Customer Service… or what it should be

Alright everybody. Those of you in the Southern states lately will get this.

This has been a rough winter for us this year. I knew it, when by mid-July we hadn’t hit 100 yet, that it was going to be. I was just predicting frigid temperatures. But, I should have realized, a cool WET summer, was going to lead to this. This being, snow. Twice. In South Carolina. Kids have missed a total of 4 days of school and had more delayed starts/early dismissals than I can count. (oh and not to mention by the time I write this, we’re defrosting from our second round of snow/ice and supposed to hit the 70s by next week. but could have more of this white stuff in a couple of weeks) Between the temps and the precipitation, it’s been rough. And before ANYONE above the Mason-Dixon line starts laughing (because I can hear ya’ll), we don’t have a lot of plows. Or salt trucks. Or Quonset huts by the highway with salt and/or sand. It’s not fiscally intelligent for us to do this, because typically we get no winter precipitation, let alone inches of snow, ice and sleet. IF we see wintry precipitation, it’s less than an inch, once every few years.

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this is this. Friday was our first day of being defrosted after being buried in since Tuesday afternoon, and really being able to go anywhere. As I do a lot of Friday’s I headed to the bank to deposit DH’s paycheck. And what do I see? Well, besides a huge mess, that is. I see a line at the bank because only one of the drive thru windows is open. BUT. There is a really good reason for this. Two of the bank employees are outside, with deicer and shovels, clearing the lanes to the other two drive thru windows. Neither really has clothes or boots on for this. But instead of only keeping one lane open and letting Mother Nature run it’s course to clear the ice. They are out there, breaking up the ice by hand, so they can serve their customers as quickly as possible. I posted the pic on my instagram/twitter/Facebook, it wasn’t great since I was in my car, but I thought it needed to be shown.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon. DH took off work early, and so we took our totally cabin fever riddled children out for some shopping. Now, I was excited too because this shopping was to try to find an iPad for me (WOOHOOOO!!). Well, of course with all the shipping delays, bad weather, etc, the first couple of stores we went to were sold out. *pouts*. So we head to the dreaded main shopping area on our side of town. (LOADS of stores, BAD traffic planning) First stop, *insert name of major office supply store here*. [Scene: DH, DS, DD and myself, standing next to iPad display looking around expectantly] Then us, watching, as employee #1 walks past… head down, and speeding up as she gets closer. Next, employee #2, speeds past, boxes in hand, glances our way, says nothing. Employee #1 comes back by, DH says “excuse me”. Employee #1 says “oh did you need help?” *facedesk* no sweetie we’re standing here in the middle of the aisle because we have NOTHING better to do on a Friday afternoon. *sigh* DH says, “Yes, we’d like to see about an iPad,” employee #1 says, “let me see if I can find someone to help you.” Okay…. so we wait. Time ticking by. I look at DH. He looks at me. I shrug. We leave. Oh and as we’re walking out, employee #1 finally found someone, and he turns around just to see us walk out the door.

Okay, my problem with the above. First off, I don’t care if you work in electronics or the rubber band department. If you see a customer standing around, next to a display, especially of a high ticket item, would it really take so much out of your day to say “Hey, did you guys need help with something?” or “Let me get the salesperson for this area for you.” Not speed-walk past me purposefully not making eye contact. This whole mentality of “It’s not my job” is what has screwed up a LOT of retail lately. My first comment after walking out. “And people wonder why everybody shops online these days.”

So, off to the next store, *insert name of warehouse club store here*. I find the display, which is one of those cardboard thingys you take to the cashier so they can get your item out of lock up. No problem. We pick a line that is relatively short (in comparison to everything else). Get up to the cashier, hand her my membership card, and the cardboard thingy. She rings me up, I explain and apologize that due to limits placed by the bank on debit card transactions (which we have there on purpose), that we would have to split it between DH and I’s cards. She is very nice. Well, then the manager finally wanders over to get the number of the item so she can retrieve it from lock up. Now, understand, we had also called around a few places to see if they had this particular iPad in stock, since I wanted the Air, so it MIGHT not be completely obsolete and better off as a paperweight in a year. And, since most retail establishments are very happy to take your money very quickly, but very slow to put it back in your bank account, I wasn’t going to actually pay until I was 100% sure they had the correct item in stock. As I’m watching the manager stand there at the “cage”, she finally calls over another person, who then wanders all the way to our check out line (10-15 lines from where said cage is), and double checks the number, then wanders all the way back to the cage. 5 minutes or so later, they finally wander back with my iPad. I’m ecstatic that they have it. But, would it have been so difficult to 1, learn what you are retrieving from the cage so you might be able to find it in less than 10 minutes without help, and 2, MAYBE crack something that resembles a smile once in a while? I’m so sorry to have put you out and spent a decent chunk of change with your company… *sigh*

On a side note, really fellow shoppers? Lets try not to be rude. [Scene: older-than-me male gets in line with a few items behind me.] Said male, asks cashier why she isn’t ringing him up. (Yes, I am still standing right THERE). She explains, that until I have my item, I am not paying. He proceeds (and again, I’m RIGHT THERE) to keep his back to me, and ask loud enough for me to hear “Why isn’t she paying?!?”. I calmly turn towards the back of his head and say “Because, *I* am not spending XXX amount of money here and having my bank account all screwed up because they don’t have it.”. *cough* He left our line and went to another one.

