There’s customer service, and then there’s Customer Service. The small c, small s version is one we all know and can’t stand.

This type is the one, for instance, where you get on the phone to your phone company, and have to go through an interminable non-chat with the voice at the other end who prompts you for your phone number or account number, your ZIP code, and asks, very politely I will confess, what you’re calling about.

Having given out all that information, you are then told that, “due to heavy call volume”, the call may not be answered for about a year and a half, and that all sorts of helpful bits and pieces can be found on their website.

Well, I am here to tell you, the “heavy call volume” is caused by not having enough real, live ##$% human @%%^ beings on hand, and the fabulous bits and pieces online do not provide you with the aforementioned real live etc. etc.

You then get to speak with someone who asks you for all the information you’ve already given, and go into negotiations to ensure that your office telephones will continue to be charged at the current rate, and not at their “normal” rate, which is approximately your first born multiplied by the title deed to your house per line per month.

Every year I go through this, and every year, approximately three months later, our phone bill rockets up from the expected to something approaching the national debt, and back I am at square one talking to an automaton whom I have learned to loathe. Ultimately, I get satisfaction, but it certainly doesn’t instill confidence in the phone company that “Flossy Fewclothes” who guaranteed your rate forgot to forward the information to billing. Every year. Without fail.

But then there’s Customer Service.

Having received an electric bill that rivaled a house payment, we enlisted the aid of the ever-helpful Randy at Air Summit and with the parting of a not small, but reasonable, amount of cash, we’re now the proud owners of brand new heating-and-cooling machinery. Randy has always been so responsive and sympathetic, and with great reluctance pronounced our 35-year old system was on its last gasp and made the transformation as painless as possible.

We have Damien – our very fit and gorgeous firefighter who mows our lawn and who is always helpful and eager to do odd jobs, so we now have a very prettily repainted deck and sparkling clean gutters. He does, after all, have access to any number of ladders.

And lastly, having discovered an odor in our laundry room that belongs in the bathroom of one who is not at all well, and Sir, having thrown one plumber of out of the house already, organized Daniel, Joey and John from Snake N Rooter in Lee’s Summit to come and help. They haven’t solved the problem yet, but I cannot tell you how backwards they’ve bent in trying to solve the malodorous problem.

So, dear reader, if you are in Customer Service, do as my dear old dad exhorted us – whatever you do, be the best at it.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at