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I have been having a streak of bad customer service this week from businesses and retailers.  I also read Lightbulb's diaries about working retail.  In the comment section of his latest work of art was a discussion about what to do about bad customer service.  Basically, the advice from all the retail workers was call the corporate offices because talking to a manager usually doesn't do any good.

So I called the customer service number of a national chain mall store catering to  male female teens and young 20's.  I had bought a belt with a bottle opener belt buckle because my great nephew wanted it (I checked with his mother, my niece, to see if that was ok first).  I got home and there was a coupon for $10 off in the mail.  This was a few days before Thanksgiving and given how busy I was, I planned to go back right after the holiday.  

Today, while running errands after a doctor's appointment (an hour later than the appointed time and they looked at me like big effin deal when I complained and no apologies and a five minute annual gyn exam for my trouble but that's another diary) I stopped to simply get the $10 credited to my card.  A young, very young woman greeted me as she stood behind the counter.  I told her what I wanted to do but she couldn't do it as she had only been at the store for a few days and I would have to wait for the other young woman on the register to do it.  I asked if she could do a return thinking I'd return it, repurchase it and get the coupon off.  No, she couldn't do returns either.  So I waited for the girl to finish the sale she was ringing up.  How two items takes more than 5 minutes is beyond me.  These computerized registers are so slow and are really inventory control and not about getting customers checked out in a timely fashion.

Finally, the one who can actually work a register tells me she can only issue a store credit.  No one mentioned when I purchased the belt that the gift receipt was useless except for store credit.  I don't want store credit.  I simply want $10 off my credit card used to purchase the belt.  

I say forget it, I'll find the bill and come back. And oh, by the way, don't stick someone behind a counter who can't run a register.  Try training staff before you dump them on the sales floor.

I go home, find the damn bill and then look up the store chain on the internet.  I find a customer service number and call.  It's not really a customer service number the woman who finally answers tells me.  It's for on line orders.  So I read the sentence above the number that says call this toll free number for problems in stores.  Oh.  Well, here's the corporate number and asks if I'm ready to write it down.  I sure am.

Now I get another woman for customer service at corporate and I suggest first they correct their website.  She says no, that's not website says but I read her the sentence directly.  Oh.  At any rate, what can she do.  I tell her my sad story and ask why they are not concerned with customer satisfaction and repeat business.  Do they want me as a customer and do they want repeat business.  She did not take my name and address, did not offer anything except to say she would call the store and speak to them about this. I also said it's not really the girls' fault because they were not trained.  Why not train them correctly?  Why do they think it is ok to waste my time?  I told her I will never go back to their store and now that I know what other stores they own, I won't frequent them either.  My daughter is going to be disappointed about one in their group.  I also told her I'd return the belt if my nephew hadn't specifically requested it.  If I find another bottle opener belt (I am still not sure about this gift as it is), I'm returning this one.  

There, I feel better now.  I am going to the phone a lot in the future.  I've had it.

Fri Dec 02, 2011 at 8:41 AM PT: Success!  I went back this morning and got my $10 off coupon refund on my credit card.  Now was that so hard that petty small chain store couldn't do this yesterday, make me happy and keep me as a customer?  Apparently not.

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