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1052939 2999-04-26 00:00:00.0 UTC 2999-04-25T20:00:00.000-04:00 2009-11-19 21:05:53.0 UTC 2009-11-19T16:05:53.000-05:00 good-customer-service-enjoy-the-recessions-silver-lining Published 2009-11-20 01:03:31.0 UTC 2009-11-19T20:03:31.000-05:00 opinion/columns DTI 57129143 Silver linings are still to be found, even in that big, dark recession cloud. You encounter them every day from the trivial to the terrific. Remember how you would feel so boxed in and lonely in the so-called big-box stores? All that merchandise and no one nearby to ask about it. Now, the recession has come to your rescue. Personable chatterboxes are the order of the day. Sales clerks are bubbly, informative and solicitous, sometimes all in one breath. They really want your business, even though your cynical side reflects that job tenure may have something to do with it. Bankers, at least in the case of tellers, are no longer stodgy and matter-of-fact. Some of them could give Little Miss Sunshine a run for her money. Don't expect today's low certificate of deposit interest rates to move higher, though. Car dealers are reaching for new highs in hospitality. Effusive welcomes await you in their shiny showrooms. And there is nary a frown when you pull that consumer data out of your pocket and proceed to tell them what you think you should pay for the vehicle you are considering. Maybe in time, this will even bring about the end of the "must call in my manager" charade. Restaurants aren't resting on their hospitality laurels, either. I have no proof that they are sending their servers to charm school but I often get that impression. In the lower-priced eateries, everyone is referred to as "honey" while in those with higher menu stipends, it's "sir" and "ma'am." Either way, we're just one big, happy family. Even those in rapid-turnover fast-food jobs are getting into the act. While mopping and cleaning near us the other day, one actually picked up our tray of discards and dumped it for us. Now that they've added salads and other menu items deemed at least reasonably healthful, they attract a dinner crowd, many of them seniors whose investments and pensions aren't what they once were. Spending an occasional after-school visit with our grandson, who at 13 is a brand new teen with a penchant for the golden arches, we observe the changing scene as we enjoy our salads plus not-too-sinful versions of chicken. So, as you see, the recession isn't all bad — just mostly. We all long for it to end, though, and for a new and bubble-less prosperity to rule the day. However, when it does, we'll have to steel ourselves when the former reality returns, too. Once again, we'll be lonely in the big-box stores, be charged for nebulous things like undercoating and protective fabric sprays at the car dealers, struggle to get a server's attention at restaurants and keep assuring ourselves that bank tellers aren't really robots. For most working-age folks, having a job again will, no doubt, be worth it. Retired journalist James Pettican lives in Palm Harbor. By James Pettican, Times Guest Columnist Pasco,Opinion,Columns Good customer service? Enjoy the recession's silver lining CBOWENN PAS Pasco South djj3hhnfudfn djj3h Clerks wish us a good day like their jobs depend on it <b>Guest column</b><b> | James Pettican</b> Pasco County 2 pasguest112009.pas Clerks wish us a good day like their jobs depend on it 2009-11-20 05:00:00.0 UTC 2009-11-20T00:00:00.000-05:00 The silver lining of a recession is attentive workers at everything from fast-food restaurants to big-box stores recession, fast food, big box stores, silver lining false templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2009/11/19/57129143-good-customer-service-enjoy-the-recessions-silver-lining StaffArticle opinion,columnsColumnsrecession, fast food, big box stores, silver lining <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">JAMES PETTICAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Guest Columnist 2261528 2016-01-15 21:40:26.0 UTC 7 Months Ago mondays-letters-duke-improving-its-customer-service opinion/letters Monday's letters: Duke improving its customer service StaffArticle 2289299 2016-08-12 19:03:15.0 UTC 2 Weeks Ago george-will-all-eyes-on-the-silver-state opinion/columns George Will: All eyes on the Silver State StaffArticle 2263170 2016-01-28 17:07:50.0 UTC 7 Months Ago dan-ruth-recess-saved-me-from-the-bell opinion/columns Dan Ruth: Recess saved me from the bell StaffArticle <p>Silver linings are still to be found, even in that big, dark recession cloud. You encounter them every day from the trivial to the terrific.</p> <p>Remember how you would feel so boxed in and lonely in the so-called big-box stores? All that merchandise and no one nearby to ask about it. Now, the recession has come to your rescue. Personable chatterboxes are the order of the day. Sales clerks are bubbly, informative and solicitous, sometimes all in one breath. They really want your business, even though your cynical side reflects that job tenure may have something to do with it.</p> <p>Bankers, at least in the case of tellers, are no longer stodgy and matter-of-fact. Some of them could give Little Miss Sunshine a run for her money. Don't expect today's low certificate of deposit interest rates to move higher, though.</p> <p>Car dealers are reaching for new highs in hospitality. Effusive welcomes await you in their shiny showrooms. And there is nary a frown when you pull that consumer data out of your pocket and proceed to tell them what you think you should pay for the vehicle you are considering. Maybe in time, this will even bring about the end of the &quot;must call in my manager&quot; charade.</p> <p>Restaurants aren't resting on their hospitality laurels, either.</p> <p>I have no proof that they are sending their servers to charm school but I often get that impression. In the lower-priced eateries, everyone is referred to as &quot;honey&quot; while in those with higher menu stipends, it's &quot;sir&quot; and &quot;ma'am.&quot; Either way, we're just one big, happy family.</p> <p>Even those in rapid-turnover fast-food jobs are getting into the act. While mopping and cleaning near us the other day, one actually picked up our tray of discards and dumped it for us. Now that they've added salads and other menu items deemed at least reasonably healthful, they attract a dinner crowd, many of them seniors whose investments and pensions aren't what they once were.</p> <p>Spending an occasional after-school visit with our grandson, who at 13 is a brand new teen with a penchant for the golden arches, we observe the changing scene as we enjoy our salads plus not-too-sinful versions of chicken.</p> <p>So, as you see, the recession isn't all bad — just mostly. We all long for it to end, though, and for a new and bubble-less prosperity to rule the day. However, when it does, we'll have to steel ourselves when the former reality returns, too.</p> <p>Once again, we'll be lonely in the big-box stores, be charged for nebulous things like undercoating and protective fabric sprays at the car dealers, struggle to get a server's attention at restaurants and keep assuring ourselves that bank tellers aren't really robots.</p> <p>For most working-age folks, having a job again will, no doubt, be worth it.</p> <p><i>Retired journalist James Pettican lives in Palm Harbor.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:40:48