A Moment Spent With A Customer Service Rep
EXAMPLES OF RUDE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS
All I wanted to do
was return a pair of shoes. That's all. Taa, daah! In. Out. Over. Through. Now gone to see about the rest of my day. Or at least that's what I thought going in. But what an eye-opening lesson in social skills, or lack thereof, when I tried, in vain, to return a common pair of shoes to a certain department store one pretty day and met with so much confusion. Frustration. Depression. That I wished that I had just went barefoot.
Special Notice: you might be thinking at this point, that this piece is about Walmart, TARGET, Kmart, or some other mega-department store. And you would be wrong. This is about how difficult it is, (for me), to return a simple item that poses no threat to living things. National security. Or life itself as we know it. That's it. Just a sample incident that happened one day. One miserable day. That I tried to deal with a so-called, friendly, customer service rep.
The incident unfolded something like this. And I am presenting this personal frustration event in the order in which it happened.
A. I awoke on the day I had planned to return a pair of common, everyday shoes I had bought a few days ago at a leading department store.
B. I showered. Shaved. Dressed in common-but-clean clothing.
C. Ate breakfast consisting of two Pop Tart wannabe's, the generic brand I also bought at another leading department store in a nearby state. I also drank two cups of Folger's coffee. Black.
D. Drove to this leading department store who claims to have friendly, courteous, customer service reps on-duty to help with any and all customer complaints, comments, and returns.
E. Got out of my car--carrying my pair of common, everyday shoes to meet with, who I had prayed, would be an easy-going, understanding, friendly and courteous customer service rep. I whistled "Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald," by Gordon Lightfood as I walked toward the store. Thinking back, this song I whistled might have been a tip-off to what lay in store for me when I met the customer service rep.
. . .and with that, here we go
ME: (smiling) hello
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (confused) Uh, hello. May I help you?
ME: Yes. Thank you. I would love to return this pair of shoes.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (still confused, but checking her fingernails) Okay. But why?
ME: Well, ha, ha, they do not fit me well.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Are you sure?
ME: (stunned) Wy' yes, I am sure. They hurt my feet.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (looking at a guy passing by) Sir, are you sure?
ME: Of course I am sure. May I just have my refund or maybe exchange these for a pair of shoes that do fit?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sir, uh, well, I'm not sure that I can do that. Would you like to buy an Interstate battery, they are on sale, today only, for just $44.00?
ME: What? Battery? No, ma'am, just want a refund or some more shoes?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (holding shoes up in air) well, sir, these shoes look good to me and wait a minute, looks like they have been worn by someone!
ME: Ma'am, please listen. I wore the shoes part of one day until they began to hurt my feet.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: so you're the one! Now that's different. If you had loaned these shoes to a friend, maybe a minister or someone in a certain job, I couldn't help you, but I think we can help make you a satisfied customer. Now would you kindly step back from the counter at least three feet, please?
ME: (slightly agitated) why? What's wrong with how I am standing now--upright, like a normal person?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (giggles) store policy. Homeland Security, you know.
ME: No, I do not know. How can how close I stand to the counter be considered a matter of national security?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (eyes fixed on a woman with a new wardrobe walking by) uh, well, say, did I say national security? I'm so sorry. I meant, store security.
ME: okay. How close I stand to your counter conflict with store policy ma'am?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: (sharp toned) Sir, I cannot help you if you use 'that' tone of voice. Just be calm or I will be forced to call store security.
ME: I am not angry. Or upset. Just confused. Oh, (laughing) does Barney Fife work here?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Okay, sir. That will be enough. Now just answer these three simple questions for me so we can expedite your request for a refund or exchange. Okie Dokie?
ME: Yeah, okie something or other. What are the questions?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sir, now, the first question: What is your name?
ME: Kenneth Avery.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: How do "I" know that you are Kenneth Avery? Do you have proof on your person that tells me you are whom you say you are, maybe a birth certificate?
ME: Birth certificate? Ma'am, please humor me. How many citizens carry around their birth certificates?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Don't take that tone with me, sir. Just doing my job.
ME: How about my driver's license?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Driver's license? What about it?
ME: (patience worn out) My driver's license tells you whom I am. Want to see them?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Hold it! You cannot make sudden movements in this department, sir, or else, I will call the store security team!
ME: What? You have to be joking. You will call the store security on me for getting my drivers license for you to see?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: No, sir. I have to summon the store manager and one assistant manager to witness you showing me your drivers license as to prove that you are not someone else trying to get a free refund. Now just be calm. We will get you on your way soon.
ME: Soon? How much longer will I be here? There are people already lining up behind me.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sir, I'm doing best. Now please let me call the store manager and the assistant manager--and this shouldn't be longer than a five minutes. (SHE NOW GETS ON THE PHONE AT THE SERVICE DESK) "Uh, yes, this is Judy at customer service, who is this? Okay. Oopsie. Okay. Now. Who is this? Jack? Good. How are ya', Jack? Oh, I need the store manager and assistant manager at the customer service desk to witness a customer showing me his driver's license. (SHE TURNS HER BACK TO ME SO I WON'T BE ABLE TO HEAR HER) Yeah, one of those. (giggle). Okay, Jack. Thanks and I'll see you at the party in the Subway parking lot tonight at 10. Byeeeee."
