Here’s my question. What the fuck happened to customer service? You know, customer service – that whole “customer is always right even when they’re so stupid they should be kicked in the head to save everyone else the trouble of talking to them.” In the past week, I’ve found myself in several lines in different venues, completely dumb-fucking-founded at the lack of efficiency in operations.
I’ll put a caveat here as anyone who knows me is aware that I am possibly the least efficient person on the planet. As I’m writing this, I’m mentally calculating how many times I may need to pee in the next few hours and whether I can hold off on going to the store for toilet paper because I forgot to buy some. (Again.) I am the queen of, “Eh, I know we’re at the store now, but I don’t need that until TOMORROW. I’ll just come back then.” (And yes, when tomorrow comes, I’m inevitably calling the me of yesterday a complete asshole.) I’m famous for only putting enough gas in the car to get where I’m going at that particular moment, putting a bottle of pop with three sips left in it back in the refrigerator, and ignoring the bag of garbage on the porch despite the fact that I am going right past the garbage cans when I leave the house.
However. HOWEVER. At work -where are there are consequences for being lazy far more stringent than being told, “You dick. Take. the. garbage. out,” I am the epitome of efficiency. My desk is spotless, my emails are categorized, my pending folder is cleaned out every Friday, and my inbox is empty each night. You know why? Because I am being paid for my time. My employers expect me to live up to the promises I made while terror-sweating through my interview and they expect me to provide the service that they are paying me produce on a daily basis. Other reasons would include being brought up in a household where I was taught that you receive a paycheck for an honest day’s work, that you should take pride in your work, and, oh yeah, that you shouldn’t be a complete douchcanoe.
Which is why I found myself internally screaming, “Do your job, you lazy cow!” several times this week at the following people.
Kohl’s Employee with Zero Concept of “If the Customer has a Coupon, They Expect to Pay Less.”
I returned a Christmas gift at this fine establishment, and, receiving store credit, decided to buy myself an electric sweeper. Without going into the math, I had more on the store credit than said (fabulous) sweeper cost. In addition, I had a coupon for 10% off. Excited about my bargain hunting, I handed over the coupon, and we started to sled downhill. “Well, ma’am, it shows this isn’t valid.” Me. “Okay. Why?” Person Who’s Super Good At Her Job. “Um. There was a return on it?” Me. “What now?” PWSGAHJ. “I’m not sure. It just says return.” Me. “I don’t understand.” PWSGAHJ, with a big smile, “Me neither!” Me. “So, you’ll take the 10% off?” PWSGAHJ, bewildered now, “Oh, you still want that?” Me, in my head, “No, you dizzy bitch. I’d prefer to spend 10% more than I owe you because you don’t know how to do your damn job.” Me, in reality. “Yes. Yes, actually I would. If you can tell me why the coupon isn’t valid, that’s fine, but if not, then yes, I would prefer to spend 10% less.” PWSGAHJ, with an exaggerated eye-roll, “Well, okay, ma’am. I guess we can honor this.” Really? Do people actually just say, “Okay, no, I would prefer not to save eight dollars!” and just hand it over?
All Arby’s Employees at the Thompson Center.
When I was in high school and college, I worked at the movie theater in my hometown. At the time, it was a second-run theater, charging $2.25 for movies that had been out for a few weeks and were no longer available at the big name theaters. As this was before Netflix and OnDemand, it was a pretty good deal. Add to that fact that Elk Grove had to hire extra security when the Krispy Kreme opened, you can imagine this particular theater did a relatively brisk business. I can remember rushing around behind the counter, slipping on (real) butter, covered in popcorn grease and syrup from the pop boxes, doing everything I could to make the customers’ experience better and their wait shorter. Which may be part of the reason it makes me batshit crazy when I am in a line of seven people on my lunch hour and wait longer for a premade BLT sandwich than it would take me to cook a fucking steak. The waiting isn’t what makes me want to eat my own head – it’s the seven employees languishing behind the counter, moving at the pace of drugged snails, that makes me nuts. Seriously – I’ve walked faster on my way into a gynecologist appointment, and let’s face it, no one’s really rushing into that office. These folks will hear the timer go off and lumber off in the general direction of the fryer, stopping to talk to their co-workers who are doing absolutely nothing, and occasionally to check their phone. One time, an employee particularly hell bent on making me want to take a hostage leaned over and retied her shoes before handing me my order. It goes without saying that she didn’t wash her hands first. Is there no lack of urgency anymore?? If I had tried that back at the theater I would’ve been out on my ass before the 9:30 showing of Pulp Fiction.
Management at Dominicks on Chicago and Damen.
I know, I know. I’ve beat this horse nearly to death and have clearly expressed my distaste for the clientele and employees involved in each experience. However, my visit tonight enforced my belief that the problem clearly lies at the top of this pyramid of morons. Picture, if you will, a crowded metropolis of thousands of people living in a four-square mile radius. Then place one solitary grocery store in the middle. Now, explain to me why, on a Friday night at 6PM, you would only plan to have four cashiers available. Then, explain to me why only one of these cashiers is over the age of 21 and therefore able to scan adult beverage purchases, which is approximately 75% of your sales at this particular interval. After that, please – fucking please – enlighten me as to why you would allow the aforementioned only adult employee to sit on the goddamn phone at the end of the self-checkout, where she used the word “Motherfucker,” no less than four times, while every single line in the store had increasingly irritated customers waiting to have their booze purchases scanned and the lines continued to expand all the way to the produce aisle. It’s called forecasting, people. Fail to plan, plan to fail. It’s quite basic, really.
Am I the only that wants to simply start screaming in these situations? How is it possible that so very many people have zero pride in their jobs? I can understand feeling you aren’t appreciated; I can understand feeling that the job you do isn’t important or worthy of your talents. As a college graduate who spent two years waiting tables and catching terrified lobsters out of a tank on Saturday nights for delighted diners, all while wearing a FUCKING BOWTIE, believe me, I understand. But for me, that’s a life lesson. If you want a roof over your head and appreciate electricity, nothing is beneath you, my friend. You take that job and you do the best you can at it. And you do it with a (fucking) smile.