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Customer Service?

The customer is always right. Do you remember when that was true?

I get so aggravated at the way we are treated, and the sneaky things they pull on us. They say that every complaint, letter or email represents a huge amount of unhappy people, not just the one person sending it. But really, who cares?

The telephone - now that's a pet peeve of mine! Don't you hate it when you call a business and are put on hold to listen to music (or worse yet listen to ads for their company)? Every so often some tape will cut into the song to say how much they appreciate us. Of course they do can't you tell?

How about the "press one if you speak English"? I often wonder if I pressed the wrong number because the people I talk to and I aren't communicating. Companies are sending work out of the country and the "customer service" (badly named) is over in India or somewhere where they might know some English words but certainly don't talk our language.

Press one of about a dozen numbers to get to the various departments. The last one is the one you want. That's the one you press to "speak to an operator". Why won't they give us that number first?

And if you hit the wrong number you have to hang up and start over - there's no going back! Sometimes a tape will even tell you how long you have to wait. How kind of them.

How about when you call a number and before your party can answer a tape butts in to say no one is answering (oh really) or if it's busy "can we keep trying" (of course there's a charge)? Mind your own business and get off the line!

What about the catalog stores? Press one if you are placing an order and you'll get right through. Calling to check on an order or complaint? Get comfortable because all of our operators are busy taking care of other custumers. You'll be taken care of as soon as one is available. I know, right after all the "press one" orders are done.

It really gripes me when my phone rings and a prerecorded tape plays then says hang on if your interested. It will be a cold day in hell!

They try to make us think "self serve" is progress. We pay more at gas stations then ever. No one does our windows or checks our oil. We pump the gas, trot to the pay station in all kinds of weather or put our cards in without even seeing an attendant. If you're handicapped and can't do it yourself you'll pay more for the service.

Then there's the grocery store. How often are they out of the sale priced lead items? A Manager in a drug store once explained to me that the ad is in papers all over the country and getting the merchandise to all the right places is a big job. Well then only put it in the papers where you can deliver!

They now have self-serve checkouts. You do the weighing and bagging. At some stores you have to leave all the groceries on the small counter until the end of the order. Shame on you for spending so much money at our store that it doesn't all fit on the counter.

You still need someone to come over and check any age sensitive items. So is it really quicker? I think there should be a discount for doing the work of a clerk. I even feel guilty about the clerks who are now out of work.

I could never understand 4 checkouts for 10 items or less and 2 for us people spending big bucks.

I shopped at a discount store recently and wanted to get 2 bottles of Nyquil. That's a no-no. It seems some kids drink it as a drug so "big brother" makes me return to the store several times, or have it rung up and then start over and ring up the other bottle as I did. No problem, the kids could never figure that out. Right!

When we shop at the department store there is no longer a clerk in each department. There's no way to ask questions or get help. So we slop around till we find a counter with a clerk, carrying our loot no matter how heavy it is. There are no shopping carts in department stores - that's just not cool.

And if the merchandise is marked wrong, it's our problem. The clerk is not from that department and has no idea what it should cost and we wouldn't want them to leave their station. Take it or leave it. I've left it more than once.

If there is a sale on, plan on getting in a line of about 20 people. Is it worth it? Probably not. When you get your turn you most likely will find out your item was put on the wrong table and isn't really on sale after all. Once again, take it or leave it.

Several years ago I decided to work part time at a Department Store during the holidays We had a couple of weeks training on how to treat the customer, fold the garments, what to wear etc. I only planned on working 3 nights a week for 3 weeks. Nevertheless we had the full training. Recently a friends applied to work at a local store the only thing they cared about was the drug test. How sad!

And while we're at it what about the half-truths and wasted product? Recently I read a grocery store ad, and thought, "What a good buy on canned soup". Then I read the small print. The can is now smaller and ounce for ounce it costs a little more.

Remember when coffee came in one and three pound cans? It was easier then. Now who knows when an ounce or two is subtracted. Take a magnifying glass with you if you what to know the real weight of what's in a container.

Don't be fooled by the huge bag that Potato Chips and other snacks come in. Look at the weight. The bag is usually about one third full. They tell us it's because they don't want to crush the product. If that's so, then why are mine always broken?

The squeeze plastic bottles that pickle relish, mustard, mayo and the like are a great convenience, and we pay for it. Just remember that the last ounce or two will probably not come out of the bottle without you losing you sanity.

My moisturizer (a 16 oz.bottle) stops pumping with about 2 ounces left. I can throw it out or stand it on its head and prop it up and get a couple more weeks out of it.

Same for nail polish. The brush is too short to get to the bottom. Pitch it. It's not worth a spilled bottle on your good table. Just know that you are not going to get to use the whole product you paid for.

I have more but this is getting lengthy. It's supposed to be an article not a book (but I could do one). At least you get your money's worth here! What are some of your gripes?

And what kills me the most is that when I say, "I'm going shopping" my son will say, "Have fun, take your time and enjoy yourself". What century does he think this is?

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Pat


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