Today has been one of those ‘getting new summer tires installed’ days – of course, in this part of the world in conjunction with exchanging the services of winter tires.
In past years it was customary for waiting areas in auto service departments to be rather non-descript and borderline comfortable. Magazines and chairs tended to be old and somewhat dingy, dimensions generally small. Nowadays, as part of the evolution of surroundings, likely more amenable to customer repeat business or upselling, environments have been enhanced with more modern and comfortable seating, with reading materials from the current period. Overall, the ambiance has been improved.
However, likely to help in whiling away the time with less complaint, it has also become almost universal to have a television blaring, boasting its wide-screen, high-definition or similar, properties, likely mounted on a wall for all to see, but no one to escape. The omnipresence makes it difficult to focus on alternatives such as reading, writing notes, or even engaging private conversation.
As one who prefers the reading or writing options, I am forced to make the best of it. In the case of service work done at my auto dealer, I have a practical option of using the waiting area adjacent to the showroom. Not only is this a more wide-open space with natural light, it includes real world mini-dramas of showroom and front desk activity. One can take a break by witnessing human elements of business activity, such as a little of the sales rep/customer dance, or a mundane variety of deliveries, service customers paying their bills, and the occasional slightly unkempt job applicant.
As in today’s circumstance, sometimes there is one waiting room with an unavoidable television. One can try to sit away as far as possible, but one’s force of focus is challenged. Today, the waiting time became more tolerable thanks to a chance conversation with another customer, ironically triggered by one of television’s most intrusive feeds, the annoying commercial. Moreover, the service work was actually done faster than previously advised, but then this wasn’t a dealer service department.
There were still a couple of wrinkles to be dealt with. At the narrow front desk of this business, there is one counter with two closely-seated service people with computers. One was dealing with a couple, both leaning over the counter, the stout lady infringing considerably on my available space. I politely asked her to move aside a little so I could have a fair chance to deal with my service guy. She graciously moved about half-way. Then, at the end of going through the list of services on the bill, the fellow tried a last upsell, with one of these inexpensive, but unlikely to be needed, store based warrantees. Of course, when you say no, the implication is that one is turning down a little peace of mind.
Whether the product is auto tires, or some other periodically important service, one has to remain on guard and wary until leaving the establishment with the bill paid in full.