Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Which one is the Christmas Grinch?

I finally made it out to do a little Christmas shopping and as a result, I’m in much more of a Holiday mood! I wasn’t feeling Grinchy. It was just that I have to travel home for Christmas… and was supposed to go on a work trip two days after Christmas, so I figured there was no sense getting a tree. It would be like setting up a fire hazard in my home.

However, while shopping I encountered a man who was none too happy about having to shop one day out of the year. A sight to behold! *(More on that below!)*

I was in a department store, seeking a fluffy soft robe, which Mom said she would like to have for Christmas. I found what I wanted, but not the right size so the store clerk called a couple other stores to find it. In the meantime, a few other customers approached the counter to ask where they might find this or that. The clerk –on the phone doing MY business – just pointed the first woman in the general direction. The next woman was looking for slipper socks, and since the dismissive sales clerk was occupied, I decided I could take the lady directly to the slippers.

When I returned to the counter, the clerk was still on the phone. Then Mr. Christmas came up and asked where to find the robes. Cotton. This guy knew what he wanted and would waste no time. She pointed him ‘over there’ which he didn’t seem to appreciate, as it still wasn’t obvious to him. In a few minutes he came back with a very pretty robe and asked the clerk what size he should get given the dimensions of the woman he was buying for. She said small, I said medium. He got crankier, because there was no small from which to choose.

Still on the phone, she rung up his medium purchase. When he asked for a box, she matter of factly told him to go to customer service. He didn’t like this answer – and though I knew she giving him the right information, I couldn’t blame him. With just a few extra, carefully chosen words, she could have made the whole experience a bit more pleasant.

When he left, I commented to the clerk – still on the phone looking for my robe – “That guy doesn’t want to be Christmas shopping.” She went on to say that crabby people like that are the worst part of her job. I told her that a little coddling can go a long way, but she insisted that when they act like that, they make her not even want to help them.

I shut up at this point. And I regret it. The guy wasn’t that bad. He just clearly doesn’t like Christmas shopping, or probably any type of shopping. She could have changed his entire holiday spirit if she had said things like, “I’m sorry. I’m working on the phone to help this customer. You’ll find the robes in that corner. Let me know if I can assist you.” or “Medium would be a safe choice. I’ll give you a gift receipt so she can exchange it if it’s really too big.” and “I’m sorry, we don’t have boxes at this counter, but if you take your receipt to the service counter, they’ll even wrap it for you.”

It would only take a fraction more energy, and everyone’s experience would be better by far. Poor customer service is my biggest pet peeve. It’s ridiculous to me because it doesn’t take that much more energy to mark the line between SERVING a customer and not serving. It’s so simple… just do for your customer what you would like done for yourself.

And part of me hates to complain about it because she did go out of her way to help me. But she sure wasn’t very nice to the woman on the phone.

very strange to me, to see someone who doesn't like shopping. I
love shopping.

At a party last weekend, I approached a guy who was talking about football and to include me in the conversation he asked, "do you like the Broncos?" I responded, "I don't watch football at all." I about died when I saw his face! He had this curious, bewildered look - as if I had told him that I simply don't breathe.

I decided the equivalent would be trying to involve this guy in a conversation about shopping!

1 comment:

Mike Overall said...

You'll never know what a difference you can make until you try. A shame more people don't think they can "be bothered".


Acquired sport, believe you me.