Service With a Sneer

If only the sentiment behind this article were applicable to other service industries besides the taxi industry (in Malaysia), there’d be a lot more dead people….

I think the tourism minister is being a little harsh, lumping rude taxi drivers in with other traitors. And if I had a nickle for every time a taxi driver (other than Robert, of course!), a sales clerk or other service person was rude to me, I could hire a taxi to drive me from here to Malaysia and back — at least five times over.

And it’s not just rudeness that gets my dander up. It’s laziness masquerading as stupidity. (They aren’t too stupid to do it, they’re just too lazy to do it….) A prime example of that was when I called Radio Shack to inquire if they had any data transfer serial cables available. Immediately the guy wanted to sell me a crossover cable (CAT5). Nope, I said. I need a data transfer cable to run on my serial ports. The salesman, apparently quite crestfallen that he was unable to sell me that high dollar ($29.95) crossover cable, said that they had no serial cables in stock. I asked him if he could order one. His response? “I’m not sure.” There was a pregnant pause while I waited for further response from him. Perhaps he needed to make up his mind whether he felt like placing an order for me. When the silence continued, I spoke up. “Um, when might you KNOW whether you can order the cable for me?” “Oh, I don’t know, I have a lot of customers here (uh, yeah, and did you count the one you have on the phone?) and it will take some time.” I hung up. Clearly I was not going to be able to dash over there on my lunch hour. I then called the location close to my house and sure enough, they had them. They had plenty of them, I was cheerfully informed.

So it wasn’t that the guy at the first Radio Shack was rude. He was worse. He didn’t even care enough to be rude…. Where’s my shotgun?

[Article reprinted in full below]

HOUSTON CHRONICLE ARCHIVES

Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: SUN 09/08/02
Section: TRAVEL
Page: 4
Edition: 2 STAR

Rude taxi drivers labeled `traitors’
Houston Chronicle News Services

IN THE NEWS
Calling them traitors, Malaysia’s tourism minister said taxi drivers who are rude to visitors should be “lined up against the wall and shot,” an article in the New Straits Times newspaper reported. “The government has spent lots of money and put in a lot of effort to attract tourists here,” Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, minister of culture, arts and tourism, was quoted as saying. “Taxi drivers who behave in this way are traitors to our country and should be lined up against the wall and shot. This is the kind of treatment they deserve.” Kadir said he had received letters of complaint from tourists and had been stopped in the street by people who wanted to tell him about the problem.

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