Welcome to this week’s rant, which begs the question: “why is it so difficult to find decent customer service these days?” It seems to be the exception, not the rule. Case in point:
Store #1: Too Hot
I won’t give away the identity of this charming chain, except to say that they sell overpriced smelly things and hire way too many staff…all of whom apparently work on commission. Oh yeah, and their name rhymes with Flush.
The Boy and I elbowed our way into the tiny store in November, well before the holiday shopping rush began. The narrow aisles were packed with people. Customers? No, sales clerks, all hungry for blood. One zeroed in on us before we had more than a toe in the door.
“Have you heard about our soap sale?” she chirped. Of course we hadn’t. We were barely in the door. She’d seen us come in.
She proceeded to rattle on and on about the many “deals” on overpriced soap. Nothing we said could dissuade her…no amount of “we’re just looking” or “we’ll let you know if we need something”. Nothing could keep her from blathering on about the store’s upcoming “Shake Your Bon-Bon” party (shudder). Finally, just when I was about to scream in frustration, she spotted another victim. But our moment of peace didn’t last long.
One step was all it took to have another clerk accost us. Once again, we were treated to the same inane giggles about the infamous “Shake Your Bon-Bon” party. I know you won’t believe this, but we were approached by five different people, in the same tiny store! All with the same persistent, never-ending sales pitch. It was exhausting and frustrating, like being the lone chicken in a wolf den. By the time the last person asked us if we’d heard about their bubble bar, I was getting a little snappy. You know those stickers the Salvation Army provides, so they know you’ve already donated? This store should consider doing the same: “Yes, I’ve heard about the Shake Your Bon-Bon party. (And I’d rather die.)” I found a soap that I absolutely loved, but refused to buy it after all that sales pressure. I will never be back.
Store #2: Too Cold
This store is actually a restaurant, and the service I received was so horrible that I will tell you it’s a wood-fired pizza place in Winnipeg’s Little Italy. And it has the word bistro in the name. Enough said.
A new friend and I went there one night for dinner. The place was far from dead, but not too busy, either. The food was pricey, but the pizza–which was the main attraction, after all–was quite reasonable and inventive, and I have to admit–easily the best pizza I’d ever had. Unfortunately, our waitress did everything she could to ruin the experience.
She ignored our table. Whenever she did come around, her tone was cold, bordering on snippy. It took us forever to order, forever to get drink refills, and when I requested that the rest of my pizza be wrapped up, she was gone so long that I’d pretty much given her up for dead. When she finally returned, 25-30 minutes later, she was empty handed! She asked if we wanted anything else, like she desperately hoped we didn’t, and I said, jokingly, “just the rest of my pizza”. “Yeah, it’s COMING!” she snarled. I couldn’t believe how rude she was. My friend and I laughed it off, and continued to chat. My friend had ordered at least two glasses of wine, and we’d both had expensive pizzas. It was our first time out together, so we were enjoying getting to know each other, when the waitress returned with my pizza (at last)…and kicked us out! She said other people needed our table. Can you believe that? I’ve never been ordered to leave a restaurant before. When we emerged from our No Man’s Land table by the back door, we did see two couples waiting, but it certainly didn’t look like they’d been there long. There was no excuse for the waitress’s rudeness. I won’t be back.
Store #3: Just Right
Much to the relief of Hollilocks and others like her, who prefer not to be treated like prey or pariahs when they dine and shop, there’s a wonderful restaurant in downtown Winnipeg that has customer service down to a science. I have never been disappointed.
The food is always exquisite, the people who work there appear to love their jobs, and you never see a waiter until you need one–and then suddenly he or she is magically there, refilling your wine glass or bringing you another fork. Whether you’re there for a pricey dinner or a much cheaper lunch, they treat you like royalty. It’s no wonder you usually need a reservation.
A waitress from this lovely Italian restaurant once chased me all the way down the street because I’d left my jacket behind on a chair. Now that’s service. (And according to a friend in the know, they serve the best gnocchi in the city.)
Congratulations, Tre Visi. You are a sight for sore eyes. Ahhhh…I’ll definitely be back.
Other Winnipeg spots that demonstrate excellent customer service:
Le Petit France
Papa George’s (sometimes. It’s never bad, and sometimes it’s stellar.)
Dream Weavers (doesn’t exist anymore, but it was fabulous)
Silver Lotus (primarily its owner, who goes above and beyond)
How about you, dear reader? Can you add to my “Just Right” list? Or do you have a rant to share about some terrible customer service? Rant away!