The Retail Kiss of Death

Retail businesses of America, you are of course free to engage in whatever practices you wish. If they include the following, though, the odds that you will gain or keep me as a customer are extremely low.

#1: Grudging response or refusal when asked for an estimate or references. Re references, the dodge that you are protecting the confidentiality of your customers is laughable. We’re talking new windows here, not a Victoria’s Secret undies demo.

#2: Listing a phone number which, when called, is answered by a two-year-old. If you can pay for that big display ad in the Yellow Pages, you can afford a business phone and an answering machine.

#3: Offensive signs behind the cash register, including but not limited to instructions as to what makes a good customer, giant Confederate flag decals and so on.

#4: Using God to sell your product. This includes boasting of your listing in the Christian Business Directory, recorded phone messages invoking your religion or conferring blessings etc.

#5: (restaurant division): Continually interrupting our meal (during the appetizer, during the entree, during dessert etc.) to ask if we like the food. Believe me, if it’s really bad you’ll find out.

#6: The statement “You know, I didn’t ask you to come in here today.”*
*actual auto dealer kiss-off.

Maybe you’re just a bad customer…

Oh I am SO gonna get it for that one…


Since YOU asked for it, here is an actual example of Customer Training from an online company I have ordered from:*

HOW TO BE A GOOD CUSTOMER: We realized that most folks have never been trained to be a good customer, so we decided to offer a few pointers. First of all, become an educated customer by reading the catalog instructions carefully (If you are reading this, it’s a good sign). When calling, please be patient. While you are the most important person at that moment, there may be many more of you than there are of us, either on the other line, or standing at our office door.

Whether on the phone or in person, it is important to be nice. Nice customers get amazingly better results than those with a different attitude. We hire only nice people, and we want only nice customers. If you are a mean person, we will be glad to provide you with a list of (competitors) that deserve your business. *

I dunno - seems reasonable to me.

The retail store that I work at has an urn on the counter that says “Ashes of Problem Customers.”

Do you find that offensive as well?

My favorite:
ON the CUSTOMER side of the cash register in a gift shop in a LARGE shopping mall in Savannah, GA:

“Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours”

OK, I can take a joke, but I kind of had the expectation that at least one of the 3 people gabbing behind the counter would look my direction so I could give them my money.

I wish I could say that I just walked out, but I eventualy got someone to sigh heavily and ring me out (no eye contact or even a word to me–and we were both White which matters sometimes) and I carry the anger around to this day.

No, alice, that indeed is a laff riot.

I hold my sides to avoid unwonted discomfort. :D:D:D

When people look into it and comment that it’s empty, the standard reply is “We’ve already emptied it three times today…”



Please explain the “we were both White” (with a capital W, no less) comment. What does that have to do with anything?

I dislike the businesses that have Jesus and God all over the place when their actual business has nothing to do with either. There’s an exterminator around here that says “XYZ Exterminators In God We Trust” on their sign. Personally I’d rather trust in Dow when it comes to getting rid of roaches in my house… And at work we ran some business cards for a place that does Formica countertops. They have the business name, the contact info, and three pieces of clip art (because they’re 3 for $5 and they didnt’ want to waste any money, I suppose): a cross, a Jesus-fish, and a heart with an image of Calvary (three crosses on a hill) inside it… what does this have to do with their actual business?

That’s a dealbreaker for me. If I see a lot of religious imagery, I’ll do my very best to shop ANYWHERE else. I’ve been known to take a felt tip marker to my paper money and mark over the words “In God We Trust”, so I figure that they don’t want my atheist money. Now, if someone casually mentions it in passing, I chalk it up to the culture (I DO live in the Bible Belt, after all). But I don’t do business with businesses who are trying to convince me of their godliness.

HelloKitty, have you ever been to Savannah? They have 2 major malls. In 1994-1996 at least, unofficially one was for White foax & one for Blacks. Go the the wrong mall and you knew within a minute or two that something was wrong and that perhaps the world would be a happier place if you redirected your hunting/gathering efforts at a more appropriate mercantile.

Whites is capped cuz I ain’t 'zactly white in color–sort of a pinkish tan…maybe a little less pink & more tan in the summer, but certainly not white as snow. White, in this context refers to an ethnicity and is thus capped. More on this if you wanna, but not in this thread.

Racism happens on occasion. If you’ve not experienced it firsthand then I guess you might be inclined to ask someone what they mean when they address it as a matter of fact. I ain’t condoning it by any means, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For a good time with customer service games, sniff out some racially divided regions and do some shopping amongst “the other people” and just pretend not to notice that you’re different.

Personally, I find those signs by registers pretty damn amusing. Call me crazy, but I’m usually on the side of the employees; I’ve seen way too many out-of-control customers to see it any other way. You have to laugh or go insane. I never read them as an insult to me personally; I always see them as “Us Against The Assholes” jokes. And if you don’t get a dinky little sign that was put there to amuse you so your wait in line would feel shorter, get out of line! And yeah, I’m that customer behind you who will say to you what the employee can’t or won’t, just to make you recognize what an ass you’re being. :smiley:

When a business/employee/manager/whatever says, “We didn’t ask you to come in here today,” while it may be a horrible way to conduct business, it’s still true. I never understood the outrage over this type of statement; just as no one is obliged to patronize a store, no store is obliged to service every customer. The only right a customer has is the right to purchase, or not to purchase. And the way some customers carry on, you’d think that there was a Customer’s Bill Of Rights somewhere that was porked through Congress without anyone’s knowledge. Sure, bad customer service is annoying, but you’re always free to leave and find a place more to your liking. If you’re right, they’ll be out of business soon enough; if you’re wrong, they won’t miss you.

