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Author Topic: Annoying Quotes from Sales Clerks Listed
chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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Also, many stores do not have backstock in the first place.

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Temp-tress of the Dark
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I've worked retail for about twenty years, and I realize that some people are impossible to please. I have also worked in many places all by myself and so I realize that many times there is no one else to help. My suggestions were not neccessarily to address specific situations, but merely to point out that if the first words out of your mouth sound like "no", then you are automatically projecting the image that you don't care. "I don't know" always sounds like "I don't care(to know)". If you at least seem like you are sympathetic to their problem, they are a lot more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Snopes and Quink hit the nail on the head. It's not always what you say, but how you say it. Yes, you will always have assholes who will remain assholes, but how you handle them says a lot about you.

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1958Fury
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Just a quick opinion: Having been on both sides of the counter, and looking at both as objectively as possible, I would have to say I've seen more rude customers than rude employees in my life. But I have seen plenty of both.

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Quink
I Saw Three Shipments


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Just a quick note on staffing. In an ideal world, I'd have more than enough staff to cover the registers and the sales floor. They'd know all the product off the top of their heads and every single person walking into the store would get the best customer service I could offer. Unfortunately, many places are going through staffing shortages right now. I recently went through a three week period where I didn't receive a single resume and ended up working the store by myself after all my staff went back to school. Was I giving excellent service? Unfortunately, no. That's not easy to do when you're the only person in a store trying to look after several people. And unless you're lucky, I'm sure most people have felt something similar in their own jobs when someone has called in sick or left unexpectedly.

Quite often when I'm in that situation, I'll have to borrow staff from another store or if I hire someone I won't have the time to give them the training I want. The customer might not be understanding about the person not knowing every piece of merchandise, but they're also not going to understand why, when there are two staff members in the store, only one person is on till when there's a line up (I had this happen with the last person I hired. She'd been on the job for all of fifteen minutes and someone was barking at her for not ringing them in. And this was when the customer had only one person in front of her.)

A lot of times, there aren't many options. This time of year is especially difficult, since many retail workers are students who go back to school in September. I don't have staffing agencies at my disposal and I can't set the wage my company pays, so many times I'm competing with every other store in the area to get that one magic employee who's great with customers and available when I need them. If I go into the store and things are a little rushed or chaotic, I always try to cut them a bit of slack as long as the associates are polite and do what they can to help. I expect that, but I don't expect perfection.

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DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Bill:

And I've heard that line "If it's not on the rack, we don't have it" far too often to think that it's always true. Maybe the employee really knows there aren't, fair enough. But there is such a thing as back stock. Could it be that another customer just bought the last one on the rack, you have back stock, and you just didn't get around to restocking?

Thanks.

Bill

Many smaller stores no dot have stockrooms. The shipment comes in and is put on the floor. Customers can't buy things in the stockroom, so why not keep the entire inventory on the floor for customers? Since most chain stores use an automated replentisment system and receive daily (or almost daily) shipment, that means that if the store sells one item, the warehouse send one item to replace it on the floor. If I look and say that we're out, we are actually out. I am not checking "out back" because I already know that there is nothing "out back" to check, except the employees' bathroom, that the current occupant might be a little upset if I check while she's in there. [Razz]

It really irritates me when a person does not take me at my word. If I didn't know, I would find out. The fact that I told you without looking is because I already knew tha answer. Isn't it possible that I have already been asked this question recently and now I know the answer ahead of time?

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Temp-tress of the Dark
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Then why not say, "All of our inventory is kept on the sales floor" instead of "if it's not out, we don't have it"? Why not make the customer privy to your knowledge, rather than let them speculate? Speculation often leads to errant conclusions.
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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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I think the big problem here is not what the phrases mean, but the way the phrase can be misused. Similar to what snopes said, sometimes a bad customer service employee will use one of those phrases to dismiss the customer. After a few bad encounters (or if the customer is a pessimist/grouch), the phrase itself becomes dismissive even if it isn't being used that way.

The only solution I can think of is to have both sides go a bit easier on each other. Customers: remember that employees are not magical creatures that know all and can do all. If I'm at Home Depot, I don't expect the guy in electrical to know what type of concrete I need to buy to set fence posts and I don't expect the gal driving the forklift to show me where the fuses are. Employees: remember that the customer has probably dealt with multiple employees who feel that the customer is a big instrusion, instead of the point of their job. They may have just dealt with an employee that used "It's not my department." to blow them off and ignore their request.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Temp-tress of the Dark:
Then why not say, "All of our inventory is kept on the sales floor" instead of "if it's not out, we don't have it"? Why not make the customer privy to your knowledge, rather than let them speculate? Speculation often leads to errant conclusions.

