Saturday, September 16, 2006

TWQ: Shop Talk

This weekend, TWQ (The Weekend Question) asks about shops and service.

Have you ever really been angry in a shop (or restaurant) as a result of poor service or fauly goods? What happened?

My answer is:

The British never like to make a scene, of course, and typically a shop or restaurant can get away with a lot more. When I bought a computer some years ago, the company said that I had agreed to pay for a warranty when I hadn't. I really hit the roof here, and sent a nasty letter. The salesman had 'mysteriously disappeared', and after phone calls, they agreed to refund some money out of 'goodwill'. That's another way of saying I was wrong, but give him the money to settle the matter!

Now it's over to you...


verniciousknids said...

In Japan - customer service reigns supreme as I blogged about in August...Look for the post "Irrashaimase" for the full story! Basically, the service here is outstanding.

Michele sent me

kenju said...

I can't think of anything in particular at the moment, Jean-Luc. I know that I have left only a nickel for a tip when the service is really bad. I was told once that if you leave nothing - they think you forgot. If you leave a nickel - they get the message of poor service loudly and clearly!

Michele sent me. Have a good weekend.

Girl said...

There's this little restaurant near where the Boy and I hang out, we call it the Pink shop (because it's Pink, obviously). It is famous for it's waiter. He is possibly more entertaining than the television sets littering the ceiling.

1) growls at you while you pick a seat.
2) throws the menus down onto the table and walks off for a good 20 minutes
3) returns, writes down your order, and still gets it wrong
4) argues with you about what you ordered, something along the likes of:

"I ordered Peach Tea, this is Ice Lemon Tea"
"No, no you ordered Ice Lemon Tea"
"I'm telling you I ordered Peach tea, everyone here heard me"
"No difference lah, Peach Tea, Ice Lemon Tea. Same. Summore you drank some of it already how do you want me to take it back?"
"Of course I drank some of it, how else would I know it's not peach tea???"

Most customers visit again and again, and get a kind of high from the exchange. We think it's a kind of masochistic ritual.

Darth Nepharia said...

Well, normally I just 'vote' with my wallet by either leaving without purchasing something or never shopping there again. If they treat all their customers that way, then they will be short customers as time goes on.

In addition, when one of my vendors consistently treats me with disrespect, I normally find an alternate source for the product.

Mike said...

Thumper and I were in the the new bookstore near us. They have one of those little cafe-coffee bars in the back. There were four ladies working behind the counter and they must all have been brand new. All we wanted was a couple of iced teas and it took forever to get them and longer still for them to figure out the cash register so we could pay.

Hopefully with time things will get better.

Michele sent me.

panthergirl said...

I am not a scene-maker, but I can write a letter that will make someone jump out a window.

I had a horrible experience while flying TWA several years ago. Flight was cancelled, the employees had no idea what was going on or where to send us, I was traveling with a baby and small child, all the elements that add up to a complete mess!

I wrote a letter stating that "TWA" clearly stood for "The Worst Airline." They sent me a $50 voucher to fly them again!!! No thanks!

Here via michele today!

Florence said...

Sometimes its not the service but the other people in the line. One young blonde thought she could push in front of me while I made a space for the previous customer to leave. I wasn't letting little miss princess get away with this, so I pitched my purchase (a black turtle neck sweater)from where I stood, it sailed across her path and skated onto the counter. To the wide eyed clerk I calmly said, "I was next."

Nothing like a bit of direct action.


Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i have. i do my best not to be rude but to point out how annoyed i am and if i'm really unhappy, i put it in writing, not e-mail. i find the level of service in most industries has really fallen.

Barbara said...

I think the British have a good policy. I follow it.

Professor Xavier said...

When Captain Picard gets angry - he reaches for a pen and fires off a letter. There's a lesson there somewhere, kids.

Chris W. said...

The worst experience I've had at a restaurant, and a big peeve of mine, is being taken to a table... then waiting over 30 minutes for even someone to take drink orders! This was at a Rock Bottom Brewery & Grill that we go to regularly, so this poor service was not expected. They were shorthanded, so I forgave them and the management even took half of the bill!

Another peeve of mine is wrong orders of this type. Ordering a burger medium well... and it comes to me medium-to-almost rare! If I wanted blood with my bacon western cheeseburger, I'd damn well ASK for it!

My .02¢.

ondine said...

j'adore la série
gros bisous

ondine said...

j'adore la serie
gros bisous

Ellee said...

