Jan 17 2008

MyLife: Brilliantly underwhelming customer service

Published by at 9:55 pm under Uncategorized

Normally I like to keep customer service rants to myself – mostly because I just assume NO ONE CARES. But since none other than media master Tod Maffin has chosen to take a shot at the genre with an excellent hit job on London Drugs, I feel entitled to vent about an experience that took place shortly after the New Year began.

I walk into Best Buy, pick out a computer mouse for $15 and head to the cash register. The price comes up as $20.

ME: “Oh, um, could you run a quick price check on that?”
CASHIER: “Uh, well, you can see the price is $20.”
ME: “Yes, I see that’s the price that comes up on the register, but I think it’s the wrong price. Could you just check that?”
CASHIER: (Hesitates, then wanders off to the hardware section. She comes back five minutes later and looks at me with a shrug). “That’s the price. The computer says its $20.”
ME: “Uh, OK.” (I pay the higher price, then head back to the area where I found the mouse. Sure enough, the listed price is $15. I head back to the cashier.) “You know, I went back and the price is really $15. Could you give me the lower price?”
CASHIER: “I’d have to go to that department and get approval from a manager.” (She shrugs again and taps her foot impatiently).
ME: (After another 10 seconds) “OK, then… Look, I don’t mean to be a jerk over $5, but could we do that?”
CASHIER: (She shrugs again and wanders back slowly to the hardware department with me in tow. She locates a sales guy – not a manager, and explains the process).
SALES GUY: “So, the computer says it was $20? Well, it can’t be lower, then. We are already selling it at cost. Maybe you saw the Boxing Day sale price and it didn’t get taken down.”
ME: “Look, I got the mouse right over here…” (Ten feet away, I show them the SKU sticker on the shelf. CASHIER stares me down as I show him.) “I’m sure $20 isn’t the cost price if they were selling it at this price for Boxing Day. I’m sure they weren’t losing money on it then, I mean. Uh, you know, I don’t mean to make a big deal over $5…”
SALES GUY: “Yeah, well, that is the price in the computer…”
CASHIER: (Flags down a manager) “This guy says he saw a lower price on…”
MANAGER: “Sure, go ahead, give him the lower price.”
CASHIER: (In a whining voice) “But I’ll need your code…”
MANAGER: “Sure, go ahead. I’m just dealing with someone…”
CASHIER: (Turning back to me) “You’ll have to go to the returns line and get it returned there. Then you can buy it again.”
ME: (Looking at the line of 25 people taking back holiday merchandise) “Uh, well, ah… okay.” (Head bowed in defeat, I go to the returns line.)

Twenty-seven minutes later, I emerge with a mouse for $15 and a better understanding of the futility of hoping for something better from people who just don’t get paid enough to care.

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “MyLife: Brilliantly underwhelming customer service”

  1. […] Currents wrote an interesting post today on MyLife: Brilliantly underwhelming customer serviceHere’s a quick excerpt Normally I like to keep customer service rants to myself – mostly because I just assume NO ONE CARES. But since none other than media master Tod Maffin has chosen to take a shot at the genre with an excellent hit job on London Drugs, I feel entitled to vent about an experience that took place shortly after the New Year began. I walk into Best Buy, pick out a computer mouse for $15 and head to the cash register. The price comes up as $20. ME: “Oh, um, could you run a quick price check on that? […]

  2. Larryon 19 Jan 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Sticking to your guns in that situation while very frustrating, is the right thing to do. You should never have to pay more than the sticker price regardless of what a computer says.

    As for not caring – it’s prevalent everywhere. Few service people are willing, or worse, even aware of the concept of taking ownership of the job at hand.

    I expect there will be automatice tellers there soon.

  3. Monica Hamburgon 12 Feb 2008 at 1:30 am

    Wow. I can’t believe they made YOU get back in line to correct THEIR error. I’ve been in similar scenarios too and sometimes am too confused/stunned/amazed to actually point out the absurdity of the interaction.

  4. Raulon 12 Feb 2008 at 8:54 am

    It is indeed upsetting. Now, shocking? Not really. I have seen worse (here in Vancouver). But it’s kind of surprising to see someone take a job in customer service and THEN not care enough for their customers.

  5. Tinkeron 22 Feb 2008 at 8:57 pm

    No, they don’t pay well. When someone is making $11 an hour without benefits, exactly how much knowledgeable expertise can/do you expect? Leadership in these stores is sorely lacking. Nothing in this environment is conducive to employee longevity (much as their website crows about how long employees stay with them – the turnover is constant). Very, very low-rent type of workplace. Some of the sales people at LD are extremely nice and professional, not that LD notices them, or cares. It’s about profit – period. Anything they may lead you to believe about ‘benefits’ is b.s. Just a goofy place to expect talented salespeople who’ll happily work for next to nothing, you know, because it’s so important that this is a Canadian owned company, or some such…

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