Sunday, October 14, 2007

Customer Service

Let me start by saying that although I often patronize small businesses and stores, I am often found in large national chains as well. Convenience, price, being able to buy ice cream bars and bikinis in the same store --- all of these appeal to me. OK, I don't actually buy bikinis, but I like the juxtaposition.

I usually have fairly good service in these places when I need it. But not today.

This afternoon my sister and I went to a national home improvement chain to purchase cement wall blocks, soil and sand so that she can build a small raised flower bed. We grabbed a large flat push cart and navigated the barge to the back of the garden section. We loaded eight 40-lb bags of soil as large, well-muscled employees walked by. We shoved the loaded barge to the sand section and loaded three 50-lb bags of sand. She decided to order the blocks and have them delivered, since it seemed unlikely the two of us could get them on the cart and to the front of the store. And even more unlikely we were going to get help. It has been said that middle aged women are invisible in our society. This was certainly true this afternoon. And so, without help, we pushed the cart, which now weighed more than the two of us combined, to the garden center check out.

"I'm sorry, but we are closed. They can help you inside."

Had it been just me, I would have walked away, leaving the 300+ lbs of soil and sand in the aisle for clean up. But my sister is more patient, and with a great deal of effort, we pushed the cart through the store to check out.

While she checked out, I got the car. She wheeled it out and told me she decided to order the wall blocks on-line because the check out girl didn't seem to be interested in helping. We rolled our eyes and began to load the soil and sand.

A lady and her son, who were selling boy scout popcorn offered to help. We said no, thank you. A male customer walked by and offered to help. Again, we said no, thank you. My sister said it would be nice if an employee offered to help. But no, and we loaded and left.

We figure this fulfills our daily weight lifting requirement. We guess Sunday afternoon isn't the best time to shop at a home improvement chain. We think we might go to the local garden center next week. At least they'll put the stuff in the car for you.

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