Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Customer Service

The other day I was in Best Buy getting a new set of speakers for my SUV. I looked at all my choices on that wall they have with the speakers and tried to figure out which one would be best for my vehicle. I went over to a Best Buy guy and asked him what he would recommend for my price range. He came over and helpfully showed me the selections that would fit my budget. While this was going on, another guy was looking at the same wall and he was beginning to invade my personal space. He was scooting closer and trying to hear what the sales guy was telling me and when he heard something about a certain speaker, he would chime in with, "Yeah, that's a good brand. I had some of those in my first car" or "Those speakers are kind of bad, they don't have a really well defined high pass filter" and so on. This was super annoying. This guy is a member of the Lonely White Middle Aged Dude species, whom I will describe in more detail further in this post. I immediately went into defense mode and thanked the sales guy and got right away quickly. I then looked at CD's for 10 minutes waiting for the area to clear. I peeked around the corner and no one was standing by the speakers. I walked over, grabbed the box on the shelf and headed for the check out. My plan was to install them myself. Bad plan. I have no idea how to install speakers. It involves cutting and splicing wires. This is the same for me as building a goddamn hospital. No chance.

So, the next day I want back and had Jai, the Best Buy install guy, install my speakers. He told me to wait since it would be about an hour. After 30 mins, I wandered over to look through the window into the car installation bay to see how he was progressing. And what was Jai doing? He was texting. Both my car doors were open and he was standing out in the sun, texting. A 30 min. job became one hour and 10 minutes because he had to break up the job with texting. This is the state of our customer service. To underscore this further, Jil and I were at Cabela's on Sunday to buy shoes with a gift card I won at a golf tourney. We looked at some options and then I looked for someone to help us. I walked over to the counter and saw a person with a Cabela's shirt and said, "Excuse me...", she turned around and said, "Yeah?" Like I was trying to hit on her in some bar or accost her for money. I kind of got pissed and said, louder than usual, "Yes, I need some help in the shoe department." She said to give her a minute, she was helping someone else, and then she would help me. So, 2 minutes later she comes over and I show her the shoes I want to try. She looks over her shoulder and points with her thumb and says, "They are over there, see if you can find your size. Anything else?" No, you piece of customer service SHITE, I don't need anything else except a ball peen hammer. Seriously. Why even have people in your store if they don't care to help you?

On to Blockbuster: this is quickly rivaling Wal-Mart as my favorite weird person observation place. I got this week pass for unlimited videos and games while I was off work this week so Jil and I could catch up on some movies (Gran Torino great; Last Chance Harvey pretty good; Vicky Cristina Barcelona sexy). I have been making a daily trek to our neighborhood Blockbuster and every time I go, right in front of me in the check out line is Lonely Middle Aged White Guy Who Shares Too Much Information.

This guy is a curious sub-species of the human race. Let me describe him: overweight with a belt on that usually holds a Leatherman, a cell phone or both; balding or with a baseball hat on; old, beat up shoes and cargo pants or loose gym shorts and a very tight fitting T-shirt. This person shares too much. One day a member of this race was telling the clerk about how he built his home theater sound system from scratch and how sweet it sounded when he played Blue Ray discs through a disc player he bought at Circuit City when they were going out of business and how awesome it looked on his 70" screen. The B-buster clerk kept his head down and tried to finish the transaction as quickly as possible, throwing in a "Wow, that's cool" or "Uh-huh, sounds nice" and obviously getting more uncomfortable the longer this guy shared his life and his TV set up. The next day another member of this race shared his opinion on a certain movie franchise (I think it was the Species horror films) and how the one they filmed here in Utah was "really bad, I mean that thing sucked." He kept asking the clerk her favorite franchise films and she drew a blank. She just wanted him to vacate the rental area.

I have a soft spot for these dudes. They just want some attention and validation that their lives mean something. That it is important that they have nice stuff or have an opinion. The problem is their judgment: they are sharing information with people who just don't give a shit. And this is really the point of this post--Customer Service people ultimately do not care whether you are happy with your experience in their store or not. They just want to get past you as quickly as possible because you remind them that they are in a bad job with bad pay and that the prospect for improving their lives is slim. The next time you see Lonely White Dude, be sympathetic. The next time Customer Service Jerk treats you poorly, let them have it. Show no mercy. Ask for their supervisor (Jil does this) and complain. Be the Sherriff of your retail neighborhood and it might improve. And if you want to see exceptional customer service, get out of the Village and come up to SL County and visit one of the three Cafe Expresso Drive Thru Coffee Kiosks and you will see very happy workers who ask you how your day is, what you're doing today, if you need extra chocolate coffee beans or if they can start a punch card for you. I love these people because somehow, someway, they have figured out a way to care about their job. And that makes all the difference.


  1. Snapete County has it's own version of the Lonely Middled Aged White Dude species and his name is Oil Can. He has been violating my personal space for over twenty years. By the way, Costanza, how come I never get to be guest DJ? Why is always that little piss ant Riley that gets to be the DJ?


  2. my favorite line is when you are checking out and they ask "is that everything?". Like I'm going to say "no, I have a twelve pack under my shirt,6 cans of shaving cream and 144 razors in my shirt pocket,8 frozen pizzas in my shoes, 12 cans of spam under my hat and 24 cantelopes in my shorts!" If I didn't have everything, I wouldn't be checking out!. Why don't they suggest something to add that you actually may need, say, stamps, like Costco does. "yeah, I need some more stamps" Customer Service is my number 1 thing in the whole world.I live for customer service, good or bad.

  3. My dad was the very best at teaching his kids about customer survice. I will never forget his advice. If you don't
    have a customer, there is always something to dust, to stack, to fold, windows to wash, etc. Also, the person you are helping is the one important person in your life, right now!
    I will never forget his life lessons, and that is why I am always nice to people I am serving. Yes I worked in a malt shop, I sold penny candy and gum...is was boring, but those little kids have never forgotten me!
    However, people buying airline tickets, or trips sometimes got a little tiresome...but I remembered my dad's words! So I sent a group to New York rather than Orlando, I did it with kindness and love.

    Thank you daddy...
    ps...speaking of all of those annoying shoppers, you have not walked a mile in their footsteps, and don't you forget it!

  4. My latest favorite customer service story happened about 2 weeks ago...I had stopped at a Maverick station to get a coffee on my way to Annie's early one morning....it was located right across the street from the rodeo grounds where the Lehi Round-up was just getting in gear for the next day..I got my coffee, very pleasantly walked to the counter where this young girl, wearing a cowboy hat and a Lehi Round-up badge thingy, was working...I very nicely commented, since she was in full Round-up gear, that they were very lucky the weather was going to co-operate for the rodeo and it was a good thing it hadn't happened the previous week because of all the rain...she very crustily glared at me and said in the most monotone voice ever.."That will be $1.29"..glare, glare, glare...so I sheepishly gave her the money and kind of shuffled out feeling like a real dumb ass...how foolish of me to think someone might like to actually have a conversation that might just enlighten her god-awful boring day....well, that's Lehi for you...it will never change..the founding fathers missed the whole personality development class when they were forming that city....and I am not kidding...go Lehi!