Last night I stopped at Panera to pick up some bagels for seminary this morning. My daughter expressly requested the cinnamon chip kind so when I saw that there were four left I said, "I will definitely take all of those!" And then apathetically filled in the other nine with second choices. The girl helping me was friendly and talkative so a few minutes had passed since I told her what I wanted when another cashier walked over and took three of the cinnamon bagels.
"Oh," says the gabby clerk,"she just took your bagels."
"Well, get them back," says I, the disgruntled customer.
"She's already cutting them, sorry."
"Didn't I say I wanted them long before that guy even came in?"
"I know, but sorry. What else would you like?"
"Nothing else. That was what I wanted."
"We open at six. Do you want to come tomorrow?"
"No. I am here now and I have to have them at a place by 5:50."
"Well, sorry," she listlessly repeats. "Pick three more now."
I wanted to growl at her. The only ones left were the ones that cost less, because they are so boring and horrible and no one wants them, and yet I still had to pay the same price because I was getting the package deal. Come on -- help me out. Offer me some free bagels or something to make me feel better! No? Nothing. Sorry with a smile seems to be adequate around here.
Perhaps I was more bothered than usual because it was 7:30 and no one had eaten dinner yet because of volleyball and dance. Or it could be because something equally exasperating had already happened earlier in the day. I had been to the children's consignment store to pick up a few more things for fall and if you use your credit from selling things everything will be essentially 10% more discounted. I told the cashier my consignee number, she repeated it, I said it again, she checked the computer and said, "No. You are at zero." This surprised me a little since I had taken so many things in at the end of summer, but fine, I'll just go ahead and buy what I had chosen. Some background on the cashier: when I first met her about a year ago I asked where she was from and she replied, "Why do you ask?"
"Because of your accent."
"I don't have an accent," she assured me, "I am from Poland, but I have lived here for a long time."
That is fine, whatever, I have lived in other countries and have always been so grateful when people were kind and patient with me, but she is a little difficult to understand. So I pay for the items with my credit card then think to try the boots on Phin and realize that they don't fit him. So one minute after my purchase I tell her that I don't want them after all. She says that they can't do returns to a credit card, but she can credit the cost to my account. I tell her my number again, 57. She then says the name on that account and it isn't mine. She then asks to check under my name. "Oh my goodness! There are a lot of Smiths! And there are so many Mary Smiths!" Yes, yes, yes, I know! That is why I didn't have you look it up under my name and besides, I know my number thank you very much. She gets a worried look on her face and tells me that the computer messed something up, she is having trouble fixing it, and do I mind if she helps the people in line behind me because I don't have anything else to do, right? Fine. I am nice. Phin goes to the bathroom a couple of times, I wander around the store for awhile, she calls me back and says that it is all fine now and I actually have $60 in my account. She had put in the number 507 because that is 50 and 7, right? I tell her that I want it all off of my credit, but no, that is not possible because they don't do returns. But this is totally your mistake! There was nothing wrong with the computer, I said the right number, I have waited for over 15 minutes -- I want some token to acknowledge my trouble. Sorry. Sorry. All I get is sorry, with a side of sheepish grin.
Of course, neither of these episodes are earth shattering or important in any way -- simply aggravating and I seem to have taken the bait. I also think it says something about the larger question of customer service and do you even want my business? I do not have to come back and I can tell all of my friends about you, so watch it!