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Friday, Jan. 04, 2002
What with winter weather changing a Southern city into a decidedly Northern one, all the kooky behaviour associated with staying home and playing hookey comes to bear.

Take travel, for example. Cities in the South list as part of their snow removal equipment a flat shovel handed down reverantly for twenty years from city worker to city worker, a forklift, a propane torch, and a large piece of tattered but still usable cardboard.

And they use D-8 bulldozers to clear parking lots. This way, when the snow melts, confused lot owners summon the same grader owners to re-pave parking lots now ripped to shreds with metal tread marks and unpracticed blade methods. But hey, we got the lot cleared in a big hurry.

As my contribution to the mayhem practiced whenever snow falls in this usually tropical port, I went shopping for CD's today. Yes, I know. I have the driving experience afforded by many winters in upstate New York, and the challenge of doing a complete ice-enhanced circle around a slow moving Beretta whilst driving an F-250 Super Cab is usually too attractive to ignore, so I go shopping looking for these little encounters. Call me irresponsible.

On arrival at the house of Barry, the CD king of the area, I fell into the contemplative mood which he strives to nurture. He knows I probably spent three figures at the mega-box store just recently, while Christmas was in full swing. But he is affably eager to take his share of my weird hunt for the unusual.

So, after plucking the overlooked Van Morrison and the more recent Widespread Panic out of the bin, he ginned up a smile and inquired as to whether I'd heard "this" one. And promptly stuffed a Jimmy Vaughn into the store player. The hum of that mu-chord jazz filled the air as I patiently awaited his prolonged register technique.

And this time, he won. He waited just long enough for me to hear what he already knew I liked and would pay for. And tossed the Vaughn CD into my bag as well.

This, my friends, is what we call customer service. Allowing the buyer to spend his money freely without regret, giving the customer something worthwhile, while clearing the shelves of something which otherwise might languish for quite some time in dead stock.

En garde, Planet Music. You have been upsurped.

George Carlin has done a brilliant bit on customer service, focusing on the normal routine of customers in the prone poition while maniacal yuppies "service the account."

Barry, you rule, my man.

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