Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Whether Americans like it or not, capitalism is what keeps this country going. Supply and demand for goods and services. Exchange of monies for anything and everything available in the vast marketplace that is our country.

As some of you may know I have spent over 30 years in retail sales/management. Nothing in the whole world ticks me off more than bad Customer Service. I received my training from some of the finest companies in the business world. Including Dayton Hudson, J.C. Penney and The Federated Group. When I entered the exciting world of retail, I was still in high school.

Customer Service was always the companies’ number one concern. It was stressed to all trainees that without the customers, there would be no jobs. We were given 3 weeks of paid training and a manual. There was a test.

We were not only instructed on professional dress and make up, but also had lessons in telephone courtesy. We were put into groups and given real situations that helped us learn to interact with customers. We were taught product knowledge and eventually would earn raises and promotions biased on our expertise.

When we “trainees” passed the training course, we had real knowledge and were proud to take our place on the sales floor. We were respected. For the first time in our young lives, we had self respect.

The store trainer was second only in authority to the store manager. She was our mother and mentor. Companies realized what a valued component customer service representatives were to its organization.

Companies have long abandoned the idea. The customer is no longer important. Customer service representatives are no longer valued. The financial aspects of training became too much for them to bear. 

The evolution came in the 1950’s with the innovation of “self-serve”. It was more convenient for the customer. Television advertising had allowed the average consumer much more product knowledge. This could not be more false. 

I had a very bad experience in a Staples store this passed weekend. I asked for a product they did not have on their shelf. The assistant store manager told me she had received the item on the truck, but did not have time to go in the stockroom and look for it. She told me to call her back tomorrow and she would have it. I called back (7 working hours later) and she giggled and said she was still busy. She told me to call back in an hour. When I called back, she had gone home for the day and no one there had a clue about the item. There was no apology, no offer to find the item, nothing! 

This is an example of BAD customer service, but not the end of the story. I called the Staples Customer Service line and was told, after I had given the whole story, that I should understand that ‘sometimes people get busy!” Really??? Really??? 

Needless to say STAPLES does NOT get it. Nor will they get another penny of my money.

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