Dear Crabby, What’s Happened to Customer Service?

Dear Crabby,

Have you noticed lately how bad customer service has become. I know we’re all tired from the ups and downs of this year, but is there no commitment to standing behind a product or service anymore? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks, T. Chad

Dear T. Chad,

You would think with the limited face-to-face interaction these days that stores and companies would try to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. But much like everything else about 2020, it usually just ends up being a huge disappointment.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

I’m just old enough to remember when customer service not only mattered, it was an art form by those who knew how to work their magic. As you mentioned there have been a lot of ups and downs this year, but I would think that would make customer service folks want to do their best to make sure their customers are happy. What I miss most is being able to talk with a living, breathing person. Does anyone else remember the days when you called a phone number and got a live person and not a recording? These days, getting a real person is nothing short of a miracle. Instead you call the blasted customer service line and are treated to a buffet of options to chose from. “Press 1 for X or 2 for Y.” And did you ever notice that they rarely give you an option for talking with a person? You know they have them, they just really, really want to make sure they’ve made you jump through enough hoops before you get one. I’ll let you in on a little secret: most of these automated customer service numbers can be bypassed by screaming ‘CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTIVE’ repeatedly into the phone. I’m pretty sure I scare Mrs. Crabby half to death every time I have to do that. But it keeps her on her toes and I get to air my grievances to a real person, so it’s a win-win. And while the lack of good phone customer service irks me, I also take issue with all these confounded apps.

Now, I’m not talking about apps as an abbreviation for appetizers. Those I like. Nope. I’m talking about those stupid things on the smarty-pants phones. Recently, one of my friends (Yes. I do have some.) moved to a retirement community and needed his phone, TV, and internet set up. He thought he could do it himself, but soon realized he needed help and he couldn’t ask one of his kids because they live out of the area. So, he started looking for how to contact the company. The virtual assistant chat thingy was no help and he couldn’t find a phone number to save his life. What he did find where instructions on how to download the company’s app so he could set-up an appointment, check on this and that, blah, blah, blah. The only problem is my buddy is a luddite like me and doesn’t own a cell phone! But hey. It’s cool that a Korean war vet who is already isolated because of all this COVID craziness can’t call anyone in the outside world, right? Naturally, he’s hopping mad, so I think someone will definitely be getting an earful in the near future. All he has to do is find a way to reach a real person!

If you’re someone in customer service or someone who owns a business, please take care of your customers. I know some can be ornery like me, but I’m guessing most of the other folks are decent and just need help so they don’t lose their minds – at least what’s left of them. And let’s face it, you probably don’t want to lose their business.

I hope this answers your question.

Dear Crabby

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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Ahearn, James F. says

    Always glad to read someone my age, who sees things as they are. In a word: “ridiculous”. Thanks.

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