I was told by several people that I should drop this whole subject. They were wise. I am ignoring their counsel.
Consider two tellings of the same story:
1. “My kid’s dentist did a good job and she was a nice person but her service didn’t work with my job schedule. I switched to another dentist. I did this because whenever I pay my money I’m the boss. An hour later I forgot about it.”
2. “My kid’s dentist did a good job and she was a nice person but her service didn’t work with my job schedule. I switched to another dentist. My actions make me an idiot. It was my job to work around her schedule. I inconvenienced her. I failed her. I was a terrible customer who acted like the center of the universe by refusing to figure out my schedule so the dentist could be happy. It was elitist because I thoughtlessly underestimated her services and devalued my dentist’s choices. My assumption that reaching into my wallet to pay for dentistry made me the boss is wrong. She doesn’t work for me. She works for herself. I delivered a rotten lesson that the man who actually punches a time clock is the one who society respects as really working.”
Wow! Same story but a completely different interpretation. Oddly, both themes exist on the same planet.
This all came from a recent post. Almost as an afterthought I told a story about a day care provider. She was a nice person who meant well but couldn’t quite grok the customer’s (my) needs in terms of a work schedule. We were one of two families that had hired her. After a few months I switched to a different service. Her other customer followed suit. That was the end of it. Her foray into the world of work for pay didn’t last a year.
I meant it to be a silly little story of “world of work encounters not-world of work”. To me it was a harmless story. To a few commenters it was a tragedy and I’d acted somewhere between clueless and monstrous. I used dentist in the stories above just to generalise the story from one profession to all.
I believe I stubbed my toe on an iceberg of discontent!
When I pay for something I believe I am the boss. In my mind this applies to the entire known universe. I act accordingly. When something serves me well I’ll pay top dollar. When it’s the opposite I close my wallet and walk out the door.
Examples of occupations where the person who is paying cash is the boss:
- Phone companies
- Brain surgeons
- Lion tamers
- Yacht salesmen
- Chainsaw manufacturers
- Rhino hunters
- Voodoo witch doctors
- Day care providers
Some folks disagree. They suggest that customers are not the boss. Either being ensconced in a large organization or “working for yourself” mean the customer assumes responsibility and obligation to pay regardless of their needs or opinion. Refusal to do so makes me an elitist idiot who has failed to do the right thing. Examples in the comments were barbers, phone companies, and day care providers. As in; barbers, phone companies, and day care providers don’t work for you dummy.
I don’t think there’s common ground here. I do know that I’ve been put on notice that day care is a “third rail” occupation. I doubt anyone would get wound up about me switching dentists or drug dealers in the same way. Switching a day care provider is somehow different? I had no idea! As such I am creating the following list.
Occupations that believe they are immune to customer’s needs:
- Day care providers.
I encourage my readers to submit their entries to either list. Who knows what other third rails lurk out there.