If you tell me take it up with customer service … that’s exactly what I’m going to do

Understand that I’m not normally a customer service complainer.  Like I write in the letter that follows, I make it a point when I shop to seek out employees who are doing a good job and fill out a customer service card or at least stop a manager and tell them. When you look for good customer service, you find good customer service. And the bad employees often get the attention, while the good ones do their job in obscurity.

But I had an unpleasant experience today at my local megagrocery store, and when the cashier told me I could “take it up with customer service” I can only assume that’s what he actually wanted me to do. In the interests of fairness, I’ve deleted the name of the store and the employees in this post. It could be any store, any where. But you know where I was.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear ***** Customer Service,

I am generally not a shopping complainer. In fact, I make it a point when I shop at your stores to find an employee who is doing a good job and leave a comment in the box or tell a manager what a good job their staff is doing. I figure if you want a pleasant shopping experience you should look for it. But my experience today at the ***** store was unpleasant enough to feel like I needed to bring it to your attention.

I don’t normally shop at that store. My preferred store – for a variety of reasons – is the ***** Rd store. But I needed some essential oils and thought ***** would offer me the most choice.

Saturday at the ***** ***** isn’t the optimal time to shop. But I was pleasantly – and most gratefully, I might add – surprised by the fantastic employees on the floor in the departments where I shopped. From ***** at the Tea Bar to the man stocking the shelves in the specialty foods section to the employees in health and beauty to the chef I grabbed as he walked by. They were all friendly, helpful and not in the least fazed by the Saturday morning chaos around them.

But when I got to the check out, it was a different story. My cashier was friendly and laid back enough, but when I pointed out that he was ringing up the wrong prices and quantities for my items, things went south.

I was purchasing one bottle of sweet almond oil ($4.49), one bottle of grapeseed oil ($5.99), one Tangerine essential oil ($3.99) one Peppermint essential oil ($3.99), 2 lemons at 3/$1.99, 2 limes at 3/$1.99, 1 oz Genmaimatcha tea ($1.19) and 1 oz Yunnan tea ($1.32).

As my cashier ***** rang up the grapeseed and almond oils, I noticed that the individual price was correct, but it was extended out for a double quantity. I pointed out to ***** that I thought he was charging me for two bottles each when I was only purchasing one each. He kept saying, “But they’re the same price, right?” I tried to explain to him that not only were they not the same price, I was only purchasing one bottle of each.

I think he was trying to shortcut actually scanning the items by hitting “quantity 2”, but then he scanned each bottle. It took a few minutes of explaining why he was overcharging me, but he finally seemed to understand what I was trying to say. Then he started scanning and voiding, much to my confusion.

He then held up the Tangerine and Pepperment essential oils and asked, “Well, these are the same price, right?” I told him that he ought to actually scan them both and find out, since I didn’t know how much they cost. Besides, they were not the same products even if they are the same price.

Again, there was scanning and voiding, at which point I asked him if he could start over, since I was completely confused.

He told me that it was all correct and that it would work out and that if it wasn’t right I could take it up with customer service. I replied that I didn’t want to take it up with customer service, since he was in the process of waiting on me right now and could fix the problem here. I also told him that I’m not really one to complain, but that this was becoming really unpleasant, to which he just kept repeating, it’s OK, it’ll all work out in the end, if it’s not right they’ll fix it – in what I assume was an attempt to placate me.

In the end, my reciept was correct. However as a customer standing in line, it’s extremely confusing to have the cashier scanning and voiding and scanning and voiding. Had we been finished with my items, I can understand why he would have sent me to customer service. But since I still had items for him to ring up, it seems he could have either started over or been less flippant. I assume that had he actually scanned each time rather than tried to shortcut, we could have avoided the entire problem, especially since I only had a handful of items to ring up.

Since his response to my questions was that I should take it up with customer service, I can only assume that’s what he really wanted to happen.

I stopped at customer service and talked to *****, who was very kind and took my complaint seriously. Again, I told her that I’m not really one to complain but I felt like *****’s attitude was really inappropriate. She listened and took his name and lane number, apologized, and asked if there was anything she could do that would be helpful. I appreciated that.

Anyway, I wanted to share that experience with you. Again, the people on the floor were super helpful and really much more patient than I expected for the Saturday chaos. Other than ***** at the Tea Bar and ***** at the service desk, I didn’t get there names and wish I had so you could pat them on the back.

Many thanks,

Joanne Brokaw


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