Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Low-Bid Economy, Continued.

Way back in August--when the temperature was higher but the globe was some degrees cooler--I wrote about a phenomenon called "The Low-Bid Economy."
This weekend, I've been forced to attend a Bat Mitzvah in Ann Arbor, Michigan (that is not the start of a joke) and I've run head-long into another facet of the low-bid economy--the complete and utter lack of service.

I flew Northwest. Surly flight attendants. No service or accountability whatsoever. Seats literally crooked on their runners as low-bid workers try to jam in another couple of rows. A dirty plane. No food except $2 trail-mix, which really sounds like something a gerbil would eat.

Then the Hertz counter in the Detroit airport. A line of six customers. And one fat Hertz rep behind the counter unable to make the contract printer work. Three Hertz people milling about, complaining in loud voices about the cold. Or looking at USA Today on their computers. No sense in serving customers--they pay us to pass hours not help people.

Then the Marriott Courtyard Inn. One pimple behind the counter. She can't spell my name. Can't even bother to listen to it when I repeat it again. And I'm an "Elite" customer. Ha! A filthy hotel. Because why pay people a decent wage to clean? It is dirty. You are dirty after a shower. And if you are over 5'5" you have to bend to get your head under the showerhead. Low-bid, everybody down.

Then, an attempt to replace a broken cell-phone still on warranty at the T-Mobile store. "T" as in terrible service. Terrible attitude. Terrible. Terminal. Tacky. Tsurly. Trafe. The phone they sold you breaks, and you are inconvenienced. You get charged for shipping. You get no apology.

Dell has just awarded some billions in advertising to a new WPP group. If Dell does not become the "Nordstrom's" of the PC world, their market-share will continue to shrink.

The Low-bid world is a dirty, dumb and dispiriting place. A place where no one cares. We need an alternative.


Tore Claesson said...

Down, down as a downward spiral. A pessimistic world-view. Who would have built the Eiffel tower with that attitude, or the even Tunnel under the English Channel. Or the Empire State Building.
Our industry is now all about low-bidding.
While media is not exactly getting cheaper per eyeball and hearing aid, the work that's going into it is getting cheaper by the day.
Ideas are not worth that much. It seems. despite all lip-service.
salaries are going south. as is loyalty to the only asset they claim is the agency; the people.
Low-ball. Dell's trying to raise its share price by low-bidding to some degree. When another computer giant some years back decided to consolidate and save the company, they invested themselves out of the miserable state they were in. someone was optimistic and put the bet on intelligent life.
that lasted about 4 years, or so, then it started to go south, as usual. We now have professional low-bidders employed at each and every company. they talk about value, or value for money. Problem is they don't necessarily know what they are supposed to put a price tag on.
some famous person said something like: Everybody knows the price of something, nobody knows the value.

george tannenbaum said...

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" (Oscar Wilde)