Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

How could I forget?!

Usually I am quick to recount minutely frustrating run-ins with poor customer service, because, well, you know, my comfort and convenience is the most important thing in the entire world (not really--it's really probably only the third or fourth most important), and I feel the need to burden you all with all the imagined insults to my honor. (Yes, I realize if the best I have to complain about is getting ignored at a store, I have it pretty good.)

ANYWAY, Saturday when we were coming back from Boy's game, we decided to stop by Target to pick up a birthday cake for Oldest, as well as a few other small items. Mainly because it was on the way. I have become rather less than enamored of the Target in our little burg--when it first opened, it had the thing Target is famous for (aside from higher prices for "designer"-inspired crap) and that was customer service and cleanliness. They had their red-shirted and khaki-pantsed team members all over the place helping out with their wireless headsets, and a whole crew of guys with tennis balls on sticks wiping up scuff marks on the pristine white vinyl tile floors. You kinda understood that you might pay more for some of this junk, but they took care of you nicely, and it was a pleasant place to shop.

Well, something seems to have happened in the intervening year. The store has never been quite as busy as the Wal-Mart, but worse is that the resulting lack of profitability seems to have been made up for by cutting back on the one thing that made people (or me, at least) stop there in the first place--customer service and cleanliness.

I walked in Saturday and after making a quick trip to the (not quite clean) restroom, I walked back to the bakery section. There was one big lady in the deli, lounging over the top of the case flirting with some guy in a chef's hat who was handing out pizza samples. I excused myself as I went between them (not that they noticed) and found a nice white cake ready to be written on with frosting. There was nobody in the bakery, so I looked around and finally found an employee who was slowly putting things in a case. I explained I needed someone to write "Happy Birthday" on this cake I had in my hand, and was instructed to go see the woman who was making the love connection over the top of the Smithfield hams. I walked over--"Hello, pardon me--I was wondering if you could write 'Ha..."



"The bakery woman gone to lunch."

"And there's no one else who can..."

"Naw. She might be back in fifteen, twenty minutes."

I just stood there for a moment as she resumed chatting with Pizza Man, then turned around, took the cake back and set it down, and walked out without getting the other items I needed. Went on down to Winn-Dixie, where there were TWO workers in the bakery, who got me taken care of in five minutes. And the cake was less expensive, too.

EPISODE TWO occurred last night--I had decided Saturday Target could choke on their merchandise, but Oldest and I had decided to go out and see if we could find her a suitable television stand for her room, and had made the Grand Tour of Trussville--K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Pier One, and as our last resort, Target.

It was about 8, and we walked in to a store so deserted you would expect to see tumbleweeds blowing about. There were several team members wandering around, some chatting on their cell phones to friends, but quite obviously none whose job it was to clean the place up. There was a white plastic fork and wads of paper on the floor where you enter, and I noticed the carpeted area was full of spots and stains, and the floors looked as though they hadn't seen a tennis-ball-on-a-stick in ages. Walked back to the home decor section, and noticed the merchandise falling off shelves, and clothes half hung up, and yet more flotsam and jetsam littering the floors.

Didn't find the style of furniture we needed, but that's okay. If I want to shop in a dirty store with crappy customer service, I'll go to K-Mart. At least the prices are lower. (Actually, the K-Mart is cleaner, too.)

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