Thursday, October 4, 2007

Am I at Wal-Mart or What?

Yesterday, some of my friends and I brought our kids to the Superstition Springs mall to let them run wild at the play area. It was great because none of the too big to really be playing there kids were there. I also have to provide one side comment and say that the whole day was sooo worth it to me because Owen slept for an hour after we got home!!!! No lie.

After the playing was through, we all ate lunch in the food court and went our separate ways. I was parked in front of Sears and began cruising through to get to the car. Well, I have been wanting to get some new t-shirts, so I stopped and picked some out to try on. After the try-on session, I went out to find a cashier and buy the shirts. I saw a big line at one register and decided I'd try a different part of the store because Owen does not do well just sitting in his stroller. I began walking through the ENTIRE store and could locate only one other cashier whose line was longer than the first. I decided to head back to the first cashier to find her nowhere in sight! I walked through the entire store again to only see the overloaded cashier.

This is the point where all moms decide if the product in hand is worth the screams and wait. For me, I decided it was. So, I jump in line and when the cashier raises her head I ask her what I'm sure everyone else in line is thinking, "Don't they have anyone else who can help you?" She looks at me and says, "You could try over in the women's section." I told her I had and in fact had walked the entire store and she was my only option.

At this point I think she freaked out a little bit because I'm like the fifth person in line and there are no other Sears employees in sight. She whips out one of those magic phones that magnify your voice to sound like a school principal on the intercom and says, "Cashier to men's. Cashier to men's." So, we all stand in line and wait some more, about five minutes with no one coming. Okay, two customers down and Owen is working up to provide a doozy of a fit. She gets on the magic phone again and repeats said phrase with same, dismal results.

Now, I don't like to think I'm a jerk, but I do like to consider myself a woman of action and assertiveness. I have absolutely had it just like my baby. You know, sometimes I even feel vindication when I'm forced to wait due to poor service and I actually enjoy hearing Owen let out a few extra loud yowls before I comfort him. This was not one of those times. I wanted to go. So, another Sears employees saunters casually past the register and I beckon him over and demand, "I want to speak to a manager." He gets a slightly startled look on his face and says, "What about?" I tell him, "This woman has been trying to help all of us for 10 minutes and has called for help (I didn't tell him on the magic phone) twice and not one single person has come to assist her."

I think he could tell from the sound of my voice that I was through with this situation as much as the baby in the stroller was. He got me a manager in less than 30 seconds, no joke. She comes out and I tell her the situation. She begins apologizing immediately and starts ringing me up.

Oh yeah, in the meantime I actually used my mad Spanish skills to help the lady in front of me. My husband would be so proud!!

What I'm wondering here is what is going on? I realize that Sears isn't up there with some of those other stores for the elite, but am I wrong in expecting some modicum of customer service? I mean, when I go to Wal-Mart, I expect poor customer service and I often get it, but I just have to tell myself, "you shop here for the low prices, you shop here for the low prices--and the free cookies they give at the bakery---if you can find an employee!!!)

You know some of those even pricier stores are where the worst customer service is. American Eagle, the Limited, they consistently give me terrible customer service. Then there's stores on the other end of the spectrum where you feel almost violated by over attentive clerks--Bath and Body Works comes to mind. I mean, do I need a basket in a store that sells lotions? How many bottles of lotion do I need?
I'd write more, but I've got to get to Wal-Mart and be ignored.


Lacey said...

I hate Target for that very reason! A million lanes and you only 1 open!! It's miserable! Definitely helps my budget because I do ask myself the question "Is this worth standing in that line for!?!"

Lara said...

I don't know what's become of customer service these days! I do know, having worked retail, that many stores can't afford the extra cashiers during the non-holiday seasons. The bottom line just won't allow it. But at the same time, if you want customers to actually BUY things you really need to have someone available to ring them up!!!

And I'm so with you on the over attentive stores. I just like to be LEFT ALONE. When I have a question I will ask thank you very much. I usually just leave the store if the salesperson is smothering.

Heather said...

I feel the same way at Mervyn's every time I go! Drives me nuts. I wish I was more like you!! I am happy if I even get a hi and some sort of eye contact when I go to Walmart/Target/Mervyns. That is awesome that you asked for a manager. Nothing will ever change unless people really start complaining about it.

brooke said...

So funny. I love it! I am a very non confrontational person. I wish I had the guts to do what you did, because those thoughts run through my head. . . or even worse thoughts :)

Kelli said...

I feel the same way about Sears. I bought my fridge there. The customer service when they were taking my money was great but, when they finally had to deliver, not so good. I decided after fighting with them for three months that I would never buy anything from Sears again.

JenW said...

never ask anyone where anything is in a store...i feel like i know better where things are than the people that work there! in fact i have helped people when the store people couldn't...sad:)

SHERI said...

Seriously- you know its a problem when we all have had similar experiences! I am not sure if it is poor training or just that everyone is under staffed. Argh! Its so frustrating

Brittany and Scott said...

wow!!! you are quite the blogger, but i can relate to you about customer service these days. i hate going to the grocery store because it is the same thing there.

bloggingchristy said...

You are a very non-jerky brave person that I look up to! Sometimes I don't think I would be brave enough to do that, but when my kids are onery and tired, I somehow can get very assertive.

Devin said...

I'm sorry to say i've never ran into that problem so i can't help you. Good old moses lake.