Shopping Trip Gone Awry (in Which I Rant and Rave about Bad Customer Service)

In this world, one should never be truly shocked when they meet with impolite treatment in a store. Unfortunately, it happens quite alot. The fact that customer service usually carries a qualification, whether fast or slow, good or bad, for instance, betrays the fact that not all customer service is in fact, GOOD customer service, despite its definition, which is given as:

“assistance and other resources that a company provides to the people who buy or use its products or services”.

Despite plenty of poor customer service experiences, my most recent tops the list as the one in which I felt most personally slighted, and so I will share it with you…but first let me say…those of you who read this site will be able to attest to the notion that I don’t generally view our blog as a forum for airing frustrations and grievances. However, what I am about to share with you has a humorous side to it that hopefully will entertain you, as well as allow me to vent (just a little!).

It was a nice enough day for running errands with the children (all four, as you will later learn). We were in the middle of our spring break week, and I was at a nearby mall, browsing through shops. With the hope of finding some churchy dress shirts for our two middle boys, we all ventured into a children’s clothing store. Upon entering the store, Sales Associate #1 looked us over, and then greeted me with the wry comment, “My, you certainly have your hands full today, don’t you?”

Not “Hello” or “Welcome to (Name of Store WithHeld)” or “How are you?” but a sarcastic comment directed at the monstrous amount of children that I’d brought in with me (once again, there were four). Ironically, it is these very children (with whom my hands were apparently quite full!) for whom I intend to purchase clothing when I walk into a one of these unmentioned stores.

But back to our story…

As I made my way through the children’s store, with my vast progeny, Sales Associate #2 (it seems they were tag-teaming that day) asked me if I was looking for anything special. I casually answered that I had not been in the store recently and just wanted to browse the different lines of clothing. In the next few minutes, as I continued to shop around the store, the salesclerk made the comment, referring, I suppose, to my earlier answer about not being in the store recently, “Well, I can see why you don’t get out much!”

Excuse me, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?? Oh, how I wish I’d had the presence of mind to answer her in some way. As it was, I stared at her blankly, blinking my hazel green eyes and feeling stupid.

Did she have any sort of clue as to how rude she sounded to me, the mother of four, who had just entered her store a few moments earlier to shop for my precious children? Did she consider that I was a customer, and that the store had something to gain (like monetary profit?) by extending warm customer service to me, instead of the two rude remarks I’d received instead?

More importantly, did I just look as though I’d crawled out from under a rock, or been drug out of a dark alley somewhere? Because you would have thought so given the piteous look she wore as she mourned over the fact that I can never leave the house, so trapped am I with my four offspring!

Though this is hardly relevant to the appropriateness of her comments, I take my children on many shopping outings with me, and on this particular day, they were all acting beautifully (not always the case!). All four were completely quiet: my older three were peacefully engrossed in the TV program playing near the back of the store, while my youngest, the 5 month old, slept contentedly in his stroller. I saw no reason for her snide remark about my not getting out much, aside from the fact that it just is not true. And let’s all not forget that once again, ALL THESE CHILDREN are the ones I am shopping for in your stupid clothing store!!

I finished my shopping in an extremely frustrated state, silently asking myself how store employees get away with treating customers in this manner. My desire was to just turn around and leave the store without bothering to purchase anything, but since I’d already begun my shopping, I felt I should complete what I came to do. And after all, I really don’t get out that much. Heheh.

However, I have taken some time (before I wrote this blog entry, mind you!) to sit down and write a two page letter to the store manager, and I will copy their district manager on it as well. Maybe it will be to no purpose, but at least I feel I have made an effort to call management’s attention to the extreme irony of their store employees heaping sarcastic insults upon the mother of the very children for whom they are trying to sell clothes.

3 Comments

  1. angie
    Mar 18, 2006

    Yay, Trish! I must say, you weathered that quite well. I would not have been so silent to the woman’s face! This seems to be the popular topic on many mommyblogs I’ve been reading recently…..Even I (with a mere 3 children) have received a few similar comments lately.

    Maybe THOSE rude people don’t get out much, eh?! Ooo! And they’re jealous!!! heh heh!

  2. Soon to be mommy of three
    Mar 20, 2006

    Retail employees can be trained in “customer service”, but sadly a corporation can not teach a person manners or social skills that souuld have been instilled when that person was a child. So sorry you had to deal w/ such a rude person.

  3. jennifer
    Mar 24, 2006

    I am amazed by how many people think that 4 (or even 3) children are a lot. I have run into these snide comments since I had the boys and was pregnant with Evangeline. I’m glad you wrote a letter to the management.