Monday, June 18, 2007

Customer Service...

Tonight at work I accused a couple of being bad parents, to their face. I didn't use those words, but I think I got my point across. And it felt good.

Actually, it felt like shit.

The father, of Greek or Arab descent, and the mother, white with an east European accent, have two of the most beautiful little girls I've ever seen, one can't be a day over two and the other is probably around three. The family comes in a couple of times a week, in the evening. While the mom and dad read their books and magazines at the kids bench, the girls have free reign of the children's department. Books are torn and plush animals strewn all over the place. When they walk through the front door, we know work awaits.

After an especially messy night last week, I decided that I have had enough, and planned my confrontation, which came to fruition tonight.

As I walked back, the girls had already torn into several books. I told the mom, who was near them (a first) that I was going to have to ask her to keep her children close by. She immediately shot back "I clean up after my children." I told her that we've had problems in the past, that when they leave we always have more clean-up work than we can handle. She still insisted that it wasn't them, to which I replied, "Well, could you at least keep your children within arms reach of you..." (and then the statement of accusation) "... I mean, that's just common sense."

She was outraged. I actually think she was embarrassed, which is good because she should be.

Knowing she'd be pissed, I went ahead and told her I'd be happy to get our company Customer Service numbers for her, since I knew she wasn't pleased with how I talked to her. When I returned with the numbers, her husband confronted me. He told me that I should have talked to him, not his wife, and that he wanted an apology. I was speechless. I told him I would not apologize, but that I wouldn't talk to her again.

An aside-- Our president has received a lot of flack over the years for seeing the world in black and white, rather than in shades of grey. For the most part, I believe this criticism is merited. But in the heat of the emotion tonight, I remembered that some things certain cultures and religions value ARE evil. It was evil that this guy spoke of his wife like she was his property. He didn't say "Don't speak to her LIKE THAT again." He said that I should have spoken to him, not her.

(I turn into Rush Limbaugh when I'm angry.)

So anyway... I'll probably get in trouble for this, but oh well. If anything, maybe they'll keep a closer eye on those kids. I've seen pictures of a LOT worse looking kids on the side of milk cartons.

I'm really writing this so you will tell me I was right, and they were wrong, and that I'm a nice person. Because when things like this happens, I doubt...


jen said...

you were right. your job isn't to be only a people pleaser - it's also to bring revenue and repeat guests to your business, and you can't do that if other customers' children are destroying merchandise. It takes a village. I'd have done the same thing. I'd also have rung up a tab on the damaged books for any parent who saod, "I clean up after my children."

Carn-Dog said...

I wish I had as much courage from time to time.

Craig said...

If you saw my neck turn red and heard my voice shaking, I doubt you'd refer to what I did as "courageous."

Katy said...

I also think you were right. Granted, I know it doesn't feel good to say something about it because you feel like maybe you are overreacting or aren't being charitable. However, it's not your job to babysit. They're essentially costing the company money with the torn books and stuff. And if they aren't going to pay for the damage, they should at least be stopped.

I think you feel worse about the "common sense" line than anything else.