Tag Archives: customer service

When You Want to Throw Something

I’m sure you’re tired of my bookstore musings by now, but every time I think I’ve seen it all, something else happens.

Like today.

Pretty Good Customer was in last week and after an hour of browsing, she put aside a pile of stuff totaling over $200. That’s a REALLY good deal, since everything is half price. Anyway, she told me she would be in the next day when she got paid, so could I please hold it for her? Red flag. But I agreed. Well, she didn’t come in the next day. Or the day after that. Today was a week since her last visit. She came up to the counter this afternoon asking to see her pile of stuff and Pretty Good Customer proceeded to sort through it. End result = $82. This is why I seldom hold merchandise for customers. By the time they go home and think about it, they change their minds and there go your sales. Not that I am trying to encourage people to impulse buy, but hey, I’m in retail and have to make a living just like the next gal.

Then Take-Advantage-of-You Customer came in. She had purchased three or four books a few weeks ago and she wanted to exchange one of them. First of all, you never do exchanges on books because how do you know they haven’t been read? Second of all, every single sales receipt that goes out of here is stamped in big red letters ALL SALES FINAL. I pointed that out to Customer, but she protested, saying the book wasn’t what she thought it was. She looked at me as though it was my fault. I said, with a smile on my face, that it wasn’t up to me to question my customers’ purchases. She argued, saying that she didn’t want a refund. Just an exchange. I said (no smile this time) that all sales are final. When she started getting angry, I let her exchange the book. I’m such a sucker.

Today has also seen a higher than usual number of tire-kickers. (My husband used to sell cars and the sales guys always called the non-buying customers tire-kickers.) These are the people who come into the store, take their time looking at every single item you have for sale, and then smile apologetically as they leave. But they always take a free candy cane from the bowl on the counter.

I just want to see my inventory gone. Sold. Out of here. You might as well come on down and impose on my inability to stick to the rules. I’m sure I can give you a deal.

In the meantime, excuse me while I throw something.



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Filed under Blogging, Books, Humor, Writing

Customer Service in Reverse

I have been in the customer service business all of my adult life. Truth be told, we are all in the customer service business whether we realize it or not.

I was in the coffee shop yesterday morning, doing whatever it is that coffee shop managers do on Mondays. Business was brisk, despite the pouring rain outside, and there was a lot of conversation and laughter going on. Except for the grumpy customer. There’s always a grumpy customer.

Our staff did everything they could to please Mr. Grumpy, but he wasn’t having any of it. We could have served him a  gold-plated croissant and he wouldn’t have been happy. The thing is, he got all he asked for and then some. Our staff bent over backwards for this guy in an attempt to provide an excellent customer experience, but he wanted to have a bad day. And he wanted to make sure everybody else had a bad day too.

Hence, my thoughts about customer service in reverse.

What gives a person the right to treat other human beings the way Mr. Grumpy treated my coffee shop staff? Nothing. Nothing and no one. Ever.

Think about this the next time you buy your coffee, or when you’re at the Walmart checkout, or when you go into the bank. The employees who work in those places are real people with real lives. They have feelings just like you do. Why not make their day instead of expecting them to make yours.


Filed under Acceptance, Blogging, Coffee Shop, Writing