Whatever happened to Customer Service ?

Lets talk about customer service- or , in my opinion, the increasing lack of it.

After a freak accident with a screwdriver left a very minute puncture in the bottom of a steel sink, I searched the net to find a solution to fixing it myself. It was quickly determined that a product called WATERWELD was the easiest and safest fix, and the manufacturers website showed it could be purchased in Canada at Walmart.

Great. I hate Walmart. I hate big box stores in general, but nothing gives me a headache faster than the thought of stepping into the store that, no matter what time you go, is always overladen with harried shoppers looking for deals at Christmas.

So,being environmentally conscious, I decide to save a trip, and call them to see if its in stock.

BIG mistake. Big, big , big.

I look up the number on the net for Walmart , and call. The pharmacy picks up and tells me that the ” internet made a mistake and published the wrong number, and no, I cant transfer you, our phones don’t do that here.”  She at least gave me the right number to call, which I did.

” Yah, Walmart here.” brayed the gum-snapping chickie-poo on the other end of the line.

” I am calling to see if you have a product in stock, can you check for me?”

“Uh … Yah, I guess. What is it? ” she snaps. I tell her the name of the product, and that its used for fixing automotive and household leaks. ” Uhh, Yah ok, I’ll put you through to that department.”

Now I’m on hold. Listening to Allen Jackson singing about some woman giving her love to him. For 10 minutes.

Someone finally picks up. ” Uh, Yah, who are you holding for? ” It’s little chickie-poo again, still snapping her gum into the line. I tell her it’s still me, waiting for that product check. ” Ohhhhh, yah…. ok, I’ll transfer you.”

On hold again. Dolly Parton Christmas tune. God save me, please – I feel like I’m in Texas listening to this crap.  But wait, someone picks up!

” Alo? Sporting goods!” She doesn’t seem to speak any English. She sounds Mexican. Ohmygod. Is this an actual American Walmart I’ve called?  Please transfer me back, wrong department. How the switchboard got sporting goods out of automotive and household leak repair I don’t know, but the non-English speaking clerk does noteven know how to transfer the phone. She keeps putting the phone down and talking to herself, apparently praying for help from above to help her figure it out. Finally someone else comes along and I am sent back to the main switchboard, and little chickie-poo with her bubble gum, who I suspect twirls her hair as shes talking.

In case you are wondering why I didn’t just hang up and call again, at some point it became so hilarious that any company would put such obviously incapable and oblivious people  on staff , I had to see it to the end, just to find out if there was anyone who cared about a customer at all in the store.

Back at the main switchboard, Chickie-poo puts me through to automotive, and back on hold I go. More really, REALLY bad, American country ,Christmas tunes.

” Uh .. yah, automotive”. Young man, sounds stoned. I tell him the name  product, and what its used for. ” Uh, Yah . I think you should call the paint department, yah…..”.

I ask him why I would want the paint department for a product that’s used to seal automotive and plumbing leaks.  No answer. Is he sleeping? Gazing off into space or chewing his nails?  I repeat myself, and he asks” Uhhh, yah, so do you want me to go look for it or something ? ”

No, you idiot, I want you to wash my car- OF COURSE GO AND LOOK FOR IT!  I didn’t actually say this…. but as I looked across the room at my husband…who was laughing at this point……I knew he could read my mind.

Back on hold, I was left there for over 10 minutes , at which time the battery on the phone died.  S***!

The call was a total of 38 minutes.

We went to Rona, where qualified people, who were friendly and professional , told us exactly how to find a product that was similar to the one in question, and it took us 5 minutes.

Call me old-fashioned, but what happened to customer service? I hear stories all the time about cranky clerks, tellers or cashiers who just don’t give a damn about their job. In Tim Horton’s yesterday, a “senior” employee was  pretty much barking at a customer who was chatting with his buddy while he waited, to hurry up and give his order, she was too busy to wait for him. She was rude and ignorant, and he told her so. Another clerk argued with her supervisor in front of all the customers. No respect, no work ethic.

No one makes you work at Walmart, or Timmy’s, and if you hate your job that much – find a new one or get educated so you can.  Perhaps you should be happy that you actually have a job- some aren’t so lucky. Life isn’t easy, and nothing  is going to be handed to you on a silver platter.  You just might make your day, and someone else’s, a lot better by smiling and  actually doing what you are paid to do.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.