Saturday, November 14, 2009

All time low in customer help; all time high in attitude

Just yesterday, a co-worker and I were talking about GameStop and how they need to hire 8,000 folks for the holiday season. With 2 in town, we almost contemplated picking up some shifts there for some Christmas cash. Laziness may have gotten the better of us and in the end it never happened. It's just as well because I had an experience there today that was so awful it bears repeating for the Internet audience now.

On October 28th and 29th, I told you all about some lackluster customer service issues I had (accessible, here, here, and here). I can't be sure if it's specific to the south, this town, this state or maybe it's just a function of time that I'm becoming a curmudgeon in my old age, but I often feel disappointed, dismayed and discontent at the level of service and respect I receive from the titans of the minimum wage industries.

Here's today's event. I had a list of video games that I no longer play and figured I'd trade them in at the local GameStop for whatever few pennies they deemed they were worth. I suppose they were worth zero in my home and it was worth my time. However it wasn't worth the undue stress on my heart from the surge in blood pressure.

Here is how it all played out. I walked into an entirely empty store, save the one employee fighting with a roll of stickers behind the counter. After she wrestled with her self-adhesive opponents for a while, she chose to acknowledge me, for which I was grateful. I explained that I wanted to tally the worth of my wares and determine if I would bother trading them in. She agrees to do the job for which she is paid so I wandered around the store looking to squander the $3.85 I was prepared to receive in trade.

When I come back to the counter to make sure something shiny had not distracted the clerk I found all of my games in envelopes; torn from their homes in the cases in which they had spent all of their lives. She explained that she was preparing the transaction. I allowed her to continue only long enough to gather my wits and reply "I just want to know how much they're worth before I decide if I'm taking them home." She tells me, "But you're going to get the card and you'll get more money." I'm less than interested in a card that costs me money every year but will save me $5 every two years. I reminded her once again that I just wanted the monetary value and that I did still, in fact, own these items.

Her answer was a roll of the eyes, a toss of the stickers and a drawn out, sigh infused, "Fiiiine." And that's when it happened. That's when the heard skipped a beat, I blinked one too many times and started to feel the room move a la The Incredible Hulk. Luckily after enough run ins with bouncers, cops and other peoples balled fists over the years, I've learned to recognize this feeling early.

I turned to look at Linda who has also learned to recognize this behavioral pattern in me and found her clear across the store in hopes her distance was alibi enough that she's never met me. It was apparent that I needed to end this quick before control was no longer an option. I said, "Tell you what. I'm gonna go ahead and take these home with me and I'll come back when there's someone here that is more apt to provide service." and I walked out before she could muster the cerebral energy to know what just happened. As I hit the door, I heard an, "I'm sorry" that had a tone that was a mixture of I just got my hand smacked sheepishness and I think I'm still right indignance.

I'll go back later to finish off the one-two punch with the manager.

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