Doesn't it kind of feel like the world has turned upside down? I keep scratching my head about some of the things I've encountered in these last two years. We keep hearing about the labor shortage, and how hard it is to find employees. Fast food places are hiring with wages at $15 an hour and more. But as the wages increase, doesn't it kind of feel like the service has gone down the toilet?

I went through a fast-food restaurant drive-through this weekend on I-35. I pulled up to the intercom to place my order. An automated message that greets you asked if I'd like to join the rewards club or something like that. I said no thanks.

Then nothing.

I waited for an actual human and that still didn't come. I spoke up, "hello?" I wasn't being a jerk, I didn't have a "tone." I just was wondering if someone was there.

Then the worker blurted out, "yeah go ahead and order." They seemed a little annoyed. It felt pretty weird. It was one of those pandemic moments that make you shake your head for a second and wonder if that just happened or not.

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I gave my order, they gave me a total and said pull up to the next window. Not a thank you, nothing. No have a nice day, come to think of it I don't think they even said a word when they handed me my order.

It just seems like customer service has really tanked. It also seems that a lot of people don't even know how to talk to other people anymore. I can't tell you how many times I've had a bad experience while eating out in the last year.

It's refreshing when you do have good service. I make sure to also highlight that as well. This September I found myself at a packed bar in Washburn, Wisconsin, and thought immediately that it would be forever before I got a drink and food. That's what it's been like. But I was pleasantly surprised with some of the best service I've ever had.

Just later that evening, my friends and I went to a Mexican Restaurant near the Mall of America called Chevy's. It was incredible service, great food, and really quick. We had a friendly server and it was just all-around a good experience. We were sure to tip well.

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes

There are some bright spots out there still, and I hope we get back to better customer service, more polite people, and less awkward and rude exchanges. My guess is these younger workers just haven't grown up in a world with manners, politeness, and human interaction. The teenage years are an important part of growing up and learning how to fit into society. Society hasn't been all that great the last two years, so should we be surprised by all of this?

What do you think? Has customer service in general gotten worse? Or has it always just been this way and I'm only starting to notice it now?

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