Friday, December 19, 2008

If The Economy Is So Bad....?


If the economy is so bad, why is it so incredibly hard to find good service? My husband and I continue to be amazed at the crappy service we receive from businesses. I guess since things are "so bad" I would expect businesses to step it up a notch and do everything they can to keep their customers. Here are three examples of disappointing experiences we've had lately. The first one is rather long but the other two are quick:

-We received some cash towards new appliances for a wedding gift. After watching sales for awhile I called the Lowe's about a half hour from here. I asked if they had any black or stainless steel gas stoves in stock with a storage drawer at the bottom. The woman assured me they had two in stock. After driving all the way there we were pointed to only one stove that fit our description and told that the floor model was the only one they had left and we could have it at 10% off if we liked. Of course it was dented and scratched!! When I mentioned my phone call ahead I was told that the girl who answered my call was from a different department and didn't really know what she was talking about. Anyway, after leaving to look at other stores we came back and said we'd take the dented one. The same woman rudely informed us that we'd have to take it the way it was because they crush all their boxes and their wasn't one piece of cardboard in the whole store that they could cover it with (and of course it is raining outside!). We told her that if she wanted to sell the stove she would find us something to package it in. After suggesting we go buy a tarp and us glaring at her she finally found some cardboard and saran wrap and wrapped it up quite nicely. Needless to say, we didn't buy any other appliances their and will never go back.

-We need two estimates on rebuilding our shed for the insurance company. The first company that came out was very professional and looks to be great to deal with. Another guy never called us back. A third contractor assured me he could come out and give us an estimate, then set up a time with my husband. So Brian came straight home from work to meet him instead of running some other errands that needed to be done. At the time he was supposed to arrive the man called and said that he had come out earlier in the day and looked at the building and it wasn't something he was interested in working on!!! We weren't so mad that he didn't want the job as much as that he didn't call earlier to let us know.

-Now we need an electrical bid. We called the company our neighbor works for. His boss was supposed the call us and come out this past Monday or Tuesday. No word from him yet.

I don't mean for this post to be all negative. You don't even need to read my examples above. The point is that I feel very frustrated when the country is constantly talking about the "economic downturn" and yet we can't get good service! On the other hand, yesterday I received a Christmas card from our wedding photographer saying "Thanks for your support". The small stores' shopkeepers that I patronize show genuine appreciation when I check out. The people at our bank are very helpful and called this week just to double check that we got the right cash back. The vet clinic that I work at has several appreciative clients that bring us cookies, breads, and chocolates this time of year. The local pharmacy even sent over a gift to say thanks for sending our prescriptions their way.

Those things are what I try to remember when crappy service starts to seem the norm. It really makes me think that there is still a lot of room for new businesses if they treat people right. I'd really like to hear about your experiences, good or bad, and please tell me if I'm crazy or does this stuff leave you scratching your head too. After all, doesn't anyone want our money?

Note: after re-reading this I feel the need to point out that I think we approach people in a friendly way and are generally well liked in our neighborhood. Lol. I didn't need anyone thinking we're crazy people who chase everyone away! :)

5 comments:

Joyce said...

Waiting for tradesmen/service people is one of my pet peeves. I know they get emergency calls, but in this day of cell phones a simple courtesy call to explain why they are running late would go a long way with me. It ought to be part of their apprenticeship.

Abbie said...

Having grown up working at my family's farm market, I know that the customer is always right. I am always nice to people and I get very frustrated when check out clerks etc. are rude or just not friendly. Today I went to the store and the cashier was texting while ringing me up. I wanted to tell her that she'd be fired if she worked for us, or if she was in my class, I'd take away her phone. But I kept that to myself!
I've found that small family owned businesses tend to have the best service, since they have a stake in the company. I knew that I had to be nice to customers because their money went directly to my family. If it's a big store like Lowes, the average person working there doesn't care about you, because their paycheck is the same if you buy or not.
When building our house, Ed and I often got poor service because we were young and people just assumed we couldn't afford anything. I remember being at the granite place and waiting around for like 15 minutes while other people were getting helped, until I started saying loudly "Well I guess they don't want our CASH PAYMENT since nobody is helping us!!!" and wouldn't you know it, right away a woman came over to help us.

Jena said...

Joyce - I totally agree. I remember in horseshoeing school the teacher said the business is 10% shoeing and 90% service. If you show up on time and are friendly it hardly matters if you do the best job in the world. I think that is true with a lot of things.

Abbie - I'm glad you can relate. I bet you're right about looking young/people making assumptions. I often surprise people when I mention "my house" or "my husband". I guess when you don't wear pounds of makeup and show off your chest you look a little younger than you are. :) I too get the urge to tell cashiers, etc. what I think about them but like you said, they don't have a stake in it so why should they care. Oh well, I guess it gives us nice people an advantage in life!

Julie said...

Wow. I think it's the time of year. I hate this time of year for shopping!! I've been to stores and the person doesn't even tell me what the total is, they just sit there and wait for me to look at the screen. Come ON! lol! I'm a stay-at-home-mom, I'd love some adult conversation even if it's a half hearted, "Hi, how are you?....That will be $64.80" or whatever!

Jena said...

Julie - Lol. That is funny! And very rued! After all, that is their job for pete's sake! I hate shopping this time of year as well. Especially now that I ask for paper bags or bring my own. That always gets me a couple dirty looks! :)