Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Whatever Happened to Customer Service? - Pt. II

You Can Do It - We Might Help - If We Feel Like ItMrs. Jetpacks and I went to the local Home Depot last week to purchase our Indoor Holiday Evergreen (read: "Christmas Tree," all you PC anti-Christmas crusaders). We've found in recent years that the Depot's trees are healthy, long-lasting, and pretty affordable.

My experiences in recent months within the Depot have been less than satisfactory. While they are currently using the "You Can Do It - We Can Help" slogan, I've discovered that finding someone within a Home Depot actually willing or capable of helping is pretty tough. A vague wave of the hand indicating the general vicinity where I might find an item is about all I've come to expect from the orange apron-clad "helpers."

So it was odd to meet an aging hippie named Duffy out in the Christmas tree tent in the parking lot. Smiling, almost dancing to the carols emitting from the speakers mounted in the corners of the tent, Duffy seemed like a man who had upped his Zoloft or Xanax dosage without his doctor's permission. He engaged us in small talk as he tied the tree to the roof of our vehicle, talking about the upcoming shuttle launch and how he and his wife were going to a friend's house on the beach to see it. He smiled and made eye contact. He thanked us for our purchase, telling us what a great tree it was. Waving, he wished us a Merry Christmas as we took off. We drove away from the Depot agreeing that, "That guy was WEIRD!"

About a quarter mile later it occurred to us just why Duffy was so weird. He was nice. He wasn't surly, uncooperative or dismissive.

And since when, we wondered, is "nice" abnormal?

Previously in Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

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  • I'm so with you on this. What once was just the common courtesy of doing business is now so rare that when you run into it, it's like a miracle or head cocking curiosity. I don't think human nature has changed, but I do wonder if unfeeling employers beget unfeeling employees who beget bad customer service and damage to the whole enterprise in a million tiny interactions all over the enterprise every day. Actually, I don't wonder at all. Incidentally, I've choose between home improvement supply places by which employees run slowest from customers with questions. I can usually catch the guys in plumbing because they have bad knees. Glad you had a positive customer experience. I hope it doesn't get so rare we start telling our grandkids about it someday.

    By Anonymous captain flummox, at December 12, 2006 at 4:25 PM  

  • I think you experienced the rare ‘nice.’ Like an influx of sugar to a diabetic, (or something like that), your body can't handle it. Hence your reaction.

    It’s gotten so bad, I overtip for nice when I find it with waitstaff.

    But for terminal niceness, move to Minnesota yah!

    By Blogger makethelogobigger, at December 13, 2006 at 6:46 PM  

  • I usually tell my hubby that that "nice" person need to lay off the prozac. Yet, when I don't have immediate service I bitch and moan. You can't win with me.

    By Blogger greencan, at December 15, 2006 at 3:04 PM  

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