Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Simple Irkings

Have you ever had a customer service experience that left you wanting to track the person down to toilet paper their house? The more logical response (and the one I most often employ) is just to repeat the horrendous experience to as many people as will listen. Before you panic, don't worry - I will do a follow up post on fantastic experiences I've had - I am still capable of enthusiasm and optimism. I will now (solely for your pleasure) tell the story of the two best worst experiences I've had. Please feel free to writhe in pain with me and shout at your computer screen as I do.

1. Autos Direct - Topeka, Kansas. No, I don't feel bad using their real names, they didn't feel it necessary to perpetuate their good name with me. I was shopping for my first car after college and stopped at this small used car lot. I was interested in a little black Honda Accord. I can't remember the year - probably late 90s. It had been owned by one person for the entire time. A little old lady named "Henrietta". Yeah right - I know a lot of little old ladies that like little black hondas with spoilers. I took it for a test drive and had Erik (still just dating at the time) take a look at it for me before I took it back. Based upon his assessment, it had been in an accident before (pulled to the right and there was evidence of a partial paint job) so he encouraged me to get a Carfax on it. When I dropped it off back at Autos Direct, I told the owner/salesman that we were concerned about a previous wreck and requested a Carfax report. He told me that I could go online and get one for myself if I desired. Basically danced around the issue and as I was leaving thought it necessary to point out that a car with over 100k miles, it was going to have issues. "Duh lizardbreath", I thought to myself. "I know it has issues, that's why I pointed them out." I didn't need help realizing that as things age (puppies, people and cars) things start falling apart on them. I did need him to admit to me that the car was still a good car though it had been in an accident. Erik went to talk to him the next morning because he's not a pushover like I am. They went for a drive so that Erik could point out the pulling to the right, etc. During the course of the exchange, the salesman became more and more defensive and at the end told Erik - "You know, I don't need your business." Well congratulations, dude. You don't have it.

2. Amarillo Mesquite Grill - Topeka, Kansas. It was a non-busy night, maybe a Thursday, I can't remember now. Erik and I went to dinner with some friends and their son. We were seated and it took maybe 5 minutes for our server to even come greet us. Then he forgot our drinks, then he forgot Gabriel's chicken strip meal - he's a little kid (5 at the time), he's hungry! It went downhill from there but the best worst part is at the end. We're ready to go, so we ask for the check. He brings it - still morose and unhelpful. I give him my debit card, Luis and Rocio were paying with cash, but they stayed with us while we waited for the receipt and sign slip to come back. It didn't. For seven minutes! They were not busy - we were some of the only customers in the restaurant that night. After that long, we snagged another server and asked him to track down my debit card. Yes, it was unattended by the credit card machine. The idiot (no, that's not too strong) server went on a smoke break while the machine dialed. We didn't see him again and certainly left him no tip. Well I guess we did leave him a tip on the signature sheet. We told him what we thought of his service and what he could have done to improve it. We watched our account for several months after that, I can't believe we didn't close it.

- Don't forget to check back for the lighter side. I expect a lot from people giving customer service, and most of the time I'm not disappointed.

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