Wednesday, January 24, 2007

3401 Caring Service from Staples

Mr. Cloud wrote this past week about several incidences which indicated the little guy wasn't getting very good service from businesses and governments. I agreed with most of his points.

However, we had an odd thing happen yesterday that has restored my faith in the chain store, even though the clerk had made a mistake thinking we'd made a mistake.

My husband is going to Haiti on a mission trip in February, and in addition to helping with building and maintenance, he will be teaching a perspective drawing course for students studying English (although a very poor country, most of the children learn four languages). He doesn't know how many will be taking this optional unit, but he's preparing 60 packets of handouts, so I suggested he take the originals to Staples [office supply store] which has always done an excellent job on my blogs (yes, I have my blogs bound). He added a title page with the name of the school "Institution Univers" There were TWO messages left on our answering machine from the staff asking if we had misspelled Univers, and they wouldn't print until they heard back from us.

I smiled, but was touched to get that kind of service.

Are liberals ruining Wal-Mart?

And in another, unrelated item, I'll just mention my favorite giant American success store--Wal-Mart. I love Wal-Marts, and although I don't like the super stores as much as the older "just huge" stores, and nothing around here matches what you find in Arkansas, I visited the grand opening of one on Friday near here. I think Wal-Mart has been so pressured by bad publicity from the left, that they are losing their touch. Either that, or Columbus' unemployment rate is so low, it is hard to staff stores.

I actually had an African cashier who couldn't speak English. I only bought a bunch of bananas and thought it had rung up incorrectly and asked her to recheck the per pound price. She was obviously confused, so I repeated my question. She looked up, pointed at the ceiling. I again asked her to check the price. She smiled, took the label off and pressed some keys. She smiled and nodded. I smiled and nodded (didn't do well in math so had no idea if it was correct). I took the sales slip and the bananas to the customer service. The slip clearly said, TWO ITEMS, and I only had one bunch of bananas. That much math I know. I got my refund and left the store.

Then yesterday we stopped there again looking for various items on the Haiti list. Knee pads. Didn't have them. 12' measuring tape. Didn't have it. Carpenter apron. None. Bug repellent. Check in grocery. One young man we asked had a speech impediment and such poor English (but he was one of our own) that we could hardly understand him. I spoke to four or five staff people, and all were on loan from other stores in the Columbus metro area, one was from Delaware (north of Columbus).


Anonymous said...

I think Wal-marts generally have a hard time getting their acts together when they first open. We have a new Wal-mart and the service there is horrible, and there are aisles and aisles of empty shelves. Can't explain it, but I think it's a trend.

Chelle Y. said...

I love it when stores have great customer service!

Anonymous said...

Let us pray your husband on his mission to Haiti proves more tolerant of those whom he meets who cannot speak English well and/or have speech impediments.

Norma said...

Jim: do you hire people for your front desk who do not speak English or have such poor local English they are difficult to understand? Wal-Mart does; and I'll just bet you're one of those liberals who think Wal-Mart is just a terrible place to work and don't give them credit for hiring people you wouldn't. When my husband is in Haiti, he is the one who will not be speaking the language. If he were going to work there, he would learn.

BTW, since you don't like my personal values (from several snarky remarks left on my blogs), how are you doing on helping out the less fortunate? Donations to free medical clinics? Volunteering at any schools lately? Food pantries? Or do you just cruise the internet sniping at Christians?

Jim said...

My religion is a personal matter that I prefer not to wear on my sleeve. This is a point on which we seem to disagree. As for charity, I am sure you are way ahead of me in paving the way to your particular Heaven with good deeds such as those you enumerate. As I observed, like Martha you are very careful, not to say methodical, and I doubt that we will meet in your Heaven—for one thing, it appears to be a gated community; more likely, to paraphrase Tosca, I’ll see you in Panera’s.

As for Wal-Mart, I actually know people who work at Wal-Mart—one of them is even, as you put it, “one of us”—- or perhaps I should make that "one of you"-- so I have some concept of what it is like from both sides of the check-out counter.

I don’t, as you imply, particularly go a-hunting for Christians. (It is more like bird-watching than stalking, and I do have to thank you for giving me a new rara avis to look for: a Methodist who has committed the (presumably venial) sin of having a face-lift.) But when I do happen upon un-Christian-like attitudes in a person projecting themselves as a true believer, I sometimes prod them to see if they can’t do a better job of living up to their often loudly proclaimed convictions.

The “snarky” remarks you mention all referred to glaring instances of prejudice, of making assumptions to suit your preconceptions without checking the facts, of stereotyping, and of incivility and poor manners. (I certainly will think twice if I ever have the urge to use my cell phone in a restaurant—unlikely, since I would rank that about on par with wearing my baseball cap in a restaurant.)

It has been interesting to observe how your mind works but I think I’ve seen about enough. Anything you dislike or object to seems to be immediately branded “liberal.” While I am not a doctor, I suspect you may be suffering from a common variety of restless leg syndrome known as knee-jerk reaction— or it may just be too much coffee.

Anonymous said...

Pot to kettle: I suspect you may be suffering from a common variety of restless leg syndrome known as knee-jerk reaction