Thursday, January 26, 2012

Customer Service

**DISCLAIMER: this is a rant and if you do not like rants, do not read this.**

What happened to good customer service? Does it still exist? Prior to joining the Navy, I worked in customer service for 5 years (my first job was at a restaurant and I worked in and out of restaurants, retail stores, gyms, etc). I have always been a big tipper in that I generally don't do the math because if my bill was only $17, I feel bad leaving $3.40 (20%). So I will usually just leave $5 and call it a day. You have to REALLY piss me off for me to leave anything less that 25% in most cases. Also, I suppose that I have been spoiled by living in Northern Virginia for so long. The restaurants generally provide good customer service, and I let them know their service was good by a) leaving a solid tip, b) leaving a nice note on the back of the receipt for our waiter, and/or c) asking to speak to a manager, which inevitably always freaks the server out, but I let them know that we had a great dining experience and will definitely be back soon. I then go home and write a review on the restaurant. Mike thinks I put way too much thought into this, but the way I see it, when you go out to eat and see your friends the following Saturday night for drinks, rarely are you like, "OMG we went to Chili's and had the most AMAZING service ever!"'re like, "OMG we went to Chili's and waited for 30 minutes while there were 7 dirty tables and then our waiter didn't greet us and it took 20 minutes to get WATER and our food was cold and my steak was overcooked....blah blah blah". You get my point.

So moving to Andrews AFB has been a little bit of a shock for me because though living on base is nice, like little suburbia, the surrounding area is less that satisfying. When I first got stationed here Mike and I went to Applebees about 4 miles off base. It was a Sunday night and Mike had just gotten off duty so he was still in his uniform and I was in regular clothes. We get there and notice a cop is at the front door and I think, "He's probably just getting food to go or soemthing." Mike goes to the bathroom (and of course I wasn't greeted for 10 minutes). Mike returns and says, "Umm we are the only white people in here....." I say that seems normal because we live in a predominately African American area. So the meal goes on, we each have a drink, the cop is still at the front door, and Mike asks for the check. Check comes, hand over credit card, brings credit card back and instead of walking away and giving Mike the privacy to tip at his discretion, the waitress stands hovering over him with her arms crossed waiting for him to write in the time amount and sign the receipt.


So Mike just looks at her like, "Really?" So she gets the hint and turns around, hands now on hip, and Mike tips (30% more because he was afraid she was going to beat his a** if he left her what she probably deserved). He puts the pen down and no joke, she whips around and grabs the receipt as if it's going to *POOF* and disappear.... So I'm like, "Do people skip out on checks a lot or do other servers steal tips from others..? That was weird..." So we just shake it off and head out and the cop is still there. That's when I realize that he is an off-duty cop posted up at the local Applebees on a Sunday night to deter crime. WOW....

We've saved a lot of money by not eating out anymore because of that experience, because the closest place to us that actually makes me feel like it's a real date is National Harbor, which every date there you are guarenteed to spend at least $100 for the two of us. Annoying...

So in addition to the restaurant thing, I have had to forfit shopping at Walmart here. Mike and I have always been huge fans of Walmart. (I truly prefer Target but Walmart is generally cheaper and more convenient.) The first bad experience we had after shopping at the Walmart right off post was that we bought a book case. Obviously we knew it was not top of the line quality but it was $30 and we needed one more for the office and it matched out other stuff. So we get home and put the thing together and right at the end we realize we are missing the last 3 pieces of hardware needed to put it together. So we go to Walmart and explain this at customer service and she says that we have to put the whole thing back in the box and bring the whole thing back to return and buy a new one. So Mike does it the next day. Of course they don't have any more of this bookcase so he leaves with a store credit. Several shopping trips later and many, "Damn! Where is the ___?! It's on the receipt...I paid for it..." I can't tell you how many times I have paid for something at that Walmart and it has not ended up in one of my bags! and of course I'm too lazy to go back up there and explain what happened so I'm probably out like $50 at this point from all the lost crap.

So two weeks ago we go to Walmart for THREE THINGS: poop bags for Max's leash, dog treats, and sports bras for me (gaining weight again. Lovely.) I forget the poop bags and dog treats and they have no sports bras that fit me. I don't realize that I have forgotten the other two things though because I am so distracted by, "Oh we could use this. Let's by this. No it can't wait til next pay day." So we get a filing cabinet so we can finally organize the office and a small book shelf/cubby looking thing for the living room. I go to work the next day and Mike calls to tell me that every single piece of that cheap wood is broken or cracked for the book case. I say it's okay and I'll return it on my next day off and ask him to please set up the filing cabinet and start organizing. Not 10 minutes later he calls to say that the filing cabinet was clearly dropped because the back is bent and he can't even get it out of the box.

You're effing kidding me right?

So he returns it all and I give up and went to Ikea and bought new shit for the same price and guess what? All of it was in perfect condition and looks great in our living room.

I know this was ridiculously long but I have been thinking for a while now about what I have wanted to say. I don't know what it is about this area, but no one gives a rats a** about providing good customer service. I feel like I have to drive back to Fairfax just to have a pleasant Walmart experience. There is another Walmart experience that I really want to bitch about but I'll just save get my point. -_-


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