Sunday, June 01, 2008

Weekend Wanderings, Customer Service, and More

We enjoyed a blissfully relaxing weekend, lounging around the house, doing laundry, napping, and generally being mellow. On Saturday night, we trekked up to Everett and Mill Creek for Mindy's birthday bash. It was fun to reconnect with old friends, while meeting new people too. Our annual trip to McCabe's dance club was nice, although the upstairs DJ definitely missed the mark. Oh well, it was still fun.

This weekend brought a mysterious mishap with our laundry, which led to us replacing clothing that was less than a week old. UGH. Needless to say, we had to do some additional shopping this afternoon. I have never seen such crazy customer service in one day in my life. We experienced salespeople who didn't seem to care that we wanted to check-out, let alone had entered the store. When we did finally get someone to check our items out at one women's clothing store, we couldn't get the woman to honor our discount -- despite the fact that we met the terms and conditions on the 25% off coupon. I wasn't in the mood to argue or push the issue too far, but if she had simply said "Gosh, I wish that I could help you with this coupon." instead of "Huh, it won't take it, too bad!" it would have been a different situation.

While out shopping, we decided to stop at a reputable restaurant chain and eat a nice but quick dinner. The waitress was nice enough, but didn't seem to fully understand why I was completely repulsed when we discovered a short hair on Lennie's dinner plate towards the end of the meal... and the hair was not the color of anything that would have come from us. Yuck-o. She was nice enough, but I don't think that we'll be going back any time soon... or ever for that matter.

At the end of our shopping trek, we stopped at Target to pick up a small album and a few other personal hygiene items. Just a quick trip to my favorite store. When we went to check-out, I was horrified as the clerk began commenting on the personal items that we had purchased, including very personal details about his life and our choices from the store. It's a good thing that I can be generally happy-go-lucky, but I can't imagine a worse check-out experience, especially if I embarassed easily. Yikes. Lennie had to return to Target this evening to pick up another album, and he did have a short conversation with the manager about the situation. Hopefully some additional sensitivity training will occur, so that others don't have to experience what we did.

So, my question of the weekend is this: is customer service dead? When did it become acceptable to act like it's an inconvenience to service your customers? Is it ever okay to comment on the personal items that people are purchasing? (Hint: the answer to this one is no in my book). Why do we allow people to give us shoddy service? And what can we do to find the happy medium between "royal" treatment where people are bending over backwards for our service, and the space where you feel like you have to beg to do simple tasks like check out at a store or not have people invade your personal life with inappropriate chitchat at the cash register?

In other (happier) news, we finally finished populating our wedding albums, and the professional photo album is being delivered this week. With over 450 photos, we definitely have the day covered. However, if you're out there in Internet-land reading this, and you have photos of our wedding, please send them. We can't wait to see the photos that you took too.

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