I usually answer with that. then I am asked to chen "out back." I do not need to check out back because anything out back is not for sale (has not been processed, has already been processed as outgoing, is defective), asking me to check anyway is pointeless and that it the point at which I find it insulting. Basically, I told you what I knew, you told me thet you do not beleive me.
In other words, If you ask me if it is in stock and I answer no, then I have personal knowledge of the fact. Asking me to verify that is insulting because you are now either accusing me of lying or you are accusing me of incompetence. I find neither appealing. And if you turn around and ask someone else the same question, you will likely find that I have suddenly become far too busy to assist you much further. Why should I, everything I've told you so far has done you no good. It is far more productive to my employer if I do not waste futher time by being unable to assist you and move on to help people who will benifit from my answers.

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Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Ana Ng:
Tangential hijack- when I'm in a line bank, the cashier always says, "I can help who's next!" Always. I almost never hear anyone say, "I can help the next customer!"

At my former credit union, they would always say "I can help the next member." Which would make me giggle. Because I am twelve, and they said "member".

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Temp-tress of the Dark
The Red and the Green Stamps


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DemonWolf, I think you have entirely missed my point. This may be completely hokey, but it's the best way I know to phrase it; "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vineger"
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Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Temp-tress of the Dark:
DemonWolf, I think you have entirely missed my point. This may be completely hokey, but it's the best way I know to phrase it; "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vineger"

But I think that's what DemonWolf said. He says "all our inventory is kept on the sales floor". People still ask him to check his inexistant supply of things ready for sale but not on the sales floor. He "makes people privy to his knowledge" but they still don't believe him.

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Temp-tress of the Dark
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Since I'm not there to hear his tone of voice when he says it, I will just have to take his word that it is the customer's attitude, not his, that is the problem. I was only saying that it matters how you talk to people.
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ladyknight
The First USA Noel


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Temp-tress: I don't think anyone is denying that what you say is true. How we say things to customers does matter, and often that's the only way you have to communicate to a customer that you do care. However, there are some exceptions to checking in back for stock. Most of my retail experience was working at a Bath and Body Works in the airport. Most people who came in there were on their way to a flight and couldn't wait for us to go check the backstock. In addition to that, and I know it works this way in some other places too, like strip malls, our backstock wasn't "in back". It was in another area entirely, that took me five minutes to get to at least. So 5 mins to get to backstock, 5 mins to look for said item, and 5 mins back to the store. What customer would ever be happy about waiting for 15 mins for you to go look for something? Most of our customers left long before then. Ergo, we hardly ever went to go look in backstock.

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Triumphs cannot be given. They must be taken, and the worse the odds, and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the honor. -- A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold

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Just Me
Deck the Malls


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I used to 'love' the people that would say "Can't you look in the back?!" as if every single store had this mystical magical backroom where something you need just waits for you to come and ask for it when the truth is there there's no extra stock because it all gets immediately put out onto the floor. I actually had to take a customer to the 'back room' once because he wouldn't believe me - he finally got it when all he seen was things getting ready to be sent back for repair.

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"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple." - Willy Wonka

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Priestley's Mouse
We Three Blings


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I currently work in a video store.

Yesterday a guy brought his rentals up to pay for them, and there was a late fee on his account. He protested, saying that he had taken out three movies and returned them all at the same time, so how could only one be late? I tried to explain that new releases are due earlier than catalog movies, but he cut me off halfway through. Then, when I finished ringing his sale, I tried to tell him the due date on the movies he was renting this time, and he cut me off again. I wonder why he doesn't know when his movies are due.

I had a woman last week who gave me royal hell for renting her "Six Feet Under", saying that it was filth. She demanded that we give her money back, give her free movie credits, and pull it from the shelf. When I explained that she was responsible for choosing the material she rented, I was literally screamed at for not "providing customer service".

My point is that the average customer rates customer service on whether they get what they want or not. If the store policy won't allow it, it ends up being the clerk's fault for not providing good service. If the item they want isn't there, it's the clerk's fault there isn't enough stock. We're the people they can see, so we're the people they tend to blame, regardless of our level of involvment, or the legitimacy of their complaint. Customers as a breed are way too spoiled. I give good service, but act like a child, and the level of service you get is going to start going down down down.

