Hi everyone, today I am drinking an orange pekoe tea with milk, mostly because as I write this, I am in a hotel room with minimal tea selection lol. Thanks for joining me in Blogville, if you are new to reading my blogs, welcome, if you are returning, welcome back.
At the time of this little shopping excursion, my husband and I were in a southern Ontario community that we had only visited briefly once before, several years ago. We are unfamiliar with the streets and routes and rely on our GPS to get us around. For this little story I do not want to identify the store involved, mostly because I don’t want to get into trouble, so I am going to simply refer to it as a Store.
I will avoid elaborating on my concerns about the quality of tea/coffee at the hotel we were staying at, and simply say that we attended a Store to purchase a small coffee/tea maker to use at our hotel. Though we found one we liked on display, there was no stock on the shelf. Another customer, in search of the same item, was also wondering if they had any in stock. I found an employee, who passed me off to another employee, (I will call her Busy Bee), who indicated that she needed to seek out an employee who had possession of an inventory device. Busy Bee called several extensions, but to no avail. She left for a few minutes, came back, and decided to look it up herself and went off in search of a proper inventory device. While we waited, the pros and cons of each type of coffee/tea appliance were discussed between us and the other customer. He was a very friendly young man and we had a nice chat while we waited together. He was wearing a jacket with ‘By-Law Officer’ written on it. (If he happens to read this, I sincerely hope he found a suitable product.)
Finally, Busy Bee returns, advising that though they do not have any in stock at this store, there are 5 showing as available at the ABC Store location, 2 at the DEF Store location, and 1 showing at the GHI Store location. With an air of professional experience, Busy Bee advises us by saying, “So you should probably go to the Store that has five as you’d have a better chance to actually get one. Oh, and actually, you should probably call the Stores that only have one or two because, though my inventory device shows they have one or two, if someone steals one it doesn’t get into the inventory because it has to go through the cash for that. So you can actually call them and ask them to hold one for you because you are on your way to buy it.” All said without Busy Bee taking a breath.
So we asked, “Can you please give us the address to the ABC store?” “Sure, its 123 Fantasy Lane” she responded. I then said, “As you recommend to call first, can you provide a phone number for us?” Busy Bee looks it up, “555 123 4567”, she says.
We thanked her for the information and we and the other customer left.
So we get to the truck, drive across the road so my hubby can take a photo of a giant Canadian Flag waving gently in the wind. We then punch the 123 Fantasy Lane address into our GPS and begin driving. Ok, I am absolutely serious when I say the GPS tells us to turn right onto Blank Street, turn right onto Blank 2 Street, turn right onto Blank 3 street, and I am laughing out loud as I write that the next GPS direction we heard was, “You have arrived at your destination, 123 Fantasy Lane”.
We pull into the parking lot because I am laughing far too hard to continue driving at this point. My husband is shaking his head saying he cannot believe she gave us her own store’s address. So I said at least she gave us a phone number that we can call to get the correct address. I call, go through the directory of departments, listen to some canned music while on hold and finally a person picks up. I asked if that person could please give us the address of his store and he says, you guessed it, “123 Fantasy Lane”. I mean, you cannot make this stuff up! So I ask if there is another store located nearby and he says quite simply, “no”. Stellar customer service part 2 lol.
Now on a quest, my husband and I go to several major retail outlets in the area. No luck with the model we liked at the ABC store. At one store I am looking at a model we might have to settle on but cannot find a price. A nice young man in a suit catches my eye so I ask for his help. He hesitates briefly but then reluctantly comes over (the old lady pity card probably in action) and is able to find a tag on the shelf. As I am thanking him I realize that he is not actually a store employee when he starts his pitch about the merit of the store’s points card and even greater merit of having the store’s credit card. He looked so sad when he realized we already were enjoying the merits. But he was a good sport, with good customer service.
My husband and I wandered around for a bit before deciding to try another store. By the way, for my Northern Ontario readers, did you know that in Southern Ontario they do not like you to leave their retail stores without buying something. As we were on our quest my husband and I had to repeatedly follow the “If You Are Not Making A Purchase” protocol signs and corrals in order to get out of the stores. Many corrals actually leading you right past the customer service desks, like it was the store’s last effort to change your mind! We actually stopped at one and this lady knew customer service, she complimented my earrings and asked if she could help us find anything before we left? We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and asked about the appliance. After referring to her computer inventory, much to her, and our, disappointment they did not have the item. She had to let us leave empty handed.
As we were about to visit the nearby community where Busy Bee said there was 1 item in stock we decided to give the GHI Store location a chance. We looked sadly up at the display model beaming over the empty shelf below when I spied an employee stocking a shelf. Why not? “Excuse me, are you able to check an item’s availability for us?” This young man instantly stopped what he was doing and said, “Certainly. How can I help?” I was going to let him know that someone had probably stolen their last appliance from the shelf and he will need to adjust the inventory accordingly, but instead I asked, “do you happen to have one of these (pointing to the display) available? Another store said you might.” Well, this young man, whom I shall call Employee of the Day, not only confirmed that there was one in stock, but he told us our approximate wait time while he went off to find the item in the back. He confirmed that the colour of the appliance they had in stock would work, and then off he went. This young man then returned in record time with the item in his hands and he proudly handed it to us. Our quest had ended! Our faith in customer service was renewed. Thank you Employee of the Day!
Note- It is not lost on me that in hindsight, it appears that the Store where Busy Bee worked was the Store that actually showed they had five in stock. Tell me honesty though, would YOU have gone back in there?
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Lynn Deiulis' personal and professional journey sparked a passion to write a book that offers an opportunity for children to learn about how they came to be living together as a family or living with another family.