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EVERYTHING KING: Good service? Yes, please!

Buy local? I am trying, but in this week's Everything King, Wendy requests service be kept local as well
2021-11-30 Dishwasher
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It is nearing turkey time and I have a bone to pick. Service is severely lacking.

Here are a few examples of recent incidents that have happened to different people and in various locales at individual businesses.

Let me say up front that I completely support buying local as much as possible and attempt to shop mindfully.

However, I have a real beef with the lack of service and accountability that some stores and businesses find acceptable.

It seems to me the old motto “the customer is always right” has morphed into “who cares if the customer is right.”

Some of these are truly minor inconveniences while others seem just completely ridiculous.

Situation 1:

Christmas shopping in a local business. The customer was purchasing several of the same item to give as gifts. 

At the check-out, she was advised the store doesn’t offer paper receipts. She could get one e-mailed or texted to her phone.  

I guess it's not a huge deal, but it puts the onus back on the customer to keep track of more digital jazz when a simple paper receipt could suffice.

Situation 2:

Customer purchases a new dishwasher from a reputable local business. 

On the day the installers come, the customer is told he doesn’t really like the piping that came with the new appliance and asks the homeowner to go to the hardware store and purchase something different. This will be on her time and on her bill.

 Oh, and while she is out scouting for the new gadgets, he will go deliver someone else’s new appliance and return — whenever.

Situation 3:

A person goes to get a new battery for a cellphone. She is told they have no such battery for that phone and, in fact, that phone isn’t even sold there anymore. They also (though being in the cellphone business) have no idea where a new battery might be obtained and suggest a repairman will be required.

So, if it can’t be fixed, she’s now having to purchase a new phone. 

Let me back up a bit and tell you how difficult it was getting inside said business. Since this one happened to me, I was taking mental notes about just how “easy” buying local was. The doors were locked in the middle of the day. There was a note on the door saying you needed to phone them and make an appointment. 

As mentioned, my cellphone was dead, so that was not possible. Thankfully, there was an intercom system. I gave my name, rank and serial number. I was asked to step back, look to the sky, lower my mask and pose for a picture. Then, put the mask back on and get photo identification ready to show the staff member at the door who then let me in and sat me at a chair quite far from his work kiosk. 

It's difficult to have someone show you a new product and how to work same when you are doing so across the room. When asked why they have to go through that whole routine, they just say it’s a decree from head office.

Situation 4:

A long-anticipated breakfast out at a popular diner.

The opening hours listed on the door are no longer correct. They changed at some point during COVID. It is neither correct on their website nor on the front door. Same goes for the menu prices, which have jumped by $2. 

They advise you of this after you order. They don’t have rye bread because they ran out and didn’t get around to ordering. The homemade jam is an odd orange colour. They clearly forgot the sugar, which would have made it red. I ask if they have a new recipe, because it doesn’t taste the same. I am told there is a new cook who did it wrong. End of discussion.

I see a couple of big problems. Outsourcing by local companies to other agencies. If you want me to buy local, you need to offer me local service also. Don’t just leave loyal customers stranded with no real way of getting satisfaction. The purchase is important but no less vital is follow-up, support and a company guarantee.

Secondly, at some point in time, it has become OK to offer a mediocre effort. Not everything can be blamed on the pandemic. There seems to be less importance put on a job well done.

If you really care about my business, please don’t make it so difficult for me to give it to you.

About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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