Customer disservice

Today, despite the yucky weather and my lack of proper rainwear, I ventured out because I needed to buy and ship a birthday present to my daughter. Simple enough – could’ve done it on the internet, I suppose, but I got a sweet deal on the gift at a local store AND it had to be overnighted, so I figured a quick run over to Fedex would be simple and easy.

The gentleman behind the counter at the Fedex/Kinko’s shop in Union Square was sort of helpful, in his own way. There were people faxing and copying and having trouble and he did holler answers to their questions from the comfort of his chair behind the counter. The gift I had wouldn’t fit in any of the standard Fedex boxes, so I went up to the counter and asked what I should do. “You have to buy a box,” he said. Ok, no problem. He very reluctantly got up from his chair and got me a box, and then informed me that I also “had to” buy tape to seal the box up with. Ok, also no problem, but I had to buy a whole roll of packing tape. I brought the tape over and then he shoved the box at me so I could tape it up myself. Full service! He grumpily rang me up and I was finally on my way.

Now, this isn’t the most egregious bit of customer disservice I’ve dealt with in this fair city (that one will be posted in its very own shiny entry soon), but I’ve found that there’s a great divide here – you either get fabulous, amazing service or you get some guy who can’t be bothered to even look at you when you ask him a question. Why is this? I used to work retail and it sure did suck a whole lot, but I always made every effort to be pleasant to even the most difficult customers, even the ones who tried to return a 3-seasons-old dirty sweater with no tags or receipt. I don’t buy into the “New Yorkers are rude” crap either – most people here aren’t truly rude, they are just in a hurry. So what’s the deal with customer service?

3 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

    Yea, that’s what happens when these companies hire LAZY, JUST SLIGHTLY ABOVE MINIMUM WAGE, ARROGANT, SLACKERS. Many years ago, workers and companies were more serviceable. Nowadays, they have the "Pay Me The Money And Don’t Bother Me" attitude. I’ve noticed this kind of attitude from all types of businesses. The problem is these people apply for (and get) jobs they’re not qualified for. They get jobs that involve dealing in customer service, but they don’t have the enthusiasm or courtesy. They’re there for a paycheck. Being that it’s New York, I’m not too surprised. On the contrary, I’m really surprised when I meet a worker that doesn’t have the lousy attitude.

  2. Dan (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2008 @ 7:51 am

    I would say you need to speak with the Operations Manager. When I was managing a Kinko’s back in the good old day’s I would have a team members hide if they treated a customer like this. Since I could not be there 24 hours a day I would appreciate when customers would tell me about bad experiences. I would then get the team members story and typically be stern depending on the situation. In this case I would have been very stern. I am sorry to hear about your experience and hope that the Operations Manager will take care of it for you.

  3. john morris (unregistered) on February 7th, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

    This isn’t meant to be an excuse for bad behavior at all. But, sadly- there are just a higher percentage of people who feel stuck in these jobs and are taking it out on others. Years ago, someone with a retail type job like this would at least be able to make ends meet in the city, but these days, the chances are that you are dealing with people with 2 or more of these jobs and perhaps going to school at the same time or trying to do art etc…

    I think a big factor in NY, is just the high cost of living. In Pittsburgh, for example you could work in a bookstore for life and live a decent life doing it.

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