Degradation of Customer Service - Anthony points out a few instances (from a cast of thousands, no doubt) where customer service falls woefully short. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the economy – maybe it does. I know that I’m always pleasantly surprised when someone I deal with (like a cashier) can navigate around the rules to make things flow – if the price for a tiny item can’t be found and customers are queuing up as a result of the holdup, they just say, “It’s on the house” and send you on your way. (This happened to me at a Home Depot once.)
To me this indicates that many times it's really a problem with management not giving people the authority (and responsibility) to make decisions, most often because management thinks of the front-line people as mindless drones executing instructions. Sounds kind of like the old way of looking at the software development process, doesn't it?