Technology cannot replace experience…or service…

Technology cannot replace experience…or customer service. I shouldn’t have to say it…

It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out…

What are we producing in our business schools? Do our business leaders really believe they can create a “system” or “procedures” that can effectively operate a business with “any monkey off the street”?

Yeah, okay. So I needed an oil filler cap…for the Left-handed Fargle-snorker. Somewhere along the way, I forgot to put it back on after adding oil (an easy thing to do, you have to climb a ladder to access it!).

Now, the Left-handed Fargle-snorker is, in mundane terms, a 1981 Ford F-600. Easy enough.

The oil filler cap that fits it is one of two or three types that together, will fit pretty much any American v-8 made before 1990.

I was running errands near the house and stopped in big chain auto parts place to pick one up.

“I need an oil filler cap for a Ford truck.”

What commenced was like a train wreck. Two employees trying every possible combination of searches in the computer to try and find my truck.

“Fords only go up to an F-350.”
“Not true, your computer only goes up to an F-350.”

Arguments ensued.

Yep, a train wreck. I couldn’t look away. They brought up pictures of power steering pumps and air-filters, asking me over and over, “Does it look like this?” and “Is it a Bronco?” and, “You’re sure it’s a Ford?”

The conclusion was they didn’t have it. “If it’s not in the computer we don’t need to know about it because we don’t sell it.”

I then walked down an accessories aisle and grabbed a carded chromed one off the peg.

Said oil filler cap:

The employees were mad at me.

The bottom line is none of the people staffing the store had experience or knowledge of cars/trucks, and feel they don’t need it. Talking to them sort of indicated that all their training is in operating the computers. The store’s philosophy is to try to replace experience and knowledge with technology.

Technology has a valuable place, especially with large inventory management etc…but it cannot replace experience and knowledge.

The way it’s going I’ll walk in for a quart of oil one day and:

(15 year old kid pokes at computer) “For what kind of car?”
(me, sighing) “A 1981 F-600”
(15 year old pokes at computer) “Nah, we don’t sell that.”
(me, pointing at quart of oil) “That right there!”)
(15 year old never looking up from computer) “No, that only fits a Honda Prelude.”

Daniel Meyer

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