Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I see in the new NH Business Review (Nov 24-Dec 7) that old friend Katie Paine will keynote the inaugural Breakfast Table event of the Women's Business Center. I've long been a fan of the WBC and their work; my ex-wife even launched a business with their help back in the day. Katie's presentation will be called "Got Blog?" Cost is 37 bucks -- a bargain at twice the price -- and will be held at that new monstrosity downtown they call the Hilton Garden Inn. (Nice to see it's getting used.)

From the opposite page, I see congratulations are in order to state democratic mover/shaker Mike Vlacich on his appointment to director of the state's Economic Development Commission. In fact, Mike, drop me a note sometime, I've got some ideas I want to run by you!

Hmmm... While I agree with Mr. Paul Willax's treatise (page 36) on the sorry state of customer service nowadays, I take exception to his attitude that it's largely a training issue. Give me a break Paul. These "vital front-line employees" of which you speak make barely over minimum wage. They are treated with a modicum of respect at best, or more likely, fungible replacement parts. (I've worked retail; believe me, I know from whence I speak. I like to say I'm "recovering retail" -- it's a 12-step program on rebuilding your self-respect.) Retail clerks have almost no incentive to do anything for the customer beyond give the correct change. Mr. Willax admits "creative compensation" is a necessity, but that's not even enough. The minimum wage needs to be raised -- it hasn't budged since gas was like 99 cents a gallon! Then employeers who want more than fungible parts behind the registers will pay a near-living wage, and the employees will repay them with the customer service we all long for and so seldom receive. Oh, and happy holiday shopping everyone! ;-)

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