Why do sales people say to me: “No, I couldn’t find that item on the floor – do you want me to check in the back?” Are they honestly waiting for me to say, “Nah, I just drove here for you to confirm the fact that I CAN’T FIND IT EITHER!”
So there was a discussion the other day about online shopping and the decline of jobs in the service industry. I see the correlation, it makes perfect sense. However, I would love to see the stats on the increase of online shopping due to a decline in personal customer service.
Here’s the thing. My first official job was in retail. It was a tiny children’s boutique – only one employee worked at a time – and I learned a few things. My SECOND official job was in a huge retail chain and I learned lessons that I still use now.
We were trained to go the distance for our customers during every interaction. Our slogan at the time was “Yes, I can!” And we were expected to answer with that to any question asked by a customer. We wore yellow ribbons with it printed on them attached to our name tags as well. Just in case we forgot. And secret shoppers were everywhere so we HAD to get shit right.
I once had a woman lift her skirt above her waist to ask me to help her identify the kind of pantyhose she was wearing so she could buy some more. It would have been less traumatic had she also been wearing PANTIES but sometimes you just gotta roll with it. (I also identified them correctly and set her up with a decent supply, because I’m freaking awesome and knew my products!)
It trained me to do my absolute best all the time. And really, it was a department store, not NASA. Doing your best didn’t cost much.
But since I was trained by the best to go above and beyond for every shopper it was hard to be on the other end while receiving BAD service.
I am that person who takes names and reports shitty service to management. Also there is a huge difference between having a bad day at work and just being bad at the job. It’s not hard to tell, either. But I have serious issues with being ignored because people are playing with their phones or receiving attitude because I need something that requires them to move their legs or when I have to chase someone down in an empty store because they want to delta foxtrot their way through a shift. None of that is okay with me.
Today at Best Buy I was looking for an adapter cable. I had looked it up online, found the best price, saw the location had some in stock and decided to go purchase it. I chose Best Buy over other stores because I was thinking about picking up something else while I was there but – never mind. I searched the floor for what I was looking for before asking for assistance – that was always a pet peeve of mine as a salesperson. Try looking for what you want FIRST then I’ll be even happier to help you. So I looked and I couldn’t find what I needed, time to ask for assistance.
11am on a weekday is not exactly a high traffic time at Best Buy so I was able to locate someone immediately. He was pretty helpful to start with but gave up after he checked the computer and declared they didn’t carry the product. When I tried to locate the site on my phone he blew me off and suggested I talk to the people closer to the back of the store. Odd. But I went with it. I asked a guy in the iPad area for help. He showed me where the items WOULD be and then looked them up on his own phone. He got the same information that I had found, stated that they should have some there. Then he asked me, “do you want me to check in the back?”
Ummmmm…. yes, please?
He was gone a long time. Meanwhile, since I couldn’t get reception on my phone, I used one of their display laptops to access the interwebs and found the item on their site. Excellent.
Then the sales guy comes back with another employee and they tell me that they couldn’t find anything, despite the fact their inventory list says they have at least 2. Ooookay.
Now right about this time, if I was the employee, I would be offering the customer a list of our stores that had the item in stock and asking if I could call a specific store and put it on hold for them at the counter. This employee shrugged and said, “You should go to an Apple Store. They might have one.” Huh? When did it become practice to send customers to OTHER companies instead of keeping a sale? (To be fair, we had occasionally recommended the competition while I was working at the department store – but that was only if we didn’t carry the product at all!) Deliberately I asked him if there was a Best Buy store in the area that I could go to instead. He glanced at the screen I had pulled up on the laptop and said, “Downtown, I guess? Maybe Metrotown – looks like they have some.” Uh-huh. But anything nearby? “No. Sorry.”
And then the two of them split.
Just for my own entertainment, before leaving I double checked the site by changing the default location to our area. And four stores appeared – all in our area – saying they had the item in stock.
I was pissed. So I tracked down one of the guys and called him out on it. Why were they willing to send me all the way downtown for something that is in stock seven minutes away? Which they would have known had they bothered to look. His suggestion was to call ahead and make sure because they get a lot of theft and might not actually have what the computer says.
He didn’t get my point. My point was, why didn’t THEY look? Why didn’t THEY call? GAH!!!!
I left, PISSED at the shitty service and wishing that I was a secret shopper.
In the car I did some more research and found the product at a Staples nearby and it was even cheaper than at Best Buy.
I tried to find it and couldn’t but before I was able to ask for help, a young salesperson approached me to see if I needed assistance. I was so excited that he was trying to help me! Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that makes my day. He searched the floor and was walking back to me empty handed but I had hope, I knew this was the guy that was going to win my positive phone call to head office. (Because while I report shitty service, I ALSO make calls to commend good service!) He looked apologetic for having been gone for a bit but I was so ready to forgive him just because he TRIED!
And then he said, “Sorry, I couldn’t seem to find any on the floor…. did you want me to check in the back?”
Lord, give me strength….
“..you’re so condescending, your gall is never ending, we don’t want nothing, not a thing from you!”
– Twisted Sister 🤘🏽