Cashier at Wal Mart - Plateros store located i...

If you have the excellent fortune of knowing me personally, you will know that I have rather strong feelings about the way I (and others) should be treated when bringing my (or their) money into any establishment that trades goods or services for said money.

Due to some yet-untraced genetic mutation, I expect to be treated like someone the company values. Kind of like a customer. What actually happens, however, more often than not, is that I’m treated like a two-bit jerk who wandered in and ruined some dude’s nap.

I have had quite a few negative experiences lately, and I am at a loss. Are corporations hurting so badly that they’ve forgone customer service training altogether? Are their employees so independently wealthy that they don’t care about keeping their jobs?  At this point, I feel stuck. I either go out and fight with imbeciles in every store I patronize, shop for everything online, or learn to grow my own food and fashion household items out of sticks and twine.

I can roll back the calendar and rattle off at least a half-dozen unpleasant experiences I’ve had over the past three months. I can talk about my poor husband, who, about four days ago, tried to relieve us of cooking on a really bad day with the babies by picking up some burritos. And how the guy behind the counter, despite my husband’s asking for steak, proceeded to glare at him while he spitefully ladled chicken onto his tortilla.

Or the time my husband and I parked in a hotel garage, and the woman taking our money was too lazy to reach over far enough to hand me the ticket, so she let it go, then watched it flit to the ground.

Or the time my husband and I, after several days of planning and coordination to replace a part in our minivan, were told, “Oops. The part’s not here yet. Sorry we didn’t call you.” Really? Really?? Really? Woman? Because it took me four-and-a-half hours to get my kids fed, ready, and to a sitter in 100-degree weather just to get this godforsaken piece of crap here on time. Really?? And, yeah, I don’t mind waiting for you to pay for your lunch delivery and then check your phone for text messages before you reschedule my appointment. As long as you don’t mind me waiting in the parking lot for you after you leave.

I’ve stormed, fuming, away from more stores than I can count, refusing to return. I’ve been the thorn in everyone’s side when they suggest restaurants at which I will no longer eat. I’ve gone out of my way to avoid stores that have things I need because the people who worked there were too ignorant for me to tolerate.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want a cloying phony waiting on me, either. I simply want to be treated as if I’m of some value to the company. Just a little.

I can imagine working conditions may be bad for some, maybe even many. But it’s not my fault, Lady. Don’t take it out on me. And we all know the concept of customer service has basically become a joke. I recognize that. But there are things I need. Does anybody care? Do you even want my money? Because I’m two minutes away from becoming really handy.

I’m not going to wax nostalgic about things not being ‘the way they used to be’, since we’ve been there and done that. Plus, I think most of my adult life has been this way.

Let’s face it: Things are bad when you know that calling customer service means a) speaking to someone with only a meager grasp on the English language, who b) may or may not have any idea how to help you, who will then c) put you on hold, and subsequently d) hang up on you. Or reasonably expecting that cans will be thrown haphazardly onto your eggs at the grocery store. Or knowing you are not going to be greeted or thanked or even asked if you need help while shopping. Hell, even Amazon thanks me for my order once it’s completed.

Despite all this, many companies will continue to insist, in vain, that the customer is always right.

Lordy, if this is right, then I really don’t want to be wrong.

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15 Comments »

  1. Oh, I so agree! I had the good fortune to work in a store that tried to stamp out that behavior. It resulted in an almost Stepford Wife shopping experience that customers mostly loved. I worked in the pharmacy at unmentioned store. A customer could literally scream in my face and call me a useless whore and I would smile and say “Whatever. You. Like. Beep. Beep.” In my off hours I would shop there and be insolent.

  2. Ugh. I drive my hubs batty with my refusals to eat at places for the same reason. I give every place twice, then I’m done.I will never eat at an IHOP again. I just tried to switch from comcast to DirecTv. I call with quite a few questions and the sales guy barely spoke English and kept demanding my social security number before answering my Qs.

    My hubs works for a car rental company and his biggest complaint is the corporate higher ups don’t care about the customer. The online system will over book reservations so people show up and don’t have a car, or the car they wanted. It has nothing to do with my hubs and how he does his job but he gets the brunt of it.

  3. I know what you mean! I work in customer service and I put up with a lot of shit from people and smile while I do it because that’s my job. So when I am being served I have pretty high expectations. I don’t think it is too much to ask for eye contact, a smile and a pleasant demeanor. I don’t think it is too much to ask for empathy when I’m lodging a complaint. And if I happen to unwittingly annoy you because I didn’t order correctly or I commit some other sin of which I was unconscious I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you just deal with it as best you can and wait for me to leave before you complain to your co-workers. If you think your job is so shitty that it’s not worth doing it well, then how do you expect to move on to anything better?

  4. I wish I could have said it so well. This is my major pet peeve. Train your people. I worked with the public, was trained to my teeth, and feel confindent I’d have been fired on the spot and featrued in training videos of how NOT to do it.

    And may I add, this business of talking down to someone and denying it when you are called out for it. Has. Got. To. Stop.

  5. yep, it’s an epidemic. more companies are interested in the actual dollar not realizing how much more valuable it would be to them if they treated (or paid, if possible) their employees better, which ultimately would treat their customers (not 100%, but much closer than it is now) better. There are plenty of good examples with a little searching. Isn’t that what FISH was about? I personally think we just live in a very selfish society. And it’s getting worse. 😦

  6. You speak truth, lady. I hate shopping under the best of circumstances. But when the service is bad? Holy shit. The box stores are the worst, where I live, so I buy online or go to smaller retailers when I can. Of course, that always costs a bit more… unless, of course, I factor in savings made avoiding therapy. Boy, I can’t WAIT for back to school shopping! 😐

  7. It’s getting so bad, isn’t it? The other day at Starbucks I ordered my usual drink and the barrista said, “With vanilla?” while pushing the vanilla button. I told her no, I hate vanilla flavored drinks. “Either way,” she said, waving me away. It’s not the extra 30 cents that bothered me, it was the rudeness. I stormed out.

    BTW, have you only been posting for two months?

  8. And this while there is so much unemployment! What we need are some truly hungry immigrants who will sweep the path before you of dust for your business. But, by the third generation they are all CPAs or engineers and we are back with “native” kids who don’t value work even in a recession. What can you expect from someone in Minnesota who makes as little as $5.25/hr? Few adults consider this a living wage they will fight to defend.
    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._minimum_wages”

  9. HOLY …well, holy something or other.
    Where in the world do you live where there is that level of just plain rudeness? I feel for you, that’s for sure.

    Personally, I loathe poor manners. Especially in a customer/provider sort of situation. If I am at your business, waiting to hand YOU money for a service that you claim to provide? Some attentiveness would be nice. I am not asking for handsprings and trumpets here. Heck, you don’t even have to smile. How about just *not* sneering and doing your job. THAT would be awesome.

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