The Active Customer Technology & Sociology9/19/2000; 11:56:33 AM 'What's the moral of this story? It's not that our auto club is staffed by incompetent employees (the rep was perfectly nice), or even that the Internet is the fastest way to get road maps (although that's obviously true). The moral is that in an imperfect world of customer service, most customers prefer to cut to the chase and help themselves. They know what they want, and they want to get it as efficiently as possible.'This truth reflects a dramatic change in the role of the customer in our economic system over the past generation. The change has occurred across three dimensions: power, specificity and activity. Each of these changes is important; their cumulative effect is enormous.'One can but hope similar changes will occur in the realm of politics someday. Now that would be a change worth having.