Attention Shoppers: Lack of Professionalism in Aisle 3 – Guest Post

May 26, 2009 by admncc

Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my own posts, readers can submit Guest Posts on topics they would like to complain about.  William Gatherer submitted the below-Guest Post.  His complaint is the customer service habits of retailers he frequents.  I love customer service complaints and I think all of us can relate to his story.  Enjoy and without further adieu, here’s William…

Ok, so I know that one of my favorite shopping haunts happens to hire the premiere employees from the upper-echelon of the work force (sarcasm kicks in the door to announce its arrival with both guns blaring).

I do expect a certain level of professionalism and as in previous complaints; we understand that in your big box stores, you lose a certain something to gain a cheaper price.  I wanted to get some photos developed from my memory card so I go straight to the photo department.  It is not an odd hour of the morning, merely 8:30 a.m.  I go to the Kodak machine so that I don’t have to deal with waiting for my photos, as I was visiting my in-laws.  It was not my normal store, so I figured due to the location, I could avoid the usual cliental.  The machine was not even turned on, so I flag down one of the employees who is talking to another (count them – 2 in one spot, so the amount of help was not the issue).  The woman turned on the machine, and it started to load up, but the printer did not boot with the rest of the machine.  Of course the employee did not stay to wait for the machine to correctly boot up, she returned to the other employee who was talking about personal issues.

I again draw her attention to the machine where I am told it will be a few minutes.  I go to wander around the electronics department for a few minutes, only to return to the photo machine to get my pictures printed off.  As the machine is printing off the photos, nothing is coming out.  Apparently she did not close the door correctly so all the photos of my son are being jammed into the bottom of the printer.  They were not damaged, however it was annoying that I had to interrupt the employee – who was discussing how much child support she was to be receiving from the father of her children, and that she is actually accepting less until he gets his taxes back so he can make that up.  (I understand that you make connections at work, but comparing child support earnings is hardly “work” appropriate, even in the retail sector).  Her saving grace, I did get a free 8*10 print out for my multiple problems (I honestly think that it was one problem, but that is another story).

Same store, different city (400 miles away).

I purchased a collar for my dog, and a set of dog clippers, and the employee said that he double charged me for the collar and the clippers, so he voided the transaction and then re-scanned the items.  We have all experienced this at one time or another, so I quickly looked, and moved on.  As I was headed out the store, I was stopped by the greeter – I had tripped the alarm.  Apparently boy wonder not only didn’t know how to run his cash register that day, but also did not know how to de-activate the security device in the dog clippers.  After reviewing my receipt the man let me go, and noted the transaction error in his notebook.

The collar did not fit so I had my wife take it back to get a refund.  When she went to the customer service desk, they reviewed the receipt, and apparently when the clerk voided the transaction he never actually charged me for the collar.  (I actually could have been accused of stealing that dog collar, but the greeter and I both missed it.)  My wife returned the collar for no refund, so big box store did not lose out on their $2.64.  The odd part was that she had to make an extra purchase that day and was also victim of the “ooops” voided receipt (no free merchandise this time).

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  1. Dan says:

    Haha. Fantastic post. Like you, I expect good service, but I also realize that bad service sometimes in unavoidable. And just like you detailed in your story, the behavior of front-line retail associates always amazes me. One would hope for better, but like you said, you loose something in those stores. I guess you can add wasted time to that list, William.

  2. Leo Nevoli says:

    How about your Wife buying an expensive dress from a mall store, only to put it on the day of the event to find the shoplifter ink stick still stuck on the dress. She now has only a few minutes to either pick out a new dress, or send you to the store so they can remove the stick. You would think the employees that are working at the store will know to remove the stick when you buy the dress. Of course you either have to put up with her bitching the entire night about not being able to wear the dress, or you have to go to the store to get the tag removed, and then get a call from her asking where you are because you need to get home or be late for the event.

  3. NeoConDon says:

    I had a similar photo experience happen at a Target store, but with the disposable cameras with the old fashion film in them. A one hour photo experience took a day and a half…I just avoid that photo center from now on.

  4. Oh yeah, isn’t it fun? Your photo experience was pathetic. I’m not sure anybody really wants to work anymore but they are the first to complain about an “illegal” taking their job.

    I usually try to go to self-serve but I have encountered some good cashiers at those places.

  5. Marissa says:

    It’s always annoying when customer service people are carrying on highly personal conversations while we wait. Now – if they were talking about the latest movies, at least I could’ve joined in with my own opinions. (Terminator was AWESOME!)

    Overall, though, I think maybe “visiting the in-laws” may have set the curse in motion. 😀

  6. Bad customer service should always be followed by discounts. That is my rule. You fuck up, I expect reparations. At the very least, future discounts are required, if not on the product/service you are purchasing at the present time. If you fuck up, I want special treatment now. If you already owe me a dollar, and then steal my dollar, you not only owe me the $2 now, you owe me $3 for my troubles. 1 for the original debt, 1 for the stolen dollar, 1 for my troubles.

  7. c.princess says:

    All I can say is you are a very patient man.

  8. Dan says:

    Stabbing Pen, you are my new hero! I love it!

  9. William Gatherer says:

    Stabbing Pen…
    I did just that. I went to Lowes this past weekend to buy a shower stall, and a boatload of remodeling supplies.. CC no faucets so don’t worry, and you will be proud of this.

    The only model that they had for the price advertised was busted, so they couldn’t tell me when the new ones were coming in. I had ended up calling home depot to find out that they didn’t have one either. I called another Lowes that is equidistant from my home as the one that did not have my shower stall, and the girl said that they did. I specifically asked for the model with the smooth back and they said that they had it in stock so I had her tag it for me. When I got there the following morning, I found that it was the more expensive one, and they too had the cheaper one that I wanted but it had a broken corner. I must have had that don’t mess with me look because the assistant immediately called the “blue vester” who also read the “pist” look on my face, and yes Ziggy, it is an intentional mis-spelling. She took the more expensive unit and reduced it to the same price I would have paid for the cheaper one less tax. They may not have the “Technical” know how, but they do their best to keep the customer base happy.

    Princess, as for my patience, I don’t know where it comes from, but when it goes… not a good situation. It does take a bit to do.

  10. Dan, I’m glad I am your hero. I’ll do my best to live up to my new status.

    William Gatherer — Not to stereotype, but I’ve learned about complaining/discounts from my Jewwy mom and grandma, who both have very little patience for stupidity.

  11. Jen says:

    Terrible customer service is not acceptable but I have been on the other side of the register so to speak and have had to deal with customers who have no patience. Unfortunately, it works both ways sometimes.

  12. Customer service is a dying art form, it’s been largely nonexistent in South Florida for many years.

  13. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to sternly ask cashiers or tellers to talk about private things in their private time. Nothing annoys me more when they sit around and talk about random personal things while there is a line of people who surely have better things to do than also stand around and listen to this conversation not a single one of us cares about.

  14. Extreme John says:

    Great post, but I will say it makes me think I would be willing to switch out just about every customer service rep here in Florida for one of the lucky charms you came in contact with.

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