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'What would your customer do? Potentially, whatever you want them to. Bwahahaha!'

A disjointed, winding road rant about business and technology

By Wade WainioPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
As any qualtity American knows, innovation can lead to riches.

Remember that saying of “the customer is always right”? Well, a lot of businesses probably don't truly like that premise. Honestly, I can't fully blame them. After all, who is right all the time? Then again, businesses don't care so much about straightforward logic like that. They are not flesh-and-blood human beings. They care more about the money being right, especially when it's directed to them.

If a greedy corporation can sidestep the process of ever dealing with negative customer interactions (the kind that interrupts their profit-making ways), they probably will. They're not here to please you, the customer. They're here to basically rip you off, the customer. Their biggest task is to convince you — and us — that you, and others like you, come out equally ahead in the deal. They can do this by drawing out and exploiting natural advantages from your frustrations and insecurities.

Let's look at a modest one of those: Dreaded store clerks. It's not like we necessarily hate store clerks, at least not every time. However, it can be inconvenient to interact with such people, right? Also, they can sometimes be annoyed by customers, even when customers are nice. Right? The issue is even broader, though. Ideally, we should not need a store clerk to help us out. We could have what we feel we need, ASAP, with minimal fuss and bother. Who could fault us for that?

Exactly! So, plenty of seemingly benevolent corporations work diligently to shorten that distance between "I want that" and "I have that." They can and will cut out the proverbial middleman, which has the curious side effect of cutting jobs and making us rely more on a streamlined, more specific business model, and ostensibly that specific corporation, to get whatever we want.

Entire industries have been essentially slaughtered, and this partly happens because it's sold as entirely practical. Movie rental places are now scoffed at, with streaming being all the rage. It's now a quaint, antiquated concept at best. If you liked frequenting movie rental places, you must be some old fuddy-duddy or maybe some retro-hipster douchebag.

But again, this has the curious side effect of eliminating jobs and eliminating unique customer experiences (both good and bad). Now you will be made more dependent on streaming sources if you wish to watch TV shows and movies, as physical formats go the way of the dodo. Don't like it? Who cares?! Get your nostalgic, goofy-ass into a time machine if you don't like it!

And so, of course, the Chromebook I recently purchased doesn't even have a DVD or BluRay drive on it. In fact, none of the laptops for sale at Walmart had something like that. It's all been streamlined for streaming services, with physical media not even an option. (As a bit of a side note, I only bought this Chromebook because my previous laptop stopped working, as a Windows update crashed my laptop. Thanks, Microsoft!...oh, and they also wrested away my old Hotmail address, claiming someone had logged into it from afar, and even though I went through all the hoops to verify my identity, they still screwed me over. Again, thanks, Microsoft!)

Customer Service with an A.I. Automated Smile (or Whatever the Hell)

So what is customer service nowadays then? What is the bold new plan? Well, it's not like all customer service jobs are dead. It's just that they're working on severely cutting them down, trying to get customers used to the idea of self-service (something gas stations apparently pioneered). Obviously, you can use self-checkout at WalMarts across the country, and so many other stores. It can be, under the right circumstances, genuinely convenient.

As one might expect, it's also convenient for a mega-corporation like Walmart. Also, imagine not even having to train an actual human being for customer service! There's something to that, even aside from my whining about it here, right? It is undeniably an innovative concept.

In fact, I hate job interviews already anyway. If we don't need human beings to provide customer service, why have them there? A living artifact? A reminder of what once was? And again, who wants to head to that pesky job interview and say stuff like “I’ve been shopping at your store for years. I look forward to showing your customers what makes your products so special. “ That's corny as hell!

Who actually talks like that? A fucking chump, that's who! Sometimes quality customer service is just not possible, especially if the business can sidestep your sorry ass and never hire a store clerk, to begin with.

Technological Innovation Out-the-ying-yang!

The masses have been pacified with innovative applications of technology. With smartphone payments like Apple Pay, we can now pay the bill automatically without the need for the assistance of a store employee. Ask Siri. Go ahead! She won't bite! Got Amazon? Alexa will be there for you. Say something like: “Show me coffee shops that take Apple Pay” (as Apple itself offers as a suggestion).

With that in existence, there's no need to ask something like "Should we be using smartphones for shopping if not needed?" We already need that shit, don't we? The answer to the question is a resounding "Always," not just a lowercase "yes!"

You can turn an iPad or iPhone into a shopping assistant. Say "Hey Siri" and the rest shall follow. Siri can be yours to use as your shopping assistant, with little of any "First thing's first" about it. Unless you're completely stupid, you should be able to figure it out. They all will sooner or later.

You'll need an iPad or iPhone or iWhatever that you are happy to be the system's user for. Go on your first test shopping spree. It'll be like your first bike ride as a kid. Get those training wheels off! Maybe you'll tell your insipid grandkids, "I had a kick-ass iPad when I was an iKid," while the world slumps further into its MadMax hellhole. Reminisce about the Mini 2, which you like, but also an iPhone 6s Plus (or whatever technological trappings fit you most snugly).

The boring-ass conversations practically write themselves: "Since I'm a big Apple fan and I wanted to do an actual shop and actually finish it, I chose the iPhone 6s Plus for this test run. I'm not talking about using a two-year-old iPad Mini 2 to pay for your purchase, either."

Exciting, right? Better than most Oscar speeches anyway.

Make sure that your iPad or iPhone is not too old. There is still plenty of time to waste shopping away and who cares how your phone was even sourced?! Maybe you'll be low on cash someday and can't afford one of these devices. For now, you probably can, and that's what matters. Time is fleeting and you have the stuff to buy right now, and the corporation has the kids to build it. Just say to yourself, "It's all convenient. It's all convenient. It's all convenient."

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About the Creator

Wade Wainio

Wade Wainio writes stuff for Show Snob, Undead Walking, Pophorror.com, Vents Magazine and Haunted MTL. He is also an artist, musician and college radio DJ for WMTU 91.9 FM Houghton.

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    Wade WainioWritten by Wade Wainio

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