Our head-office is on the Garden Route. The area is a relatively compact, breath-taking region existing as a collective of affluent estate-filled, and poor, shack-filled communities. This route along the coast is a beautiful paradox for the visitor, a home to most who live here, and a haven of “come and go” businesses, with one ugly common denominator, prevalent from Mosselbay to Jeffery’s Bay, and EVERYWHERE in between, called:

“Accepted Defeatism in the Service Industry”

When going to a mall, recruiting a private work team, hiring a contractor or going to the local shop on the corner, sub-standard service is flowing on the floors, dripping over the counters, riding on the back of lies and damaging bank accounts. Yet, we accept it like spineless, puny little one-legged midgets. We voluntarily absorb average and low service standards like hungry human vacuum cleaners, swallowing it whole and smiling pleasantly after the disappointment and revolt in our minds and hearts have been digested. Even when we strike back in word and deed, complain and shout, notably to deaf ears and blind eyes, we accept the truth of sub-standard service as part of the market DNA on the Garden Route (and in South Africa).

Granted, the exceptions exist as they have always had, but their numbers have declined to a minuscule little niche-group at the end of the rainbow, available only after an extended search in the mirage of common corruption, and woefully, only at the highest price. Yes, there are some good service-points hidden in plain sight on the Garden Route, but they charge for it – and deserve to do so, because they care, and they want to serve us, wanting to not lie while knowing we will be back to praise them…and pay them.

As for the bulk market retail and service suppliers, the unethical and scheming servers, the “I don’t give a damn for you” crowd, staring at you bluntly, making excuses which makes no sense, pardoning themselves because “bad service is the norm”, fill our towns and streets and hope we come back to be punched in the face again, and we DO return. We walk through doors knowing we are getting ripped-off, expecting employees with no training or lack thereof. We anticipate that somewhere, some negative reference to invisible upper management, inequality, distributors, race, political correctness, “Africa-time”, suppliers or just plain laziness will greet us with open arms if we dare to NOT ACCEPT unacceptable levels of service, or goods – or people. We budget around being cheated, and we strive to see if we “made a good choice this time”, but we keep accepting like defeatists, the undeniable fact that the service industry on the Garden Route (and in South Africa) is in some euphoric transformation period which excuses all and every slap in our collective and individual faces. The standards are dropping like dead flies, swept under the carpet like old dust, covered by badly chosen justifications, even going all the way to invite the history of Apartheid as the mastermind behind current deplorable service standards.

The numbers don’t add. Somewhere, we must grow a spine, pump some logic-iron and get some balls. Too long have we walked the streets of the Garden Route with our heads hung low, pretending it is OK, pretending it is not a breakable norm, and eating the dirt we are offered off the golden spoons that retail and service companies, businesses and individuals make us pay for with our hard-earned cash. It desperately needs a paradigm shift, a complete attitude change and a majestic market conviction from those we serve and those who serve us, to accomplish a new, radically improved dynamic in the service industry on the Garden Route (and nationally), and we must do it soon.
Otherwise, we will remain submissive in our expectations. We will keep allowing “the low-standard norm”, planning ridiculous excuses when we know we are, or are not at fault. We will keep forgiving far below par municipal and private sector business service standards, because the New South Africa “guilt” compels us to do so, and we will remain pathetically tolerant, until we finally succumb to the permanent, uncontrollable and unconditional state of Defeatism.
Consider this piece of conscience-info next time you accept a quote that scares you, or pay for a sub-standard hotel room, or swop for the third time a faulty car part, or forgive a bad garden service, or accept a season-inflated price for anything. I implore you to remember this in-your-face reality when you recognise the lack of something as simple as a friendly smile at the checkout counter. If you don’t, just go home and punch yourself in the stomach you sissy, because that is what you have become if you keep rolling over and playing dead when you are supposed to stand up and fight for the right of good service every day.

My message to the service market on the Garden Route is the following:

You have chosen a path which is detrimental to the core of the local economy. Your service is unacceptable, and while you may count your wad of cash in glee every day, smiling “all the way to the bank”, the people around you spit on your name when you turn away. We pay you but think nothing of you. Step forward and be accountable. Stop lying about what you advertise and offer. Stop inflating prices to ridiculous heights when the sun comes up on the first of November, it damages the locals while you suck visitor-wallets dry. Know this, sub-standard service travels. It travels in the market-place and exponentially influences the future of market service standards, to such an extent that eventually the lowest of service standards are accepted as the norm, and Pessimism the ONLY measure we apply when walking through your doors.



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