Recently, I was working with the City of Los Angeles, which was auditing some business transactions of one of my clients. The auditor barely spoke English. Not only could I not understand her, I had no idea whether she could understand me. With my client’s money at risk, I found this situation unacceptable. I asked to speak to the auditor’s supervisor, who was no more fluent in English than the auditor.
I moved up the chain until I was able to find someone who spoke and understood English. I expressed that hiring people was one thing, but if they are going to hire immigrants they should give them elocution classes. The least we should be able to expect from government employees is that they are able to reasonably converse in the language of the country that is extracting money from us.
As a sports fan, I am always fascinated by people who do not share my interest. I can appreciate the enjoyment of music or theater or a great book, but special sporting events offer an exhilaration that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The recent Men’s Championship in college basketball was a case in point. I did not have a dog in this fight and neither did my wife, but we were both riveted to the game from start to finish. The contest provided the nation with a great example of the wonder of sports.
My friend, Dennis Prager, wrote a great article at the end of last year focusing on making positive comments about companies with which he has worked where the experience was positive. His point is that we often emphasize our negative experiences instead of complimenting the most effective and service-oriented organizations. I would cite Netflix, Amazon, UPS, Verizon Wireless and FedEx as shining examples of well-run operations.
That being said, sometimes companies deserve being called out in public and AT&T is a sterling example of a horribly run company. I truly cannot wait until the day I never have to interact with them or write them another check. It started a year ago when they called me to offer a buffo deal discounting our Centrex lines if we switch our long distance to them. The proposal represented a significant savings for us, so I took it. The next bill from them reflected the new charges, but not the discounts. When we inquired where the discounts were, they replied that the promotion department took 60 days to post the discounts. We asked how the new charges could be instantaneous even though the discounts were delayed. Heated discussions and wasted time followed for the next three months to get the bills right. When the renewal came up this year, they started the same game.
Why a large company like this would engage in these shenanigans and antagonize their customers is beyond me. I can only guess that they are hoping the customer will not review the bill but pay it in full, and then fail to notice when the lack of proper credits do not appear. Not only is this devious and deceitful, it’s fully consistent with a company that calls weekly to offer us other questionable discounts.
The company seems to be operating like the dinosaur that existed before its early-1980’s break up – which ultimately ushered in the telecommunications revolution. Hopefully, its business practices will cause its ultimate demise.
I first met Ed Koch when we were being installed as members of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. That was also the last time I saw him as he never showed up for any meetings. He threatened to show up once when he was attacking Dennis Prager over his comments regarding Keith Ellison being sworn into Congress using a Koran instead of a Bible. But his righteous indignation could not even cause him to show up then.
Mr. Koch has become well-known of recent for his commentaries regarding Obama’s treatment of Israel. After reading a few, I emailed him and told him that he and others like Rabbi Marvin Heir should apologize to the American people and the Jewish people for voting for Obama in the first place – you know, do a mea culpa. Of course, Ed being the accepting man that he is cut me off his mailing list. Just another tolerant Democrat.