I read an article the other day about how Sears is closing a lot of stores across the nation because profits are down. I scrolled down to the comments section and, aside from the usual armchair experts, there was a smattering of posts that followed the general theme of, “Good–their customer service blows.”
And I just couldn’t help but think, “Who really gives a shit?” Who are these people for whom customer service is soooo important? Unless the people working at a place go out of their way to be rude to you, what’s the big goddamn deal? And what could be so egregious that you’d wish a place go out of business? Did they light your elderly aunt on fire or kick your puppy?
I’ve never understood the idea of “customer service.” I’ve worked customer service jobs before, and many other people have as well, and we all know one simple fact about customer service: it’s fake as fuck.
Sure, there might be the one-in-a-million person who actually enjoys listening to people in a line drone on and on and who loves listening to people complain to them about things that they have no control over and can’t fix. But by and large, most people these days are aware that the “customer service” you get at a given store is basically a facade and 99% of people who work in customer service are just one complaint away from completely losing their shit.
When I worked in customer service it was in a grocery store. The “secret weapon” of this chain of stores was customer service. Because, in reality, all local chains carry more or less the same products for more of less the same price. So how do you get people to come into YOUR store? Why, world class customer service, of course!
Except I don’t care about that. I don’t give two fucks about how many people smile at me when I walk in the door, how many people greet me or offer to help me, or any of that other silly bullshit. 99.99% of the time I walk into a store–any store–I already know exactly what I want or exactly what I’m looking for, and I’m perfectly able to find it.
In fact, it actually pisses me off when twelve different employees all separately walk up to me and ask, “Find everything alright today? Is there anything I can help you with?” No, goddamnit, there isn’t. If there were, I would have asked you. But I didn’t, so fuck the hell off and let me try my jeans on or buy my ice cream in peace.
And yes, I know that they all have to ask me that. Which is why it’s even stupider–they HAVE to ask me. They get in trouble if they don’t. I know for a fact that deep down inside, that girl at American Eagle WANTS me to say, “No thank you, I’m fine,” so that she can walk away, not have to deal with me, and hide in a corner folding sweaters so that she doesn’t have to talk to douchebags or people who have a billion inane questions.
I’ve never been in ANY store where I thought, “You know what, the people here were sooooo super nice, I’m going to pay the higher price or drive farther just for the friendly service!” Nobody thinks that way, unless you’re 85 years old and still living in 1954 when the world was full of soda jerks and gas station attendants. When people walk into a store, they generally only care about two things: 1) Do you have what I want? and 2) How expensive is it? “How perky are the cashiers?” probably registers a big fat zero for most people on how they choose where to shop.
I’ll put it another way: if there was a store that had exactly what I wanted at half the price of all the other stores, but the employees were shitty and rude, I would STILL go there to save the money. That’s how little customer service matters to me.
And let’s face it, sure there are some snarky employees, but there are also a lot of stupid asshole customers who think the sun revolves around them and they can treat “the little people” like trashy peons. Believe me, I understand what it’s like to have someone look down on you just because you’re on the wrong side of the counter. If the customer is always right that means the employee is always wrong, and who the fuck could possibly be sunshine and rainbows 24/7 working a job where you’re always wrong about everything the moment you walk through the fucking door?
So let’s all cool off on the whole idea of “good customer service.” Just get your shit and get the hell out.