I remember a thread not too long ago about a "perfect customer" policy at Gap and Old Navy where customers get their ass kissed, even when wrong, lying, or shoplifting. I blame those sort of policies for ruining the whole customer-clerk dynamic. Once upon a time, a clerk was seen as somewhat a pro in their area of expertise. Now they're seen as peons, barely even human. Makes me really sick at times.

PM

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Priestley's Mouse:
... Once upon a time, a clerk was seen as somewhat a pro in their area of expertise. Now they're seen as peons, barely even human. Makes me really sick at times.PM

I hear you. Some people seem to think the clerk is just an extension of the cash register, barely even worth acknowledging.
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zakor
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Some people seem to think the clerk is just an extension of the cash register
Maybe that's why it's automated in a lot of grocery stores.
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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Having done my share of work in foodservice and the like, I'm mostly in agreement with those of you who say the customers need to be more understanding.

That said...
quote:
"That's the policy,"
I do agree that this one is out of line. It's just like saying "I don't know why we don't do XYZ and I can't be bothered to find out, even though it's my job to know the answer." My rule has always been that if a customer asks a question whose answer is "it's policy," it's usually implied that s/he wants to know why it's policy.

My favorite customer-is-always-right story: Years ago, I worked at Arby's. The regional manager who handled our store was a supremely unpleasant guy to work for, the kind of guy where you can imagine his children probably called him "sir," that sort of thing. One day he'd been to another branch in the area to check things out, and it was crowded. An old lady had just arrived, bought her lunch and couldn't find a place to sit as they were all taken. Seeing that he was the manager, she complained to him. He apologized politely (by his standards, at least) but said there was nothing he could do except wait for someone else to finish eating. That wasn't the answer the old lady wanted, so she threw her drink in his face.
His response: "You're right, you deserve a place to eat," and he let her eat her lunch in his private office. In other words, he not only abused his workers (turnover was extremely high, even by fast-food standards), but he also rewarded customers for abusing employees including himself. Unbelievable.

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
"That's the policy,"

I do agree that this one is out of line. It's just like saying "I don't know why we don't do XYZ and I can't be bothered to find out, even though it's my job to know the answer." My rule has always been that if a customer asks a question whose answer is "it's policy," it's usually implied that s/he wants to know why it's policy.

In many cases (at least in mine) the employee would love to know the reason for the policy. Alas, there either isn't a reason, or the boss doesn't feel like she has to explain her reasons for anything. It's not that the employee can't be bothered to find out, it's that the boss can't be bothered to explain the reasons for her policies. Often when I come into work to find notes explaining new policies to me, I want to know the reason why I'm being asked/told to do that. I'm often lucky if I can get someone who knows why my boss decided to create new rules or routines.

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"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus:
quote:
"That's the policy,"

I do agree that this one is out of line. It's just like saying "I don't know why we don't do XYZ and I can't be bothered to find out, even though it's my job to know the answer." My rule has always been that if a customer asks a question whose answer is "it's policy," it's usually implied that s/he wants to know why it's policy.

In many cases (at least in mine) the employee would love to know the reason for the policy. Alas, there either isn't a reason, or the boss doesn't feel like she has to explain her reasons for anything. It's not that the employee can't be bothered to find out, it's that the boss can't be bothered to explain the reasons for her policies. Often when I come into work to find notes explaining new policies to me, I want to know the reason why I'm being asked/told to do that. I'm often lucky if I can get someone who knows why my boss decided to create new rules or routines.
Also, telling the customer that the policy to to prevent the store from being ripped off is a little risky because if not phrased very carefully, the customer (especially some of the dumber ones) may interpret that as an accusation.

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Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

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christmas tree kitapper
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I have mainly worked fast food, but I did discover that many times it is not *what* is being said, but by *whom*. There were plenty of instances where the cashier would explain that we couldn't do X, Y, or Z and the customer would get mad and demand to speak to the manager, who would then say the same thing after being called over and hearing the story and the guest would accept that.

Also "it's against health code" appears to be meaningless to many customers when you explain why you won't do something.

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"I have never in my life been more disappointed by a politician I voted for than I have been with George Bush. He is a total liberal."- overheard by me on the shuttle to the U of A game on Nov. 11th.

