A quickie, I promise. Information Week published an article about how customer satisfaction has dropped slightly this year with eBay taking an especially big hit but even darlings like Amazon and Newegg going down. You can read the full article here. It’s interesting to note that even the biggest dips are still small and that internet retailers still are ranked higher than brick and mortar stores.

I just don’t see this article as meaning something. Look around you. The economy is a mess, everyone is having to sacrifice, record numbers of people are out of work. I think its safe to say that everyone is a little grumpier than usual right now.

Money is tight. Tempers are short.

The worse base mood I start out in, the more something that normally wouldn’t bother me is going to bother me. A long line at Starbucks when I am in a good mood is no problem. A long line when I’m already in a bad mood, though, might make me give them a poor satisfaction rating for not having enough cashiers. (Interesting unrelated fact: I have never in my life consumed anything from Starbucks. I have only been inside one once in my life and it was to keep a friend company while she waited for someone.) In the same way, Amazon’s free Super Saver Shipping may seem plenty fast to me when I’m doing fine but if I was just laid off and waiting for the book on job hunting, suddenly that shipping time seems way too long.

Also, when money is tight, suddenly even the best prices seem unreasonable when you shouldn’t be spending money.

It’s human nature to want to share your misery and take it out on someone else. Some people kick dogs when they are upset. Why wouldn’t it stand to reason they would take it out on “the man” in surveys?

In fact, if you look at it from this perspective, it isn’t surprising that brick and mortar stores rank lower. The more people you have to interact with face to face, the better chance their latent bad mood will compound yours and so on.

Sure, there are some challenges for business right now, there is no doubt about that. But the news that customers are unhappy is not news when the whole country is in an emotion and economic slump. To me, it seems like the equivalent of a headline of “DUH!”

So, (in therapist voice) how does this make you feel?