to see you again.'
(bored) 'I'm sorry you feel that way, sir.'
'Yeah, me too.'
Fuck Barnes And Noble.
Fuck Bad Service.
Fuck Bad Attitude.
ALWAYS complain, nicely at first, if you are not happy with any of the following items; customer service, food quality, volume level of music playing at a cafe, political representation, treatment from employer, concept of mortality created by a deity who left no forwarding address, or selection of magazines in professional waiting areas. If we live in a sucky world or country, and don't complain about it to those in charge of The Suckiness, then we have no right to complain, do we. And if we have no right to complain, our forefathers complained in vain.
c.2007 Bucks Burnett/XIV Entertainment
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