Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A J.D. at H.D.?

Don’t get me wrong --- I’m happy about the way the economy is picking up, and that more jobs are available (even though the number of new jobs is still short of the 250,000/month needed in order to get our country back on track).  But I am stunned at the kinds of jobs people are accepting, despite their high qualifications.

Take last week, for instance.  I went into my local hardware chain store and was thrilled to see that the contractors’ line was so long it prevented pedestrian traffic down the main aisle. But, I also noticed that one customer had a slew of rebar on his contractor’s cart, a thick wad of metal about ten inches off the floor and extending two feet into the aisle.  It would not be easy to notice, if a person wasn’t already looking for it, and could cause some hapless shopper to trip over it and fall flat on the cement floor. (I did that once.  I don’t recommend it).

So, being the ever-helpful consumer that I am, I said to the customer, “Uh, sir, your rebar is sticking out,” to which he replied snippily, “I know, I’m checking out right now.”  Then, I tried letting the clerk know about the potential trip-and-fall hazard, but she also told me she was helping him check out (and therefore couldn’t be bothered to avert a potential accident).

So, with the kind of gusto Lois on “Malcolm in the Middle” would muster, I went to the assistant manager and explained that he should train his staff to be aware of potential hazards, to which he told me, “Well, if a customer trips and fall, it’s their fault, and we are not responsible.”  Then, I congratulated him on his work as an unpaid (and unlicensed) attorney.  Heaven help us if he passes the bar exam.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Vomit

Warning: Some may find the content of this post just plain gross!

I’m overly sensitive, and I hate to hear people talking about body functions - I get an immediate visual.  The incident I report below happened in the mid-2000s, and was one of the first times I experienced egregious customer service. 

I was the only buyer in a fabric store where there were two workers.  I brought my fabric to the counter to be measured and cut, then the phone rang, so my helper stopped to take the call.  It was a personal call, but the other worker just stood by watching and listening, and never offered to help me so I could pay up and be on my way.  I waited patiently (yeah, right) as the worker talked with her babysitter – evidently her daughter was sick at home.  She said, “She threw up?” and with no sense of shame or need for privacy she continued, “What was in the vomit?”

Yes, I was treated to a vivid description, which did not put me in my happy place.  It was bad enough that no one could finish helping me, but this worker didn’t even have the sense of decency to go in the back room to take the call; she made me hear it!  I’m sure I said something to that effect, and her response?  She began scolding me and accused me of hating children.  As if.

Do I need to tell you that they were out of business within the next year?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Real Chicken

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while know that I make a lot of comments about why businesses fail.  I usually bag on bad customer service, but that isn’t the only reason.  Sometimes there is just a disconnect between what people want to buy and what a business wants to sell.  For instance, in the ideal world, EVERYONE will tell you that they want to buy the highest quality item for the cheapest price.  That is usually not possible, so most people settle on one or the other --- low price, or high quality. 

Those of us who are “quality shoppers” often don’t mind paying a little more to get a little more value.

All this to say…

Years ago, where I grew up, there was a VERY popular restaurant/ bar.  It was so “hip” that there was no name or address on the building (which was set back from the street.  You had to KNOW where the place was).  A few years later, I found myself working there for a short time, and that in itself was considered local status.  The place had great food, great prices, and served a college crowd.  It was run by a good businessman, who began mentoring a young protégé.

About five years later, after moving away, I returned for a visit.  I arrived in town late one night and decided to dash in to my old haunt.  I was surprised it wasn’t jam-packed.  The young protégé was now the establishment’s owner.  He handed me the menu, and I saw that the prices had gone up drastically, but the food had always been dependably good, so I asked for a chicken enchilada.  Without batting an eye, he said, “Do you want the one with the REAL chicken? If so, it’s a dollar extra.”

And that’s why the place was practically  empty.  I took the real chicken, but I never went back again, and I’m sure a lot of other people didn’t, either.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

57 Years

I’m blunt.  I’ll admit it.  I say what’s on my mind, kind of like a female John-&-Ken-Show.  And, it’s easier for me when people are forthright with me, as well.  Many times, a “yes” or “no” answer (without the long explanation) will do just fine.

Recently, I was at the doctor’s office.  I had some lower GI pain and was concerned about a possible bladder infection. (Turns out it was a pulled muscle; got a little too enthusiastic with an ab machine).  The new assistant asked me, “Do you have frequent urination?”  I answered yes, and she said, “How long have you had it?”  I replied, “All my life.”

I don’t think she was satisfied with my response.  She continued asking questions, then made her way back around to it:  “Do you have frequent urination?”  Again, I answered, “yes,” and she said, again, “How long have you had it?”  I replied with a little more emphasis, “All my life,” to make sure she understood my answer.

Have you ever noticed that when some people ask you a question and they don’t like the answer, they keep asking you the same question?  Why is that?  Do they think that if they ask you the same question enough times, the answer will change?

She worked her way back around to it a third time.  “Do you have frequent urination?”   “YES” (me, getting testy).  “How long have you had it?”  This time I said loudly, “57 years.”

She stopped asking the question. Wish she could have listened to my answer the first two times.

(c) 2013, Elena E. Smith