All this being said. Respect. THAT is what is wrong with most places, and why most people shop from home. Who wants to deal with cashiers that make it blatantly obvious they have NO desire to be there, and customers that think the whole world revolves around them. Retail/Food Service/Customer Service employees, look, I’ve been there, I understand you have a thankless job. But. You applied for that job. You accepted that job. The least you can do is at least “fake it till you make it” and act like you want to be there. You’d be amazed at how much better your day goes. Fellow customers at various retail/food establishments, EVERYBODY is in a hurry. Everybody wants to get to their next destination. Everybody has things to do. Sometimes we just have to wait. Be patient, be respectful. If you wouldn’t want someone making snide comments while you’re standing there, don’t do it to someone else. Understand that sometimes things are out of your control, and you just have to be patient. We are all guilty of having a bad day, snapping at a customer, tapping our foot while waiting, whatever. It happens. But really, especially when circumstances are out of everybody’s control, let’s try to be a little nice. Relax. Smile. It makes everybody’s day better. Including your own.

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About craftymomchronicles

Okay, so this is where I am supposed to be witty and cute and tell you how funny and awesome I am to get you to read my blog. Well….. not sure how that is going to work. I am a stay at home mom of two, one is my minime high school student and theater chick, the other is my homeschooled dancing dude, who is momma’s lil man. I get to stay at home and do all this cool stuff thanks to my awesomeness hubby who works his tush off so I can. Of course staying at home isn’t for everybody, and we’ll dive into THAT some day I’m sure, but I love it, and I have my crafts to keep me busy. That is what started this whole thing. Hubby said to me “babe, you should start blogging” and well, here I am. Good luck and enjoy! And yes, I do approve all comments, but don't think I'm censoring everybody. I will let negative ones through as long as everybody plays nice. View all posts by craftymomchronicles

4 responses to “Customer Service… or what it should be

  • J. James

    I hate lines– i hate dealing with rude cashiers, it is why I shop online 95% of the time. I don’t mind waiting a few days for merchandise , less hassle, more pleasant experience. I worked in customer service for years.. my first job was at a retail store. Its not for everyone. You truly need to be a people person to enjoy it. That being said, if you are hired for a position, regardless of what it is, my firm belief is to always make the most of it, be as helpful as possible, even if its not part of your job description….after all, isn’t the customer always right? They are the main reason you have a job… I think a lot of people not only lack respect for fellow human beings but they lack appreciation.

    I have actually come across the same type of experience you had while shopping in a drive-thru window at Mcdonald’s. The person who takes your order has a grumpy voice, you can tell she doesn’t enjoy her job, cant really say I blame her. You drive up to her window and give her money.. she still doesn’t smile. (anyone handing me money would make me smile even if i cant keep it, js), she hands you your receipt and you drive up to the second window, where there is a woman who is smiling and happy and she is always very pleasant,she always says hello and chatters away at me while she gets my order together. She is an older woman, perhaps, she recognizes the value of having a job.. the older the wiser? I think most people who work in that type of an environment, face to face with paying customers could take a lesson from her. She is the reason I keep going back to that drive thru, cuz it sure as hell isnt the food 😛

  • SunshineGirlBecca

    Like you, I mourn the loss of empathy – which is what drives respect and often, a solid work ethic. Respect and work ethic are two things that are quickly disappearing from daily life, and they are being replaced with entitlement and greed. You can see it nearly everywhere you go, just as you described above at multiple and unrelated areas of commerce – and while it’s been a hard winter, I imagine that, much like what exists in the rest of the country, it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, despite the weather. Many people seem to have a theory of what the driving force is, often political or religious in nature, but I’m sorry, I feel like both of these examples are no more than excuses, and cop-outs. There have great people on both sides of nearly every political and religious camp, just as there have been terrible people on both sides, who both thought they were doing right by people at large. On the whole, if there are no fundamental consequences for bad behavior, there will be no change. The hard pill to swallow is, the change begins with each and every one of us, by refusing to accept the behavior, by intentionally making the scene, and pushing people to wake up from their mindless, zombie ways. And likewise, by doing the admirable thing you described earlier in this post, and rewarding good behavior by publicly praising it, providing the example that each of us should be mirroring to make the world better. As strange as it sounds, what the world needs desperately is a great deal of firm yet loving parenting. 🙂

    • craftymomchronicles

      I love this! And you’re right, that is what we did last night (see previous comment) after DH was rudely dismissed, (I wasn’t there at the time) I went back and asked again, and called the sales person on her attitude and kept pushing until I got something of a result. It’s sad that you do have to “parent” someone, who was probably 10 years my senior if not more, but if it helps and they start seeing the attitude, maybe, it will work.

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