Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some Thoughts on Service...

So...I do the Black Friday thing. It's like a tradition now. Even though I didn't go with a specific agenda this year, I still managed to spend waaaayyyy too much money.

Now, we all know that Black Friday is not for the weak of heart. Or of toes. (Mine were smooshed more often than I can count.) But STILL, it would be nice if the retailers on whom we drop all of our hard earned cash on would try to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

A girl can dream, right?

Let me tell ya a little story....

DH and I go to Circuit City and manage to find something on my daughter's list. We find what appears to be a short line...only to discover that it's short because it also happens to be the desk where they send everyone with a question. The poor, over-tired, over-worked cashiers are not only dealing with people grumpy because the 15 computers that they stocked for 299 were sold hours ago, they're also dealing with people grumpy because the register line is barely moving BECAUSE of all the grumpy people who thought they could score a screamin' deal without freezing their buns off.

Anyway, two people ahead of us is a man who appears to be either from India or Pakistan who speaks with an accent in a very soft voice. Apparently he has just purchased a computer. He gets ready to leave...and decides he wants a printer (one of the specials that day is that you can get a printer that is free (*after rebate) if you purchase a certain computer.)

Well, he proceeds to tell this to the cashier, who has already moved onto another customer. The cashier, obviously overtired and looking forward to working another 12 hours that day (true story!) seems to forget all manners and says "WHAT? WHAT?" to the overly quiet customer. (I commented on this to my DH...joking that maybe the cashier had been raised in a barn...only to discover a little later that we had personal knowledge that this was not the case.)

Anyway, the man finally communicates to the cashier that he wants the printer. The cashier grabs a Lexmark printer and rings it into the computer.

"No," says the customer, "I want the HP one."

Insert *heavy sigh* here.

Cashier grabs HP printer, rings it into the register, and tells customer that it is 89 dollars.

"Oh, no," says the customer, "give me the Lexmark printer."

Cashier trys, and fails, not to roll his eyes.

Cashier takes Lexmark printer, rings it in and tells customer that it is also 80-ish dollars.

"It is free after rebate?" asks customer.

"Yep." replies cashier.

"Is there a rebate with the HP printer?"

"I dunno," replies cashier. He turns to co-worker and asks about rebate. Co-worker says, "Not sure. Sometimes the HP ones have a $50 dollar rebate, but I don't know."

Cashier turns to customer and says, "Yeah, it has a 50 dollar rebate."

(I turn to look at DH, because that's not how I heard it from the co-worker.)

"Ok, give me the HP printer," says customer.

Cashier rings in printer, customer pays for the printer. Cashier stands, staring at the reciept printer for a minute and finally says...."It's not printing a rebate. I guess it doesn't have one."

"Well then," says customer, "I don't want this one. I want the Lexmark one."

"Sorry," says the cashier, "but we're not doing returns today. You'll have to come back tomorrow."


Now if it had been ME, I would have pitched a fit to put Whitney Houston to shame. This customer, however, after a brief protest, left with his unwanted merchandise.

I noticed that the cashier failed to mention their 15% restocking fee.....

As we were paying for our merchandise, the cashier looked at my dh's ID and said, "I think I know you!" Turns out cashier is dh's cousin that grew up out of state.

In Washington, as it turns out, and not in a barn. ;)

Now, I KNOW that there are plenty of dishonest people out there, which is why it is harder and harder to return or exchange merchandise.

And I KNOW that it was very, very busy at Circuit City on Black Friday, which is probably why they didn't want cashiers tied up with returns.

But considering the circumstances, it seems an exception should have been made. It seems that not only is the customer no longer "right," but that they are an entity to be tolerated and whipped into submission to a plethora of rules and regulations.

Sorta takes the fun out of it all.

However, it would probably take a disaster of mythic proportions to stop me from shopping all together.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Speaking of drama....

Aforementioned teenage daughter is going to give me an ulcer.

Daughter is 14. Pretty. Attracts boys like bees to honey. (And, believe it or not, that's not even my main worry.)

Daughter is creative. Her English teachers rave about her writing ability. She was one of 2 students in her middle school last year to score full marks on a nationally graded essay. She's one of a handful of students in the entire high school (and the only freshman) to be ranked "fluent" in writing. Daugther also loves to draw and is especially good with manga. She is also the darling of her art class. The other kids call her Anime.

Daughter is SMART. Was in the gifted program. Scores in the top ten percent nationally on all standardized tests. (The complete battery. Not just one or two sections.)

Daughter just got a 2.7 on her first offical high school report card.

I do NOT know what to do with this child.

She is bright, caring, SO good with her younger siblings. She is sweet and stays out of trouble.

And she is the laziest little !@#$ when it comes to getting her homework done.

We had this problem in middle school, too. It seems that, no matter how much I try to impress upon her that it is HER future she's affecting, she doesn't seem to grasp the concept.

She wants to be a graphic designer when she grows up. And she could do it too.

But at the rate she's going, she'll also have to do it with thousands of dollars in student loans.

And that just sucks.