Things You Should Not Say To Me While Ringing Up My Purchases

Today’s daily prompt: On customer service….or lack thereof 🙂

Lori's Life and Other Stuff

There are so many instances where I’ve nearly left a pile of drool at the checkout line because my mouth was gaping open, shocked at the audacity of people and the things they say. So much so, that I felt compelled to share the list of what customer service people should never say to me (or anyone else) at the register.

1. Do not tell me how to parent my child. If I wanted your advice, I would ask for it. And if I’m asking for advice, I’m probably not going to solicit someone who I don’t know, doesn’t know my kids, or someone who may not even have kids of their own. Seriously – I’m sure you are just the “best auntie ever”, but if you don’t have kids of your own – you really shouldn’t be handing out parental advice. (The only exception to this would be if…

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Things You Should Not Say To Me While Ringing Up My Purchases

There are so many instances where I’ve nearly left a pile of drool at the checkout line because my mouth was gaping open, shocked at the audacity of people and the things they say. So much so, that I felt compelled to share the list of what customer service people should never say to me (or anyone else) at the register.

1. Do not tell me how to parent my child. If I wanted your advice, I would ask for it. And if I’m asking for advice, I’m probably not going to solicit someone who I don’t know, doesn’t know my kids, or someone who may not even have kids of their own. Seriously – I’m sure you are just the “best auntie ever”, but if you don’t have kids of your own – you really shouldn’t be handing out parental advice. (The only exception to this would be if you are a teacher.)

1.b. Don’t parent my child for me. This has happened to me only twice. Both times a person attempted to tell my son what not to do. (He was eyeing the candy and the clerk told him no.) I laughed. (And no, I didn’t buy the candy.)

2. Unless you are 1000% sure – do not comment on what a “big boy” my baby is (when she is in fact a girl in head-to-toe pink!) Just say how beautiful my baby is and move on.

3. Do not comment on the price of an item. As in, “Whoa! You’re gonna pay how much for that?!” No lie. This actually happened to me, over a pair of $40 jeans. Umm. You work here. At the place that sells the jeans at the price you are balking at. Why the shock?

4. Do not make judgments out loud about anything I am buying. Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion. I just don’t need to hear yours when you feel critical or morally superior.

5. Don’t ask weird questions. Questions like, “Wow. you have a lot of vegetables here. And all organic. You some kind of health nut?” How the heck am I supposed to answer that? “Why yes, I try to be a super-wacko!” Good grief!

6. Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not tell me your life’s story. I am sure you are a very sweet person and working retail is VERY hard, I know. But these two minions in my cart have a limited attention span. If we don’t speed it up, I’m seriously going to have an aneurism.

7. Yes, 15-year-old customer service rep, they are feminine products. No I’m not really embarrassed, but I can clearly see that you are. I’m sorry. It’s part of life. You’ll get over it.

8.  Please don’t tell me to do your job for you. At the Navy Exchange there are a few customer service reps that sit while ringing up customers. I don’t have a problem with that. I used to be a bank teller, I know long days on your feet are rough. But there is one rep, (the one I avoid like the plague) who is rude and actually said, “I’m too tired to get up and reach your stuff. Put  your stuff closer to the scanner.” It was literally inches from her hand. I almost laughed. Then I realized she was dead serious.

9. Please don’t check your phone in the middle of our transaction. I think it is very rude for customers to talk on cell phones while simultaneously treating the person behind the counter as if they are a robot. It’s obnoxious and demeaning. I keep my phone off and I expect you to do the same.

1o. Do not act as if I don’t exist. I am a person, too. Please don’t have a conversation with a co-worker and ignore me entirely.

I won’t be rude to you, you don’t be rude to me, mmmkay?

What crazy things have you heard while being waited on at the checkout line?

On Customer Service

It seems lately that good, really good, customer service has gone by the wayside in most businesses. Many have a “customer service department” instead of demonstrating the philosophy that all employees, in a retail establishment in particular, are the  customer service representatives.

When you go to a Wal-Mart, you sort of expect the service to be sub-par. At least I do. I have been surprised on one, maybe two occasions, when the associate didn’t say, “That’s not my department,” and actually helped me find something. This is the exception, however, not the rule. Most people don’t go looking for great service in Wal-Mart. On the other side, you walk into Nordstrom and you know you are going to be treated to the exact opposite. How does one company filter their service ideals down to the frontline staff so well and the other so poorly? Am I the only one that notices this?  Decent service isn’t that difficult.  Having worked in customer service in various businesses (retail, waitressing, banking, training, etc.) I feel I’ve earned the right to say this.

The other day I was in a mall buying some lotion at Bath and Body Works. I love their smelly goodness and usually they are a staffed by employees who are very helpful. Imagine my surprise when the two associates that were working were in a huddle talking and could barely be bothered to acknowledge my presence. Then on my way out, one of them couldn’t even look up from her phone to say “Thanks for coming in!” She didn’t even look up.  Among other things that bothered me with this whole interaction was the fact that she actually had her cell phone on her on the sales floor!  Are you really that important and busy that you have to text or check Facebook that often for a 4 hour shift? Really?!

My mom has boycotted a local supermarket because of poor service. On one occasion, she was told by a deli employee that the meat slicer “was closed”. Translation: She didn’t want to slice turkey. The deli wasn’t even closed yet. In another visit, a bakery employee told her that chocolate chip bagels were “out of season”. I never knew chocolate had a season….in my house, it’s a year-round treat!

After our dental adventure  I was shocked when the dentist (not the assistant or the receptionist) called personally 2 days after to check on our littles and see how they and their teeth were faring. I have never been called at home by a doctor or the dentist personally. And he chatted for a few minutes – it wasn’t like a “hurry, make this call and get off the phone as fast as possible” type of call. I was so impressed. Isn’t it sad that when we get good service, we are almost surprised?

All you have to do is the bare minimum with some eye contact and a sincere smile and you have out-serviced most of the competition. As a result, I will keep patronizing your business. 

What is your worst/best customer service experience?