Hillary Chybinski: 'Tis the Season?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Tis the Season?

I was out at a local mall today shopping with a friend. . .and I witnessed quite a scene.

We were in a nice, nationally known store, browsing around.  A saleswoman asked "What she could help me with?"  I replied I was fine thanks, just browsing and off I went.

Next thing I knew I could hear a man's voice arguing about the store's Guarantee Policy.  The saleswoman very politely and knowledgeably explained to him that the guarantee was for any product defect, not normal wear and tear.  He continued to argue with the woman, that these slippers were 12 years old and worth $100.  She looked up the number (from the inside of the slippers) in the computer, rebuffing his rude comments, and explained to him that number in the computer showed that pair of slippers for $34.00.

Well, the situation escalated, both of them becoming more frustrated, with the man finally telling her to "stop blathering at him",  and she finally lost her composure.  They bickered for a few moments, he became very calm again once he realized he had her upset.  He asked for a card, she asked him to please leave the store.   He continued to argue and she called security.  When security arrived, he spoke with the saleswoman and finally convinced the man to leave the store.  The man was still talking to security when I finally left the store.  The poor saleswoman was in tears and fearful of losing her job.

Obviously, this is a shortened version of the situation - and only what I over-heard and deduced as my girlfriend and I lurked around in the corner with a few other customers feeling awkward.

I understand the gentleman's frustration . . .however, he acted rudely and belligerently.  The saleswoman was polite and patient, while explaining the policy repeatedly for far longer than I would have been able to.

What's the "right" thing here? I think the unhappy customer should have left - taking their slippers, and tried again, perhaps when a store manager was working.  The saleswoman kindly offered to call customer support for them right there in the store, but they kept arguing with her and I think she finally hung up.  He was a large man, and I also think the other salesperson in the store should have called security earlier in the situation.

What about the customers? The man asked a couple of customers for their opinion on the situation, and the Saleswoman asked him to please not bother the other customers.  The customers said they couldn't help him.

Have you been in a situation like this? I have worked in retail and dealt with unhappy customers.  I have also been an unhappy customer and asked to speak with a manager.  Was it just a case of having a "bad day"?  Is the customer really always right?

catch you soon -

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