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Hazed
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Priestley's Mouse:
I had a woman last week who gave me royal hell for renting her "Six Feet Under", saying that it was filth. PM

Oh, that one just makes my blood pressure rise, when a customer, (or in my case, patient), expects you to be their parent. Hasn't anyone ever heard of personal responsibility?! I work as a dental receptionist for an extremely busy office and my favorite one when someone no shows for an appointment is, "Well, no one ever called me". "Umm, we did call, four times, it was busy each time". "Well, you don't try back?" *Headdesk*. First of all, confirmation calls are a courtesy, you are responsible for remembering your own appointments. Secondly, don't get mad at us if you don't have an answering machine or the line is busy repeatedly.

The best one, though, was yesterday I had a woman, (who admittedly is one of our craziest patients), call and get mad at me because I let her schedule an appointment for Yom Kippur. [Confused]

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Rev Zach
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Ana Ng:
Tangential hijack- when I'm in a line bank, the cashier always says, "I can help who's next!" Always. I almost never hear anyone say, "I can help the next customer!"

Is the former as grammatically offensive as it sounds to me?

Ana

I like when they say "Can I help who's next?"

I often reply, "No, it's just luck of the draw." They don't get it, but it makes me laugh.

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Communication Attempt
Jingle Bell Hock


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One thing customers may not realize/know is that very often employees are just as clueless about the system as they are.In many retail store the manager only gives brief training and a very specific job to a new employee.Said employee's job may be limited to a few task with only the knowledge he/she needs to perform it.

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"I love God,he's so deliciously evil!" -Stewie,Family Guy

The fun thing about standards is that they come in so many varieties.

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Ouch My Ankle
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I don't like it when a cashier asks for your zip code or telephone number. I used to refuse to give them. This led to some occasional skirmishes. So now I just give them the zip code for Pueblo, Colorado and the number from my old high school's front office.
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Aud
We Three Blings


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I always give the zip code for Zoom and have to try hard not to sing it "Ohhhhhh, two, Onnnnnnne, three, four."
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DavieV
I Saw Three Shipments


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I used to work in retail, so I try to give the clerks, register the benifit of the doubt and try to be polite. A lot of customers are spoiled because retail went through a phase where "the customer is always right". That is not right because the customer is, many times wrong. Are some of the clerks in retail clueless and uncaring? Yes, but a lot of customers are the same way.
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Diabolos
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by DavieV:
A lot of customers are spoiled because retail went through a phase where "the customer is always right".

What? You mean that phase ended? When? [lol]
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Diabolos
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
No, a clerk who just rudely points his customer in the direction of another clerk (rather than taking the customer over to the other clerk and initiating the interaction by briefly explaining the customer's request) pisses people off.

That's not always possible. I've worked in retail. When I worked I would be the only person in my particular department at that time. I couldn't leave my area to take a lost customer/customer who needed a different clerks' help to another area of store. If I did break the rules managment had set forth and helped out in that anyway I would get a write up because I left my area unattended.

quote:
The point of being in the service industry is to provide the customer....not to fulfill requests in the most literal and perfunctory manner possible.

- snopes

And sometimes that is all you can do. Don't like that then complain to management because believe me they don't want to hear it from us.
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ChelleGame
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I agree with the people who've worked in retail and acknowledge there are jerks on both sides of the counter.

There are some people that expect the sun, moon, and stars -- nothing will please them. There are also reasonable people who expect good service, but know there are limits.

There are terrific retail people and there are dreadful ones -- but there is a difference between bad service and acceptable limits to what can be done.

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Michelle

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Lotta Palaver
Jingle Bell Hock


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I used to work in a not-to-be-named computer superstore which was right next to a not-to-be-named discount store. Employees in both stores wore similar red shirt. When I would go to the not-to-be-named discount store on my break to buy tampons or whatever, I would invariably get nabbed by a customer asking me where such and such was. I would usually say something like "wow, that's a good question. Somebody who works here might know" and walk away. Or I would say, "Look, my shirt says [not-to-be-named computer superstore] not [not-to-be-named discount store]. Why don't you go over there and ask me where something is and I'll be able to help you."

Yeah, I was pretty rude and I should have had my chops busted. I'm sure the not-to-be-named discount store recieved many a complaint letter on my behalf.

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Your ultimate source of superfluous flummery.

Posts: 595 | From: South Carolina | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Geoff.
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I guess this goes under the ďNot my departmentĒ category.

