You Know Those Customers You Want to Kill? Yesterday I Was One…
The day started badly. I knew that I had to have breakfast with the girls from work, and although I admired their efforts towards socialising in the workplace, I hate my morning routine being thrown out. I didn’t want to have to wait until 10am to have my breakfast, so rather than get what I normally eat; I decided to go to a sandwich shop closer to the train station.
Customer disaster #1: Untoasted sandwich. Took one bite and asked for my money back
I ordered my usual: toasted brown bread, tomato, carrot and avocado. I stood there and waited patiently for my sandwich, eyeing off their greasy looking sandwich grill which looked as if it had morsels of gross bacon and egg still stuck all over it. Not a very pleasant sight if you’re a vegetarian.
The sandwich was a very good price, a full two dollars cheaper than from my normal store. I could see from the display boards that my train was coming. No matter, I decided to be patient and wait for my toasted sandwich. After about five minutes, it was delivered into my hot little hands. I dashed down to the platform and opened the bag. Raw. The bread was completely untoasted, floppy, slathered in margarine and not hot at all. Annoyed, I walked back up the two escalators and back through the turnstiles and up to the counter.
I told them that the sandwich wasn’t cooked, that I didn’t have time for them to re-toast it and that I wanted my money back. The guy who served me was now half way though chewing something large with his mouth wide open and he turned around without a word and handed me my change back. I left him with the soggy package, annoyed and hungry.
Customer disaster #2: Coffee order interrupted and forgotten: grinned and bore it
I got to work, and as I thought, the girls were late for our breakfast (only a little). We all walked to a funky cafe-cum-art gallery in a street near where we work. It was too groovy for words. All the male waiters had enormously impressive beards and funky clothes, imparting to me that this was a place of cool-repute.
Our funky, breaded waiter sauntered over to our table after we had all been seated for over five minutes, prising apart the sticky menus. We all ordered coffees, and when I came to ask for my long black, the waiter asked me if I’d like it with ice. Confused, I asked again for a long black and he again asked me if I liked my iced coffee with ice. I said I don’t want an iced coffee I want a long black. After too-ing and fro-ing for a little while, he seemed satisfied with my order.
One by one the drinks came out. All the girls got their soy chi latte with infused coconut milk almond oil – and yet – no long black for me. And Mr. Beard was nowhere to be found. We all wanted to order breakfast, but alas. No luck.
Customer disaster #3: Awful toast: asked to be re-made for me and my friend, then indicated I would not be back
Finally our waiter returned and said sorry he forgot my coffee. By now I had been seated at this cafe for half n hour in the sun, chatting with the girls from work and was already pissed off about my coffee. We all ordered breakfast, and I ordered toast with Vegemite, a savoury spread that is the quintessential Australian breakfast. It’s very, very popular here.
After more than 15 minutes, my toast arrived. It was plain sandwich loaf, the cheap kind that you get from the supermarket, hardly toasted and slathered, I mean slathered, in Vegemite. This won’t make much sense to international readers but everyone knows that Vegemite is always, always served on the side, because it’s very important to put on only as much as you like. I know married couples who have been together more than fifty years who do not trust each other to spread each other’s Vegemite.
My colleague had ordered the same thing. We both politely tried to eat it, but it was inedible. I called over the waiter and explained, and told him to remake it and put the Vegemite on the side like a normal person. My colleague thanked me; she said she is often too meek to speak up. The waiter was pissed off. Had I not been with work colleagues, I would have walked straight out.
Customer disaster #4: Can’t find the product code: stood there for five minutes plus and was about to walk out.
So on my lunch break I stumble upon a brand new groovy funky shop. So groovy and funky that the sales assistant didn’t care that I was browsing and continued to ignore me, which suited me fine. I found a really cute pair of salt and pepper shakers, and since her birthday is coming up, I decided to buy them for my sister.
I took them to the counter and the shop girl looked at them boredly. Holding them up, she started to mush the nice plastic box trying to remove the security tag. “Oh those are for a gift!” I remarked, hoping that she would know that I meant to be careful while handling them. Typing slowly into her computer, I stood there waiting to pay with my credit card in hand. Three minutes. Four. “I can’t find the product code,” she said to me blankly, as if I could somehow magic this information from the ether. I helpfully pointed out matching items in the shop, but alas, none of them had product codes. “These shakers are brand new,” she informed me dumbly.
Rather than pick up the phone and call her boss. She tells me she is going to email him. So there I stood, waiting in silence for this boss to reply. Why she couldn’t just take my $32 and find the fucking product code once I’d left the shop, I’ll never know. I told her I was in a rush, and that I’d come back tomorrow and bingo! The boss emailed back the code and I left the shop with my shakers.
Customer disaster #5: Expensive gum: $1.95 for that? Walked out of the shop and into next one and saved $0.45
I am penny pinching at the moment. After lunch I needed to buy some gum. The gum I always buy is about $1.05 a packet, less at the supermarket. On my way back from the salt and pepper shaker place, I popped into different convenience store than the one I usually go into. I had $1.70 in my wallet, plenty to buy gum, even at the inflated prices charged by most convenience stores. I put the gum on the counter and the man scanned it. $1.95 he told me.
“That’s too much!” I exclaimed like a lunatic. “Too much!” and with that, I walked out of the store (leaving the rip-off gum with him) and went to a different convenience store. I put the same pack of gum on the counter there and the guy told me $1.50. Smiling, I used the money in my wallet to buy the gum, and still had 20 cents left over.
Today I was an awful customer. Have you ever had a day like this?
Salt and pepper by hownowdesign
Vegemite by conejoazul
Sandwich by roboppy