Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Double Thank You

John Stossel often writes about the "double thank you" moment that occurs when an item is purchased.  For example, when you go to the local coffee shop and buy a steaming cup of joe, you hand the person behind the counter your money and both of you quite often say thank you to one another.  As a consumer, you are thankful to have the coffee and feel that it is worth the amount you are paying.  The person who owns the store or the individual who is employed at the establishment is thankful for your business and the revenue it brings in.  All parties involved are benefitting and are grateful.  Ergo,  the double thanks.

Today I found myself ready to enter said contract with a young lady who works at J. Crew when she suddenly pulled a bait-and-switch.

I happened to walk by the clothing store when it dawned on me to check to see if they had some thermal tops.  I have one in gray and wear it all the time.  It is one of those shirts that would make a top five list of my favorite articles of clothing.  Sure enough, I found one on the sales rack and was quite pleased with the price so I quickly strode to the front counter because I was running late for a meeting.

When I made my way to the register, I found that the two women employed by J. Crew were both assisting a customer reference a return and how she would be compensated for bringing the garment back to the store.  One of the employees saw me arrive and took the shirt from me.  I had my money in hand and was ready to tell her that I would not need a bag.  Quick and painless.  
Thank you, Ma'am.

Suddenly, without any forewarning, the J. Crew representative took the shirt hostage.  Instead of ringing me up and completing my transaction, she continued to assist the customer and the other employee with the return and the thousand different ways in which it could be handled both by store policy and international law.

I must admit, I was none too pleased.  I wanted the shirt and I was more than happy to pay for it, but the young lass refused to sell it to me.  As a matter of fact, she had yet to turn her gaze my way as she continued to placate the other customer and try to come to a suitable agreement.

Suddenly, the maroon thermal that I desired no longer appealed to me.  I eyed it clenched in J. Crews' petite hands and it looked stiff.  I hated the color.  I could tell it would be itchy around my neck.

So I walked away.

When she finally noticed that I was half-way to the door, she yelled out to me.

"Sir, are you ready?"

Of course, there is no adequate reply to that question.  I was ready a long time ago, so I exited stage left and ended the scene.

It is situations like this one when I am reminded about how great freedom of choice truly is.
The more choice we have, the better off we are.  I realize in this scenario it only involved a shirt, but what if we had the same liberty and power in the most important aspects in our lives?

Maybe we do.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with customer service. Our country is no longer a manufacturing economy but a serviced based economy. Occasionally we encounter folks who work in customer service but don't have a clue as to what true customer service is. You did the right thing by walking away. My partner prefers confrontations when this happens. I usually do as you did, I just walk away. Once I was questioned as to why I was leaving and I said "I was ready to place my purchase but apparently you are not ready. My time is important and I'm not going to waste any more of it waiting for you."
    There are certain establishments that permit this kinds of behavior. There is a certain supermarket in Rehoboth Beach (Giant) where the cashiers like to chat with their friends as they are checking out. I put up with that poor customer service a few times but now I rarely shop there if at all. I don't shop in Safeway because they are union and rarely have more than one line open, thus I have to always stand in a long line to get out of the store. I do shop in Food Lion because I am almost always get checked out right away. If there is a delay in the line, the manager notes it and makes an announcement for "Customer service to open another line." And that is what it is all about, the management. Not the individual clerk. Again, I'm sorry you had that bad experience. If I was the clerk I would have realized that you only had the one item and would have checked you out immediately.
    You are so right, we have the freedom to do something about poor service.