Reprinted from the Editorial Page of
The Hectorville Times Picayune Examiner Clarion Register Tribune
“The Hometown Paper for The Northwest Central Region”
To The Distinguished Editors: (I know it’s just you, Walter, but it sort of makes it sound like one of those big-city newspapers, don’t you think?)
Anyway, Dear Sirs: (and of course you, Mabel, down there in the print shop…I know you read all the mail.)
Let me start off this little missive by stating firstly and foremostly that I am not happy with the current course of events, leastwise the way they are unfolding in our formerly pleasant little town.
Now, I am not known around these parts as a man who fires off letters to the Editor all willy-nilly. So you can be sure as tomorrow’s got a three o’clock in it that I am worked up, and with darned good reason.
To wit: (for those of your readers not up to snuff, literature-wise, that means, “Here’s the point.”) It was two weeks ago that I first began noticing the things that I am putting forth in this letter to Ye Ed. Me and the Mrs. were heading up to Main Street for a bit of window shopping, and maybe a little purchasing as well. Naturally, our first stop was Taylor’s Fitwear Clothing Emporium (us coming from the south, as we do.) Now, I’m not a man who needs the kid glove treatment. Not by a long shot, and you can ask around town if you’ve a mind to. But is a little common courtesy and politeness too much for a fellow to ask for? Well, obviously, since I have been moved to write this letter, I do not number myself among those that hold that opinion.
What happened was that we walked in and got the bum’s rush from the salesperson. (I’m sorry about the coarse tone of this, Walter, but it’s got to be said. Or in this case, typed.) I have never been so insulted in my life, and frankly, in the future I shall take my trade elsewhere. (And that goes double and re-double for the Mrs., she’d like to add.)
Before you get the idea that I’ve worked myself into a lather over one little incident, let me tell you this: Taylor’s isn’t the only culprit! This sort of rude and ill-mannered behavior is happening all over town! I’ve been ignored by the wrench jockey at Sven’s Garage, talked down to by the waitresses at Nestor’s BurgerLand, insulted by the counter clerk at Phreno’s Pharmacy and sent away from Klinger Bros. Kleaners with starchy laundry and a bruised ego. All in the past fortnight!
I ask the consumers of Hectorville and surrounding locales: What is going on here? What happened to good old-fashioned courtesy from a shopkeeper when dealing his or her wares to the public? At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, I ask you: Does not the merchant have an obligation to treat the buyer with a little respect? Has the phrase “The Customer Is Always Right” gone the way of the Hudson Terraplane and Nehru jackets?
Then came the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s backbone.
Yesterday I headed over to Hickey’s Hardware to pick up a new blade for my lawnmower. Old Hans Hickey was nowhere to be found, so I asked the kid behind the counter where they kept the lawnmower blades Well, he gives me a look that’d wither an anvil. Like I had just asked him to cut off his big toe or something. And along with this look, he gives me, “We don’t sell that kind of thing anymore.” His tone made me feel like I was sneaking around town looking for something dirty (which I wasn’t) instead of a common accessory with which to trim my lawn (which I was.)
So this kid tells me if I want a new blade (which I did) I could drive out Route 27 to Bing’s Small Engine World and try them. Well, needless to write, I didn’t hang around being made to feel like some sort of lowlife, but when I arrived at Bing’s I got the same snotty treatment out there…like I was from another planet or something, as opposed to the responsible citizen and potential customer that I was.
And so I came to a decision. I am no longer going to buy anything from anybody that refuses to treat me with the respect and courtesy that I deserve as a paying, cash-on-the-barrelhead customer. Feeling as I do that if I’m going to plunk down the greenbacks, I want some good manners from the merchants.
So I’m putting the members of the Hectorville Chamber of Commerce on notice: Shape up, or you can forget about getting my trade for a long while. And I’m not alone; lots of folks feel like I do, which is evident from the talk down at Ed & Wilma’s Elbow Room Lounge, and in the waiting chairs at Jud the Barber’s.
The people of this town aren’t going to stand for any more of your bad manners, so as the kids say, clean up your act!
Randall J. MacGillicudy
Rural Route 14
Americans spend over 2 billion hours a year mowing their lawns.