Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be kind. Rewind.

Here is your monthly public service announcement.

This is an older story to share, but it bears repeating. Having worked in customer oriented jobs for a good portion of my life, I have seen and heard just about everything. I can say that 3 stories on and 2 on are mine. Most of them gaming related. But even with the trials and tribulations, and people being made fully aware on the internet just how ridiculous they are acting, they still pull out that "the customer is always right!" card.

Guess what? You're probably not.

The situation replayed through the Huffington Post is not uncommon in the U.S. Sadly. I have witnessed it on multiple occasions and it has always made me wonder what in the grand universe is so fantastic about that person's life that they have to go bat-shiz-crazy about too much ketchup on their burger? Because man, if that's the only thing you have to complain about, I want your life. It's sad that these situations continue to happen daily. Sad that people don't respect each other, and feel that since you work a minimum wage job you should be treated like trash. And sad that we still ALLOW this behavior to happen.

After reading through the myriad of comments, most people are in line with the cashier. The customer was going over the line of sanity for a simple mistake. Some people defended the customer (to which we can easily point out who else is bat-shiz-crazy). Ketchup woman has had this happen multiple times! She deserves justice!

From my experience, the customers that complain the loudest are the ones who visit the store the least. "This happens all the time!" is more like "This is the first time this has happened and I should get everything free!" I use to work for a known game retailer at their corporate offices and handled all store issues. Every complaint any customer had about a store crossed my desk. I could not begin to tell you how many of those issues started with "I am a longtime customer." Now having to read every issue, it required me to research each customer, pull up their purchase history, and try to resolve the problem. I would say anywhere from 80-90% of those "longtime" customers are first timers, or maybe shop once a year over a 2-3 year period.

In the heat of the moment when someone wants a response that fits their needs, customers tend to over-exaggerate. A lot of people overlook that, but when you think about it, it happens a lot. We exaggerate and make things worse then they really are. We say things that we don't mean to say and cause more problems because of it. Think about any argument you ever had with a family member or friend? I'm sure we are all guilty of going over the top in our story-telling, and/or name calling. Imagine that being a customer yelling at you when you put too much ketchup on a hamburger. It seems silly, doesn't it?

And there could be a million reasons why that customer is upset. Maybe she didn't tell the employee in drive-through "no ketchup." Maybe she just got fired that afternoon and wanted some fast food to calm her nerves. Maybe she enjoys yelling at people (because yes, those types of individuals do exist). The same could apply to the employees at the store. Maybe they know this customer as being belligerent and rude - last time she asked for extra ketchup and it wasn't enough, so they put on extra to help avoid another incident. Maybe the employees were being lazy. Or maybe they made a mistake. Because we are human. We are going to make mistakes. No one is perfect. Ever.

Why am I showing so much concern over this article? Because some people still don't see the problem. It's not that the employee messed up the order, nor that the customer shouldn't get her order correct. But the behavior of ketchup woman is appalling and no one stepped up to tell her otherwise.

Is this the norm? Hell no. If it were, we would all be out picketing with McDonalds and Burger King employees asking for higher wages. We are not paid enough to deal with those headaches every second of every day. The crazies are once in a blue moon. Most customers are in and out. They get what they need, they don't push nor shove, and follow the rules. A few are nice, will start conversations, and say please and thank you (still rare, but more common then the rude ones). But in our human nature, we're more likely to remember the bad then the good. We'll always remember that one customer who threw grapes at customers in the produce section. Or that one guy who kicked down display cases because his urinated Wii system could not be returned.

But the good customers make our day.

I'll let you all in on a little secret: customer service, sales reps, floor associates, fast food workers, we all will treat you much better if you act polite towards us. Say please. Say thank you. And if you have a problem, don't call us dumb asses and swear. Take a deep breath, count to 10, and calmly explain the issue to the employee. You might be surprised at just how fast they will resolve your problem versus being rude.

Maybe next month I'll start regaling you all with tales of game store horror.


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