Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Customer Is Always Right...

but the service is still the shits.

My friend Aaron once suggested to me that at least 5% of the population is unemployable. I actually think the number might be higher, say, 7 - 10 % of the popluation should not be working, for reasons such as mental or physical issues, poor attitude, chronic laziness, or simply dumb-as-a-rock. Now when the unemployment rate dips below this number, you can bet your ass that some of these unemployable folk have found themselves jobs.

Are businesses using "labor shortage" as an excuse for sub-standard service? I think so. Worse yet, we, the customers, are expected to just nod our heads and agree with these businesses, and accept that service is just going to be terrible. I disagree. I can accept that I might have to wait a little longer for staff to serve me as a result of staffing shortgages, but because a business is short staffed doesn't mean I am going to accept rude behavior or terrible service.

I'm not talking about the waitress-having-a-bad-day kind of poor service. My complaint is the glaringly obvious issues that come up each and every day.

For example, you will find two types of salespeople out there. Ask a salesperson a question they probably won't know the answer to, but valid to whatever you are thinking of buying. One type will say "Gee, I don't know, but let me ask someone who will". The other type will say "Duh... I dunno" and then stand there looking at you as though you should just forget about your question and move on with shelling out your hard-earned money.

I'm horrified at the number of employees who seem to think there is nothing wrong with wearing their Ipod while serving customers. Or the gum-chewing, bubble-blowing vacant-eyed folks who will be happy to assist you, as soon as they finish this one quick text message. Or the cashiers who ring through $150 worth of groceries without even acknowedging the customer, because they are too busy flirting with the pimply-faced stud bagging the groceries.

If my words strike a chord with you, I urge you to join me in open rebellion! Jaded customers of the world (or only Alberta), UNITE! My plan goes like this - if you experience a problem, report it to management. Do so politely, but firmly, and follow up with a phone call or email to the corporate office for the company.

If nothing else, you might get a discount on your next bad experience.

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