A call to a company that installs home generators went to voice mail, and then wasn't returned. A call to an individual who advertises that he cleans out gutters and water spouts also wasn't returned. A call to a university department was answered. The receptionist said the lady "isn't around."
"When will she be around?" I asked.
"Don't know," came the response.
"Do you think she'll be available later today?"
"Maybe. You could call back."
In many cases, the people are left with the belief that others just don't care. Or, maybe they're too busy. Or maybe they just forget. Or maybe they're too busy texting and tweeting to have time to deal with people. Unless, of course, they think we're at least as important as they are. Then, they fall all over themselves to talk with us.
Even with these annoyances, most calls are answered; most times, I (and I would hope others) are treated with respect. Most times, receptionists and staff take extra time to try to solve problems.
Nevertheless, more and more we see a loss of civility by people and organizations that may think they're just too important to deal with the people. For the large corporations and the celebrities that have multi-million dollar budgets, perhaps their PR and marketing efforts should first be focused on dealing with the people rather than splashing us with large-scale media campaigns to convince us that they matter. Failure to do so will leave us believing that they, not us, are the ones who don't matter.
[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, author, and former multimedia writer-producer and university professor. His latest book is Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution.]