Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Sourpuss

Don’t you just love great customer service? I sure do. It’s a small, simple gesture, so easy to do, and yet it makes my day. A friendly greeting. A nice smile. A pleasant word or two. That’s really all it takes to make someone appreciate where they’re dining or shopping.

Fortunately, I get a lot of that here in Kingston, Ontario, which makes me love this city of mine that much more. And because hubby and I are both creatures of habit and tend to pop into the same places over and over again, good customer service is truly appreciated. Especially when given by individuals that we run across frequently.

 
But it’s not always good. Occasionally we happen upon the sourpuss, the individual who has a grouchy disposition, and a scowling facial expression to go with it. No friendly greeting. No smile. No exchange of pleasantries. Just bad service with a bad attitude.

Our most recent experience with a customer service sourpuss was at a Tim Hortons (popular Canadian restaurant known for its coffee and donuts) near our home where hubby and I stopped in to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a little time together. Sourpuss server looked annoyed as she placed our order, and certainly never cracked a smile. And when she had to correct our order when we pointed out that one of the coffees she punched into her cash register was the wrong one, she didn’t apologize or care in the least. She frowned and got all pissy. As if it was our fault.

 
I think what surprised us the most was the age of this sourpuss. She couldn’t have been more than 18 or so. Still a kid, really. Much too young to already be so bitter. Angry. Rude. Towards others. Or life in general. I figured she might just be having a bad day, which shouldn’t be taken out on customers to begin with, but isn’t the end of the world if it’s a momentary lapse in otherwise reasonable customer service. But hubby said “No. She’s been here before when we come here, and she’s always like this. With everyone. Watch how she is with the next few customers.” So I did. And sure enough, no one was spared the sourpuss service.

It leaves me to wonder how long she’ll have this job. And if she’ll spend her whole life sucking the fun out of the atmosphere, ending up a miserable old coot. I hope not. For her sake. I can’t imagine being happy living this way. It must be exhausting being so surly all the time.


24 comments:

  1. You're so right, Martha. When I get poor service more than once, I simply don't go back. I wonder what has happened to make this girl so grouchy at such a young age?

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    1. I wonder, too. There may be things in this girl's life that are causing her stress and anxiety. She may also just be someone who is generally miserable. There are people like that. I'll never know.

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  2. O dear. Yeah, every now and then you'll come across people who make you wonder why they're doing front-line work.. I try not to take it personally, but I know it can be annoying! If it bothers me enough, I'd bring it up to management, in as constructive a way as possible!

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    1. I don't really take it personally as long as the service at hand is fulfilled properly. But I don't think this type of person should be working with people. A desk job where she doesn't have to deal with the public - and the public doesn't have to deal with her - is a much better choice. Fortunately, we don't deal with her regularly, so there's no need to complain. And there are so many really nice people working there that much up her lack of service.

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  3. I'm surprised that Tim Horton's management hasn't cracked down on her already -- they usually take pleasant customer service VERY seriously, as they should.

    Love the Princess Leia/Grumpy Cat LOL on your sidebar!

    And I see you're reading Life of Pi -- one of my favourite books! I'll be looking forward to your book review. Have you seen the movie to compare?

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually deal with the situation after getting enough complaints, or simply by noticing her bad behaviour. I truly don't think she'll be there long. I don't know what her story is, and it might be a sad one, but if that's the case, she should seek help, and find a job where she doesn't deal with the public. Customers shouldn't be punching bags.

      As for 'Life of Pi', I recently started reading it, and although I'm not very far along, I LOVE it already. The writing is very captivating. I haven't seen the movie, yet, and won't until I finish this book. But I am looking forward to it.

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  4. Face to face bad customer service is really annoying! My worst customer service has been on the phone, automated customer service hell! Especially when calling the health insurance companies! They are notorious for putting you on hold, auto transferring you to the wrong departments and they are usually voice activated. When the calm automated voice says,"I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" for the fifth time and then hangs up on you, even while you are screaming in the phone "BENEFITS!"... JUST thinking about it makes my blood pressure go up!

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    1. Just reading about your situation causes me stress...LOL...I can't imagine what it would feel like to actually live it. Bad customer service can literally ruin your day sometimes. Another person's bad mood can disturb your own good one.

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  5. Maybe she was upset because her break was coming up and you ordered the last maple glazed doughnut. That would fry my brains, too, Martha.
    :D

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    1. Hahahaha...you are right, Francie! That is definitely a sourpuss inducer. And it's funny that you mention the maple glazed doughnut because it's my second favourite. First in line is the Canadian Maple...the one with that delicious, creamy filling and the maple glaze....the best of both worlds...mmmmmm....

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  6. She was probably having a 1st world problem. :)

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  7. Hi Martha! I'm sorry to hear about your customer service woes, but I love how you have injected some humor in! Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi gave me my biggest laugh of the morning. Thank you. I hope your day is full of humor and good customer services!

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    1. Humour is my way of getting rid of the negativity of situations like this. I won't let any sourpuss ruin my day!

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  8. Yesterday I overheard a co-worker with Comcast (cable and internet provider) and he was PISSED. He went on to explain how he had been mistreated by the local office's CSR and DEMANDED 6 months to a year of free service. I honestly do not blame him... good customer service seems to be an exception...

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    1. It does seem to be an exception, doesn't it? I haven't had to experience bad service too many times, thankfully.

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  9. I try to put most of these experiences off to 'a bad day,' but in the end, it does colour my opinion of a business esablishment. With all the people out there looking for work, I don't see why any company would keep a sourpuss on staff - at leat, not one up front as the first face the customer sees or speaks to.

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    1. I try to look at it that way, too, but some people seem to have a lot of bad days! And like you, it does colour my opinion of the business if the service is not that great.

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  10. We run into sourpusses all the time here. In one particular major supermarket EVERYONE from the manager to the cashier is SOUR! So if there is no example being set from above, then the servers/cashiers don't have a prayer.
    Luckily we have found a GREAT Starbucks in Halifax where all the staff are pleasant and cheery! Seriously! When either of us goes in they know what we want before we even say it! AND, they smile!

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    1. Friendly customer service always makes your day! Thankfully, most places we visit here offer great customer service. This girl is an exception. It's sad, mostly for her.

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  11. I worked in customer service for many years and had to train 1st year university students how to deal with the public. How many rolling eyes did I count over the years. I think they learned something the 4 years they worked with me and took it along with them into the "real" world. SO now when I run into surly attitudes I smile at them and keep smiling and gain eye contact and keep smiling. THEN...if nothing changes I go see the manager...express my views and the situation. Sometimes it works.

    Now give me a friggin' coffee will ya!

    Ron

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    1. That is exactly the way my husband handles these situations. And he even goes so far as asking friendly questions, or making jokes. He actually breaks some of them down and they finally smile. Some even go so far as making small talk. Just like one person's bad attitude can bring others down, one person's positive energy can pick others up. Of course, this doesn't always work. Some people are miserable to the core. Can't help them!

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  12. If I go into a store and I am ignored or treated rudely, I walk out and never return. It's the one thing I have the power to do.

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    1. I do that as well sometimes, but in this case, there are so many other great people in there that we don't have to. I doubt that girl will be there for much longer. She doesn't fit in with the rest of the friendly individuals that work there.

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