Welcome to the Mayonnaise Clinic! Let’s open the first letters of 2023.
Randy writes in:
Why does every experience seem to suck lately — flying, dining out, getting anything fixed, and the like? It is like nobody knows how to do their job, or just doesn’t give a shit. The customer has no choice but to keep coming back and paying insane prices for bad service, mediocre food and poor experience.
It seems like no one really cares — is it they know they won’t lose their jobs if they aren’t good at them, and why bother because they don’t want to move up anyway (to a job where they would just supervise bad workers)? And if they do lose their job, another similar job will welcome them with arms open.
I’m guessing economists and behavioral scientists are going to have a field day figuring out what really was happening starting from March 2020 through probably this year or next year. Would love to hear your thoughts and views.
Although I did open Tuesday’s newsletter by discussing my recent difficulties as a consumer of air travel, I first want to object in part to Randy’s premise. My general impression is that service quality has improved in recent months — maybe not all the way back to pre-pandemic levels, but closer to them. Also, it depends what part of the economy you’re talking about. I’d say, for example, that I find the restaurant experience now to be extremely similar to pre-pandemic (except with higher prices), while air travel remains significantly worse than it used to be. Hotels are somewhere in between, and a lot better than they were at the start of 2022.
I have some theories about Randy’s general dissatisfaction but first let me tell you why I think we’ve seen re-normalization:
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