tinsel_tangle image from www.beatinganger.com

Christmas Dissonance

Somebody did a “rage survey” that shows that consumers are more fed up than ever![i]    The survey indicated that customer dissatisfaction with the products and services they purchase is at an all time high.   It showed that 68% of American households have been extremely upset this past year over a product or service.   It also said that 36% of those who registered a complaint with a customer service representative “yelled,” and 13% “cursed.”

Another interesting statistic was that 98% of the complaints were directed at private companies and not the government!  Ironic isn’t it?   Popular myth and political propaganda would have us believe it is the other way around!

So why do I bring all this up other than I wouldn’t recommend anyone going into a customer service career unless their skin is as thick as rawhide and have an unshakable sense of self-esteem.   I don’t think I could do it.   However, I was a pastor for 37 years and occasionally  found myself in the line of fire of someone’s anger and rage over something.   I never found it to be a fun time.

So why do I bring all this up?  I also read that  up to 40% of the annual sales of goods and services occur during the Christmas shopping season.  And, since most of those items will not be unwrapped and opened until Christmas Day, it means that just as the sacred Twelve Days of Christmas commence, the season we celebrate “peace on earth and good will among all,” customer rage and all the yelling and cursing that goes along with it will be reaching a crescendo.    What an incredible  dissonance!  On the one hand, a season of peace and good will and, on the other hand, furious anger and rage.

Of course, anger and rage are emotions than come as a result of feeling dehumanized and devalued in some way.  The irony is that uncontrolled rage and unmitigated anger serve to dehumanize us even more and  those to whom it is being directed.   It has been my experience over the years that  “rage never enlightens, it only frightens.”    It feels good momentarily, and then you feel hideous later on.

In light of all of this, I have decided that if I have a complaint to make this Christmas season I will commit myself at least being civil and not resort to dehumanizing  and devaluing rhetoric to get my point across.  I may even try to exceed my own expectations and show kindness to the person on the other end of the phone who is just trying to do a job.  It’s hard enough, and I am not going to make it even more difficult for them.   I may even say “thank you” at the end of the conversation and extend a greeting of Christmas good will.

It is Advent, and Christmas is almost upon us.  May the spirit of the season even guide the expressions of our dissatisfaction.



1 thought on “

  1. Frank Moyer

    Thanks to Denver Bitner your blog site was discovered. You left Rockford about same time I came [to start chaplaincy at Rockford Memorial]. Thanks for your comments


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