Service Complaint

Saturday I made one of the treks I never look forward to. I ventured into the wilds of a couple of furniture stores in hunt of the elusive sofa and chairs for the living room. Those who know me best know I hate shopping. No, hate is too mild a word. Shopping is torture for me. If you want to punish me for something, insist I go with you to the mall, especially if it is during a major sale. Crowds, pushy salespeople, noise. I hate them all.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the thought of having to go to furniture stores did not fill me with joy.

But I’d promised my mother I’d go and so I pulled up my big girl panties and off we went. I should have stayed home.

One of the nice things about living in the DFW area is there are a number of places we could choose from. Since I limited the number of places I’d go schlepping around in Saturday, we chose Weir’s in Southlake and Stacy’s in Grapevine. Both stores have large selections to choose from and we have successfully found what we’ve wanted in both of them before. Better yet, I knew we would have good customer service at both of them and that always eases some of my frustration.

Now, I’ll admit I didn’t dress up in my Sunday finest. However, I was in a pair of new black jeans and a black t-shirt advertising one of the local libraries. Mom, being Mom, was dressed a bit more formally than was I. Nothing out of the usual for a Saturday morning.

Or so I thought until we got to Weir’s. As expected, when we entered, a salesman entered and asked if he could help us. Mom explained what she was looking for and that’s when the salesman, I’ll call him John (not his name) looked at my t-shirt and commented on it. The front of the shirt, all he could see at the time, asks “What do you geek?”. The back has the library’s name on it. When I told John what library it was promoting, it was as if his entire attitude changed. Without asking what price point we were interested in, he immediately took us to the lower end. He waved at a mid-range sofa as if we wouldn’t be interested in it and then proceeded on to show us a sofa that cost less than the last chairs we bought did individually more than ten years ago. He locked in on that sofa for us and never varied. Needless to say, we left without buying a sofa, much less buying a sofa and two reading chairs like we planned.

And why? Because he made a judgment based on where a library I support was located. What frustrates me is I know I could have gone into the original Weir’s in Dallas, dressed in shorts, flipflops and wearing the same t-shirt and would have had the salesperson helping us asking not only what piece of furniture we were interested in but how much we wanted to spend, etc.

So, off we went to Stacy’s. Now, I’ll admit this isn’t my favorite store. Why? Because every time I’ve been in, I’ve had to all but beat the salespeople off with a stick. Not this time. Nope, not at all. There were maybe a dozen customers in the store. There were at least that many employees that I saw: some were obviously salespersons and others were checking the displays, dusting, etc. But, in the more than half an hour we were there, not once did anyone come up and ask if we were looking for anything special. Worse, we weren’t the only customers being ignored. With the exception of one customer, everyone was being left to wander around on their own and try to figure out if they saw anything they were interested in.

Now, normally that wouldn’t bother me as much as it did. Here’s the thing, when you are in the sales industry and you walk past a customer, you at least make eye contact and nod or greet them. One salesman walked by me twice, never making eye contact, never asking if we were finding what we needed, nothing. Two others sat at a sales desk, not only ignoring the eight (I counted them) customers in their area, but laughing and joking together. Another two — saleswomen this time — literally turned their backs and moved out of one of the showrooms when Mom and I, as well as two other potential customers walked in.

I guess I don’t have to tell you that I was not a happy camper.

The sad thing about both situations is we were ready to buy, if someone could have helped us find chairs we were interested in. We found a sofa. We needed chairs to go with it. Instead of making three sales — or more — Stacy’s made none that day. Perhaps it was an anomaly. Mom and one of her friends had been in that same store a month or so ago, this time during the work week, and they received the sort of customer care we had come to expect the previous times we’ve shopped there.

Instead of making commissions, the staff at Stacy’s will soon realize that corporate will be receiving an email detailing what did NOT happen while we were there Saturday. As for Weirs, at least the guy tried to help, even if he made a judgment call that cost him a commission. Next weekend, we’ll head into Dallas to the main store. I like it better anyway. But it will be a cold day in Hell before I return to Stacy’s, at least on a weekend.

Moral of the story: if you work in sales, it is your job to make contact with the customer and see if you can be of assistance. It is not the job of the customer to chase you down.

//end rant.


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