Friday, August 22, 2008

Customer Disservice

Recently JCK commented on the rude comment I received at La Senza from a sales clerk. She couldn't believe that someone would actually say that. The incident happened two years ago and would now be considered great customer service. The Twinkie spoke to me AND she answered my question.

That doesn't happen so much anymore. I don't blog about this much because I have a few (well two) American readers and I know your economy is struggling, but Western Canada is not. We are in a boom. Housing prices have shot through the roof and there is a HUGE labour shortage, especially in the retail sector.

Job applications basically have two questions on them now,
1. Are you breathing?
2. Can you start now?

I even heard last week on the radio that some employees are keeping people on that they KNOW are stealing from them. At least someone is minding the till that they take the twenties from.

We all have great stories of the lousy customer service we have endured but I have to share just a couple of my favorites.

1. I've waited ten minutes at customer service for the clerk to finish up an obviously personal phone call. Once she had arranged her party schedule for the evening then she was able to help me.

2. Way Cooler was yelled at by a manager at a fast food joint when he complained that 3 of our 4 orders were wrong.

3. I had to wait for an employee at a video game store to finish paying his game to serve me. Then he complained the whole time how totally unfair it was to have to work on his birthday. My birthday had been the month before, I had spent part of it in hospital recovering from a c-section. I really could not muster up any sympathy for him. At all.

But my personal favorite example of the labour shortage happened at a super-Walmart. There was a group of employees who were obviously in the middle of an orientation. The manager was busily explaining something to them. One future employee of the month caught my eye. He was wearing his i-pod. In both ears, nothing like a little Amy Winehouse to help ensure he is ready to provide stellar service.

So, tell me, anyone recently make you think "and you got hired how, exactly?"


Tez said...

San Francisco's, buying a little thingy for my girls. The sales clerk didn't acknowledge me, didn't name the price she rang in, just pointed to the till display and held out her hand. So I shook it. She looked up startled and said, "no, you gotta pay me", I said "no, you gotta get yerself some manners". She rolled her eyes, sighed a huge sigh that blew the long black bangs off her eye and said "that will be **** please" So I paid her and left.
It's so freaking annoying that young people are going to jobs just to kill the time and get a pay check and laughing their asses off at the free ride they're getting.

KnittinChick said...

I know that I'm getting old when I have a clerk ask me, "Is that all?" I can Old Cranky Millie (the Coop cashier who trained me) beating into my head that I would never ask "Is that all?" as it would sound uncouth and uneducated. I gently respond to them, "Yes, that will be everything."

I wonder if everyone notices my gentle education!

Janet said...

YES! It's EVERYWHERE!!!! CRAPPY CUSTOMER SERVICE. That's why I always go through the self serve till if I can. :-)

granola_granny said...

Nowadays I always simply assume that I am on 'camera' when I shop. Although not bold enough to moon anyone like some of my more confident relatives I did help some rather 'blazae' clerks the other day. I was doing my picture printing thing in a Big Box Store when I noticed a fellow stick a set of head phones down the front of his pants. I waited until he wasn't looking and told the employees behind the desk, (who had the same visual vantage as me but were engrossed in a chat) that they had just been robbed. The fellow in charge seemed reluctant to believe me, when another customer came around the corner and told him that a fellow was stealing from the store. When the thief set off the detector as he left the dept, security was called. I have been in this location many times before and heard the alarm go off and no one seems to notice. Later, as I finished up my photo order the employee came back loaded down with the booty that the their thief had stuffed in his clothing. If it hadn't been for two shoppers who were bold enough to say something that kid would have made off with a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff.

heather of the EO said...

I don't know if this is considered customer service, since it was at a medical clinic. But I wrote a post about how a lab tech was drawing blood from my one year old's finger and dropped the vial of blood, splashing our clothes. Then she had to start over with the screaming baby. She was crabby the whole time and never even apologized. She just said, "some of that might be on his pants." NICE.

JCK said...

I still can't believe your customer service stories. :) Well, I can because we have bad customer service here, too.

I can't find your email anywhere. Can you email me? I want to see if you'd like to do a guest post on my blog next week!

Gramgram said...

Recently I entered a local Quilt Shop, and the clerk, who was sewing in the back room, pedal to the metal yelled out at me, If I can help you, just let me know. I yelled back to her, Would there be a better time for me to come back?

a Tonggu Momma said...

Once at a local bookstore, the sales clerk tried to sell me one of those discount cards that have an annual fee while I checked out. Despite the savings, I cannot bring myself to purchase one of those cards because I don't purchase something just so that I can give them further business. But that's just me.

So the sales clerk wouldn't let it go, even though I very politely said (Three! Times!) that I was not interested, but thank you anyways. After the fourth hard sell, I lost it, saying in my best teacher voice, "I SAID no, thank you."

He replied, "well, darn (only he didn't say darn), you don't have to be so rude." I said, "excuse me?!?! I am being rude? Not only did you refuse to listen to my reply, you just cursed in front of my four-year-old."

And he said yes, it was me being rude, so I smiled and said, "let's allow your manager to decide that." I got my books for free that day, without purchasing the discount card.

Moral of the Story: Don't mess with Tonggu Momma. And definitely don't curse in front of my four-year-old.

(But I'm really very nice.)

JCK said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy said...

I went to Vancouver recently and (in the touristy area anyway) every sales person was at least 25 years old and NICE. I was shocked, but I was more shocked that my 16 year old noticed and pointed out that there were not any 'kids' working anywhere we went...I was sad to go home.

Andi said...

I found my way here from Antique Mommy because of your hilarious winning comment!

I had two of these experiences this weekend. The first was in the Nike Outlet. The sales clerk asked "Credit or Debit?" after he rang me up. It seemed weird, like he thought I couldn't possibly have any real money on me. Imagine his surprise when I said "Cash." and handed him a large bill. He turned a bit red and said "Oh cool."

The second was in Old Navy. Let me preface this by saying if I was working there I might be a little surly too, because that place is always a mell of a hess. Anyway, as the customer service rep was ringing up my purchases I noticed that one rang up as significantly more than what was on the ticketed sales price. So I brought it to his attention. He said "Where did you get this?" as if I had put a fake label on it. I told him I got it off a rack in the girls section, which was exactly the truth. He said "Well I think it's mislabeled." Then he called a manager & told him and the manager just kind of shrugged at him & smiled at me. The guy had a chip on his shoulder the rest of the transaction. Even my 13 year old noticed it.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I'm going to go with Any Experience with Northwest Airlines. They define bad customer service.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Oh ugh. I live in Alberta as well and can totally relate to your experiences. I have stopped eating out, I hate going somewhere and feeling like a complete burden on the rude wait-staff. argh.
I came over from JCK's, great guestpost, glad to have stumbled upon you.