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Friday, March 19, 2004

Customer Service 

Here's a thought. What ever happened to Customer Service? You know, the kind where you feel like you matter as a customer? I don't know if its because I live in the middle of tourist land or what, but it's getting harder and harder to find these days!

Let me share with you an incident from the other day. I'm driving back from a trade show in Orlando (no, not THAT tradeshow). I'd left home at 5:30am and it was now 7:00pm. All I wanted was a little something to tide me over 'till the morning (especially since I had forgotten to eat that day).

I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to restaurants. Stopped at my favorite Perkins and just wanted some breakfast. So I get seated quickly, that's a good start, and then waited 30 mins for someone to notice me. **Side note: It's kinda hard to miss me, I'm 6'2" for crying out loud! And dressed in a suit amongst all the tropical tourist type shirts!**

Finally the waitress stops and asked if I'd like something to drink. I smile pleasantly and tell her "This will be real easy. I just need a cup of decaf, 2 eggs and potatoes w/english muffin toasted".

Then I really become invisible. It was one of those experiences where everyone just looks through you. Couldn't get anyone to stop or even look at me! Hell, I couldn't get them to come to my section of the restaurant.

45 mins later my coffee arrives. By now I'm lying on the booth seat dehydrated (did I forget to mention she hadn't brought any water earlier?). 30 mins after that, having watched 4 tables come and go after eating a full blown dinner, I (again) smile pleasantly and asked if they forgot me in the kitchen. This is where it gets ugly!

She snapped at me to just be patient. Ok, obviously she didn't realize who she was dealing with. I'll give her that. So now I start paying attention. She is sitting at a booth with her boyfriend and (later discovered) father chatting. I'm now really hungry and not to happy. I hate to cause a commotion so I wait a bit more and low and behold my food arrived. Cold. Muffin not toasted. Too hungry to care. Ate it anyway and left - no tip.

I stop at this place regularly - it's on my daily run. The cashier asks if everything was alright - I say Nope. I explained what happened. The waitress's father is standing there and told me it was her first day and I should give her a break.

Do you remember that old I Love Lucy episode with the line "Slowly she turns....step by step, inch by inch..." That was me. I explained that he wasn't doing her any good encouraging her to slack off and not focus on her customers. He was, in essence, setting her up to fail. (scowl scowl scowl). The cashier, meanwhile, just stands there with a silly little smile on her face and tells me to have a nice evening.

You know what - there are 4 other restaurants on that strip. I bet one of them knows about Customer Service. We're gonna find out!

Jim at Parkway Rest Stop is having similar issues with their new Mega Drug Store!


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My "Other" Family - Fizzen Sparks