America's Epidemic of Incompetence

Mostly, it whittles down to a simple equation, :

Indifference +Laziness= Incompetence


So pervasive is  America’s persistent  incompetence, it begs to be classified as a bona fide epidemic.  I really thought that in 2008, when job opportunities had suddenly plunged into scarcity, that working stiffs would stiffen their resolve and take aim toward politeness, hustle, even maybe solicitude. It wasn’t long before I was disabused of thatdelusion.

You, no doubt, have your  own list of atrocity stories in which you’ve been endlessly frustrated and flummoxed by corporate phone service centers,  no-show repairmen, inattentive retail workers, blase bureaucrats, and others among the countless, clueless hordes.

Me, I can largely reduce my examples of incompetence to  the building of my domicile, one of the looming high-rises that  fringe McCormick Boulevard between Pratt and Touhy, which, in my eyes, is a perfectly emblematic microcosm of our rampaging epidemic as evinced by the building’s so-called Management.

. One new owner wanted a slot in the bicycle room for her Schwinn and was  impatiently told by Management to slide it into any slot.  When the owner suggested that the slot might already be assigned to somebody else, return volley came back in the form of a sleepy shrug, and a grudging consent to” look into” a slot for the new owner.

.  The same new owner applied  in February for an indoor parking space for her auto.  She was informed that spaces would be available soon and that she was immutably entrenched as number four on the waiting list.  Since February  without a parking space, she has suffered though a litany of contradictory promises and denials of promises regarding her place in line.  Finally, in September, he was able to wheedle a space.

.  An elderly owner showed up at the Management office to contritely confess that–for the third time– she had lost her laundry-room card that allowed her to pay for and use the washers and dryers on her floor.  Any imbecile could tell that the woman was suffering from some stage of dementia.  However, the Manager. a woman of late middle age, erupted into a volcanic upbraiding that withered the old lady into a sobbing heap.

.When the maintenance crew scheduled a cleaning of the upper parking garage, the Management posted a notice of the dates.  Trouble was, in their laconic stupor, they  neglected to inform the owners about what time they must leave the garage and what time they were allowed to return. What’s more, they failed to advise the owners regarding the availability of alternative outside parking.  When I spotted the notice (which they should have posted on the entry door into the upper garage, but didn’t), I sauntered into the Management office with counsel, cautioning them  to be prepared for an fusillade of phone calls asking for said details. They responded to my kindly forewarning with haughty resentment. Needless to say, the fulminating barrage of questions came. overcoming the management with  rue, Of course, when the time arrived for the lower-garage cleaning, all the  the details omitted in the last notice somehow appeared in the new one.  The resentment had apparently disappeared.

.  Another owner reported about an encounter with Management that involved one of his major irritants. (Happens to be one of mine as well),  In addressing some problem he had with something or other  to do with some oversight, he used the word “you” in expressing his displeasure.  The assistant Manager’ rejoinder?”It wasn’t me.” The owner called her to a halt on the spot with a rebuke, “You know as well as I that  in our native tongue the plural of  the word you is the word you, and that my reference was to the Collective “You,” meaning the management company.” Instead of conceding the point, the Assistant Manager blew her stacked hairdo and wouldn’t cease her tantrum until the man, sidestepping an Incident, stepped out of the office.  This was yet another manifestation of the Management Office’s attitude toward the owners, i.e. they think seat on the throne requires that they manage us, the owners.  Entirely eluding their dim cerebrums is the fact that we are the base source of their incomes.

As you might expect, by popular demand the Managment tandem will soon be vacating their jobs here, leaving a wake of  botches they blamed on all but themselves, often passing the buck of their ineptitude onto their predecessors.

There are other little horror tales I can tell now, but a feel myself beginning to fume.  And so I leave you to your own bitter tales of incompetence involuntarily faced.


p.s. Oh, yes, I have one more gripe I must get off my chest.  I just logged onto the Stanley Steemer web site to get their telephone number.  The only number on the page was 1-800-STEEMER.  This letter identification is, of course, what ad agencies define as a mnemonic device, aimed at inducing a radio listener or TV viewer–devoid of pencil or pen–to remember the phone number,  Trouble is, if I am already on the web site, presumably I am ready at the moment to call.  So why force me to decode the letters into numbers when it is a simple matter to publish the NUMERIC phone number alongside ? The CEO, who probably makes a few zillion per year, should have earned his salary by grasping something so obvious.

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