What’s A Thank You?

I came across a sign of a sad state of affairs today. I’ve seen it before, but today, it demanded to be posted.

Yesterday, I tried to leave my apartment building. I could get as far as down the driveway and to the sidewalk, but no further. Where there should have been a sidewalk, there was a giant drift of the fluffy white stuff. I guess the plough had ploughed the road and pushed it onto the sidewalk. Trixie stopped walking and would not move. Smart pooch, she probably couldn’t see over the banks, and it certainly wasn’t something she thought was safe for me to walk through.

Luckily, my friend who I was meeting at the bus stop saw me and came to my rescue. I had to hold onto her, heel the dog and tromple through snow that went up past my boots. My friend fell several times.

When we got to the bus stop, I was full of maddening rage. I phoned the city and asked to speak to a woman who handles a lot of accessibility issues, and challenged her, or anyone from the city to come down here and walk what passed for my sidewalk under blindfold. Well, I left that message on her voicemail and told her that because no one had even made a minimum effort to clear our sidewalk, while sidewalks very near us were perfectly clean, I could not leave my apartment building unassisted.

Boom! I got a call back, another phone number to call, and she said she’d put the word in for me, but to phone this number if another emergency like that were to come up.

Today I went out, and holy crap there was something that could be called a sidewalk! It wasn’t perfect, but by god it was passible. I was so thrilled I phoned up the same woman and left her a happy message. Then I called the other number and thanked them too. A woman answered and I asked who I could speak to at snow removal so I could thank them for clearing my sidewalk. I told her whoI was, and said they had made a special trip out to make it so I could walk to the bus stop and I wanted to thank them. The response I got back was one of bewilderment. “Uh, ok? You want to thank someone? Sure…I’ll pass the message on. Um, thank you!”

This isn’t an isolated incident. Years ago, I lived in a building that was all stairs to get in, and the mailboxes were at the bottom. At first, when we got our phone bills in braille, they couldn’t figure out how to get the braille bill in the mailbox, so they’d just slip us a parcel card and make us go out into the middle of nowhere to pick up the parcel. I called the post office and told them that there should be a way to bend the bill, the braille would survive, and I’d rather that than taking a cab out into the middle of nowheresville every month for a phone bill.

The next phone bill we got was folded around our other mail in our mailbox! I was so thrilled I picked up the phone, called the post office and thanked them! The response I got was a stream of stammers. “we…we…we never get calls like this!”

then, back at the beginning of 2007, I wrote a thank you letter to TD bank for the talking bank machines. When I asked where I could send a thank you letter, it was like they were all prepared for me to ask where I could send a complaint letter, and when I said the word thank you, they didn’t know what such a thing was.

And now these poor city workers. It’s funny how fast people will move when people are yelling at them. they know what to do then. But when someone says something nice, they’re completely and utterly confused. It’s like they’re staring at a kangaroo wondering how it got here, and what they’re supposed to do with it.

I think everyone who complains should make an effort to thank the people they complain to when things are resolved. The people doing these jobs would probably want to work a hell of a lot more if people showed them some gratitude! I know there are some lazy bums and pricks in every job, but there’s probably a lot of under-appreciated folk too.

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