One final Christmas rant…

Ok, if you feel like it is necessary to call a store to ask a question during the holiday season, please now we are VERY busy. DO NOT sit on the line and ask a million questions. COME INTO THE STORE AND WE CAN GIVE YOU SERVICE!! I don’t have time to sit on the phone for ten minutes and aswer questions about wine. I would be glad to show you around the store when you come in. Thank you.

Now that that is over, there is only one more full day of shopping left and I couldn’t be happier. Is it just me or does this year seem especially busy? Granted, I just did all of my shopping today and it went very smoothly. The only problem I had was with parking lot traffic. I thought I was gonna run out of gas before I made it back to the highway. That would have really slowed down traffic…

15 Comments so far

  1. Tipper (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 10:03 am

    Isn’t it part of your job to speak to customers on the phone? Why not do a good customer service deed and save someone the trouble of coming out if you don’t have what they need, or by answering their questions ahead of time so they can just pop in and out of the store?

    While I feel for the retail workers of the world who have to deal with the Christmas crowds (I used to be one), it’s inevitable that you will be busy at Christmas. That’s no excuse for wanting to shirk your duties. Would you complain about someone calling and asking questions if it *wasn’t* Christmas?

  2. Nate (unregistered) on December 25th, 2005 @ 11:49 pm

    Actually, I answer questions on the phone all the time, even during Christmas. If someone wants to know if we have an item in stock, I am more than accomidating to let them know if we do or not. I understand they don’t want to make the trip if they don’t have to. The part that bothers me is when a person calls you up and wants to chat about different types of wine and what goes good with what and a bunch of other questions they could have come in and asked just as easily. As a matter of fact, 95% of the time when the customer DOES eventually come in, I spend another ten minutes retelling the person everything we talked about on the phone. You have to agree this time would hav ebeen better spent if they had just come in and asked it the first time.

  3. Lex (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 11:30 am

    Wow, Tipper, you’re a customer I never want to have, if that’s your attitude.

    What about being a reasonable customer and keeping your questions short? When I’m calling a store, I ask specific questions, like “Do you have Item X?” and “How late are you open?”

    Long discussions are best done in person, when the customer service person can give you their full attention. I’m with you, Nate!

  4. Tipper (unregistered) on December 27th, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    Hey, I’m all for people being reasonable – that includes customers and store employees alike. My attitude is not, “It’s excellent of that customer to do that!” but “It’s ridiculous for a retail employee to complain about doing his/her job.” If you don’t want to offer service to customers, don’t take a job where it’s necessary.

  5. Lex (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 9:56 am

    It’s not ridiculous; it’s human. Nice of you, Tipper, to recognize that not everyone works retail by choice, and that finding other jobs isn’t as easy as you make it seem. That’s really big of you.

  6. Nate (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 12:55 pm

    Ok, ok. It may not seem like it, but I love my job. I enjoy it more than anyone will ever know. Sometimes you just have to rant about the things that bother you. And unless you are a superbeing, EVERY job will have something that bothers you. I do enjoy offering service to customers. That is the biggest draw for me. It is more the stupidity of some of the people that enter my store (or call in) that bothers me. I guess I should have been more clear on that. Thanks for your input, though, Tipper. I do see where you are coming from.

  7. Tipper (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 2:27 pm


    If a person truly has absolutely no choice but to work a retail job, do they have a choice about whether or not they do a good job? If straits are that dire, wouldn’t you want to do the best job you possibly can in order to, you know, keep your job?

    The people who complain about working retail are, by and large, those who have a choice in the matter. Maybe they don’t have a cushy desk job right around the corner, but there’s no reason they can’t be working toward a job that isn’t a retail one if they hate it so much. I’m not someone who believes that people are offered only ONE choice; there are always options, no matter who you are.

    Maybe I’m totally off base in thinking that people should do their jobs well, no matter what job they’re doing or why (I think this might be what they call a “work ethic.”)

  8. Nate (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 3:37 pm

    Now please don’t go saying I don’t do my job well. That has NEVER factored into the discussion here. Even though I thought it was wrong, I talked to all the customers who called in and wanted to talk on the phone for ten minutes. I am not sure if you see the problem with the fact they were taking me away from the people who actually came into the store to shop. I was unable to speak with people who set foot in my store because I was helping someone on the phone. Don’t you think there is a problem with that? I definately think the people who actually took the time to drive my store have much more claim to my services than someone who just calls in. That is the whole argument, here. And again, I ask you, Tipper. Do you like every single aspect of your job? Because what you are saying is if you don’t like every aspect of your job, you need to find something else. Do you like your job in all respects? You have no problems with the people you work with or any part of your job?

  9. ttrentham (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 3:46 pm

    I can see both sides of this one. Yes, the retail worker should do their job and provide customer service, but the customer needs to be aware that there are other customers vying for that retail worker’s time.