And for the OP…if you’re all pissy b/c your waiter checks back to make sure each of your courses is to your satisfaction, frankly I have no sympathy for you. How do you think he or she will “find out” about the problem if they aren’t there? Are you one of those annoying people who wants their waiter to psychically “know” when there’s a problem without asking or stopping by? Like, “I know I’ve ignored her every time she stopped by, but dammit, now I need some more horseradish sauce! Where the fuck is she?”

I appreciate a waiter who stops by frequently. All it takes is a nod and a smile to communicate the lack of a problem. I’d vastly prefer that over one who’s MIA.

I really hope your OP was more light-hearted than I took it to be.

Are you from the south by chance?

I liked this one I saw at a bike shop:

Labor: $10.00/hour
If you want to watch us work: $15.00/hour
If you tried to fix it yourself before coming to us: $30.00/hour

Jackmannii…I’m not sure what restaurants you eat at, but every restaurant I’ve ever worked in, I’d have gotten yelled at, if not eventually fired for NOT asking how every course was. If something’s cooked incorrectly and I don’t approach your table and ask, I’m supposed to know this…how?

You’re not one of “those” customers who thinks whistling and snapping your fingers at a waitress as if she were your dog is a good way to , are you? Or wait, maybe you’re one of the ones who yell “MISS!” in a rude tone at the top of your lungs, while I’m taking an order at another table. (both of these happened to me in restaurants fairly often, even at the fine dining level, sadly. Apparently high quality food does not necessarily denote high quality customers. =p)

Again, how? Sounds rather threatening to me, you do know the waitress doesn’t actually cook the food right? I’m sure you know not to yell at her, since it’s not her fault your steak is overcooked since she wouldn’t have the presumption of cutting into your steak before serving it, or that your linguini is overcooked since she didn’t touch it.

I’m sorry, I agreed with alot of your rant, but I don’t see #5 being valid. Asking how every course is, is GOOD service, and what you SHOULD expect from a waitress, imo.

CG: No, but I was alone in the shop and uttered not a word until I politely took my leave following my purchase.

#5: I agree with Audrey. If I want “fire & forget” food I’ll go to McDonalds. But if I’m at a sit down and serve me place then I really don’t want to go find my own ketchup or extra fork, and If there is a way my dining experience could be made better (within reason) I appreciate someone coming by to hear my views on the matter. I tip pretty well unless I get the idea that the wait staff doesn’t want me to (no coffee/water refills? no concern about whether I got my requested bleu cheeze dressing and not some barfy roquefort?). I’m paying for the meal and the service, I want both. But that said, there IS a fine line between being available and being ubiquitous.

#6: Anyone can relate to the sentiment sometimes. But even if you ARE the provider who screwed up this person’s day/mood, I’ve found that you can get a lot farther with the person in both the current and in future transactions, if you try to get at the root of the bitchiness and address it appropriately. If someone’s railing on your personnel, it’s OK to call them off and assume the heat, but for heaven’s sake, try to fix the REAL problem and win a loyal customer. Only about 5% of the asses I’ve had to deal with seem to have been brain damaged, the rest came around and thanked me/us for caring and for putting up with them. IMHO it’s just plain lazy to tell a customer to fuck off just because they are trying to make a point that you don’t want them to make. By hanging out your business shingle, you did ask them to come in here.

No “outrage” was involved, just the response “No, you sure didn’t - Goodbye.” (the “offense” that led to this tight-lipped remark by the car dealer was asking that the new car price and trade-in be negotiated separately). There was no yelling and no big deal, except I won’t be doing business with that car dealer.
One wonders why the sales manager couldn’t just say, “Sorry, we don’t do business that way.” **

The phenomenon of waiters coming by during each course to ask if you like the food (and interrupting your conversation) is relatively recent in my experience. Used to be that you’d be asked that question, if at all, once - at the end of the meal. It’s an even more recent phenomenon than vulturing over one’s plate prematurely to ask if “you’re still working on that”. Just as there can be a lack of attention at a restaurant, there’s such a thing as too much.**

And I hope I haven’t touched a retail nerve and driven you into a fist-pounding, spittle-flying rage. :rolleyes:

I don’t carry signs into stores informing them how to be more customer-friendly. This thread will have to do.

I once walked by a furniture shop in San Francisco to see it had put a sign on the door saying “Ring bell ONLY if you are actually looking to purchase. No bullshit.”

It went out of business not long after that.

I don’t really understand the complete mystification at HOW the waitperson would possibly find out the food was sub par unless he/she kept asking.

If something is wrong with my food, I’ll wait until I see my waitperson and say, “excuse me” and tell them the issue. I’m not going to sit there with a food problem and not say anything, nor am I going to punch out the waitperson. I’m also not going to wait until the waitperson chooses to approach me and check on the food.

I understand that waitstaff is told to check w/customers about food but it doesn’t make sense to me.

Some of my favorite businesses have signs like this. A video store in the downtown of this lovely mountain city has a sign on the door to the effect of “If you are a tourist, just keep walkin’.” Rude? Sure. But c’mon, how often do you as a tourist in a mountain town actually rent a movie from a locally-owned shop?

And then there’s the punk pizza shop in Chapel Hill; I remember watching them one day a decade ago stencil the sign on their door: “No Whiners.”