The Mentor gave me good advice, and I have expanded it to include all those whose compensation depends in some part on me, sales staff, people paid by my taxes, hotel staff... I'm not rude, in fact if anything I tend to get overly cheerful, but I won't grovel to someone who spends a third of his day folding t-shirts. And I feel so sorry for anyone who has to work in our appalling state capital that over time I have learned to make them almost forgive me for not having to.
On the other hand, there are people who strike me as willfully unhelpful when their job is to help. I show no mercy to the lazy and obstructive. If I really want help/answer/merchandise, it's possible that I may disconnect and call again, hoping to get a different "representative," perhaps one of those who has been "helping other customers" and therefore might consider helping me. But if the person I'm speaking to is truly deranged, like the Verizon FIOS person who claimed his name was Clive - Clive? who thinks this stuff up? Mrs Bumble? - well, then, I admit, I indulge myself. If you can tell me that I can delete my email accounts and all the saved (till now) messages will go away but then come "running back" into the inbox when I reinstall the accounts -- oh, Clive, lad, you're fair game. Clive refused to transfer me to a supervisor, he claimed they "work independently." I blew the whistle that only dogs can hear into the phone and disconnected.
I've been following the Customer Service controversy over at Roxy's Uberblog, effortlessanthropologie.com . I'm sad to report that Anthropologie, that playground of the wistful and whimsical, that Magic Kingdom of the dazed shopper, seems to have slipped from the carved and embellished pedestal upon which I'd mentally placed it. I'd noticed a falling-off in the quality of a lot of their merchandise, but the staff at the Anthro's that shelter me on rainy days is generally sweet and willing. And, as I keep saying about J.Crew, one is not required to buy this stuff just because they are selling it. They're a store, not the Quartermaster. So the real live staff at Anthro -- generally kind. Not everyone has developed good feelings about their telephone staff, however, and some of the stories people have shared with Roxy are beyond appalling, they are downright scary. The comrades at Anthro know who you are, and don't hesitate to let you know it.
Recently I've received:
|the test tube vase, nice but fragile|
|this is what the stuffing looked like|
from J.Crew - many things have come and gone. Fortunately I am able to make in-store returns. I've stopped discussing quality and construction issues except when glaringly obvious. I've noticed that when I say something like "The threads in the side seams are unravelling," it gets recorded as "just didn't like." So now I report everything as a size issue. I thought once I was out of high school I wouldn't have to worry about my Permanent Record. Apparently it's still around, it's just been trans-shipped.
|the comfortable pants I didn't receive|
Sears. Yes, Sears. I bought a Sears dishwasher because it holds a lot of dishes, has the cycles I prefer to use, and its parts, should I need them, don't have to come by slow boat from a factory in Dortmund (decent football team, lousy shippers, or so I'm told). And by and large, the machine itself is fine. But the service? We were given a delivery date, told to expect a call the night before. The person who called was astounded that the deliver/install address was in Manhattan, the "ticket" had been sent to a facility in Western Pennsylvania from whence, and I quote, oh, truly I quote, "we are not required to go to New York." It took weeks to straighten this out, because they then recorded our "ticket" as complete, meaning they reported to Sears that the machine had in fact been delivered and installed. Himself wanted to call Amex and let them deal with cancelling the order. I told him he could, but first he had to find another dishwasher that would fit our space but have an extra-large tub and folding racks, and get it installed. He demurred.
Ultimately, Sears located our dishwasher, "trans-shipped" it to a different warehouse, and got it here. It was in fact the one I had ordered, but the little plastic clip that holds up the row of tines for normal use and lets the row lie down when you need more space for large objects -- missing. I called the Sears 800 number and spoke to someone who clearly wanted me to go away. She told me that Sears had stopped selling Kenmore (their house brand!), that there was no such part, that there was no such model... I was afraid my machine would be out of warranty while she droned on. Hung up, the next rep knew exactly what I was talking about, and I got my clips. Note the plural there, I didn't want to have to go through this again. Ever. So - fail on delivery, fail on service. But I will say my dishes and pots are very clean. Fair is fair.
Oh, yeah, a few days ago, I jumped on the Brooks Brothers sale and ordered three polo shirts for Himself. To his delight, they arrived promptly. One fit fine, a second - same shirt, different color- had obviously been mis-sized, and the third was not a polo shirt and not his size. No problem doing an in-store return, but after what I've been reading over at Roxy's, I wonder if BB is going to hold a grudge. I figure I'm safe from Sears, given what they've demonstrated about the quality of their geography and record-keeping. Otherwise I would worry that they know where I live.