If you read the Wall Street Journal you might have seen this article by Peggy today:
Her commentary on a Pittsburgh hotel (I assume she means the Hyatt but am not sure) caught my attention:
"I'm in Pittsburgh, making my way to the airport hotel. The people movers are broken and we pull our bags along the dingy carpet. There's an increasing sense in America now that the facades are intact but the machinery inside is broken.The hotel has entrances on two floors. I search for the lobby, find it. Travelers are milling about, but there's no information desk, no doorman, no bellman or concierge, just two harried-looking workers at a front desk on the second level. The man who checked me in put his phones on hold when I asked for someone to accompany me upstairs. As we walked to the room I felt I should explain. I told him a trial attorney had told me a while back that there are more lawsuits involving hotels than is generally known, and more crime, so always try to have someone with you when you first go to your room. I thought the hotel clerk would pooh-pooh this. Instead he said, "That's why we just put up mirrors at each end of the hall, so you can see if someone's coming." He made it sound like an amenity.
"What should we do then, scream?" I asked. He laughed and shrugged: "Yeah."
Things are getting pretty bare-bones in America. Doormen, security, bellmen, people working the floor—that's maybe a dozen jobs that should have been filled, at one little hotel on one day in one town. Everyone's keeping costs down, not hiring."
Yes, Anadyr, things have, to a great degree, declined when it comes to service and upkeep in all phases of American business today, and not just hotels. While Peggy Noonan's experience is particularly graphic and frankly, bleak, I can't help but think that to some degree, we all bring this on ourselves. Many people don't like to complain. When I travel with Brenda, for example, if there is something wrong, she gets really upset if I complain because she finds any type of conflict upsetting, and I suspect that many of us are the same way. So, if there are no complaints and nobody to "call the business out" on their behavior, nothing will change. This, however, doesn't address the real question - why do so many businesses today seem to no longer really care about their customer? It seems counter-intuitive that during really good economic times when everybody is spending money business seems to really go out of their way to cater to their customers, but when business conditions are slow, they almost develop a "who cares" attitude. This is when businesses should be doing all that they can within their budget to keep things attractive to their clientele. Finally - Peggy's right about hiring practices. Businesses that can clearly afford to hire a few extra people are, for whatever reason, holding off. Is it because they aren't convinced that the economy is turning around and are afraid to add to payroll? With actions like that, a non-improving economy becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.