Service. It’s an oft used word in the American English language. Now, there is the dictionary definition of “service,” but I prefer to think of the action of the word. To me, it means that one person is supposed to do something for another person or persons. It is also frequently used in naming businesses or a type of business, e.g. “the service industry.”
The federal government gets the award for overusing the word service in naming their multitude of agencies. Forest Service, Secret Service, Rural Housing Service and my favorite; General Services Administration. Just what does that last one actually do? Let’s give our federal agencies monikers that actually define what they exist to accomplish.
The first use of service is one that all Americans know: Internal Revenue Service. Just what service are they providing to me, the taxpayer? I’m actually the individual serving them, by providing correct, honest documents stating my earnings, deductions and what is owed to the federal government. Now, since I am merely obeying the law, therefore I believe that I am providing the service in this instance. I am obligated to deal with this organization but just what are they doing for me? Sure, the treasury may wire a refund to my bank account, but that is their legal obligation. Where is the “service” in this activity? It is merely the act of compliance with the tax code. I am being a good and honest citizen and they are being the government supposedly acting pursuant to tax statutes and procedures. I vote for a name change to eliminate the use of the word service.
A checker in a supermarket provides a service by tallying up your selected items, deducting your coupons and taking your money. That service is now being taken over by the machines that you can use to check-out your groceries yourself. They are simple to use, there isn’t anyone to distract you by chatting incessantly and in the store I shop in, a clerk is usually nearby when the computer locks up. Given a choice, I’d rather use the self-serve machines. I think they are faster and when I am paired up with my daughter, the process is further improved. I’m not fan of shopping anyway, so any option of limiting the time I have to spend engaged in that activity.
Let’s move on to “professional” services that are rendered. I have hired a number of those licensed, professional folks for various reasons. I see it as supporting capitalism when I hire a professional to practice their skills. That is the American way. I see it as benefiting my own local economy. An accountant is a perfect example. No one could pay me to prepare my own tax returns. Those documents require the use of math, my absolute weakest subject. I am still trying to pass the state teacher’s exam in that subject, so there is no way I would or should prepare a federal tax return. Electricians are another professional individual that I would retain. I value my existence on earth and I would prefer not to die trying to rewire the lighting in my house. In these instances, the end recipient of the professional services, you pay for their education or skills.
This topic of service is not yet complete.