Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oddly Enough

image I went through the Taco Bell drive-through, and when I dug out a handful of change to pay my bill, the teen offered to count it for me.

”I can count that for you,” he offered.

I was struck speechless. I had to check to see if he was joking, but apparently he wasn’t. It’s not like I had been dawdling; I’d just gotten it out. I don’t think I looked stupid.

It was sort of bizarre. Is this a new thing?

And then I went to Wal-Mart, and man. I was helped by the SWEETEST guy on the planet. What a nice guy. I mean, just really sweet.

But let’s just say? Not a real great problem-solver.

I asked for help locating an electric blanket. He glanced at the shelf, didn’t see it, and said, “We must not have it.”

As I surveyed the messy store, I said, “Your online stock says that you do. That’s why I drove all the way over here."

”It could be somewhere else,” he said helpfully.

For a moment, I said nothing, because I expected a follow-up, such as, “let’s go look over here,” or “let me ask someone.” But no, that was the end of his sentence.

”Is there someone you could ask?”

Bless his heart, he was so nice. I swear, just a real sweetheart. I am not kidding. I have not met a nicer, more willing to help employee in ages. He liked the idea, and immediately went to to ask someone.

image About ten minutes later, he came back and told me that no one knew where it could be.

”Is there a stock list on a computer, somewhere, which would tell you where the item is located?” I asked.

He was happy to take us to the computer and look it up, except he got on the internet and went to the public website I’d been to, and it told him that it was in stock.

This was unhelpful, as it did not say where in the store it was. (I refrained from saying: DUH!)

He asked another employee to radio the assistant manager to call him on the phone. We waited another ten minutes. No calls. When another employee passed, she said that the assistant manager had been on her cell phone, last time she’d seen her.


He wandered off to find the manager.

image Ten minutes later, he reports that the manager told him that sometimes the website doesn’t reflect the actual stock of the store.

I repeat my question: “Is there a stock list on a computer, somewhere, that would tell you where the item is located?” I add: “A local stock list, which would reflect what you have in the store for real.”

”Yes, but I don’t have access to that. Only the managers do. They print it out.”

”Could you,” I asked (and we were past the 45 minute mark, so I was feeling a little snippy, so I did falter in my beaming smile), “perhaps ask the manager to look at this local stock list?”

”Sure!” the guy said. “Oh!” he said. “And I can look in the bins in the back.”

I beam again. “That would be great! I’ll be in the pharmacy area!” My voice is a little shrill with enforced chipperness.

But I’m afraid, at that point, I lost my patience and left.

I don’t really have a point to this post.

So what about you? Any annoying, funny, or notable shopping experiences lately?

25 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 1/27/2009 06:15:00 AM  

We were talking about this the other day; how people seem to be more helpful--because of the economy or because of an overall upswing in niceness, I don't know.

I have been staying out of the stores lately; need to curb the spending bug for a while, so no odd experiences to report.

Did you ever get the blanket you wanted?

Georgie B 1/27/2009 06:27:00 AM  

This past Saturday (24th), I stopped off at a Valero gas station near where I live.

After gassing up the car, I went inside to get something to drink. I was going to get a soda, but considering how cold it was (low 20's with a breeze), I decided to get a coffee instead.

After making it up to how I like it (black, three sweet & lows), I asked the attendant if they had any lids, since I didn't see any out there.

She said quite politely, "Sorry, we're all out."

So, here I am, 16 oz coffee in hand and no lid. It certainly made for an adventurous drive home, only because I have severe problems with my hands and I can't grip anything well without using a rubber fingertip.

Can you say, "McDonald's lady?"

I spent the rest of the trip praying that I didn't have to stop suddenly and spill piping hot coffee all over myself.

Bevie 1/27/2009 08:20:00 AM  

Coincidentally, Spouse and I were out shopping yesterday.

First, we went to a Menards to look for an odd-sized light bulb and some packing boxes. We couldn't find the bulbs, so Spouse sees this young girl who looked like an employee and flags her down. Can she help us?

