Like a lot of people, I have had my fair share of visitors over the past couple of weeks. It’s almost like my tiny 2 bedroom apartment has been turned into Hotel Michael, only with me doing all the cleaning up and there isn’t a pool for miles.

When guests are staying at my tiny hotel I like to talk to them about their impressions of our fine city. It’s no secret that no ones loves Calgary more than Calgarians, but I’m always curious what outsiders think of our city by the mountains.

Lately all my visitors have had the same complaint. “Calgary’s customer service sucks.” It is a quote I’ve heard over and over again. “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

But if you think about it, it’s true. Our customer service really does suck. A prime example happened to me today. I went to Canadian Tire to buy an extension cord. Since I know my way around a hardware store almost as much as a hair salon, I decided to ask for help.

“Excuse me, sorry to bother you,” I asked the Canadian Tire employee who was chatting with his friend. “I was wondering if you could show me where the extension cords might be?”
“Extension Cords?” He paused, “That sounds like something electrical, I’d check down in electrics.”

And that was it. No joke, he turned around and kept chatting with his co-worker. Obviously, I was appreciative of his little informational tidbit that extension cords had something to do with electricity, but I kinda felt like I was left wanting more, like the extension cord perhaps!

It also left me wondering, when did Calgary become so complacent to bad customer service? Obviously this all stems from the huge worker shortage our city is currently suffering through, but I would be surprised to find one Calgarian who hasn’t had a similar experience to mine at Canadian Tire. Whether it’s having to stand in line outside the store while the lone employee takes an extra long smoke break, the Safeway cashier who shares too much information about her boyfriend or the sport store employee who doesn’t even know where the sneakers are.

What will today’s generation grow up to be if they aren’t or don’t even have to be hardworking? Some of the best lessons I learned growing up were from behind the counter at McDonalds or working over an old lady’s bunion. Maybe we need to ship these ungrateful to the Maritimes where a University grad is grateful justl to get a job at a call centre or an assistant manager position at Bluenotes.

Until that day, it seems our city is under the control of 14 year olds who had have more jobs in their lifetime than years they have been alive. But, I guess it’s not all that bad. Just the other day I learned at Blockbuster that movies can be retuned, “Whenever I want.” Sweet free movies!

Mike Morrison