I consider myself a pretty mild-mannered, easy-going, good-natured person, but on occasion something will rub me the wrong way and I just become ridiculously ungracious and irritated. The very sad part is that it doesn’t have to be anything serious or big; the smallest infraction of stupidity can sometimes send me over the edge of no return. It’s usually a battle I have in my head but once in a great while, I will open my mouth. This was one of those times.
Due to the numerous years as a supervisor, handling customer service issues, combined with my codependent, people-pleasing nature, “Customer Service” is very important to me and can make or break a business and/or a person. I strive to provide “Superior Customer Service” and it is what I expect in return. Unfortunately, the attitude of today’s generation is that they are doing us a favor or that we are inconveniencing them when we ask for assistance. However, there was one young lady at a shoe store in Elk Grove, that had the most pleasant of attitudes for someone in customer service. It was so refreshing but, unfortunately, the story did not end well.
Several years ago, Lucy and I went to look for some shoes for a “Roaring 20’s” party that she was attending. As we entered the shoe store, which shall remain nameless, we were approached by a sales clerk who asked Lucy, “Is there any particular style of shoe you’re looking for?” Perfect customer service move! Immediately approach the customer and ask if you can be of assistance, right? Find out what the customer’s needs are, right? I was impressed. Well…
As I walk down the aisle looking at the various shoes, Lucy informs the clerk, “Yes, I am looking for something black, low heal, with a strap across the ankle”. Very specific don’t you think? Well at least you get a general idea or at least the color, right? The young lady, without missing a beat, in her most pleasant of tones says, “Well, we have these. They’re tan and have a strap that goes around the heel.”
My breath caught in my chest and I was so sure I heard a snap as my head spun around. Did I hear that right? Tan? Strap around the heel? And to top it off, they were flats! She continues to pull out the same shoe in various colors, all the while talking to Lucy about how cute they were. There was a riot going on in my head. Years of customer service training…a lifetime of people pleasing…I wanted to scream, “ARE YOU SERIOUS”? There was such a battle going on in my mind that I could hardly keep my focus. Then I heard her say, “And we have it in green too”. Dear, sweet, flaming codependent, Lucy, being as big of a push-over as they come (sorry Lucy, just calling it like it is), says to the clerk, “oh, green, those are nice”.
My mind is screaming, “OH COME ON”!
The sweet clerk continues, “We also have these sandals right here.” Again, I hear the screaming in my mind, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I had to speak up. I couldn’t let this go on. Not for Lucy’s sake, but for my sanity. It took every ounce of strength I had within me to be as polite as possible and let her know, “that’s not what she’s looking for”. Unfortunately, it came out a little more tensely and tersely than I had meant it to. With that said, the clerk quietly left the aisle instead of offering any other assistance or asking for further clarification. She also left me to stew in my own lack of patience and grace.
I know, I know, I know… I’ve been working on it. Breathe before I speak.