Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is wrong with people?

On a recent trip to Pat Catans I became very disheartened by an interaction I saw between a customer and associate and actually wrote a letter to the company. (Though it has been almost a month and I have not gotten any response from them.) Here is the summary (though names have been changed to protect their identity):

"As a regular shopper at your store I have always been pleased with the excellent customer service I have received both in store and over the phone. Your associates have been kind, friendly, and willing to help me resolve any questions I have had. Unfortunately, yesterday I found myself at a crossroads in determining whether or not I should continue to shop at your store. This was not due to the actions of an associate, but the actions of "JOE", their boss. Due to the liquidation of the store, people were able to purchase a "cartload" of merchandise for the set price of $25. Customers and associates were all told that the cart had to be level with the brim to receive that price. Any merchandise above the rim would be purchased separately at 75% off. Many people grumbled a little, rearranged their stuff, or left merchandise at the counter when it wouldn't fit, but all complied with this rule. As my daughters (3 and 4) and I were bagging our own items, a couple in their 50s or 60s came to the front of the line. The associate politely told them that they would have to remove the items above the rim and pay for them separately OR get another cart and fill that for an additional $25. The man began yelling at her and telling her that "JIM" said it was okay. She replied by telling him that she was only doing what her boss told her, and that Jim wasn't her superior so unfortunately, she couldn't do anything with what he said. He then went into a horrible rant and began insulting and degrading her. He called her stupid and said that she hadn't worked there long enough to know what she was talking about. She said that she would ask her boss, but that they would have to wait because he was on an important phone call. The entire time they waited he continued to insult and berate her as she just stood there. It was very uncomfortable. JOE came in after a while and must have heard the end of that rant because he immediately walked over to that register . . . and told the associate that he was fine and to just ring him up for $25 because he knew him! While you might think I am upset because of the inequity in pricing, that is not my concern. I know that I got a good deal and am happy with my price regardless of the fact that someone may have gotten a "better" deal. I am livid because I then had to go outside and try to explain to my young children why anyone would treat someone else like that and not be held accountable in any way. I have worked in customer service and have managed other people as well. As a manager, I feel it is your job to reprimand your associates if they do something wrong, but it is also your job to protect and defend them if they are mistreated simply for following YOUR rules. The idea that "The customer is always right" has long passed and while you should do your best to make a customer happy, if someone behaves in that manner then they would not be welcome in my store. So, my question is this . . . Is this the norm in managerial policy at Pat Catans? If so, then I unfortunately can't continue to support a store that allows its employees to be treated so badly. When I looked at that young girl I could only think of my daughters. While I know that they will be exposed to rude and uncivilized people throughout their lives, I expect them to be supported and backed up by their bosses (when they are in the right).

If you do nothing else as a result of my comments, please at least find out who the girl was and let her know that I apologize for not saying something to the gentleman or at least expressing support of her when I had the opportunity. I should have! I would have wanted someone to do something for my children."

So, my question is this . . . Why hasn't Pat Catans responded to my concern? Also, when did people begin to think it was their right to insult another human being for doing their job. I am not completely naive and innocent. I have gotten upset with customer service at various locations. I have asked to speak to a manager. I have raised my voice. I have NOT berated and insulted the person standing in front of me doing their job and upholding a policy that they've been given.

Sorry Pat Catan - you have lost my business. Not simply for hiring people that might have made a mistake in judgment (since that happens to us all), but for not even having the decency to respond to my concerns.