Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Role In Life


2: something that attracts
I am a magnet. Which means I could say that I am attractive. Unfortunately what I'm about to share isn't the attractiveness I desire.

I am a magnet for poor customer service. When it comes to dating I am a huge freak magnet, but that is a post for another time. For now I'm going to talk about how I draw horrendous service to myself and whatever party may have the misfortune of being with me.

Allow me to offer a few examples. Several years ago I was shopping with my dear friend Jef. She needed a black skirt for a recital. After searching for hours she found a skirt that was perfect. Unfortunately it had a button missing. The button was covered in the same fabric as the skirt so she was going to have to replace all the buttons. The young sales girl offered a discount on the skirt for the inconvenience. This young lady was truly amazing with her service.

As Jef was looking for a skirt I happened upon two white blouses I simply had to have. The shirts had just been stocked and neither had any pricing. The same sales girl (she was a teen) looked up the price for me (asking the manager about one of the items) and told me the shirts were $25 each. I decided to get both of them.

When Jennifer and I approached the register the manager was behind the counter and took over the sale, no doubt because she wanted the commission. She rang up Jef’s skirt for the full price. When we explained about the buttons she didn't seem to care and didn't want to give the discount promised. Knowing Jef needed the skirt for the recital a couple of hours away we persisted. The manager reluctantly gave in and told us that she would give in to the discount but that the sale would be final and could not be returned. I found that ironic considering the large sign above her head that said, "No sale ever final." The same sign said, “Ask about our lay-away program.” But when we asked to put something on lay-away the manager told us that the lay-away program had been suspended.

Then it was my turn. When the manager rang up my shirts the total was WELL over $50 plus tax. I asked about the discrepancy and she told me that only one of the shirts was $25 but the other was much higher. She said they had made a mistake in quoting that price to me. (It was in fact the manager that quoted the price to the sales girl.) She asked if I wanted to purchase the shirt at the much higher price and I declined. She then proceeded to tell us that she thought we were bad people trying get something for nothing. She also told us she believed we were acting the same as thieves.

As we walked through the mall I told Jef that I was angry by what had happened and wanted to go back to the department store. She just smiled and turned around.

We returned and I told the manager that I didn't appreciate her words or attitude that afternoon. I went on to explain that it was wrong, if not illegal, to quote a price on an item and then change that price at the register. I got the second shirt for $25 and I still have it today.

Another example would be my relationship with a certain restaurant chain. On five back-to-back occasions this chain has abused me. Yes, abused is a strong word. But when it happens five times I think you can choose to call it as such.

And before anyone asks why I was pathetic enough to keep returning to the same establishment I hope to redeem myself. You see, the first two times I could chalk up to coincidence. The 3rd and 4th times I stopped by to join friends already on location. The 5th time was sheer stupidity.

The first couple of times at this eatery (no longer in business at that location) I was served the wrong dish. If I ordered chicken I received steak. The 3rd time I placed an order but it was never delivered. Thankfully my two friends shared their food. We mentioned my lack of a dish several times to no avail. And the best part! Our server gave me a check anyway! We just stared at her and told her that the joke wasn't funny. We paid for my two friends and started to leave. Then our server told me she needed me to stay until she got my ticket handled. Um, excuse me? We explained that we needed to get to our movie. She was not happy we left before she could talk to the manager. Sadly that wasn't the last time I would order at a restaurant and not have my dish delivered. It has happened three times.

The 4th occurrence was as simple as me ordering a steak medium well and it being delivered rare. So you see, it isn't that I'm being unusual with my orders.

Several months passed and I tried the restaurant one last time. I ordered a salad to go. My mistake was not checking the salad before I left. When I got home there was an ingredient spread all over the salad that I did not like. Since that ingredient isn't supposed to be on the salad I wondered if I had been given someone else’s order. Nonetheless I wasn't going to eat it.

So I called and spoke to the manager. I explained I was too far away to drive back and asked for my debit card to be reimbursed for the mistake. He agreed and asked if he could do anything else. I told him there wasn't and then explained my five visits to his establishment. He offered 2 free meals to make up for the poor service. It was a nice gesture, but I declined. He continued to insist and I finally gave in and gave him my address so he could mail the coupons. When I got the coupons a week later they were not for two free meals as he had stated. Instead, I received two coupons for a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees. And the two coupons couldn't be used on the same visit. Wow.

A few years ago my Sunday School class went out to eat after class for my birthday. While we were eating one of my friends told our server it was my birthday and asked for a piece of cake to be delivered to me. Five of us ate the cake. When our checks were delivered I noticed that I had been charged for the birthday cake that I hadn’t requested. How nice.

Now this type of service happens to me on a regular basis. My friends can attest to this fact. One evening, when going out to eat with several friends someone piped up and said, "Who wants to guess how Tauna’s order will be messed up." To which another friend added, "That's if she even gets any food."

And a story from Miami. When we were at the bakery my friend Kim and I took numbers and got in line. She was #60 and I was #61. They called her number and assisted her. Then my number popped up on the board. A lady behind the counter turned, looked at #61 then said, "Number 62." I held up my 61 and said, "Ma'am, I'm #61," but the lady with #62 stepped up next to me and she was taken ahead of me. So I waited. Then another bakery lady walked up and said, "Number 63." Mind you my number was still on the board. Again I showed my number to the lady and asked for assistance. She didn't acknowledge me but Instead helped #63. I finally found someone to sell me a pastry.

Just last Sunday I decided I wanted nachos from a place near home. I walked into an empty lobby with another lady and we waited for the host. When the host arrived I explained that I wanted an order to go. I didn't mind when he asked me to wait while he seated the other lady. However, I began to mind when he kept seating everyone that walked in after me and never took my order. He also didn't call anyone else over to take my order.

I stood for 10 minutes as he seated five more parties. When I asked about my order he told me to wait until he was finished seating the rest of the lobby and he would then go get someone to take my order. I said, "No thank you," and left.

I found another restaurant, placed my order and took it home. It was the wrong order.



Jennifer said...

I know it's not funny, but I had to laugh! And did that first one bring back memories! :) I had forgotten about that skirt. I loved that skirt. I wish I still had that skirt! I wore it until it literally fell apart...the fabric completely wore through. :) I think I even still have the buttons I replaced the fabric-covered ones with.

Poor T!!!

t marie said...

Oh no, it was meant to be funny. If I couldn't laugh about it then I would go crazy. In fact I almost did go crazy yesterday when I tried to return a memory card for my phone. I purchased the card the sales rep said was compatible for my phone (it wasn't). When I tried to return it the cashier and manager were quite obstinate.

Does this happen because I don't have hissy fits. It seems the people that cause scenes get better service. Oh well.

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