A friend of mine observed not long ago that it seems people have shorter tempers these days. She attributed that to the fact that we so often have to "Push 1" for Account Balance, "Push 2" for Questions about your Checking Account, "Push 3" for Questions about your Savings Account, and often have to wait on hold for several minutes before being redirected...often to the wrong person in the end. She reminisced about the days when she had "her banker." He was a real person with a name and a face that she saw regularly. If she had a financial question, she called "her banker." If she had a complaint, she reported it to "her banker." My friend recounted a recent issue at the bank where she was passed from one person to another to a voice mail until she was totally frustrated and at her wit's end. "If only I could have talked to 'my banker,'" she said.
I'm starting to think my friend is right. I know others who talk about "my plumber," "my yard guy," "my florist." They look to these specialists as authorities in their fields. They call them with problems, ask them for advice, and recommend them to others. My friends exhibit a weird sort of ownership...as if these people are known only to them...and that you must get a referral before talking to "their guy." When they can't get "their guy," they become edgy and uncomfortable...How can a stranger really help me? How can someone who doesn't understand me know what I really want?
If you often feel lost in our fast-paced world of answering systems, passwords, and customer service representatives, I'd like to direct you to Findlay Market. This Cincinnati landmark still exists as a place where you can talk to "your butcher," "your baker," and (yes) even "your candlemaker." The merchants at Findlay Market are real people with real names...and after a while, they will come to learn YOUR name. If you need advice, have questions, want to complain, or just want to chat, come to Findlay Market. You'll find real people just waiting to meet you. (And by the way, "my produce guy" is under the silver tent at the Race Street entrance...tell him I sent you.)