Archive for the ‘Customer Disservice’ Category

Melissa’s Tough Love: What Happened to Good Service?

Since I’m one of those people that likes to find new places to eat and drink, I subscribe to sites like Rare Daily, Thrillist, Urban Daddy, etc. to help me along.

Sadly, they review these places so early on that it’s hard to get a feel of what the place is really like. For me, it’s more about the entire experience than the food alone. After my recent visit to Via dei Mille, I was not only disappointed in the sites that I so often count on, but the service at the restaurant as well.

I set up a dinner for a friends birthday and because she wanted to wear the Tadashi dress that she won at the silent auction when we attended the GMHC Fashion Forward Event (I got to play spokes model for Hanne Apparel that night), I thought we should go someplace a little dressy. That’s when I consulted New York Magazine, Thrillist and Rare Daily and found Via dei Mille.

Here’s where they went wrong… and right. I don’t want to be completely unfair.

You just can’t find good help these days

I am a photographer by trade. Hence I have film to be developed. I have a few key places around the city that I trust with my sensitive materials. I recently dropped off 20 some rolls at one of said fine establishments. They were training a new girl when I went in to drop off and she was a bit weird to me. At first she was asking me who I was there to see. I do ride a bike just about everywhere I go in this city and therefore have a bicycle helmet under my arm when I’m about town but really, all kinds off people walk into this place, not just messengers. Then when I put my paper bag full of film on the counter she snapped “don’t put that there!” Not realizing until a few moments later that I can read, and I have been to their store before and know not to put food on the counter where people’s negatives go.

Today upon picking up the film I got the same clerk. When I handed her my ticket she said in a snotty tone, “Oh man, I don’t want to have to get all this.”

To which i replied, “I’m sorry”.

She thought I was asking her to repeat what she had just said, and said the same thing over again. Again I repeated, “I’m sorry”. I was sorry that she felt that doing the simple tasks of her job were too much for her to handle. I was sorry she felt the need to complain out loud to the customer, no less.

I am not naming the establishment because besides this one experience I have had nothing but excellent service and I will continue to use them for a long time. It just goes to show you that you just can’t find good help these days.

Car service ripoff

I travel a lot, and when I fly into LaGuardia I usually book a car service to pick me up rather than wait in the taxi lines, which can be quite long, especially in the evenings or when there is bad weather. I usually use LimoRes (formerly Crown Limo), despite the bad service I’ve had from them before, but after the last few trips in which they attempted to charge me a waiting charge when they shouldn’t have, I’m shopping for a new car service to use, or suggestions on how to avoid rip-offs from supposedly legitimate car service companies in New York City.

Last night, we arrived from Toronto on AA flight #1084. Originally scheduled to land at 7:15, we encountered a 2-hour delay both on the ground in YYZ and in the air circling over La Guardia. We did not land until 9:11 PM and I was out of the terminal and on the phone with LimoRes at 9:18 to inform them I was ready to be picked up. This is well within the 45-minute grace period for international flights that LimoRes publishes on its website, which states that they check the time of arrival with the airline and dispatch the cars accordingly. We entered the vehicle at 9:27 PM, still well within the grace period. However, upon arrival at my apartment at 9:45, still within the grace period and only 34 minutes after we landed, the driver presented me with my bill, with a $16 charge for 16 minutes of waiting time included. The problem? LimoRes told the driver that we arrived at 8:40 PM. (more…)

The Devil Wears Ralph Lauren

Usually when I post things in the Customer Disservice category, they are describing a situation where I or someone I know was mistreated by a salesperson. In this case, however, the salespeople were being more than kind and helpful, and the customer was incredibly bitchy.

I was at the Ralph Lauren store on the Upper East Side returning an item when a lady walked up to the person who was ringing up my return and interrupted, demanding to know where a certain jacket was. The clerk directed her to another room, where she, unable to find the jacket, found another salesperson. They found the jacket, the customer complaining that “they sent me to the other room first, so obviously they don’t know what the hell they’re doing”. She set her two shopping bags, purse, and raincoat down (also, raincoat? it was clear and warm out today) and tried on the jacket. She decided to take it, then turned to the salesperson and hissed, “What are you doing? Why would you just let my things lie here like this?” Apparently, she’d wanted the salesperson to pick up all of her items after she’d set them down. To her credit, the stunned saleswoman said, “I didn’t want to disturb your things, and you could’ve certainly handed them to me if you’d wanted me to hold them.” The customer decided to purchase the jacket, but had someone else ring her up, and loudly complained the whole time about how bad “that girl” was and how she “couldn’t believe” that the staff expected her to try on a jacket “over a sweater and a raincoat”. She was mostly pissed that they didn’t pick up after her when she set her crap on the floor, as if that’s a fucking part of their job.

The sense of entitlement wafting off her was almost palpable. I hate to see people treat salespeople that way. I credit the professionalism of the sales staff in dealing with her, because if I were one of them I’d probably have told her where she could shove her raincoat.

Have you seen customers treating salespeople poorly around the city? Tell me your tales of customers behaving badly!

NYC apartment brokers are jerks? Say it ain’t so!

My friend Sean sent me this copy of a letter he sent to an apartment broker’s company management about how his wife was yelled at and harassed by the broker when she tried to find an apartment. It’s a lovely, heart-warming tale of bullying, harassment, and attempted bribery right here in good ol’ Brooklyn. Enjoy! (All phone numbers and e-mail addresses have been redacted to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent, as the case may be. Warning: the language is not for the squeamish.)

To Whom It May Concern:

As you can clearly see from the text message I have forwarded below, one of your “representatives”, Seth (, has gone above and beyond his duties in representing your company.


My wife called Seth in regards to an ad posted on Craigslist for a 1 Bedroom Apartment for rent in Greenpoint. Upon making contact with Seth, my wife was asked the following:

“When do you need to move by?”

When my wife explained to him that we were flexible, as our current lease was month-to-month, Seth responded with the following (which is pretty similar to what he said to me in his text message):

“People like you will never rent the apartment, and if you want to see the apartment, you need to give me $1000.00.”

My wife asked if that was his broker’s fee, he said no, that the broker’s fee is one month’s rent, but the $1000.00 was to just “see the apartment”. My wife, shocked and upset, then tried to explain to him why we were moving (repeated break-ins in our building), but Seth decided he should scream at her, saying “show me the money, you fucking cunt”, and then he hung up on her.

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?

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