True, embellished and fictional stories for your amusertainment

Posts tagged ‘customer service’

Shopping with Dick and Jane

Last weekend I felt like I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. I was grocery shopping at a popular chain store – let’s call it Trader Jim’s. That’s not the real name because it’s important to protect the actual store’s identity.

The week before I had purchased a delicious cauliflower meal and wanted to buy it again. After failed attempts to find it, I asked a clerk who was stocking shelves. Without looking up, “Dick” pointed to the aisle behind where he was working. When Dick’s dismal directions led me nowhere, I let him know I still couldn’t find the cauliflower. This time, he grunted and pointed in the opposite direction. Again, the food was nowhere to be found.

Wandering aimlessly, I saw another clerk, “Jane”, who was actually helping someone. She even gave eye contact! When I presented my request, she tilted her head in a thoughtful manner and repeated the name back to me in a questioning form. “Szechwan cauliflower?” Having no idea where the product might be, she took me to the manager who said they sold no such item and suggested that I might have purchased it elsewhere. Recognizing an obvious breakdown in communication, I described the product. Once we all understood that the szechwan cauliflower was actually kung pao, Jane immediately took me to the correct location… which was next to Dick.

Thinking about Dick, he directed me to a product the store doesn’t carry, twice, without ever speaking or looking up. I thought about pointing him out to Jane but was afraid she either wouldn’t see him because he wasn’t really there or would tell me he wasn’t one of their employees. If Dick is working next week and still acting like a dick, I may risk everything and point him out to Jane.

By the way, Trader Jim’s szechwan cauliflower was delicious.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


So happy I found my cauliflower

So happy I found my cauliflower


The Future of Customer Service

Thanks to social media, we can stay connected to our friends without ever having to talk to them. Unfortunately, we can’t get away from people entirely. When shopping in stores or eating in restaurants we still have to contend with those pesky clerks and servers.

In this day and age, we shouldn’t have to talk to anyone.

A few businesses feel our pain and are moving in the right direction. Check out this email I got from Domino’s Pizza:

“Order pizza with just the sound of your voice”

I panicked when I first saw this because they made it sound like they wanted me to use my phone to talk to a person. I was relieved to learn that I could simply talk to an app. That is so much better! Nobody wants to talk on their phone, unless of course they’re dictating a text.

Chili’s is also stepping up to the plate. They have tablets at every table (called Ziosks) you can use to place your order and pay your bill. Unfortunately you still have to interact with annoying servers. But maybe not for long.

Lowe’s is introducing automated customer service agents in select stores, which I think could easily be adapted to wait tables. Customers receive help from an automated agent without the need to talk to the living.

Some people may think we’ve taken automation too far. Not me!

As I write this blog, my self-driving car is on it’s way to Domino’s to pick up the pizza I ordered by talking to their app. I’m vacuuming with my Roomba – or should I say it’s vacuuming for me. And I’m dictating a text because my fingers are busy typing this blog.

Multi-tasking has never been easier!

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


He's a handsome fellow but not the greatest conversationalist

He’s a handsome fellow but not the greatest conversationalist


Tom The Coin Guy

My sister and I wanted to have some old coins appraised. We took them to a local pawn shop to see if the owner, Tom, could help us out.

When we arrived, the aisles were so packed we had to squeeze past merchandise to get to the counter. Tom was outside, followed us in and bellowed “what do you want?”.

Clearly, he was a man of few words with a gruff demeanor, yet I attempted to make conversation.

There was a dog looking through the front door so I asked if it was Tom’s. He said “It better be!” When I asked her name, he groused “The dog has tools – it’s a male.”

My sister took a different tactic and complimented him on his shorts (they were quite loud sporting a Hawaiian print). Tom brusquely responded “you can buy ’em if you want.”

During this brief exchange, another customer (#2) entered the store. Tom shouted his standard greeting “What do you want?”. When customer #2 said he was just browsing, Tom barked “That ain’t gonna happen. Wait outside until I’m done here.”

Reviewing the coins, he separated those that were only worth face value repeating disdainfully “this is money”. He recorded an estimate on a post-it note for the remaining stash and told us how much they were worth. We thanked him and asked if we could have the post-it note. His reply “Nope. Not unless you plan to pay me. It’ll cost you $25.”

We left empty handed and both agreed that Tom wasn’t our guy. Surprisingly, customer #2 was still there waiting for his turn.

If customer #2 had arrived first and Tom told us to wait outside, using his own words, I would have replied “That ain’t gonna happen.”

Tom’s been in business for more than 30 years so he must be doing something right. I just didn’t see it.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


Some female dogs have tools, too

Some female dogs have tools, too

The Quick Learner

While shopping earlier in the week, I witnessed a woman take a bar stool and two mugs to the return counter. Here’s the exchange.

Clerk: Is there something wrong with the bar stool?

Customer: Yes, the foot rest is on the back. The other one I bought, the foot rest was on the side. We could deal with that by putting our feet to the side. But in the back? Our feet don’t reach back there.

Clerk: I see. Let me ask one of my co-workers to take a look to see if there’s anything we can do. Kelly? Could you look at this?

Kelly checked the stool, then called over Mary. They tipped the chair, examining it closely for some kind of solution. Then they called Joe from the back.

When Joe arrived up front, he obviously noticed the expression on the three women’s faces. He seriously listened to the problem, tipped the chair again, made a few adjustments, and miraculously fixed the chair. The customer was appreciative and amazed. He was laughing as he walked away.

Clerk: Did you still want to return the stool?

Customer: No.

Clerk: What about the mugs?

Customer: I’ve decided to keep them, too.

Clerk: Was there anything wrong with them?

Customer: I thought they were left handed mugs, but I can work with that now.

Some people might laugh at that customer but I, always seeing the bright side, have a different conclusion: that lady is a quick learner.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


I'd like to return one my placemats - it was printed upside down

I’d like to return one my placemats – it was printed upside down

%d bloggers like this: