Since when did incompetence become acceptable in customer service? These days it seems like everywhere you go, you run into some idiot behind a counter – or even worse, over the phone – who is terrible at their job. I probably sound like a grumpy old man now, but I remember back in the day when people actually took pride in being good at their job. Even if waiting tables or answering a phone wasn’t your dream job, you knew it was just a stepping stone and you wanted to be good at what you were doing in your current stage in life. Nowadays it’s like people just simply don’t give a fuck and the companies they work for don’t care enough or want to put the time and effort into training and maintaining a quality customer service staff. I run into this same issue time and time again.
My cell phone provider is Sprint and my internet service provider is Comcast. I’ve always said anytime I need to call either of these companies for something, it takes three phone calls to get it done. It has happened so many times this way that I’ve just accepted it as a rule.
So what the fuck is really going on here? Does everyone not receive the same training? Is there no communication between departments or any type of standard of customer service? With the amount of surveys these companies try to force down their customer’s throats, you’d think they actually gave a shit about what these people were doing. This brings me to what happened to me earlier today…
First of all, my first mistake was that I went to Walmart to do grocery shopping. Normally I go to an actual “grocery store” but I figured for the sake of time, I’d just go to Walmart this time because it’s a lot closer to my house.
I get in there, get all my groceries into my cart and now I’m ready to check out and leave. Nine times out of ten I will just go to the self-checkout, but this time, since I had quite a cart load, I decided it would be quicker to just go through the regular checkout lane. This was my second mistake. Normally, I see which registers are open and then make a quick assessment to see which ones are probably the slow ones, then choose whichever one seems to be moving the quickest. This time, there were three registers open and I unfortunately chose door number three.
I looked at the first one, which only had one person in line with just a few items, but the cashier was fumbling around with the gun thingy trying to scan a barcode for what seemed like several moments longer than I had patience for, so I moved on to register number two. This lane had only one person as well but the cashier appeared to be elderly and slow and probably one of those chatty types, which I fucking hate, so again I moved on. Register number three had a person already at the point of paying for her items and no one behind her. The cashier was a middle-aged woman who appeared to be reasonably spry (in terms of Walmart staff), so this is the one I chose.
The customer seemed to be having issues paying and ended up questioning her total because some items that she didn’t think were food were counted as food which messed up her cash to food stamps ratio or something. This display was already starting to aggravate me and I started to regret choosing this line. I probably looked visibly annoyed at this point but then the customer finally figured out her issue after a few moments and left. Now it was my turn.
All my stuff was on the belt and the cashier started ringing up my things. First of all, what ever happened to cashiers having some sense of hustle or urgency when ringing things up? Do they just think none of us have anything else better to do other than hang out at Walmart these days? I have shit to do, lady! Let’s hurry this up! One by one she rings up my items at a snail’s pace. Then when it comes to the produce items she starts pulling out a book to look up the codes. I’m thinking, aren’t you supposed to know these things off the top of your head?
She asks me, “Are these sweet potatoes?”
“Is this squash? I mean zucchini?”
“Are these jalapeños?”
I finally said, “Yeah. Is this your first week?” I mean, seriously. Who the fuck doesn’t know what a jalapeño looks like? Is there literally anything else in the store that looks like a jalapeño but isn’t? No. The answer is no.
She says, “No. I just don’t normally do this.”
“Oh ok. You do something else?”
“Yeah. We’re short-staffed today so I’m helping out with groceries.”
At this point, I’m aggravated, she probably thinks I’m a dick, and I’m just standing there waiting for her to finish performing the task of ringing up groceries and bagging that any twelve-year-old could do with twice the efficiency and speed. If she was my waitress, she probably would’ve spit in my food at this point.
Finally, the transaction is finished and she hands me my receipt without saying a word. No “thank you” or “have a nice day,” just hands me the receipt. I’m sure this was because she got offended by my comments, but too fucking bad.
Maybe by me saying something it will motivate her to get better at her job. Maybe the fear of another situation like that happening again will be incentive enough for her to become a better employee. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just a dick and maybe this is just the way customer service is now.
I can’t wait for the day when they’re all replaced by robots and we don’t have to worry about this problem anymore. Although I’m sure the robots will find a way to fuck up in a different way and my future grandchildren will be ranting about that instead.