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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 23, 1996)
Tuesday, April 23, 1996 Page 4
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
J. Christopher Hain ..Editor, 472-1766
Doug Kouma .Managing Editor
Doug Peters.Opinion Page Editor
Sarah Scalet.. Associate News Editor
Matt Waite.. Associate News Editor
Michelle Garner...Wire Editor
Customer-oriented workers slack off
Have you ever been blown off?
Have you ever been ignored, forgotten, snubbed, denied or lied to?
Chances are it was in a restaurant or retail store.
The death of customer service came quietly. It snuck up on us
while we were reading the menu. And it’s frustrating.
You used to be able to walk into a restaurant, take your seat, and
before picking up a menu, a tall glass of ice water was sitting in front
of you, droplets dripping down the side. You ’ d take a drink, then open
Now, before you’re even able to askforwater—and you do have
to ask, you risk being slighted by a host, a waitress or even a busscr.
All these people are there to serve you, and they’re not doing their
jobs. It seems as though there are too many non-people individuals
working in customer service.
Servers will snub you if they don’t think you’ll tip big. That’s a
When something goes wrong at a restaurant, workers can’t seem
to stop and utter two simple words: “I’m sorry.” When a restaurant
has messed up and ruined someone’s evening, that customer doesn’t
want to hear: “Oh well, everyone’s human.” That customer wants to
hear how sorry the manager is.
11 s gotten so that going to dinner has made you want to eat at home.
These days, you have to dress up to go shopping. If you don’t look
like a million bucks, workers in a clothing store aren’t willing to
waste their time for such a measly sales commission.
Big chain stores are the worst. They’re like the government. And
we all know what terrible service the government gives. The worst
part isn’t that service personnel aren’t helping you, it’s that they
aren’t helping anyone. Employees are either talking on the phone,
talking to each other or doing one of the many extra chores given to
them by management.
And management is part of the problem. Do they realize what poor
service their employees are giving? Maybe they’re too busy filling
out forms mandated by the corporate office. Instead, what they need
to be doing is holding more service training, respecting customers,
hiring secret shoppers or working at the service counter every once
in a while.
But maybe they just don’tcare. They’re not going out of business.
As big retail chains and restaurants buy up eveiy little ma-and-pa
store in the country, let’s hope they aren’t also buying all thecustomer
service and locking it in a vault at the corporate headquarters.
Staff editorials represent the official
policy of the Spring 19% Daily ’Ne
braskan. Policy is set by the Daily
Nebraskan Editorial Board. Editorials
do not necessarily reflect the views of
the university, its employees, the stu
dents or the NU Board of Regents.
Editorial columns represent the opin
ion of the author. The regents publish
the Daily Nebraskan. They establish
the UNL Publications Board to super
vise the daily production of the paper.
According to policy set by the regents,
responsibility for the editorial content
of the newspaper lies solely in the
hands of its students.
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the
editor from all readers and interested others. Letters
will be selected for publication on the basis of clarity,
originality, timeliness and space available. The Daily
Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject all material
submitted. Readers also are welcome to submit mate
rial as guest opinions. The editor decides whether
material should run as a guest opinion. Letters and
guest opinions sent to the newspaper become the
property of the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be re
turned. Anonymous submissions will not be pub
lished. Letters should include the author’s name, year
in school, major and group affiliation, if any. Re
quests to withhold names will not be granted. Submit
material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska Union,
1400 R St. Lincoln, Neb. 68588-0448.
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Funeral an introduction to the real Berrinoer
UOODLAND, Kan. — Members
of the Nebraska football team
boarded the bus at 5:30 a.m. Mon
day, when Lincoln was still shrouded
by darkness. Ten hours later, the sun
high, bright and warm. But some
how, the darkness remained.
TTiis was not the typical road trip
for the Huskers. It did not begin with
anticipation and end in triumph.
Instead, it began and ended in
When the bus stopped outside the
Max L. Jones Fieldhouse here at
11:37 a.m MDT, players filed out,
their faces drawn and somber —
drained from the pain of the past
several days and the anticipation of
more to come.
They all knew Brook Berringer.
Some knew him well.
I never met Brook Bcrringer. To
me, number 18 was just that, another
face half hidden by eyeblack and
face mask, A body perpetually
obscured by pads and constantly clad
in the red and white uniform of a
Nebraska football player.
But, for some reason, it hurt.
It hurt being here in Goodland,
seeing the pain on the faces of his
friends and family and hearing the
testimony of his former coaches and
It hurt watching the tribute video
that showed the face behind the
mask, the man that lay just behind
the label “football player.”
And it hurt knowing how close he
was to his dreams and how easily it
could have happened to someone I
really did know and love.
I found myself wishing I would
have approached Brook Berringer
the time I saw him with his knee
bandaged, crutching down the
sidewalk by Oldfather Hall and said,
as I wanted to, “How’re you doing,”
or “Hang in there, Brook.”
I didn’t, and I wished I had.
I wished I had known him, just
briefly. , .
7 wished I had known
Brook Berringer, really.
And low and behold, as
the three-hour funeral
went on, I began to. ”
You would have, too. If you
could have heard them talk about
him. His coaches: the stoic Tom
Osborne, whose voice cracked as he
talked about a young man who died
with no regrets. Turner Gill, whose
pain I could feel, as though it were a
real object, resting its weight on my
shoulders, but whose joy at having
known Brook Berringer was just as
impossible to conceal.
I wished I had known him.
If you could have heard receivers
coach Ron Brown, or Brook’s friend
and Bible study partner, Art Lindsay,
who called him “the greatest man
I’ll ever know,” you would have
wished the same thing.
Before Monday, I knew this:
Brook Berringer was a quarterback
from Kansas. No, he was a backup
quarterback from Kansas. He got to
play when we were ahead or
Tommie Frazier was hurt. He was
good — good enough to earn a
scholarship at Nebraska and win
seven games when the chips were
down and the pressure was on, but
he was still a backup quarterback. I
thought that was about all I needed
I was wrong.
I wished I had known how much
he loved his long-departed father;
how much he loved to fly; how
much he loved his friends, his
hometown, the outdoors, his hunting
I wished I had known Brook
And low and behold, as the three
hour funeral went on, I began to.
For those of you who don’t know
him, this is what I learned.
Brook Berringer was a great
high-school athlete who epitomized
teamwork and did what it took to
win. He was a patient role player at
Nebraska who worked hard and
persevered when many others would
have quit, eventually playing a key
role in two national championships.
But more than that, he was a real
person. A person who overcame
doubts to live to his fullest potential,
in athletics and in life. He was a
friend to all who knew him and
gladly sacrificed for those who
He was someone who shed light
on countless lives, from those he
knew well to those he saw just
He was someone, Tom Osborne
said late last week, people would
want their sons to be like; someone,
I’m saying now, people should want
themselves to be like. Even in death,
Brook Berringer made me realize
some things about life and how it
should be lived.
Monday’s funeral was difficult —
it hurt. But I got my wish — I got to
know Brook Berringer, just a little
bit. And Brook did something for
me that he’d done for people all his
life — he’s made my life a little
better, just by knowing him.
Peters Is a graduate student of Jour
nalism and Dally Nebraskan opinion page
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