Can You Hear Me Now?
I’m not a chicken, by any means.
Certainly no shrinking violet.
If you have followed my columns in Dog News for the last six years, you would probably consider me pretty spheres to the wall, so to speak.
But I confess there are things that throw me for a loop: Spiders. Snakes. The sound of a dog heaving in the middle of the night.
And as I grow older, technology. <sigh>
I used to jump off that new gadget cliff without a thought. Figure it out as I go, by trial and error. Or with the assistance of my geek squad friends.
But then I let myself get complacent and comfortable.
That iPad wasn’t getting used much, so why upgrade? Until it got to the point that I couldn’t even use apps because they didn’t have updates for my generation.
And the iPhone worked well enough, so why not wait for the next version and see what it offers? Except that my battery only lasted as long as my stationary bike workout.
Meanwhile, my cellular service provider kept hiking prices, offered me device upgrades but only with a more expensive service contract, and refused to acknowledge that its coverage in East Jesus was spotty and unreliable. And never mind trying to talk to an actual person who attempted to resolve any of those concerns. Give us our money and hush, lady.
So finally, I bit the bullet and upgraded both devices and switched service providers all in one fell swoop.
All went well. Until it didn’t, and I found myself standing in the middle of my backyard, screaming into my new phone, trying to have a conversation with my service provider, explaining that I had no cell service.
Over the course of last week, I have tried to reach a solution. My new provider has been patient and diligent. But it’s taken work on my part, too. To research, to implement the suggested troubleshoots, to stay in constant contact and report what worked and what hasn’t. It’s still a work in progress, but after my initial panic, I feel like I’m moving toward a resolution. Meanwhile, I am enjoying discovering the capabilities and potential of the new technology and appreciating the responsiveness of a service provider that seems to value me as a customer.
Imagine what it would be like to have an AKC that valued you. To expect an AKC that was willing to do more for you than just take your money. To envision the capabilities and potential of an organization that replaced the current iteration of the AKC.
It’s hard. AKC has been there forever. It’s what we know. And something different won’t just appear. You can’t go down to the New Registry and Shows Store and order up a replacement. It will take work and commitment to create something that functions. It might take trial and error. It might be scary and feel like you’ve got nothing at all for a while.
AKC counts on that “too big to fail” inevitability every day.
I would submit there’s an alternative: commit to forcing AKC to be responsive, to put its core constituency and their dogs first, and to conduct itself as the representative organization it is, not the oligarchy it fancies itself to be.
How, you ask?
Here’s a start — this is national-specialty season, and in conjunction with most nationals, there’s an annual meeting of the parent club. Make sure to attend that annual meeting, and make sure it includes a report from the AKC delegate. Give time for questions from the floor, to hear complaints and suggestions that your delegate commits to taking back to the delegate body, or at least the appropriate delegate committee.
Don’t know your club’s delegate? Find out, contact them, share your concerns. Has your delegate been the delegate for, like, forever? Is it maybe time for someone new, club? The days of needing someone in the tristate area to save on costs has gone by the wayside with the institution of Zoom delegates’ meetings. (You don’t actually believe AKC will resume in-person meetings, do you?)
Contact AKC board members directly and express your concerns or suggestions. That’s why they make the big bucks. They signed up for this gig; make them earn it.
Call or email AKC top management. Don’t complain to the customer-service folks. They have less than no power. If they report your complaint, they’ll get their own head taken off. You have to call the president yourself. (Sorry, there’s no COO, who used to be the person to get those calls.) Tell him what you think. Again, big bucks. What he’s getting paid to do. Your registrations = his salary. He works for you.
Or you can stand out in your backyard and have a meltdown.
See how that works out for you.