Turns out she doesn't work for Menards. She works for a company Menards has hired to take care of the shopping carts. But she will help! The first thing she does is walk us up to a real Menards employee who knows where everything is and proceeds to walk us to each item on our list. What was really funny was, this employee was on her way to the cash registers, so when it came time to check out, who do you think we got? Yep.

Spouse works in retail. Last night there were two customers in five hours. (This store may not make it through February. It barely made it through January.) One of the places Spouse works at is a shoe store. There was a day when the entire sales total was one pair of shoelaces.

Yes. I believe sales associates, clerks and who have you, are going out of their way to be especially helpful.

Kath Calarco 1/27/2009 08:35:00 AM  

Spy, I think it's a relief to hear there's a teen who CAN count change. Seriously, the majority of people under forty don't know how to MAKE change, let alone count it. If the cash registers went down, stores would close.

Kudos to the Taco Bell kid.

Charles Gramlich 1/27/2009 09:46:00 AM  

We had such a strange experience at a local Popeyes chicken place.

We went to the drive in window and I ordered some nuggets they had advertised no the menu board. The lady said, oh we don't have those, do you mean the XXX? Ok, I said, I'll have those then. Oh we're out of those she replied. It was quite surreal

Janna Qualman 1/27/2009 09:55:00 AM  

LOVE the progression of "smiley" faces through the post!

I've had instances like that. And oh, I have little patience.

I was as a local discount store last week, the kind where they sell recovered freight and overstocks from places like Target. I was going to buy a little lamp, marked 6.99 on the shade. My total, when he rang it up, was far too high. When he itemized it for me, he'd charged me 6.99 for the shade AND 8.99 for the base. I said, "But the price says 6.99 right there." Oh, but that was just for the shade, he says. I'll sell you the whole thing for $8.99. (!) Nope. No deal. I said I'd buy the whole thing for $6.99 - that's what it was marked after all. And HE wouldn't budge. It was the principle of the matter! He was trying to screw me over, and it didn't work. *huff*

Lauren 1/27/2009 10:07:00 AM  

That's crazy that the assistant manager was on the phone while a customer needed help with finding things and also that their online stock was wrong.

I haven't had any interesting experiences as of late, but I have noticed lately that store workers are unusually helpful. Is this because they are trying to make a sale to keep the store open or show they should keep their jobs? I dunno about all of them, but I imagine for at least some of them it is.

Heather Harper 1/27/2009 11:46:00 AM  

I used to work in customer service so I am only forgiving when I know situations are out of their control, but my patience for the apethetic incompetence of employees unwilling to help is nil.

I feel like roaring now. ;-)

Hope you found your blankie!

Edie 1/27/2009 12:32:00 PM  

My sister used to call places before she went to make sure they have things in stock. Every once in a while I do that.

Last summer I had a frustrating experience trying to buy drapes at JC Penney's. I went back a couple days later and had an excellent experience with a different sales clerk. Now I'm wishing I would have called the manager and told her/him how great the clerk was. I've done that other times.

Mary Moore 1/27/2009 05:08:00 PM  

I would have gone postal.

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:20:00 PM  

That's interesting, WriteNow. Wow, it's a trend I haven't noticed, but that's very cool. You're right!

This was a total splurge. I hardly go to the grocery store. I buy nothing, LOL.

Yeah, I went to Walgreens and got one for $10 more, but I was SO COLD. I needed it NOW, LOL!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:22:00 PM  

Oh, Georgie, that is criminal! I mean, seriously, they have to tell you that before you get it. I wouldn't be able to take it in my car! I drive a Jeep wrangler, and boy does it bounce!

Ouch! *shudder*

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:23:00 PM  

Oh, Bevie, that is really sad. A pair of shoelaces? It's kind of funny, in a this-will-be-funny-twenty-years-from-now sort of way.

Stories like that make me worry for our economy! That girl sounds really sweet!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:26:00 PM  

LOL, Kath! I fear I have no patience for cashiers who can't count change. I'm sorry, but it's just not the job for them if they can't.

There are some things they really need to be teaching in school, but don't.

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:27:00 PM  

LOL, Charles! That reminds me of the scene in The Santa Clause, with the waitress at the diner saying, "We're out." "We're out." "We did."


spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:30:00 PM  

Oh, Janna! And at a place like that, he totally had the power to give it to you for the marked price. Grr!

