Column: Customer service with a snarl, not a smile

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Customer service, eh? More like service with a snarl! As the old adage goes, the customer is always right. Wrong! We're never right. In fact, we’re wrong to assume that customer service actually means what it says. I've been bitten twice in the past week by appalling customer service. In fact, it seems to me that good customer service is as rare as hen's teeth. My first brush was a missed delivery, so I contacted the company to arrange a drop-off at one of its collection points. Bizarrely, this was a chemist. The woman (I use the term loosely, she was actually a dragon!) refused to give me the parcel, a birthday present from my friend, because my mate had written a daft name – V Ron Ica - on the front as a joke. However, the fire-breather didn't have a sense of humour. She insisted that, because it didn't match the name on my driving licence, I couldn’t collect my own parcel, even though I’d produced my address, photographic ID and a special ‘collection’ barcode sent to me by the company. In the end, I had to phone the company myself (she was far too busy, serving one other customer!) I then put it on loud speaker (partly to wind her up more) and explained the whole ridiculous situation. It told her (still on loudspeaker) to stop being so daft and give me my parcel.

My second experience with awful customer service was a jumped-up little twerp who worked for a well-known supermarket. The lad, who looked about twelve, was in charge of the self-service scanners but refused to let me leave my paid-for shopping with him when I needed to nip back for something. He said he couldn’t watch it because I’d paid for it.

The security man rolled his eyes when I explained about the juvenile jobsworth.

“But I'm only going over there,” I said, pointing to an aisle a few feet away. “Yes, but how can I prove you’ve paid?”

“Er, because I have a receipt?” I said waving it in front of him.

But the man-child wouldn't play ball, so I left my heavy shopping with a security man by the door, who rolled his eyes when I explained about the juvenile jobsworth. I nipped back for some bottles of beer, paid for them, but promptly dropped a bottle on the floor.

The trumped-up toddler came dashing over to tell me off. Sadly, the cleaners had left for the day, so he had to clean up the beery mess himself.

“I wouldn't have dropped it if you'd let me leave my bag here in the first place,” I quipped.

Karma is a very strange thing indeed!