It seems to me that I’m doing more and more for myself without the benefit of any reduction in price, and sometimes I’m even paying extra.

Let me give some examples from the service industry:

  • Recently, when shopping in certain stores, I’ve had a hard time finding any sales associates to help me find what I’m looking for.  There is just no one to be found.  I think I missed the memo that advised me that these stores are now self-serve.  On top of that, they want me to use their own store credit card to pay for my purchases so they can make even more money off me with their high interest rates.
  • I pay an annual fee for shopping at Costco and then take their garbage (boxes) away for them.  When grocery shopping at Superstore, I have to buy my own bags and then have the privilege of bagging my own groceries.  And now I can scan them through the checkout myself.  I actually don’t mind the self-checkout but I’m embarrassed to admit that I talk back to the snippy automated cash register.

ACR:  “Place the item in the bag.”

Me:  “I’ve already put it in the bag!”

ACR:  “Place the item in the bag.”

  • I have rarely set foot in my bank branch for years.  I do all of my banking online and even view all my account statements online and they still charge $9 a month on my chequing account.
  • In fact, all the companies that allow you to pay bills online via e-post should give us some kind of discount.  After all, we’re saving them thousands of dollars on paper, ink, envelopes and postage.
  • I fly with WestJet to visit my parents in Kelowna.  Their fares have tripled since they first came along with their “no frills – cheap fares” airline.  I now book my flight online and print my own boarding pass.  If I want to choose a seat I can pay an extra $3 – $15 for that privilege.  At the airport I can tag my own luggage before dropping it off.  What’s next?  Will I have to run it down the tarmac to the plane and pay extra to have it stowed securely in the baggage compartment?  On my last flight I received a half a glass of water for my refreshment!

When everything is done online or becomes self-serve will my only contact with an actual person be on the phone to a call centre that’s not even in my own city?

And why do I have to pay extra to speak to an agent?  Sometimes I have a problem or need clarification.  This used to be basic customer service – someone to help you.  They just don’t get it.

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