Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Where Oh Where Has Customer Service Gone...?

Last week, my family and I decided to go out for dinner. After driving around, we ended up at “Schmarie Shmallenders”. While hubby parked the car, I ran in to get a table. I walked up to the podium where a host and waitress were engrossed in deep conversation. The waitress was sitting on the arm of the couch twirling her hair and chewing gum and ranted about how hung-over she was. The host nodded in agreement and remarked that “the party was hecka sick”. They never looked up at me ONCE.

So there I stood and stood and stood. Bear in mind that I was no more than 2 ½ feet away from them while they were NOT doing their job. Now at 5’9”, I’m hardly “not” noticeable. Here I was, a customer waiting to be acknowledged by people whose very livelihoods depend on customers.

I stood in front of that podium thinking how absurd the situation was. I thought to myself, “should I wave my hands and risk looking like a spastic mime or was a throat-clearing in order? Hmm….what to do?

Being that I am me, I took the unique way out and in a voice dripping in sarcasm, I declared “Welcome to Schmarie Shmallenders. How many in your party, m’am?” Two sets of eyes looked up in horror and the apologies began to stream. I felt victorious as I was finally led to my table. I told my husband of my witter maneuver and he laughed and said "Great. I betcha every employee is gonna spit in your plate." Suffice to say, I chose to eat from their Salad Bar that evening(which is another post in itself, but I digress.)

Just a few days later, I was at the airport waiting for my puppy’s flight to arrive. My daughter and I looking to kill some time, went to the gift shop. While I stood in line at the register with items for purchase, two cashiers babbled on in their native tongue NEVER once acknowledging my presence!

Finally, I just blurted out “Hel-lo? Do you see me standing here WAITING to purchase something, Miss Cashier Lady?” My daughter practically melted. The cashier, not aware that she was being talked down to, muttered something to the affect that she "was busy and to wait a minute" and she continued to talk and giggle in her native tongue to a co-worker. I carefully set my purchases down on the counter and waited. And. Stewed. When her chit chat was over, she finally began to ring my items up without looking up, without an apology, nothing. Did she thank me for shopping with them? Did she wish me a nice day? Nope.

Last vent (I promise). WHY DOES NO ONE KNOW HOW TO COUNT BACK CHANGE? When I first started working (a million years ago) at Emporium, we were trained to count change back to the customer. If the purchase was $14.87, we handed the customer 13 cents and said "fifteen and five makes 20. Thank you for shopping with us. Please come back soon."

Nowadays, change is plunked into my grubby mits and the change is NEVER counted back to me and worse yet, the only "thank you" I hear is the one coming from my mouth when they hand me my change!

Other than moving to an "uncharted isle", or never shopping again (which my husband would love), my only option as a consumer is to continue being treated insignificantly or shop online (which I do at every available opportunity!)

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