Wednesday, March 5, 2008
5/30/06 - "Cookies and customers."
I am eating E.L. Fudge double-stuffed sandwich cookies with chocolate filling. Double-stuffed with chocolate filling? Hot.They are delicious. They have ridiculous phrases printed on them, like, "From the Hollow Tree," "Do You Believe in Elves?" and the aforementioned, "Elves Exist!" Really? Thank you, cookies, you've opened up my eyes to a whole different world. If it weren't for these cookies, I would have kept believing that elves are the products of fanciful imaginations and belong only in stories, but so many cookies have proclaimed so emphatically that elves do indeed exist, that I have now seen the error of my ways and am a true believer. These cookies have effectively changed my life.Or something like that.When I went to make this pointless entry about cookies, it asked if I wanted to restore my last draft, and since I've started any number of lj entries while working that I never finished, I decided to see what it was. It was my customer story, that was supposed to be like Rhiannon's customer story, only not as good, because her customer is worse than this guy was. I only had to see him a couple times, she sees Neal every day. But anyway, for the really bored, an account of my encounter with a total jerk.In honor of Rhiannon's Ode to Neal, I thought I would share my own crazy customer story. It's not as bad as hers by any means (the idea of drinking a glass of the milk from the pitcher for coffee is a perfect combination of inappropriate and disgusting), but I was still a little amazed at the utter lack of tact, poise or general understanding of ethical business practices exhibited by this man.We had a customer last week that tried to pay for a car part with an usigned credit card in a female name. When I saw it was unsigned and asked for ID, he was like, "Don't do this, just run it through." I insisted, because duh, and he said it was his wife's card, but that they had different last names. I'm willing to bend on first names, but last names on ID and credit cards should match, or you should put both names on the card. Again he tried to pressure me to just drop it and run the card, which is the precise way to get me not to accept it, because 1) I don't appreciate being bullied, and 2) Logically, only someone who was doing something wrong would be so forceful. I actually believe that it probably was his wife's credit card, but he was being such a jerk that I told him I couldn't take it - which is true, the ethical thing to do is not accept the card, whether it's his wife's or not. He FLIPPED OUT. He stormed out to go to a cash machine, complaining loudly that we had taken this card from him before and that clearly I know nothing about customer retention. After he left he called and curtly asked for parts. I knew it was him from the caller ID, and the thinly veiled contempt in his voice. According to JD, the back counter parts guy, he said that he was thinking about trading in his Navigator next year, but since I had given him such poor service he wouldn't be doing it here. That has nothing to do with parts, maybe he should have asked for a manager, or someone who might care? Also, his Navigator is a '98, which is old in the world of luxury vehicles, and he was buying parts for a Grand Marquis. This guy's no Mr. Moneybags, and certainly doesn't warrant any special favors. He came back twenty minutes later, and insisted that JD leave the parts department and come over to my counter to take his money, childishly proclaiming, "I'm not going to give it to her." The man is in his late 40's, but behaving with such petulance that I know multiple four-year-olds who could command more respect. JD gave me a weak smile as he walked by to come behind the counter, and I smiled back, which the dude noticed and said, "Oh, so this is funny now." I turn to him and say, "Sir, I'm not sure I see what the problem is here. Would you like me to get a manager for you?" He sort of blusters a bit, in a mocking tone says, "Oh, you don't see what the problem is," but again blows off the idea of getting a manager involved, which seems to speak of possibly knowing that a manager would be on my side, otherwise known as the side of logic and reason. I'm not a customer-is-always-right kind of person, and in general I have a hard time letting people operate under incorrect assumptions, so I again try to disabuse him of the notion that I am somehow wronging him by not accepting this unsigned, differently-named credit card in a woman's name. "Sir, it's in everyone's best interest that people don't accept unsigned credit cards without ID."He replies, in all seriousness: "I'm not in the habit of accepting advice from eighteen-year-olds.""Sir, I am not eighteen.""Oh? Well how old are you then?""Old enough to know how to ethically accept credit cards."He makes a snarky face, but is quiet for a bit, finishes up with JD, then as he's walking out comes up with this gem: "The key to a business relationship is consistency. You people have taken this card before, you should take it now. CON-SIS-TEN-CY. You took this card before.""Well then I apologize, because it was inappropriate for us to ever accept that card from you.""Humph." Aside, but loudly, to the parts guys, "She's got an answer for everything, huh.""I guess I do. Have a nice day."