The recent national kerfuffle over customer service, or lack thereof, by U.S. corporations — not to mention any names, such as COMCAST — is a blunt reminder of an indisputable fact: Corporate America has confused the art of talking about customer service with the practice of actually providing it.

To wit, a “customer-service” rep at an East Coast photo-equipment supplier made it clear to Mr. Wrap that he was really sorry, but ultimately prepared to do nothing to remedy that fact that a flawed gizmo sent in weeks before for repair had finally been returned to the customer — with no repairs whatsoever.

Par for the course. More telling was the way this giving soul signed off all his email messages about the subject: “Looking to be of service, Joey.”

There you have it. Not actually providing customer service. But acknowledging that it’s something to which one might aspire, somewhere down the road.

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Baby steps, we suppose.

More wishful thinking:

Speaking of Customer Comes Last:A report by the National Transportation Safety Board, more than a year in the making, concludes that “multiple gaps in the system,” including the state’s unique self-dispensing oversized-load permit system — caused the accident that sank a portion of the Skagit River I-5 bridge last summer. Ya think?

Just Call Them the D’oh! Boys: The Washington State Department of Transportation says it will respond to the NTSB report with changes to its oversized-load permit system. Good, good. We can certainly see that it was in no way necessary to make those sorts of changes immediately.

Or to Cut to the Chase: Is Jorge “Precious Metals” Carrasco secretly running WSDOT?

Our Cup Runneth Under: Seattle lost about $6 million in productivity as workers whiled away time watching the World Cup instead of doing actual work, a New York finance firm estimates. Big whoop. The financial impact is sort of like Robinson Cano taking a weekend off from the Mariners.

Not Even We Can Make This Stuff Up: Former U-Dub boss Mark Emmert, currently El Presidente of the cartel known as the NCAA, saw his pay soar to $1.7 million last year as he trotted around the country explaining why college football players should continue to be paid nothing.

Um …: Further cementing its solid reputation as the Krazy Glue in the junk drawer of municipal government, the city of Seattle, via Mayor Ed Murray, proclaimed City Hall as “Kitty Hall” for a day. Seriously. Look it up.

Speaking of Shrimp: Does Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent proposal to boost the official state estimate of how much seafood we all eat mean that we now have to eat more seafood, like, to get our tabs renewed?

Shell Games:U.S. Customs and Border protection inspectors at LAX intercepted a shipment of 67 live, giant African snails being smuggled from Africa. Inspectors reportedly then engaged in a heartfelt exchange with the only other living beings on the earth that move at the same pace as themselves.

And Finally, Over at Woodland Park: Another week goes by, your local zoo keeps elephants in chains and behind bars. Vote with your feet and just don’t go there.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280.