Friday, July 30, 2010

Customer Service

Today I began an experiment to see if I could stretch my dollar a little more by going to 3 different grocery stores this week in search of sale items and the lowest price. After browsing the ads meticulously, making a meal plan based on those ads, and combining my coupons; I created 3 lists.  One was a list for Food Lion, one was for Publix, and one was for Kroger.  At 1:30pm, I packed up my 4 month old into her car seat and headed for Food Lion.  When we arrived I was reminded of how far away the parking spots are from the door at the Okatie Food Lion.  I carried the car seat across the parking lot and found that the car seat would not fit into the top portion of the cart.  I hesitantly placed the car seat into the large part of the cart knowing that I only had a small list of items to buy, and I could put most of them under the cart or in the small front part. 

After spending 40 mins in the store itself, the store did not carry 2 of the items on my list, so I headed to the checkout while my 4 month old started to cry.  I approached the cashier, and put all of my items on the belt while she casually conversed with the people in front of me.  My infant began to cry a little louder and I noticed that the people in front of me had already checked out and were now just simply chatting with the cashier.  I began to feel annoyed.  They finally ended their conversation, and the cashier began to ring my items.  She did not say, "Hello" to me or even look at me for that matter.  After she had rung up all my items, she told me that it would be $64 and change.  My infant had continued to cry and I was confused, I knew that I had added it in my head and thought that it should be closer to $50.  I handed over the money, but kept my look of questioning and confusion, while trying desperately to get my baby to take the pacifier that I was offering.  As the cashier handed me my receipt, she said, "Oh, you forgot to give me your MVP card."  That was it, "Yes!," I returned.  Thinking that this would be an easy fix, I handed back the receipt. 

A man had come up behind me with multiple soda bottles, and the cashier looked to him, then said to me, "Do you mind if I just ring him up first, then I will fix your receipt?"  As the baby cried, I nodded.  "She is kidding," I thought as I rocked the cart to try to calm the baby.  After she rang up the man, she told me that she needed me to pull out all of the sale items out of my bags so that she could fix the problem.  I nodded and took all of my sale items out, but was in total disbelief that this was actually happening.  I then watched her tick slowly through my receipt, to ensure that she had all the sale items.  First she rang up each item individually to get a refund total, then she rang up each item individually as an MVP sale item to find out that she owed me $14 and change.  I was now actively fighting back my anger as the baby continued to cry.  Could she not hear this?  And then just to end my experience with a bang, she said, "Do you think you can bag?" as she tossed the items my way.  SURE, why not!

Now here's the thing that gets me more than anything else, where the heck was the customer service here????  In this type of economy, I really expect to go into every store and feel like I am at Disney World.  With people spending less, wouldn't you think that every store would be fighting for your business?  I would.  It's hard for me to believe that with all the layoffs and unemployment that any rude people still have a job, and I find myself thinking that there could be such a great employee out there looking for work and this person has a job.  It amazes me. 

But with all of that, I spent $50 at Food Lion, $47 at Publix, and have not yet made it to Kroger yet.  Will update with my findings as soon as I make it to the last grocery store, but be assured that this is now becoming an Economics problem, because at this point, how much is my time and effort worth too???

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