I often wonder what my parents had to say about my peers and I while we were on the front lines of customer service. Were they constantly leaving the store in a funk because of the overall quality of service that they had received? Did they walk away from the checkout line feeling as though they had just put a crimp in the plans between cashier and bagger? I would like to think not, but it's probably so. There isn't much that bothers me more than walking up to the counter and hearing a large, vulgar sigh coming from the other side, as though I wasn't supposed to be giving business at this particular point in time, because you know, I was supposed to wait until someone else could help me.
While my experience at the market today wasn't quite that unpleasant I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable as I stood waiting for my groceries to be rung up. At first I thought the banter between the teenage cashier and her chatty co-worker was amusing but it quickly went down hill when they began rapping back and forth at each other and she started sniffing my foods without an explanation. She stopped to sniff my bag of pinto beans, shook her head, and pointed at the container of fresh stir fry vegetables. "No, it must be that." Then, just like that, she started rapping the next verse to her song. I remained dumbfounded while listening to the beep of the register as she finished ringing me up. I tried to block out their conversations about earrings, hair, and plans for the evening. I was mostly unsuccessful and took my receipt quickly, saying thank you without being told to have a good day. I walked out of the store wondering why I had just given them $54.23 of my hard earned money when I could have gone somewhere else? Somewhere that I would have been greeted by a smile and a "Hi, how are you today?" they may or may not have attempted a conversation with me, it doesn't matter, and they would have handed me a receipt with a "Have a nice day, ma'am." As it was, I felt I was told "Your broccoli stinks, go away."
I'm not attempting to say that all of the customer service that I have received lately was terrible, I'm more wondering how some of these people were able to keep their jobs when I would have been fired, or at least reprimanded, for some of the things I've witnessed. It's a common conversation between my co-workers and I about how our company will bend over backwards to keep the customer happy. Oh, you didn't like that book? Well let me send out a prepaid shipping label and you can return it to us. Oh, you don't know what title you would like instead? Well let me send out five other titles on that subject to preview, just put them back in the box when you're finished and keep the one you want. Oh no, your book fell apart? Well here's a coupon for free shipping, cataloging, and 25 percent off your next order and I'll credit your account for that bad book. The last person to huff and puff and say "Well, there is nothing I can do for you," mysteriously disappeared.
I fully understand that pleasing a customer is a hard task and it shouldn't have to be. I live in my strange little world that believes everyone should just get along and be happy and kind to each other, smiling like the cheshire cat. When I'm forced out of that world of "please" and "thank you" I get a little defensive. I'm so sorry. Here's a coupon for $5.00 off your next purchase of $50.00 or more.