Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crap Customer Service Without a Smile

To the sales assistant at Penge Woolworths at 9.15am today, thanks for your miserable, wrist-slitting mood. A smile really wouldn’t have cracked your face – honest – and it would actually keep you looking younger as, believe it or not, we use more facial muscles when we give dirty looks than we do when we smile.

Oh and a “please” and a “thank you” is not an insult to customers. It is an insult, however, when all your customers are saying it to you, but you retort “£6.50” and don’t even make eye contact… word to the wise.

I just don’t understand what it is about sales advisors – or whatever they’re called in the store; the naming conventions seem to change as often as Britney Spears’ hairdos these days – and their blatant rudeness. I know I sound really old, but for the record, I’m not even 30 yet…

My thing is, we all have to earn our crust somehow, and if it means scanning food produce again and again and again and again for eight hours a day, then so be it. If you can beat wearing a cheap version of an air hostess’s uniform to do kids parties at McDonalds then let me know. For the record, this WAS during my ‘A’ levels and I got a promotion from being just a crew member; and hell yeah at the time I loved that uniform – anything but wear that awful red and grey striped polo shirt. And those tight trousers… don’t get me started.

But seriously, do these people realise how many people they can upset in a shift? I’m growing so weary of going shopping now – unless it’s for that must-have bag, or another pair of stilettos, in which case I can stomach facial expressions that resemble the back end of an orang-utan – because the thought of being greeted by someone with a complex about god knows what, who is going to cast a dark cloud on my day makes me think about taking homemade butter sandwiches to work and growing my own potatoes.

And heaven forbid you actually have to break up a gossip session at the tills to get served… and don’t even think about disturbing anyone who is concentrating on shelf-stacking to point you in the direction of something.

I’ve even given up asking for clothes in my size because even if it does exist in the mystery stock room, I know they’ll tell me otherwise. It’s like a little trap that sales advisors are waiting for naïve customers to fall in to. Yes, I honestly do believe that like bus drivers who wait for you to get within half an inch of the bus that you’ve been running half a mile for and then pull off while you bang on the door and swear obscenities at their cruelty, sales advisors get a thrill out of telling you, basically, where to go. If you haven’t experienced this yet – where have you been? – then try it out and see how wide the smile is when they tell you: “We only have what’s available on the shop floor [bitch].”

The only exception to that rule is at Faith, the shoe shop, where they hold those little gadgets to scan the shoes to see if it is in stock in your size. And I’m not just saying that because they had a wicked sale on last week… But like most technology, I’m sure it’ll get to a stage when even those sales advisors will get bored and just start saying the machine isn’t working or something...

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