Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Crappy service becomes an epidemic

Posted By on Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 12:38 PM

I'm starting to believe there's a serious surplus of pissed-off folks in Charlotte, and it's not all due to gas lines or WalkOverYa tanking — at least some of the anger is the result of people being treated like idiots by people who are paid to help them. Yes, I'm talking about lousy customer service again. This week's issue hit the street yesterday evening, and five readers have already responded to my second column about bad service with their own tales of being ignored, insulted or blown off by the city's wondrous service sector.

Let's see, we've got a "mile-long line at a movie theater but only one ticket seller, which made me late for the movie," "a manicurist [who was] so incompetent, my freaking cuticles started bleeding — but hey, she did manage to verbalize a mild 'oops', so I guess I should be satisfied," and "a waiter had the nerve to argue with me about how I had ordered my steak cooked (I ordered it medium-rare and was given a well-done), until finally a manager had to come over and tell the waiter, in so many words, to shut up and bring me what I wanted," plus a couple of tempers flaring behind the counter at convenience stores.

Not to be outdone, I went to the Apple Store today to buy an iPod accessory. I walked directly to an employee (a manager, it turns out, not a salesperson) to ask a question, and the guy looked right at me and walked right on by as if I was invisible. Considering that Apple prides itself — hell, markets itself relentlessly — as supremely customer-friendly, I was stunned. To all those who wrote in, or will write in, about complaints, do what I did - get the jerk's name and let his/her superiors know about it. It may or may not help, but you'll feel better, believe me.

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