“We are gathered here today not in sorrow, but rather to celebrate the memories of the great times we had together with our friend and comfort-provider C.S.
“For a long time we have known the demise to be eminent and yet hoped this day would never really come.
“The reality of your loss leaves a gaping void within us all for you gave us so much reassurance, relief and feelings of security back in those days when you were at your peak.
“It has been agonizing for those of us who truly loved you to watch as you have slowly deteriorated over the years and, despite a few valiant attempts at rallying, we all realized the inevitability of this sad day that has now arrived.
“Perhaps, C.S., we overburdened you with our expectations and placed a weight on your shoulders too heavy to be handled and if, through our demand of your abilities we contributed to your demise then we truly are filled with not only grief, but with remorse.
“Or maybe, CS, you have gone to a better place where you can rest free of our neediness or conceivably, you simply realized that you have been enabling us for too long and by your departure you are paving our way away from dependency and towards self-sufficiency.
“My friends, I will now open the floor to any of you who may wish to share with us your own final moments with C.S. that made you realize the final breath was but a short time away.”
“Yes, thank you Master of Ceremonies. My name is Barbara and my experiences with C.S. over the past few weeks made it obvious to me how rapid the decline was becoming.
“For several months I have become quite frustrated with the vanishing level of service which I have been receiving from the phone company.
“I own a small business with complicated telephone and Internet requirements and four weeks ago I decided to talk to their only major competitor in the faint hope that C.S. may be lingering within their walls.
“I went to their website in search of a number to call and to my surprise discovered something rather unexpected.
“The phone company doesn’t have a phone number.
“If you wish to do business with the phone company you can’t call. Instead, you need to fill out an online form with all your contact information and “someone” will contact you at their pleasure.
“Translation: give us your information and will call you when we damn well feel like it.
“Reluctantly, I completed the form, clicked the ‘submit button’ and immediately received an autoreply email informing me that I will be contacted by a representative within one business day.
“Four days later, after not receiving any communication I went back to their website and resubmitted the form thinking perhaps I had not made my intention clear.
“Again I received the automatic email with the now familiar message for me to expect a representative to contact me within one business day.
“Today, as I share my story with you, I realize, after having resubmitted my information three additional times and still not hearing from anyone, I have concluded that C.S. had probably died before my first attempt and the phone company had decided to spare us the grief and pain of the loss by simply not informing us of C.S.’s departure.
“Thank you for hearing my story.”
“Hi everyone, my name is Graham I realized how desperately ill C.S. was just last week.
“I had ordered a new Bluetooth headset for my home phone and when the package arrived it contained a standard headset with the incorrect cable, rendering it somewhat useless to me.
“I called the company and told my story to three different people until finally, an obviously weak and exhausted C.S. came on the line and pointed out that it was probably my fault and that I had most likely given the wrong information to the operator when placing my order.
“I could however, at my own expense, return the headset to the company. Upon arrival, they would verify that it was undamaged and unused and would, at that point, ship me the Bluetooth headset provided I, of course, included in the return package, a check or credit card number to cover the cost of shipping as ‘we have already paid for it once.’
“I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks and I just wished I could reach through the phone, wrap my arms around C.S. and offers as much comfort as one can to a dying friend.
“Hello everyone, my name is Samantha and it was a real shock when I experienced my last encounter with CS and realized how personalities can be changed by the ravages of incurable illness.
“I was in a store with my daughter who had a question she needed answered. We walked over to the counter where a lady wearing a badge that identified her name as ‘Lori’ and her title as ‘Manager” was talking on the phone.
“As we reached the counter she turned her back on us and continued her conversation. We could not help overhearing the conversation and she was obviously talking with a member of herhousehold as she was giving them a shopping list of things to pick up at the grocery store.
“We listen for a moment before I gently said, ‘Excuse me.’
“Without turning to face me, she moved her right hand over her left shoulder and showed me her index finger as if to say ‘I’ll just be a minute.’
“We waited for several minutes before I repeated the ‘Excuse me’ statement. This time she spun around, clearly angry, glared right at me and belted out, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone? I’ll get to you when I’m done.’
“She once again turned her back on us and continue dictating her shopping list.
My daughter and I walked out of the store and I felt heartbroken at knowing I would never see C.S. again.”
“Thank you for listening. I really helps in knowing I am not alone in my grief.”
“Well friends, thank you’ll for coming to this memorial for C.S.
“I know, from your many stories today, that we all feel the same immense pain at the loss of such a dear friend and I’m also sure that, like me, you are also angry.
“You are angry because this was unnecessary and did not need to happen.
“CS’s demise was absolutely preventable. Any of the companies we have heard about this morning and the hundreds of other businesses that contributed equally to the reason for our gathering today could have taken steps to prevent the unnecessary death of our beloved Customer Service.
“They just didn’t care.”
Till we read again.