Customer Service Need Not Apply

Hi, Boomers,

Am I getting old or am I getting cranky and then old.  I can’t tell sometimes.  I had plans yesterday. It was Saturday and I was going to take the afternoon with my dear, adorable friend (as in male) and we were going to run errands in Santa Monica. He is older than I am but I’m a lot crankier and lack patience big time.

So CVS was first, getting prescriptions, a Father’s Day card for my ex husband (after all,  he’s still the father of my children), my favorite  go-betweens for my teeth (GUM), Omega 6 vitamins, and that went reasonably well. To the GAP for birthday presents and looking around to do some retail therapy (it all seemed so depressing).  I came up with yet another pair of cute yoga pants that I don’t need but want because when you wear yoga clothes all day for 12 hours a day, you need selections, girlfriend.

I decided that I actually did have more energy to run more errands in Santa Monica to get flyers made at my favorite printers for my Alaskan cruise next July on the Norwegian Pearl.  This is a cruise that has a seminar theme called Transform Your Life and I’m one of the speakers. My printers are cheap and fast and I have been getting things printed from them for over 17 years. The store always cheers me up because there is such great energy.  My male friend seemed up to it, too, and I was really jazzed to have him meet my printers.  Alas, they were closed before their customary 4 pm Saturday closing time.  These guys really like to party on Saturday afternoons. “Blasted!” I said. “Let’s get an early dinner”  What I meant was, “Let’s get a drink.”

But there, right on the other side of the street was FedEX. I had forgotten that it existed because I’m never crazy about them but I thought I would be saved from having to return on Monday morning to get the job done. Killing many birds with one stone, I leaped across Wilshire Blvd. and entered the black hole known as FedEx – the company that engulfed Kinko’s into their black hole, mashing it to a pulp so we couldn’t even remember what Kinko’s once looked or felt like. Gee, it wasn’t perfect; but it was friendly.  We stood behind one woman – who happened to know my friend and they had other mutual friends in the music business, and so they were happy to wait – in no hurry kind of jazz – just shooting the breeze – while I watched the most appalling costumer service ever on the planet outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  They had 3 people behind the counter. One young man was futzing with measuring something for about 15 minutes. The other two were involved with some sort of waiting on customers who had cards to print or intricate detailed printing instructions. Question upon question upon question was asked and addressed.  It made the Inquisition seem brief by comparison.

Twenty minutes passed.  I wanted to go but then a man came up behind me.  Oh, boy, I had an ally.  He was going to be my buddy in hate and loathing and I forgot about my glass of wine at P F Chang’s.  We were both Printland customers and we both wondered why the 3 brothers who ran the place went home so early on a Saturday. This was Santa Monica and people came out in droves for printing services – this FedEx place was packed! We exchanged stories about just saying what was on our minds in Whole Foods when the checkers are slow – hey, they took our whole paycheck and then they make us wait in line! How dare them! I so loved this guy that time began to fly and we were talking so loud about the poor service at FedEx, we began to attract the attention from the employees behind the counter.  Finally!!!!!!!

It was then my turn to walk up to the counter to an apologetic employee.  “How do you guys run a business like this with such poor customer service?” I asked.  “This is Saturday and we usually don’t have a crowd,” she replied.  Really?  No one goes to the printers on Saturday?  How strange.

But then, it took her another 10 minutes to get the order into the computer.  She asked me three times what my name, address, telephone number was.  NO!!!!  Pulling hair out of my head was not an option because I just got a haircut (another Saturday errand) and I didn’t have much left. “It takes Printland less then 3 minutes to do what you are doing right now and they don’t even ask my name,  I’m giving you a flash drive not a book printing order!!” I said with a face so tight it felt like I just got a face lift.”  I continued:  “I am coming back at 5:30.” “No, they won’t be ready,” she said.  “This will take at least 2 hours.”

“I have an order of 50 flyers,” I blurted out.  “You guys need new management! I’ll be back at 5:30.”  I’m such a bitch.

Half way through dinner at Chang’s, the phone rang.  My order was ready.  FedEx customer service reared its head. What a relief!   All errands accomplished.  The ordeal was over.



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