There is a reason that companies have customer service phone numbers and complaint departments. Allowing consumers to vent their anger is instructive for the company and cathartic for the customer. I will admit right here that I have my own set of everyday complaints. It drives me crazy when people talk during movies. I seethe at salespeople who don’t know their products and baristas talking on the telephone.
But my most frustrating moments come in the check-out lines at supermarkets when customers first start fumbling through their pockets or purses for their charge cards, checks or cash when the cashier tells them the total. We all wait while they search. Did they think that maybe this time they wouldn’t have to pay?
Some of my best complaints are unique to lawyers, because, you know, I am one. I hate it when lawyers are late for appointments. There is nobody quite as inconsiderate as the lawyer who prances into a deposition a half-hour after it was scheduled to begin. Sometimes there are several other lawyers sitting around waiting. Let’s see, if there are four other lawyers at the deposition, each charging $400 per hour, that’s $1600 per hour being charged waiting for Mr. Late. How many clients out there would be happy to find out that $200 of their bill was incurred waiting for the opponent’s lawyer to show up? I can answer that: None.
It drives me crazy when an in-house lawyer for a major company refers to his company as “my client.” This most often comes up in negotiations, when the lawyer is asked for an opinion – any opinion – about the matter.
“I’ll have to check with my client,” is the habitual response.
“His client!” If he’s too chicken to make a decision, doesn’t he really mean he has to check with his boss? Didn’t he go into the corporate world in the first place to escape those nasty little things called clients?
Related to the fiction created by the in-house lawyer is the fictionalized law firm. You may have come in contact with some of these. They have names that sound just like real law firms – like Fulsom, Akers, Kraft & Edwards, P.C., but what you find out upon deeper inspection is that this “law firm” is really just the legal department inside a large insurance company. It’s F,A,K & E all right.
Lawyers who don’t know what they’re doing drive me crazy. They are nothing, however, compared to the ones who don’t know what they’re doing and are paranoid about it. I’m speaking about the lawyers who won’t give a straight answer because they don’t know the right answer and they suspect that you asked the question just to take advantage of them, when all you really wanted was a good sandwich place for lunch. So what you get instead of an intelligent answer, or an “I don’t know, what do you think” is an incomprehensible blurt of nonsense followed by a bluff and an indignant stare.
There is no settlement with these lawyers, only trials.
I don’t like clients who ask my advice and then don’t take it. I do like them more, however, than clients who don’t ask my advice, do something wrong, and then just think I should be able to fix it.
I’m not crazy about stockbrokers in general, except for the fact that the really bad ones are helping me make a living. Of course, chances are that when it comes time to take the stockbroker’s deposition, it will be his lawyer who’s late.