I work for a vaccination clinic and what we do is drive to many different Petcos and vaccinate dogs and cats. Our uniform is light blue scrubs and khakis. Petco Employees always wear navy blue shirts with the Petco logo and a Petco nametag. I guess at times it can be easy to confuse the two uniforms.
So many times in a day I am asked "Where is such and such item." or "Do you know if you have anymore of such and such an item in stock?" Most of the time I respond with "I'm sorry I don't work for the Petco, just the visiting clinic." and normally they go on their way with either a shrug or a somewhat irritated sigh.
On two occasions I forgot to say my usual line and responded with "I don't know." Both times the customer became rather rude in both tone and body language and asked "Well you work here don't you? Why don't you know?" at which point I would remember myself and respond with my usual line. One customer called me an idiot and then called me a f****** moron as he was walking away. The other time the woman responded with "Well you didnít tell me THAT.Ē and walked off in a huff.
Iím not sure what I was expecting from them really. Itís not like they could have known that I didnít work for Petco when I was obviously working in the Petco. But at the same time I donít know what products the store carries or where theyíre located. Even then itís never pleasant when people act unreasonably. I guess mostly I want people to remember that Iím a person to and I donít want to be treated poorly because of something I canít help. Its like being picked on for having freckles or needing to wear glasses.

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With glory and passion no longer in fashion, The hero breaks his blade- Kansas, The Pinnacle

When the zombies attack, I will be ready. - Me

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I spent 7 years in computer retail. The one thing that always amazed me was the level of service people expected for a $2500 computer that they wouldn't expect from a $25000 car.

We had one guy who overclocked his video card and blew it up. He was incredibly upset when we told him that it wasn't covered under warranty because he had damaged the card himself.

Or the guy who swore at us because six months after he bought a computer from us it stopped working and we wouldn't send one of our employees all the way out to where he lived to fix it on the spot. I honestly cannot think of any other product in the price range of a computer where such a level of service would be offered (unless it was specifically paid for, of course).

Then there was the guy who brought in his laptop covered in paint spots ("I've been doing some renovating") and couldn't grasp why we wouldn't fix the keyboard under warranty. Mind you, he was a bit of a space cadet so I don't class him as obnoxious, just not really "all there".

Who else? Oh... there was also the customer who would get high (we knew he was a drug user, he'd come into the store a few times and had been as high as a kite) and change all the passwords on his system. Then when he came down he'd be unable to remember what he'd done and bring the computer back to us because "the damn thing lost my password again". After about the 4th time, one of the techs set the CMOS password himself so the guy couldn't get in there to change it. Needless to say, we got an abusive phone call from the guy accusing us of tampering with his computer, etc, etc.

He suddenly stopped calling one day (he was a regular, we'd hear from him at least once every other day) and we finally thought we were rid of a problem customer. Sadly, we were correct in a way we hadn't imagined -- he'd died of an overdose. We found out when a friend of his came in looking for a laptop she'd lent to him and he had "taken in for repairs"... we're guessing he probably sold it to score some more drugs.

Anyway... this post is becoming more like a trip down memory lane than an actual view on the OP.

There are rude customers and there are rude sales clerks. In my experience though, there are more rude customers than rude clerks.

Someone said "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" in relation to how a clerk should behave... the same is also true of the customer. Acting like an arrogant jerk towards a clerk is one way to guarantee that you're not going to get the service you're expecting. You'd be amazed at the extra level of service you can sometimes get if you're nice to the person behind the counter.

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"victory thru self-deception"

Posts: 2211 | From: Western Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jacob's Child
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Ana Ng:
Tangential hijack- when I'm in a line bank, the cashier always says, "I can help who's next!" Always. I almost never hear anyone say, "I can help the next customer!"

While I haven't actually been in my bank in a couple of years, I recall the tellers just saying "Next!" or at best "Next please!". Same thing at the corporate bank when I would make deposits on behalf of my employer.

Judy

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In an avalanche, no individual snowflake feels responsible.

Posts: 402 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Rev Zach
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Ouch My Ankle:
I don't like it when a cashier asks for your zip code or telephone number. I used to refuse to give them. This led to some occasional skirmishes. So now I just give them the zip code for Pueblo, Colorado and the number from my old high school's front office.

I always give "867-5309." I get weird looks, but if you don't put the emphasis on the niiii---eee--iiiine, people don't usually place where they know it from right away.
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