Have you received any bad customer service lately? Yes? It's your own fault.
Last week, after an intensely disappointing customer service experience, a bolt of lightning hit me from the aether. We, as consumers, put ourselves in this wretched situation.
How, you ask? Think back to the last time you were treated like a second-class citizen while handing over part of your paycheck to someone.
Got it? Okay, now for the hard part... did you complain about it to anyone?
Tick, tock, tick, tock...
Time's up! Did you answer yes?
Hmm... if you didn't, do you get the point?
We have come to expect sub-par customer service, and we have stopped reacting to it.
Last week I was forced to set out on an adventure for a new car battery. It was not a leisure trip, it was an emergency, and I had to have it fast.
My first stop was a warehouse club where I am a member. To better speak to the point, a warehouse club where I have paid to be a member. This warehouse club has an automotive section that does tire and battery work, and I was fairly sure that I'd get the best price I could find there.
Sparing you the details, I'll say this: the person who “helped” me was curt, discouraging and seemed to enjoy telling me that I'd have a 4 hour wait. You know the type. This person, depressed under the weight of their job or some unknown and irrelevant personal situation, decided it was in their best interest to help any additional customers decide that they should just pass up the opportunity to spend money there.
So, without giving my patronage, I left the business with a nippy farewell.
Pulling out of the parking lot, I felt abused. Still hopelessly in need of a car battery, I had been smacked around by someone I was looking for help from, and was willing to pay.
With the phone number of the business still logged in my cell phone from when I called to check on their services, I was handed the opportunity to file my grievance, and I took it.
Some poor woman answered the phone, and she quickly got an earful of my story, complete with my opinion of how it should have worked out.
That's when my problem was compounded.
Not only did she not apologize on behalf of the store, she tried to put me on hold to “speak with someone else about this matter” of mine.
I told her “no thank you,” that she could pass my story along, and I hung up on her, only half-satisfied.
Had I followed through? Halfway. This warehouse club couldn't even get their customer service in order enough to hear what I thought about their customer service.
I debated mentioning them by name in this column, which is a right I reserve, but decided against it, because I didn't want to advertise their low prices, and I have had good experiences there. I don't believe that a bad apple spoils the bunch, so I don't feel I should cast this evaluation on everyone who works there.
Needless to say, when my membership expires I'll be switching to another club, which hopefully will be more consistently helpful.
The next time that you find yourself being mistreated by someone holding their hand out for your cash, take a second and think about what'll happen if you just give it to them.
Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or firstname.lastname@example.org .