Rude Service

Contrary to popular belief, this is not another letter about the Student Life Building, administrative re-prioritization or the underfed, malnourished academics department. While I would love to spend hours on these topics, my letter is of a different nature.

I pose a hypothetical situation to you, my fellow NIU peers. Just suppose that you had some of your relatives over to visit from home, say a few younger sisters or a brother. Now let’s say that it’s 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and everyone is starving (as is usual, especially with residence hall cafeteria food). You place an order with a local fast food place, let’s say P.J.‘s Red Hots (817 W. Lincoln Hwy., 756-1980), for the sake of example. They kindly thank you for the order and tell you that it will be delivered in about 45 minutes to an hour tops. Feeling that you have accomplished your sibling duties, you then go off to the rec center for a brisk morning workout (right, like any of you wake up before noon on a Saturday).

Upon your return (let’s say around 3 p.m.), you find the food hasn’t been delivered and the multitudes of hungry mouths are screaming for sustenance. You calmly call P.J.’s and ask why it’s taking so long. The manager, and then the owner tell you that they have been backed up and there’s nothing else they will do about it. Would you, after waiting almost an extra hour, ask to have your food free or at discount? Might you even go in and ask to speak with the owner personally to try and explain your situation, only to be insulted and have your cries fall upon deaf, unsympathetic ears?

And as if to add more insult to injury, imagine the delivery toadie, who was once cowering with fear at the ruthless verbal assault you were giving him in the hall lobby, now under the protection of his boss, has the gall to make snide remarks like, “Well, why doesn’t Oliver Stone make a movie about it? It sounds like a conspiracy. Would you not be infuriated?

But you’re probably saying to yourselves, “John, no way. Our local eating establishments are virtual havens of courteous service.” To which I respond, “Way dudes, it happens!” This exact situation happened to my neighbor this past weekend. And what could she do about it? Absolutely nothing! There were no laws broken, so the owner and his minions get away with emotional murder.

So what have we learned from this little story? Well, as with everything else in life (including education), you get what you paid for (or don’t pay for). But here’s something for these store owners to think about. It’s the store that’s here to serve the customers, not the other way ‘round. And if we don’t like the service, we won’t ever go there again … and we tell our friends.

John McElvogue


Political Science