Yeah, as I recall the service workers in Buffalo were totally Night of the Living Dead. Salespeople or store clerks would perk up only if I happened to ask for something out of stock or discontinued.
Me: “Do you carry [name of item]?”A moment later, back to flatlining.
Them: (Sudden great big smile, wide open eyes, cheery vocal tone) “No, we sure don’t!”
I've delivered quite a bit of customer service training over the years, and I feel there's no excuse to treat customers poorly, especially if you're the owner of the goddamn store and especially in this economy where business people should be grateful that anyone has set foot in their establishment.
Well, as promised, I returned to the bitchy women's bookstore today to see if my experience would be any different. Mike came with me this time and as we walked from our parking space in the practically empty lot of the shopping plaza, I told him I was going to keep an open mind (which is something I hardly ever do because it's just not my nature).
We walked in and only the older woman was there, with the same grumpy throw-up burp look I remembered from my first visit. As I perused the shelves, I could hear Mike striking up a conversation. Let me tell you something about my boyfriend: he's a talker. It's amazing that we could both be talkers--like how can either of us get a word in edgewise?--but he totally has me beat.
So I can hear him asking, "How's business?" and then talking about Dante's Inferno and other smarty-pants topics of conversation and it seems he's been able to engage her. After a while I take some books up to the counter, ready to cash in on my 50% store credit from the books they bought from me last time I was there. (Still think that policy sucks.)
The woman was totally pleasant. No doubt Mike and his charm softened her up a bit, and I wonder what she'd have been like if he hadn't attempted to get her talking, but she was fine.
I decided to converse with her a bit myself. "So, was that your daughter in here with you last time?" I asked.
"No, she's a good friend. My daughter used to work here, but she's disabled now."
Well, folks, I have to tell you, if my daughter were disabled, I might be pretty bitchy myself. I didn't prod any further. She gets a pass. Now, I don't know what was up the younger woman's ass when I was in there, but who knows? Maybe she's dealing with something as well.
I try to remember that most of the time people behave as they do for good reason, but my first encounter with those two was so miserable, I couldn't even get myself in that frame of mind. Whenever I encounter someone obnoxious or arrogant, or if I simply don't like their stinkin' looks, I try to think of how I would feel about them if one of my grandchildren needed a kidney and they were the only possible donor on earth and they were willing to give it up. I would freakin' love them! They would be my saviour!
It would be nice if we could maintain that approach for all the strangers we come in contact with during the course of a day--cashiers, co-workers, people we pass on the street. It would be nice, but frankly, I'm not that big a person. When I get poor customer service, I get pissed off.
And don't get me going about people who talk in the movie theatre. You know my policy: "Behead them!"