I think shops are getting better, but this business about warrenty is very annoying, it is so expensive and often totally unncessary, especially for fridges and washing machines.

You have to be careful with restuarants, a friend of mine worked in a pub and if someone complained, she gobbed in the food. That's always put me off complaining.

Susan said...

Oh dear I think I'm just too nice and british to cause a fuss, I tend to send in my husband.

Jaime H. said...

I usually don't get angry, but when I'm really upset, I write a polite, but forceful, letter to the company, and have always gotten good responses back.

The most recent was due to a horrible airline connection that left me and a few others stranded in Philly with no way to get out for the rest of the day. After asserting ourselves enough, the airline hired a car to drive us back home, and I then wrote a letter to the corporate headquarters, and was sent a nice response back with a travel voucher.

I usually just let most of the issues go without comment, but sometimes, I *have* to say something, it's so bad.

Gyrobo said...

I usually go for the nice guy routine to force the servitors to do my bidding.

If that fails, say hello to Mr. Talks-Extremely-Loud-Unintentionally.

Paperback Writer said...

If I get poor service, my tip will show it. Okay, that's no entirely true. Even if I don't say a word, I can't help my body language. My mom and my mother in law on the other hand....

Merlyn Gabriel said...

yes, after a year of doing battle with a large chain electronics / computer shop in Canada, when getting angry didn't help I just got even.( I got what I wanted and then I never ever went back to shop there even if it meant spending more money somewhere else) You need to know how to fight the system. :)

but mostly I am one of the 'silent complainers' if I get bad service or treatment I never go back and I tell as many people as I can about the bad service or treatment.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great responses there; not going back will alwways hit them in the pocket, but sometimes you have to do more.

Florence, great action with the sweater!

Girl, people must me really masochistic to go there!

Ellee, warranties are bad; they try to say how important it is for 'peace of mind'.

Gyrobo, Mr Talks-Extremely-Loud-Unintentially is a good manouvre.

Panthergirl, now I know what TWA stands for!

kenju said...

Michele sent me back to read all the comments, Jean-Luc. Florence really knows how to do it, huh? I do make phone calls and write letters when something really makes me mad, but most of the time, I am a silent sufferer.

Anonymous said...

Yes! I've gone to a store many times, same store to buy something. Not very expensive but of course before purchasing, I tend to choose and the sales lady pouts and makes comment. I called her attention immediately and told her that she shouldn't have been a sales lady in the first place if she doesn't have any patience with her customers. Then I asked for her manager. This made her think and apologized.
Thanks for dropping by.

Moogie said...

LOL..I loved Florence's response. :) I don't know that I could single out once incident for this. Sometimes, bad service is so frustrating. I generally try to remain calm but firm. But it doesn't always work like that.

BTW..Michele sent me! (heh, she did last week too!)

Carmi said...

Wonderful question, Captain. And a timely one: Just yesterday, our phone rang in the morning. Call Display showed it was coming from a toll-free number, which is always a tip-off that it's a telemarketer or call centre. Sure enough, I pick up the phone and hear light static, a tip-off that the call is being "presented" to the agent.

A few seconds later, a woman asks for my wife. The dance begins.

Turns out she can't talk to me because she MUST speak to my wife. Of course, she's busy and I'm not interrupting her quiet time with the kids so that she can speak to a telemarketer.

She bails on me. The phone rings 30 seconds later. Same number. Another agent. This time, she asks for ME. I ask why they're calling us sequentially. She tells me she has no idea what's going on...they simply called to "welcome" us to our new home phone service.


Ellee said...

Susan, my husband has an aversion to dealing with any complaints, always preferring the easy way out. I do object in restuarants because we should expect quality service and quality food and not accept anything less, but too often we do.

Lady Wyntir said...

i know this is late... but it's still a good question.

I'm on the other side of things, working on a Help Desk (technical support over the phone). Customer service is the ultimate goal when helping someone, and i get angry when the customer doesn't help me to help them... hee hee

~ People refuse to give their name and phone number to call them back.

~ They don't follow directions, no matter how many times we've repeated the steps, slowly and clearly.

~ If someone doesn't get back to them in 5 minutes, they contact the head of the IT department to complain about bad service.

What do i do about it? VENT... hee heehee

I'm always extremely polite to other Customer Service workers because i know the job is tough... so they can loosen up a bit with me, or just have a chance to smile.


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