We all encounter it. The grocery checker who is careless about scanning, so that sometimes one gets charged extra, which means we either never catch the error, or we catch it after we get home and have to go back or swallow it, or we catch it before we leave the store and have to stand in line at Customer Service for a refund. And there’s the time we had a plumber come to replace an outside hose bib, and he was so careless that the first time I used the faucet, after turning it on, of course, the faucet came off in my hand and I got thoroughly soaked. Or what about the produce stand we have stopped frequenting, because first of all they don’t give an itemized receipt and we’ve gotten home more than once to find we were overcharged (six items, seven charges, two of them duplicates, hmmmm). And since the produce stand can’t keep help, it’s one after another of untrained checkers who can’t make change.
Our most recent disappointment was two fold: first we went to see a movie at a local mall, and while we enjoyed the movie very much, it is also a movie with a wonderful sound track and we intended to sit through the credits just to hear the music. Except the projectionist elected to slam in an ad for a current pop singer over the sound track. A few days later we attended a special limited run of the Stephen Sondheim musical, ‘Company.’ Ah, but this was the same theater location where the sound track had been mismanaged. This time there was an unexplained delay about even starting the film; the screen simply went blank after all the ads and previews and one of the audience members had to go prompt management. Then all during the film, the picture kept pixilating, as if it were on a computer, which was very odd. The performance was wonderful, we had never seen this particular piece of musical theater and the cast was literally all-star, and we managed to grit our teeth through the several instances of pixilation. And then, wouldn’t you know it, when the film was over, the projectionist didn’t bring up the house lights. We all had to straggle down the stairs as best we could, helped by some folks (not us) who had their smart phones and deployed the flashlights on them. We declared the projectionist AWOL in mind, if not in body. Obviously so was management.
In the great musical, ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,’ there’s a line, “remember mediocrity is not a mortal sin.” Well, in our manufacturing, in the way we govern our cities, our states, and our country and ourselves, in so many aspects of our daily lives, we both experience and commit mediocrity, and I’m wondering if it may eventually be mortal. How disappointing. How unnecessary.