Friday, November 23, 2007


I'll be the first to admit, I hate shopping. I hate it with a passion that is unmatched in this world. These are words that my lovely wife can't stand hearing because, well, let's face it, because I can't stand shopping, it might mean that you're getting the crappiest presents. I try to not let that happen, but yes, logic would suggest that you chance of this happening greatly increases between someone who absolutely loves to shop and, well, me.

As I wake up, the local news is staked out at various retail businesses repeating the words, "The doors have just opened. Look at all the people!" Dorks. Some dude just yelled, "Black Friday! Aw, hell yeah!" What in the world? Some guy on CNN just advised to not go out on mornings like this with a significant other because, without a doubt, it will result in some sort of argument. Interesting comment.

Whatever. Here's what we're going to do. To help everyone out this Christmas season, I'm going to list the Top 5 Places that Customer Service Doesn't Exist.

Rare that you'd spend your money anywhere that, first, honesty is completely out the door, secondly, is void of any reason and wisdom, third, adheres to no noticeable price structure and, lastly, the employees most likely more know about your problem that you do. Welcome to the garage. This can be the tire place on the corner, the oil change joint or, worst of all, the do-it-all mechanic that is just waiting to screw you to no end. There are exceptions (Jiffy Lube, whaddup), but they are few and far between. Here, we run into the guy that gives preferential treatment to people he went to school with. Let's face it, that's the cornerstone of poor customer service. It's clouded because it would seem that he's providing excellent service, but he's screwing someone else in the process. And, because I'm the kid that only made ten friends in high school, I'm always going to get screwed. The garage has perfected the "get-together-out-of-earshot-from-the-customer-and-look-to-be-having-a-very-important-conversation" tactic which makes it appear that they are using teamwork to arrive at a suitable solution to the problem. Really, they're just teaming up against you and out of the five guys talking, they developed thirteen ways to get more money out of your stupid ass. I know no one's really thinking of buying a loved one an oil filter for Christmas, but if you are, buyer beware.

If you want to see an unexplainable oddity, do this: go to either Best Buy or Circuit City and count the employees doing absolutely nothing. It's staggering. With few exceptions, I have seen the laziest employees in my life while passing through one of these two retailers. I don't know what it is that makes employees for these two giants move at quarter-speed, but it's reached epidemic levels. And, the second you ask for help, you're met with a sigh, slumped shoulders and maybe even rolled eyes. The only people who are working are the people checking customers out. Even the security cat at Best Buy is just lumped on a stool, nodding his head, saying, "Have a good day." Boy, some security. Don't be fooled by everyone's running shoes (which appear to be standards in their uniform) because they aren't running.

Why anyone would go the mall and expect to be the recipient of any customer service completely boggles my mind. The average age of a mall employee is 22 years old. Knowing that, the instance of poor customer service skyrockets on that alone. Sure, in college communities, your chances might fair a tad better, but more likely you're gonna get met by some punk who thinks he has it made because he's not waiting tables or dipping potatoes in scorching grease. He's riding a high (and occasionally he might actually be high) because he went from the worst job on the planet to working in a highly stimulating retail environment with, among other things, plenty of places to lean and, better yet, countless candidates from the opposite sex to stare at as they walk by. I can rather confidently say that the males are the main offenders here. Male mall employees are among the very worst on the planet. They just don't want to work. It's like church camp to these kids. Case in point: find the Hot Topic in your mall and spend five minutes in there.

And then, add to the whole experience those damn kiosks that litter the walking space and it's a freaking battlefield of poor customer service. I know the design is to simulate some sort of European street market, but I almost have to stiff-arm the guy selling the some eyeglass cleaning product. You have some moron selling floormats for your car, another dude selling skins for your cell phone and then the damned Dipping Dots stand. Who still eats Dipping Dots? Whatever. The point is this. Like the carnival that sets up in a parking lot, these are rides you don't wanna ride. They're not even bolted to the ground. There's no accountability in commerce with these people. They're not approved by the Better Business Bureau because they don't even have a front door to put the little sticker on. Doing business with these hounds is like just throwing your money away. Think about it. Count how many people you've heard say the following line with any level of positivity: "Yeah, I bought it off one of those little booths in the mall!"

Let's face it, like all that glitters ain't gold--all those lab coats don't mean they're doctors of any sort. This is like a place where a bunch of kids from the drama club act like optometrists. They don't know what they're doing. They have a "lab on site" which I found from personal experience really only means, they take your crappy glasses to a little room in the back and completely eff them up. And then they bring them out, kinda shrug their shoulders and say, "Sorry, but it'll be another ten working days before we'll get them back." And then, in the end, they never call you. I'm still waiting for a call for the third go-round from about three weeks ago. These kids are complete nincompoops and they lie without hesitation. I'd swing at one of them if I wasn't worried about destroying a nearby display of expensive glasses.

Do not ever go here to get your glasses because they will inevitably blow it and then try and give you upgrades to keep you happy. You know what would make me happy? Doing your damn job and not having to worry every time I come in about being deceived and lied to. That'd be a start.

Yeah, the granddaddy of them all. You act surprised. The Wal-Mart way is to make the most money by spending the least. And what that means to customer service is basically staffing the very lowest common denominator to accomodate you during your shopping experience. I hate to bag on the dudes that work there because, like a co-worker once said, "They're just trying to make a living." Okay, that might be true. But you know what, I'm commenting on customer service and Wal-Mart is the very worst because they cut a very important corner in the commerce paradigm--quality personnel and that's why they land as number one on this list. I'd shop there more often if I didn't have idiot store employees in my way. I can find it myself. And the answer to, "Do I need help?" is "Not the type you're offering." Yeah, I know that sucks of me, but I'm willing to be the jerk here. I can't stand this place.

I think that in all retail or glasses store/lemonade stands, they should only let people over 21 work. If you're under 21, you get to do a stint bussing tables and flipping frozen hamburger patties. It's good for your character and, trust me, you'll really appreciate that nice retail job once you get there and, maybe, I'll take your help then. Until then, if you approach me, watch for the hook.

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