WILL UNWOUND #145: “Who Cares About Service?” by Will ManleyJune 17, 2010
Unwinders, just a minute now. The comment board went sort of wobbly with my last post. Too many generational battles going on there.
Deb put it very succinctly. She said, “One last thought. The younger generations didn’t spring full-grown from Zeus’s brow. We brought them into this world, we raised them, we taught them, we socialized them, we invented the technology they grew up with, and then bought it for them. If they didn’t turn out the way we wanted, whose fault is that?”
Deb is absolutely correct.
In my post on the big box libraries I left the door wide open to generational differences. Okay, I misled everybody. So let me clarify.
I’m not saying that the younger generations sprang full grown from Zeus’ brow. I am saying that the retail world that they grew up in, was far different than the one I grew up in. We can all wax nostalgic about the mom and pop basic service stores, but they’re gone and will not be back. That’s progress or not depending upon how you look at it. But let’s not blame the big box culture on gen x and net gen. And let’s not blame the boomers for Vietnam. And let’s not blame the greatest generation for World War II. And let’s not blame the Depression folks for the Depression. I could go on but you get the point…I think.
My perspective is a simple one. The past 50 years has been a period of rapid change. One of those areas of radical change was the rise of the big box. It started with E.J. Korvettes on the east coast in the late 50s and early 60s (look it up on Wikipedia!). My father, a child of the Depression, loved E.J. Korvette’s because of the low prices. That’s the allure of the big box…low prices and plenty of selections. Sam Walton, also a product of the Depression, perfected the big box and ruined Main Street for good. So be it. Those days are over. RIP. Put a fork in it.
My further point is: Has the rise of the big box retail culture lowered service expectations in public services entities, such as libraries? I think it has and I think politicians are taking advantage of those lowered expectations by gutting library staffs. My point is that if people are willing to put up with bad service in the big boxes to get lower prices, then they are probably willing to accept big box type service in libraries in exchange for lower taxes.
Am I right or am I wrong?
Okay, it’s your turn unwinders. Have at it. But let’s get wonky not wobbly. It’s not about people or generations, it’s about money.
REMEMBER…THIS BLOG IS A GROUP EFFORT. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. I’M GOING TO TRY THIS AGAIN: PRESS 1 IF YOU AGREE; PRESS 2 IF YOU DISAGREE; PRESS 3 IF THE TRUTH IS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 1 AND 2; AND JUDGING FROM YOUR COMMENTS IF YOU HAVE A ROTARY PHONE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T DESTROY IT IMMEDIATELY. AND BY THE WAY IF YOU ALL THINK I’M A TOTAL LUDDITE, PLEASE RECONSIDER. I HAD A PRODUCTIVE 20 MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH A COMPUTER TODAY IN GETTING MY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION REFILLED. ARRRRGGGHHHH.