To the editor:
Recently I went to a large East 23rd Street gas station with a large drive-through car wash which shall remain nameless. Bought gas, got the car wash code and, as I got in line, an attendant came over and shut it down, telling me “wait a minute.” About 15 minutes later, I was still sitting there, but the row of cars behind me had me locked in. But he smiled, turned it on and gave me a free car wash.
I went back a few days later with another vehicle. The code didn’t work. I went into the store. They were swapping out some electronics, said “wait a bit.” Having learned something, I asked “how long?” I was told “20 minutes or so.” I left.
At another car wash, it wouldn’t read my credit card. The attendant eventually got it to read. Then it wouldn’t give me a receipt, so he wrote one out. (“The printer’s down.”) He was friendly too.
When politicians talk about “the downfall of America” from whatever, think about how much real money that car wash cost the economy (time, gas…). Things have changed in my lifetime. People didn’t used to put up with that or with impossible customer service at an American telephone company or huge cracks in our street that was paved last summer — all summer long. The change in our culture — this sort of thing is now normal — is going to get us.