You know, I would've been less patient with this person, but he was so nice. I think these things had sincerely never occurred to him. It was sort of sad. What really angered me was the fact that the other clerks and the managers were so unhelpful. I got the feeling the half of it was because HE was asking, and they didn't respect him.

I understand impatience, but in this case, they should have trained him. And even if they didn't have patience with him, they should have answered his questions and helped him BECAUSE he was trying to help a customer, you know?

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:31:00 PM  

Interesting, Lauren! That's what WriteNow mentioned! I have to confess, I've been shopping so very little, LOL, that I have no idea!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:33:00 PM  

LOL, Heather! I know exactly what you mean! I swear, if this guy had been any less sincerely nice, I would never have been so patient. But this stuff, from what it seemed like to me, had never occurred to him.

Gosh, it was so exasperating, but I managed to be patient until the very end. Sometimes I feel like yelling, "Problem? Solve." It's simple! Why is this such a difficult concept? LOL! "Figure it out!"

JaneyV 1/27/2009 05:34:00 PM  

LOL at "I'll be in the pharmacy area" (the implication being - you've driven me to seeking medication), I'll be in the corner snorting Prozac.

You're a lot more patient than I'd have been!

Last Friday I went into my bank to get a check my Dad sent me for Christmas put into my account. The only thing was it was in euros - not £'s. The teller was very nice and helpful but the banking system in the UK is so archaic that she had to fill out forms and post my check back to Ireland to clear. "It might take 8 weeks" she said. I gave her a look of astonishment. If I posted the darn thing myself it'd be there the following day - but I merely shrugged and handed over my bank card for her to copy my details onto the form. After she'd spent 5 minutes checking it, filling everything out, ticking boxes and double checking it, she asked me to sign the bottom of the form and the back of the check. At this point she turned my card over and discovered I hadn't signed it. With electronic banking everyone uses chip and PIN - I hadn't been asked to sign anything in years. The I checked my wallet and the two other cards in there weren't signed either (they are now - I tell ya). "well do you have your driver's license?" she asked. I was all flustered now because I was both embarrassed and frustrated because I didn't have it with me. "I'm afraid I'll need your driver's license before we can proceed," she said and gave me back the check and sent me on my way. Of course I signed all the cards when I got home. The following morning I went back to the bank to a different teller, who filled in the form in about 10 seconds, took my card but told me she didn't need my license because my card was signed. "If that's the case, why send me home to get my license, could I not just have signed it yesterday and given it back to you?"
"oh no," she said we would have had to verify your identity before allowing you to do that in front of us."
"So, if I'd walked out the door yesterday, signed my card and come back in to a different teller, that would've been OK would it?"
She looked at me blankly and shrugged. I'm glad they're so hot on security!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:35:00 PM  

Edie, what a really nice thing to do! I don't do that as often as I mean to or should. It's so rare to get pleasant and helpful customer service, that if we want it to continue, we really should make sure to make a deal about it.

I'm going to do it the very next time it happens!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:36:00 PM  

Mary, you know, I was doing pretty well. I just knew if I stayed for ten more minutes, I would go postal, so I left, LOL!

spyscribbler 1/27/2009 05:38:00 PM  

Holy crap, Janey! Now that's a story! First, the EIGHT WEEKS? Oh, geeze. And, you know, I've been in that whole deal with the driver's license/credit card at the post office. Annoying! And silly! It's not like a thief wouldn't just sign it themselves!

So silly.

Robin 1/27/2009 09:34:00 PM  

There was a point to this post. The point was being hilarious! I love the pictures and the horrible sales guy. Glad you kept up the chipper smile. Bwahahaha!

Barrie 1/27/2009 10:37:00 PM  

The other day I went through the Jack-in-Box drive-through. They left something out of our order. I called and they added our name to a list which meant we could pick up the item for free (well, not really, since we'd already paid for it) at our leisure. Very nice!

Zoe Winters 1/31/2009 09:23:00 PM  

Maybe you were ovulating and the men were responding to some pheremone/chemical drive to impress you so they could mate with you. Ya think?