Imagine you use a public bathroom in a mall. You do your business while trying not to touch anything, you wash your hands (that makes you a rarity), and you leave. As far as you are concerned, that chapter of your life is over and done with.
The next day, as you are sitting at home watching a reality show where people with no talent and annoying voices are vying for a $52,537 prize by acting and being more outrageous and odious than the next person . . . where was I going with this?
Oh, yeah . . . you’re sitting there and you hear “You Got Mail!”
“I really need to switch from AOL,” you tell yourself for the umpteenth time as you amble over to the computer.
This is Zachary from Big-Ass Midwestern Mall. I am contacting you today to follow up on your restroom visit from yesterday. We wanted to make sure that you received truly exceptional service while you used our complimentary facilities and that everything you needed was addressed. We really appreciate your feedback and would love to hear from you.
“Your business is our business!”
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Seriously?!
That scenario is not that far from the truth, especially since you are now be tracked by your phone everywhere you go (by choice and sometimes not).
Here’s the thing . . . this new and growing trend is getting ridiculous. I changed a few words, but the above is pretty much what I received from my dealer after I went to get some work done on my Highlander.
BUT . . . they are not the only ones. Amazon, eBay, utility companies, grocery stores, and anyone you e-mail or call, from the government to every private company in existence wants your feedback.
How did we get to this?
Zachary is a real person working at my Chevrolet Dealer where I recently had some work done and yes, I received an e-mail similar to the example I gave above.
I mean, I get customer service and satisfaction, but all these e-mails take a lot of time to read, let alone answer. Each survey takes a slice of your precious time, and you get nothing in return. Now, I know car dealers are rated and get money based on how satisfied their customers are, so this is important to them, literally affecting their compensation. But, what about Amazon or eBay or the gas company? No one can convince me my satisfaction means that much to them. Certainly, no one has ever acted on any of my suggestions or ideas. All they really want is the five-star rating.
Anyway, this was the actual e-mail I sent back to Zachary:
Imagine, for a moment, a world where every time after you buy something or get something done, stores contact you.
They want to know if your experience when you got gas was truly exceptional. They want to know if your experience at the barber was truly exceptional. They want to know if after you stopped at the Walgreen you walked out thinking to yourself “Wow! That was a truly exceptional experience. The best time I’ve ever had buying hemorrhoid cream!”
Note: not saying you have hemorrhoids. That’s just an example.
The point is, you might, at first, be flattered by the attention. I mean, how often are people truly interested in what you have to say as you go through your life? I can tell you about my life; people are tired of me telling them what I think (this will likely be another case in point).
And what does “Truly Exceptional” actually mean? I dropped off the car. You guys worked on it. I paid you guys for doing the work. I got it back.
On the one hand, no one spit on me or told me I look old and ugly (side note – I am old and ugly, so I would not have been all that upset. The spitting, yes – that would have bothered me a bit).
On the other hand, there were no dancing girls, trumpets did not announce my arrival at the service bay, and I did not win a new car just for showing up. The only parting gift I got was a piece of paper called da “bill”. Or, more accurately, da “receipt”.
I got there, your mechanics did something to the car, it was described to me but I did not get a video of it, so I’m left with imagining it. Finally, I paid a half of a grand to get my car back.
Sounds to me as somewhat less than “truly exceptional”. It sounds to me more like “normal”: I need something done, someone does it, I pay for the service, I go on my way.
Now, you might wonder why I took the time to answer your e-mail. Well, Zachary, let me tell you . . . but first, how would you rate this e-mail response?
Would you say it’s exceptionally funny? It’s my aim to ensure you have a great time reading this. If you did not, please tell me how I might improve my next e-mail to you.
Well, truthfully, I’ll probably write something very similar to this if I receive another e-mail hoping I had a “truly exceptional experience“. However, if it makes you feel any better, go right ahead and give me your feedback and suggestions.
I hope I’ll find it as entertaining as I hope you found this response.
Truly exceptionally yours,
Honest, I’m beginning to resent the implied obligation associated with buying something or asking something, or doing things a few decades ago was just stuff you did . . . now you have to score it. Not happy, I am.
Cruisers Update XI – The Details Part II
Continuing with my late reporting of the June 14, 2015, Tri-Lakes Vintage Car show.
So, here we go, more macros (or micros).
By the way, there is a SmugMug Gallery (HERE) for this, past, and future posts about this show. Also, you can click on the photos to open a larger version of the photo in a separate tab or window. Go ahead; try it.
Anyway, back to the macros . . . you might wonder if the above is a composite of multiple photos. Nope. It’s decoration on a car’s trunk.
What’s neat is that it looks a little like a shot of the night sky. Here’s a B&W version that somehow manages to look less celestial.
If I remove the imperfections in the paint, it lessens the effect.
Let’s go on to other cars.
This 3-D effect is strictly a paint effect. The surface is as smooth as automotive metal can be.
By the way, that “star” reflection is also painted on there.
I did shoot a few features in addition to logos and badges. BTW, whenever I type ‘badges’, I want to yell out “We don’t need no stinking badges!” . . . but, I don’t.
But, yes, the badges are more interesting.
And, yes . . . sometimes the B&W treatment really gives them a kick.
Here are three different treatments of the same badge . . .
Sometimes, while the color shot is good, the B&W shot smooths out and seemingly enhances the features. Some might not agree, but that’s fine. I know at least one guy will think so.
Some color shots are already at a near-B&W look, so there’s not much incentive to pushing them over the edge.
Now, the idea with these two shots (and two more in between) was to join them into a panorama spanning the whole logo.
However, I must have moved either a bit closer or a bit further and because the width changes from one to the other, Photoshop was not able to align them. So, I had to do it by hand. It’s not perfect and it’s missing about a foot in between the two ends, but . . .
OK, OK . . . it done looks like crap! Sorry. Here are the two separate shots in B&W.
B&W cannot on its own a better photo make . . . I’m not happy with this next shot, and turning it to B&W did not improve it in any significant way.
On the other hand, both these next two shots were, in my opinion, greatly enhanced by the conversion to B&W.
First, I think this “Deluxe” script will be saved for future appearances on my blog. Not the color version . . .
But rather, this B&W version . . .
Ain’t it a beauty?
The second shot is this one. As a color shot, it’s not bad . . .
But, when I saw the B&W version, I was happy I had snapped this shot.
Sometimes I wonder what is more effective . . . the written word . . .
. . . or the iconic symbol?
What if the iconic symbol is in B&W?
As far as B&W conversions go, this next one also came out better than I would have thought.
Some readers might be getting miffed at my continued focus on GM products . . . well, let it not be said I’m biased. Well, I am, but let’s not say it.
I do think The round tail lights are a cut above the Mustang’s rectangular trio. Here are three versions of the same photo.
Lastly, here are two versions of the Mustang logo.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.