Return responsibility for good customer service to vendor

Dear Editor,

Not long ago, we were reminded that The Bahamas is a difficult place to do business. We are stuck well over the 100th worst place to do business in the world. Successive governments have boasted that legislation planned or enacted would address this problem. So far there has been little movement.

A part of that poor business environment, of course, is our generally poor customer service, which we have come to accept as a fact of life, although we would all wish it were not. Attitudes at the counter seem to get worse every year, and it is not unusual to sit in a public place and listen to complaints about bad attitudes and poor customer service.

How surprising it is, then, to have the government create legislation that in fact demands bad customer service. The protocols required by legislation in connection with the plastics ban violates the fundamental process of normal customer service and changes the vendor’s relationship with his customer for the worse.

When planning a retail business, the vendor accepts responsibility for the packaging of the items of sale. They assume that normal customer service requires them to hand their customer their purchase in a way that is convenient for the customer. To make certain that is possible, they purchase the carrying device, add its price to the calculation of their overheads and include it in the price of the product. There is no reason to deviate from that simple business process. Instead, the legislation makes the customer responsible for their own convenience, while adding to the management concerns of the vendor. It simply creates worse customer service.

No one I have spoken to is opposed to the plastics ban. What they are against is being made responsible for a part of the vendor’s normal operation unnecessarily. There is no reason not to simply require vendors to use a different type of packaging as of a certain date and trust the business community to make the adjustment. If it results in increases in product cost, the politicians would just have to accept that that is the cost of operating in a more planet-conscious way, rather than pretending that they can avoid the cost of environmental vigilance by complicated and unnecessary legislation.

Please return the responsibility and opportunity for good customer service to the vendor. By legislation, we have made going to the grocery store a reason to be upset.

– Pat Rahming

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