******Dedicated to all the more exasperated customers who don’t get what they pay for…or at least don’t get back what they overpaid for.*******
It’s a combination Dunkin’ Donuts/Convenience Store.
[As It Happened]
Based on his facial expression (which I may have misinterpreted) the counter clerk seemed to think I was cool looking—because he scampered from around the counter, vacating his normal check-out position, and decided he would go to the Dunkin’ Donuts post to wait on me….even though there was already a coffee-counter attendant there, and it wasn’t terribly busy.
He retrieved a new item from the menu for me—a tuna salad on a bagel (if you must know, the bagel was ordered as sesame seed; I also asked for a medium coffee with milk, 4 splenda on the side; with a request to fill the coffee/milk all the way up to the top).
While the clerk filled my order, his colleague decided she would ring me up--because she had just settled with a prior customer, on a purchase that somehow resulted in confusion.
[Don’t ask me how, I came late to that party. But, as you’ll soon see, I should have taken greater notice.]
And so while I waited for my snack-meal, I gave the cash-register colleague $10.36 on a $5.36, total purchase—so that I could get a clean 5 dollar bill out of it.
She gave me a 1dollar bill back.
Almost immediately, I pointed out the discrepancy to her—and she, at first—at least according to her subtly pained facial expression—had employed an especially convenient and common defense mechanism, Cross Projection 101:
She believed that I WAS THE ONE who had short-changed her--by executing some sort of hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye gimmick, even though I noticed the mistake, instantaneously, and hadn’t moved my open palm, whatsoever, after she laid the GW on it.
She saw that I could easily defend my position [so to speak], when I pointed out to her that I hadn’t yet moved my hands nor had I even changed the position of my open left hand, the hand that had accepted the short-change.
Because the errant exchange had only taken place moments earlier, she was basically faced with a self-confrontation that she didn’t wish to acknowledge. She could see that not only hadn’t I moved my hands; but that it was highly likely I wasn’t about to be frisked by the store manager nor the local magistrate.
What’s more, the ten dollar bill had yet to be put in the proper slot, in the cash register!
Dead to rights.
Nevertheless, the register clerk called for back-up [in between my two brief rounds of reasonably gentle, but firm, protestations].
By that time, the clerk, who first waited on me —who was, apparently, also the acting manager--had determined I was now the bad guy, if only because he was blaming the messenger.
In a sarcastic tone, he took back the one dollar bill; and he then went on to repeat twice, to me, within a span of seconds [without me saying anything in between, much less giving him any lip, of any kind],
`I shouldn’t worry, I….would….get…..my….money.’
Apparently, the cash register needed to be adjusted, before I would be given my proper change.
So now, on the second attempt, the cashier, who had first rung me up, dipped into the cash register and gave me $1.36 instead of $5—in a flustered, haphazard attempt to offer restitution; it was, unquestionably, a lapse of hard-core frenzied confusion, where the angst of the public embarrassment, resulted in a fuzzy math-botch…based on $.36, the exact amount registered in the decimal column, for the original purchase.
And so, you might have guessed what happened, next?
AGAIN, with the open palm.
AGAIN, with the obligation to point out the flagrant error—albeit a discrepancy that was now $3.64 instead of $4.
[At least, like the Economy, we were making a little progress.]
AGAIN, with the feeling that someone was pulling something over on her.
[I mean it just couldn’t be that when someone makes a mistake, that certain someone looks to transfer blame to the victim. Familiar pattern?]
I’ll spare you the details of the sequel angst.
At this point, the entire affair wasn’t all that far from a traumatic nightmare and I was thinking of maybe ME paying THEM an EXTRA $5.36--if I could only leave with my life and limb in tact.
Somehow, I was finally turned loose.
As I returned to my car, a sigh of relief came over me (because now I could eat in
peace) until I discovered that:
--Upon tasting the coffee, the Splenda was in it, already
--I got cream instead of milk
--The cup wasn’t filled close to the top because of the fear of liability, to wit: The McDonald's scalding coffee lawsuit, some years back.
--And that absolutely scrumptious first bite into an onion bagel (not sesame) told me that I had received chicken salad instead of tuna.
Oh, yeah…earlier in the exchange…before I had fallen out of favor with the acting manager, he asked me if I wanted cheese, and when I asked him if there were an extra charge and he said, no, I said sure, thank you….and not nary a slice of cheddar or Swiss nor American, could anywhere be found….
I called 911.
[Ok, ok, a little embellishment there, the last sentence was a fabrication. But if I had called, the dispatcher just might have been sympathetic. They might have even sent out a firing squad with request for back-up]
[CHALLENGE: Write About a Positive or Negative Customer Service You Have Had]