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« We don't have to care, part II | Main | Changing minds is different from surprising people »

We don't have to care, part I

I don't like traveling.

That said, my trip the other day set a new record. I chalk it up to the new "We don't care, we don't have to" economy. In many segments, so much profit has been squeezed out that there's no room to hire and train great people. And there's not enough competition to harm the bad actors.

I got to JFK with plenty of time. Good thing, too, because the parking lot next to the terminal is closed. The signs are optimistic, though, and point you to the relocated short term parking. Same crazy pricing, of course.

Well, it turns out that it takes half an hour on the bus to get from the parking to the terminal. They have half as many buses as they need, and at $24 a day, it's not because they can't afford it. It's because they don't have to care.

Got to American, an airline that gave up a long, long time ago. The line for security is 30 people long. But wait! there's a sign that says, "Business class, Gold, Platinum, etc." I walk over to the sign. The harried woman checking boarding passes says, "Go to the end of the line."

"But there's a sign."

"I know there's a sign. We ignore that."

As I stand in line for ten minutes, I watch this act repeated with no less than ten people. It never occurs to the TSA or to American to take down the sign. They don't care. They don't have to.

I get on the plane. It hasn't been refurbished in a decade or more. The seats are creaky. The flight costs more than ten times as much as JetBlue, but nothing about it remarkable in any way. The amazing thing is that I recognized the staff from past flights. Good people. People capable of trying. But they don't care any more, because management gave up a long time ago.

I get to the Avis counter at SFO. The two women behind the counter have no other customers. I am not making this up--they literally are cackling with glee when my paperwork is messed up. The best thing that happened to them all day. And then when I present my credit (not debit) card, they cackle that they don't take debit cards, and engage me in a spirited debate about whether or not it is a debit card after all. They don't care, they don't have to.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference We don't have to care, part I:

» The Pain of Travel from 76 | Ideas
As someone who's flown over 20,000 miles in the last 30 days, I can certainly appreciate Seth's post on the pain of travel. Unfortunately, I can say that my experiences were similar. On my last flight (from Atlanta to Toronto) [Read More]

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Seth Godin crystallizes thoughts I've had lately about companies that just don't bother trying to please customers anymore, because it just doesn't matter to them. Seth calls it the new "we don't care, we don't have to" economy:That said, my... [Read More]

» Enough to make you loose it... from Surfarama
Seth Godin has a couple of great posts on his recent bad customer service experiences with American Airlines and Avis, juxtaposed with his great experience with the W Hotel in SF. Now just wait until all the popular blogging platforms have the hRevi... [Read More]

» I Don't Have To, But I Must from nuff said
In my life as a pastor, I thrive on must. There is an inherent urgency and drive that moves me into relationships with others. It's beyond want. Everyone wants to see people impacted for God. I must. Seth Godin writes that there is an economy of "... [Read More]

» Airline Misery (cont.) from Chris Busch
I've moaned on here from time to time about my travel experiences, especially with American Airlines. [Read More]

» Seth’s Blog: We don’t have to care, part I from cityview
If you have to do something how much more energy does it really take to to it well? I spent the magority of last year talking to firms about how to do what they are doing already, but to do it better and more efficiently. At one point an employee act... [Read More]

» You don't have to care from Vy Blog
Seth experiences the bad and good of service, differentiated by who cares and who obviously doesn't. [Read More]

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First Class or Luggage Compartment? [Read More]

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Having traveled as much as I have these past few years, I have come to appreciate the little things... [Read More]

» Seth Godin Is Right – Bank Of Montreal Does Not Care from Twist Image Multimarketing Studio - Mitch Joel's Blog - Marketing and Communication Insights
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» Seth Godin's post "We don't have to care. Part 1" from
The thing is, people don't have to care. Some companies could write "Go fuck yourself" on their homepage, and people would still buy enough product for them to be millionaires. What's this world coming to when everyone is turning into [Read More]

» More "We don't have to care". from larry borsato
PIcking up again on Seth Godin's "We don't care, we don't have to" post, I thought I'd relate my experience at a supermarket in Waterloo, Canada called Real Canadian Wholesale, a member of the Loblaw Companies Limited Real Canadian Superstore... [Read More]

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» The Bad from Creative Marketing
Okay, this really ought to be two posts because, well, it points to two posts that give examples of how not to treat customers and how to treat customers. First, see We Don't Have to Care, Part I. And then go see We Don't Have to Care, Part II. And the... [Read More]

» The Bad from Creative Marketing
Okay, this really ought to be two posts because, well, it points to two posts that give examples of how not to treat customers and how to treat customers. First, see We Don't Have to Care, Part I. And then go see We Don't Have to Care, Part II. And the... [Read More]

» Bank Of Montreal Still Does Not Care from Twist Image Multimarketing Studio - Mitch Joel's Blog - Marketing and Communication Insights
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« We don't have to care, part II | Main | Changing minds is different from surprising people »