    Case in point, I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond last week doing some Xmas shopping. I needed a clerk to unlock the knife cabinet so that I could get a knife for a gift. There was only one clerk in the area and his time was being monopolized by a woman who was basically using him to place a wedding gift order online for her. She was waffling over the message on the gift card and had him revise it several times. I nearly asked the woman whether or not she had a computer at home and couldn’t she place this order her own damn self, but refrained. To the guy’s credit, he was very patient with her and eventually signaled for someone else to come help me, although he could’ve done it a little sooner than he did.

  10. Erica (unregistered) on December 29th, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

    [T]hey were taking me away from the people who actually came into the store to shop. I was unable to speak with people who set foot in my store because I was helping someone on the phone.

    That distinction didn’t quite dawn on me before, but now that you’ve spelled it out, it makes perfect sense. I can see the point about how it’s part of your job to provide service to the people that call, but it also seems like a big waste of your time to play sommelier to some person that might just decide to go somewhere else to make that Yellow Tail purchase instead (against your recommendation, of course ;) ).

  11. Tipper (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2006 @ 9:46 am


    I wasn’t saying that you don’t do your job well; I have no idea whether you do your job well or not. My comment was directed toward Lex, who seems to think that customers (i.e., people like me) who expect good customer service are asking for too much. My point was that if there are people who have no choice but to work in retail, as she states, they should be doing their job well, period. If the other option is to be homeless, you (the generic “you”) darn well better be providing customer service if your job requires it, whether you want to or not.

    As far as the “if you don’t like every aspect of your job you should find something else” comment: if your job is 90% serving customers and you don’t want to do it, you shouldn’t be in that job. And customer service is almost always inconvenient for the person doing it. Customers are selfish, and most don’t care about anything other than getting *their* service.

    Sure, in an ideal world, the customers will all realize that they’re not the only ones who need help. How often does that happen? You said yourself that customers will call and then come in the store; maybe they base their decision to come in based on the phone call. Maybe they’ll spend 10 minutes on the phone with you and NOT come in, but they’ll remember the helpful service they received and visit later, or tell their friends.

    Since you can really only help one customer at a time anyway, I don’t see any harm in helping customers on the phone instead of in person. Will the customers that aren’t being helped be any less annoyed if it were someone there in person taking up your time?

  12. Lex (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

    Tipper’s not reading for content, considering how she’s grossly misinterpreted my statements.

    For the sake of other reading, I’ll try again. It’s rude to think that customer service people are at one’s whim simply because they work a service job. People in customer service are still people, and should be treated as such. Just the same as customers treated well will come back to a store, customer service workers who are treated with respect by customers will offer those customers better service.

    To tell someone they don’t get to complain about an aspect of their job, simply because it’s part of their job duties is also rude with an added dose of arrogant.

  13. Tipper (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

    People in customer service are still people, and should be treated as such. Just the same as customers treated well will come back to a store, customer service workers who are treated with respect by customers will offer those customers better service.

    It’s not like the person in question was treated rudely by the customer, such as if the customer had insulted them or treated them as less than a total human being.

    I can’t believe that it’s not offering someone “respect” if you call them instead of coming to the store.

    To tell someone they don’t get to complain about an aspect of their job, simply because it’s part of their job duties is also rude with an added dose of arrogant.

    It’s one thing to complain about a customer who is truly rude and unreasonable, and another to complain about someone who simply *makes a phone call*. That’s the distinction. I see no indication in the original post that the customer was anything other than demanding of time. And it was ten minutes, not thirty.

  14. Nate (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    I do see many of your points, Tipper. I think we are just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one.

    I do have to say that I think it is COMPLETELY rude to expect that you will get full customer service by calling in OVER the people who have come into the store. With that being said, at other times of the year when there is less customers, it isn’t a bad thing at all. During the holiday season, there is constant demand of the employees in the store. To call in and expect the same customer service over those who have come into the store seems unreasonable. Many of those customers waited in line at the store to speak with one of us. If you waited in line for five to ten minutes and then when you got to the front were told you had to wait because someone who JUST called in was going to get treatment before you, you might be a little upset.

    Again, I do this gladly any other time of the year. I LOVE talking wine with anyone who wants to. I just think it is rude to expect full attention on the phone during the busiest season of the year. I STILL DO IT, but I don’t have to be happy about it. And it isn’t really a part of my job I don’t like, morso the customers who do it :)

  15. ED (unregistered) on January 4th, 2006 @ 10:22 am

    Nate just mentioned my point exactly. If Tipper came into my store, waited for fifteen or twenty minutes and as s/he got to the counter the phone rang and Tipper then had to wait another ten minutes while listening to my side of the conversation, often answering the same question over and over I do believe Tipper would smile and think, “That’s good customer service, I can hardly wait for my turn” . . . . and then just as I hang up and turn to Tipper with a smile the phone rings again.

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