As you may imagine, I spend quite a bit of time shopping. Filming our new show "Anna and Kristinaís Beauty Call" has us in and out of stores for a good chunk of each day. Plus, I love to dine out; it's how I socialize with friends. Add that to all the travel I do for work and for pleasure and it's safe to say I have a lot of interaction with the service industry...which leads to a number of pet peeves.
#1: Killing me with unkindness.
In many American and European cities, sales people are often apathetic at best, and downright rude at worst. But this should not be the norm, and we consumers must not accept it as so.
On the other hand, by and large, service in Canada, and Vancouver in particular, is quite good. Afterall, we’re known the world over as being friendly and polite. Rest of the World: take note!
#2: The here and now.
I’m standing at the cash register ready to pay for my purchases and the store’s phone rings. The sales associate asks me to give her a moment and proceeds to spend 5 minutes helping the person on the other end of the line. I’ve gotten so frustrated waiting (on more than one occasion) that I’ve literally put down my purchases and walked out without even a backward glance.
If I’m a flesh and blood customer with cash in-hand, standing here before you right now, I am your first priority. If the phone rings, I don’t mind if you answer it, but if it’s going to take more than 30 seconds to respond to the request, please ask the caller to wait, or take a message and call back. Better yet, let it go to voice mail.
#3: Smiles everyone, just smiles.
When I walk into a store, I do like to feel welcome. A hello and a smile from the sales staff is always inviting. But what drives me bonkers is when I enter a larger store with numerous staff members and I am greeted by every single one. Not only that, but each one asks me if they can help me find something. I end up saying “hello” and “no thank you” about 10 times. After the first couple of times, I definitely start sounding grouchy. I suggest that greeters at the front of the store get dibs on “hello” and the rest of the staff stick to smiles.
#4: Be gracious about your gratuity.
I’m at restaurant and I ask for the bill. It comes to $27.89. I put down two 20 dollar bills and ask for change. When the billfold comes back, it contains a ten dollar bill, a twoonie and eleven cents. A twoonie is a lousy tip but I’m not leaving the $10. Think ahead waiters! Break up those bills and you’ll get a better tip.
Iknow I’m not alone when it comes to getting rough treatment by sales people. As a wiseman once said regarding the service industry: Make it easy for me togive you my money!
Have you got any service industry beefs? Do tell!
Join the conversation
On 10 26, 2009 at 01:09:46 PM, Trudy H. said:
Girls, I feel your pain. As someone who worked in retail management and in food service, I can honestly say that great employees are hard to find. Therefore, service is hard to find! I had a clothing store clerk stand behind a counter drinking a coffee, watching me struggle to find a size in a sweater (which was displayed over my head). When I finally found the right size on a mannequin, the clerk refused to get it down, telling me that displays were not for sale. WTF? That’s what displays are for!!! Just today I had a pizza restaurant (large chain) burn my pizza and wings that I ordered for takeout lunch. When I called to tell the manager, he apologized and offered to send me a free lunch today AND a free lunch in the future. There was a malfunction with the oven and everything was undercooked or burned. Great service indeed! Trudy H.
On 11 16, 2009 at 12:03:42 PM, MJ G. said:
We’ve been having this discussion in Calgary for quite a long time. Our malls are getting bigger and bigger and the service is getting poorer and poorer. The only time you get service is when they think you’re shoplifting from them. I’ve been in retail for over 13 years, and I’m still fairly young (26), and as awkward as this sounds, here goes: If I had done what these kids are doing today, I would have gotten fired so fast, I wouldn’t have been able to get a job ANYWHERE
On 09 13, 2011 at 11:06:17 AM, Hasse C. said:
I was recently in Montreal with my boyfriend, at L’Academie. I really wanted to like this place, as a few people had recommended it, so I overlooked the fact that the host would not let anyone past the front door unless their entire party had arrived; thus, no chance to even grab a glass of wine as we waited for two friends. The waiter was helpful enough and the food pretty good, but we got the distinct sensation that we were being rushed in order to make room for more customers. What ruined the evening, though, what the “billing incident”: When we got a $63 bill, my boyfriend gave the waiter $70, expecting the change which he would complement to give a proper tip. The waiter came back shortly after we paid and said, “Was there some sort of mistake, Monsieur?”. I double-checked the bill and told him in French, “What seems to be the problem? The bill is for $63 and we gave you $70.” He gave me a disdainful look and said, “Oh. If that’s how it is, then that’s how it is.” That’s when we realized that he was expecting for us to include the tip in the bill, so he wouldn’t have to come back. Our friends never saw their change, so it was also assumed to include the tip. Other places in Montreal always brought the change, and we left a proper tip as we left. So I am not sure what happened at L’Academie. I won’t be returning.
On 10 13, 2011 at 01:12:21 PM, Kristina Matisic said:
Hi Hasse, that would ruin my evening too! Thanks for the heads up about the restaurant. Glad to hear that was your only bad incident during your visit!