Tag Archives: retail

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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