Monday, April 9, 2007

Customer Service is an oxymoron

Today I took my lunch hour to go out into the concrete jungle and find cleats for Titus. He starts soccer tomorrow and is so excited! I found the cutest shorts and shirt for him to play in, but didn't know he needed the special shoes. I was a little shocked that 4 year old soccer camp needs special soccer shoes, but they are the professionals and all I know about soccer is the ball is black and white and you cant use your hands--that's all I'm done after that. I know nothing of sports--period. Actually I know I'm not going to do them at all not my bag. That Titus wants to play every spoort around is testimony to me that he is definitely from another gene pool. I think he'll be really good at sports though. And I will watch him play in the bliss of confusion not knowing what in the world is goign on.

I wasn't sure exactly where one would purchase soccer cleats. I don't know of any soccer boutiques in the city and the mall shoe stores provided no help whatsoever. As a matter of fact the people who work in there were almost rude. I was getting customer service. "...Sir...sir...excuse me sir? could you help me?" The referee clad employee feet permanently planted in this, i dare you to knock me down position, just turned his head toward me, "yeah...what'cha need?" "Soccer cleats for my son, he's a--" "No cleats. we don't carry cleats here. No one in the mall has them." I was relieved that he had met his sales quota to the point that he could totally blow me off and not even care that, had my laser vision been working, he would have been dust.

The next store was a huge store dedicated to nothing but shoes. I was one of two people shopping. Mind you it's lunch time on Monday so there isn't a mad rush of people out to look at shoes. People who are there are going to spend money. I couldn't distract any of the employees from their business to get their attention to just ask if they had cleats. I finally managed to make my way to the back of the store and found a wall with cleats. Lot's of cleats--none that said "soccer" cleats. Ok...which ones look like a soccer cleat? I found three pair that I thought would work but needed to confirm. "Ma'am...excuse me I need some help. My son is playing soccer, tomorrow and I need some cleats. Which of these are for soccer?" "this one...this one...this one... not this one...that's it." Off she went. I was somewhat stunned at her flippant reply and quick departure. I had engaged her, the paid employee, in a customary, "I'm going to drop some cash in your store and need your help to get directed toward the right purchase." That is when it hit me--customer service is an oxymoron. People who work in these stores could care less about the customer or servicing them. After another twenty minutes of confused staring at shoes, I just left. As I was walking out the door, "Thank you sir, have a nice day and come back." "Not likely." I should not have taken my frustrations out on the clerk, but someone has to pay.

My car was parked by a Bellaire, one of the oldest cars i had ever seen in my life. This car had lived a hard, long life. I'm sure it was used by an elderly single lady who wore wool suits and had twenty cats all of which she talked to like her children. Then she died in her sleep, surrounded by all of her years of collections and the kitties. Following the auction it went to some naredo well who was in love with the thought of a "big trunk' and used it as a pick-up for the next ten years until he sold it for a real rig--the 78 El Camino! Rusted and worn to a slick this poor car was mustering all of it's energy to serve it's owner. I think the tattooed hippie girl who was working at the store drove that thing. The front left tire had a brick stopping it from rolling. I laughed at that sight and wished I had my camera to capture that moment. Can you imagine, "sure hop in I'm headed in that direction. hey before you get in grab the brick?"

I did find some shoes at Target and avoided the dreaded clerk whom I will NEVER EVER go to as long as I live. My blood boiled as I saw him standing there...waiting in his empty lane to torture another hapless customer. Target is a good place, the workers there leave you alone unless you hit the panic button. You can be left alone, you are a guest in their store. They won't bother you unless you ask. When you do ask they spring into action. They actually HAVE things in the back! You never get this, "I'm sorry what's out is out." What in the sam hill is the 10,000 square foot warehouse for, if not to house goods? They have these guns at Target that you can use (well the guest services employee) to scan the bar code and then whiffenpoof the location of that item not just in the store but in the whole Target Universe. "Sir we are out, but should be getting a truck in on the 12th and it looks like we'll have on on there." Love Target.

When I rule the world we'll try to get back to the good old days of customers and service going hand in hand. Employees will be glad you are shopping in their stores and will stop what they are doing to genuinely care about you and your needs. if you say no then they will kindly walk away and carry on. No longer will we allow this blow off the guy who looks helpless attitude. No Sirybob.

For the love of Pete put on a happy face, help the helpless. If people or helping people is not in your blood then please leave the public service sector--go work for the post office!


Donna said...

If you're scanning the item to find out where it is in the store or in another target store....why is it necessary if you are scanning the item? It's right there in your hand? I don't get it. I'm in mourning that Titus is playing soccer. I just assumed you were looking for baseball cleats that day. I can't even tell Brian. He'll be physically ill.