Interesting concept: assisting people in the commission of a purchase. Sounds easy enough. But, oh, so not in my world!
Faux Pas #1
Talking on the phone while a customer is waiting.
I was in the mood for a pair of shoes. I was in a large mall so I nipped into a shoe store that is quite well-known. The sales clerk was on the phone so I bided my time waiting for her to finish her conversation. There were some nice shoes that I was interested in purchasing. Her conversation seemed to be lasting a long time. She knew I was in the store because when I came in she glanced over and we made eye contact. I moved close enough to hear her side of the conversation and it was a beaut. The chewing of the gum was a bit of a distraction but here’s how the conversation went:
”Are you kidding me! He said that?”
”Gawd! You should have seen what she was wearing!”
“No I’m working! Gawd! It’s so boring!”
I was mesmerized. This young woman was probably in her 20s dressed all in black, chewing gum like she was drowning in water. Have you ever seen hippos when they’re eating? It paints a picture doesn’t it? I could hear her jaws working from 20 feet . Smack! Smack! Smack! The problem was I really wanted to look at those shoes . . .
After a few more minutes of this . . . spectacle, I made my presence known. I politely said “Excuse me” and waited for her to acknowledge me between gob smack’s. She quickly turned around and gave me the finger. No, No! She gave me the universal sign for ‘wait a minute’ the index finger firmly placed upright. Say what? This is a shop that sells shoes! You bloody well get off the damn phone and assist! Okay I didn’t say out loud but I thought it very firmly!
This young woman pointedly turned her back on me and continued her irrelevant conversation. I was not amused.
I quite loudly pointed out that she had just lost a sale and I would ensure that I never came back. I then did what disgruntled customers have been doing for generations: I left.
Unfortunately this is not as uncommon a situation as it once was. When I was a child, customer service meant something. When you walked into a store it was assumed you were a customer and were treated well. I live in the downtown area of a large town. The shops around me understand the need for good customer service and people are treated accordingly. I guess I’ve been spoiled because now I expect that treatment. How sad that it is not taught to our children.
Young people now seem to think they are entitled to a job so they don’t have to work at it. Customer service seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs and that saddens me. This simple activity of going out to buy a pair shoes should be fun, not annoying. And yet I find more and more I’m doing what shopping I can online because of the poor customer service that now seems to be the norm. Shops complain that they can’t stay in business because of online shopping and yet they don’t do anything to correct problem that’s forcing their customers to go online. We have a conundrum. We’re losing good manners, common sense and common decency. What do we have left?