ME: So, will I get a refund or another pair of shoes?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Oh, I am soreeee, the store manager and his assistant are out to lunch and will be back in 43 minutes, my friend, Jack said. You can sit down over there on those comfortable, plastic seats if you wish. Sorry for the inconvenience.
ME: Okay. Fine. But may I ask you something?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sure. We are always interested in what our customers say.
ME: Ma'am, it's only 10:15 A.M., how can the store manager and his assistant be at lunch?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: our store manager, Geff, and his right-hand man, Toddie, they are very smart. They work late some nights. They take lunch and breaks at unusual times, but they both do a swell job. So if you will just be so kind as to sit down and relax, I'm sure they will be here in a jiffy.
ME: Yes, I will sit down. And they should be here in approximately 36 minutes. Thank you.
. . .36 minutes drag by like a snail going across a highway
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sir. Oh, sir! Here is our store manager, Geff. And is assistant, Toddie (Todd glares at Judy) I mean, Todd. Now may we three see your driver's license?
ME: You bet. Am I ever glad to see you guys. Here. This is me.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP. (talking to Geff Stanley, store manager) What's wrong? You looked worried. Todd, sir, what's wrong with Mr. Stanley?
ME: Yeah, what's the problem? Those are my current drivers license. Just renewed them a month ago.
GEFF: Sir, are you trying to be cute? We are a big business operation. We have to be strict about our policies. Right, Todd?
TODD: Yes, sir. Strict. No one stricter than us.
GEFF: This doesn't look like you. In 'this' picture, you look like you are about to sneeze.
ME: Oh that. I 'was' about to sneeze. I just remembered that. What an awful time to need a sneeze--when your photo is being snapped for your drivers license.
GEFF TAKES TODD AND JUDY TO THE SIDE AWAY FROM ME AND THE REST OF THE CUSTOMERS AND START TALKING IN A MUMBLED TONE.
THEN AFTER 15 MORE MINUTES, THEY RETURN TO THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DESK.
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP (JUDY) I'm so sorry, sir. Mr. Stanley says that we will need just 'one more' piece of evidence that you are you. And Mr. Langston, Todd, over there, agrees with that decision, so we will need just one more piece of proof that you are Kenneth Avery and you will be on your way.
ME: Okay. Fine. What 'other' piece of evidence will you need, and I must confess, I do not have my birth certificate, high school diploma, how about my Social Security Card, Judy"
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP (JUDY) (alarmed), Sir, you are not allowed to call store employees by their first names. I must ask for an apology.
GEFF: Judy's right, sir.
TODD: Sir, Mr. Stanley and Judy are both right.
ME: Okay. I am very sorry. Forgive. Now tell me...will my Social Security Card do?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: No, sir. That is considered a sensitive personal document too personal for us to see. Oh, you can call a friend and let us talk to him or her and they can verify that your name 'is' Kenneth Avery. How 'bout that, sir?
ME: Great! Now, may I use 'this' phone? Thanks, uh, I don't know your last name, ma'am, customer service rep. (I AM PHONING MY FRIEND, WAYNE, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO WORK AT 'THIS' STORE WHO IS GIVING ME GRIEF ABOUT MY SHOES.) Hello, Wayne. Great. I'm fine. Say, would you tell this customer service rep, don't know her last name and am now allowed to call her by her first name, who I am? I am now handing the phone to the customer service rep. Thanks, Wayne. I owe ya' one!
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Uh, who is this? Oh yeah, Wayne. Wayne??? The one who works here? Wow, what a small store! Can you tell me who just talked to you? Oh, a Kenneth Avery, yes, that's who he claims to be. Can you tell me what he looks like? Yes, little or no hair, overweight, nervous, sweating profusely about the head and neck, well, Wayne, thanks a lot, bud. Oh, are you gonna make the big bash in the Subway parking lot tonight? (giggles) you dirty boy! Byeeeee.
ME: Now, may get a refund or another pair of shoes?
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP: Sure, sir. But Mr. Stanley needs to say something to you first.
ME: Fine. My day is already shot. What are a few more minutes?
GEFF: Sir, I am going to need a black and white photo of your mother when she was a young woman, also a picture, don't care if it's in color or not, of your first pet, and for you to take these easy-to-do forms in that private room to your right, and fill them out, bring them back to this customer service rep, sorry, Judy, who then will call Todd and I back to this department so we can take your photos of your mom and first pet--and these 12 forms that you have filled out and look it all over and then give you our decision. Okay, sir?
ME: (speechless) . . . . . . . . . . .(this is the sound of me not talking)
I had to call my buddy, Wayne, one more time that dark day when I tried to return a pair of common, everyday shoes to this big department store, for him to put up my bail for being arrested for walking in this store's parking lot BARE FOOT.
And I didn't get any more details of the big bash in the Subway parking lot scheduled for later that same night.
if you have purchased
an item or items from any
store, and found that you
were not satisfied with the
product, BE CAREFUL as
you 'try' to return your item
because today, the so-called
'friendly' customer service rep
will (sometimes) make you wish
that you had not gotten out
More by this Author
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Much like my piece on being "a face in the crowd," this one is similar, but not the same. The "taken-for-granted" among us live in silent agony.
I cannot hide my life any longer.