AgentStila (agentstila) wrote in bad_service,

Bad service on Cannery Row

This probably doesn't rank up there among the absolute worst customer service experiences ever, but it's stuck with me over the years and it had me plenty angry when it happened.

My (now ex)boyfriend and I were on a weekend getaway to Monterey Bay, CA.
We were doing a little sight seeing on Cannery Row, which is a historic area of town that is known for its shopping, dinning, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I was looking for some souvenirs for a few coworkers, when we stopped in a little shop which I believe was called the General Store, or some other such generic name. (Unfortunately I am not 100% sure what the name of the place was now)

Anyway, when we first walked in I noticed a woman asking an older male sales clerk what the price of an item was. The man seemed entirely annoyed that the woman was bothering him with such a question, and he said, quite rudely, "Well, is there a price on it?" The women paused and said no. The sales clerk, now even more annoyed than before, replied, "If it doesn't have a price on it then I have no idea how much it costs!" And with that, he turned his back on the stunned woman.

Most of my first jobs were in retail, and I cannot imagine telling a customer anything like that. If you don't know the price then ask a supervisor or find a comparative item. It's really not that difficult..

Now, that right there should have been my clue that this was not going to be a pleasant shopping experience. But for whatever reason my ex and I continued browsing until I found some cute key chains that were shaped like mini surf boards. They were pretty cheap, like maybe a buck each, and I thought they'd make nice gifts so I grabbed a few. After looking around I didn't see anything else that I wanted so I took my purchase to the register.

The sales clerk that had been rude to the other customer was now standing behind the register, gluing together what appeared to be a wooden model of a lighthouse. I waited patiently at the counter while he fiddled with the model. He didn't acknowledge me for what seemed like a very long time. When he finally decided that he could spare a few seconds to take my money, he was not very friendly. He rang up my purchase and told me my total, which was probably around 3 dollars.

As a rule, I generally don't carry much cash with me, especially when traveling. At this point in time I had no cash with me at all, just my debit card. So I pulled out my card and handed it to the clerk.

You'd think I handed him a dead kitten by the way he reacted.

He got extremely agitated when he saw my card, and said in a very stern and angry voice, "NO! If you're gonna do that then NO!! Just no!" and threw my card back at me.

I was speechless. After a stunned pause I took my card back and said, "O...kay.."

I completely understand that a lot of little stores have policies regarding minimum purchases that can be made on charge cards, and it's totally every business's right to have such policies. However, if that was the case, he should have explained it to me in a civilized manor, or had a sign by the register that clearly stated such a policy.

My ex and I left the store immediately after, but I was too upset to let it go. I asked my ex to go back into the store and speak to the manager. My ex went back in, but came back a few seconds later. He told me that he asked the clerk for the manager, and the clerk replied, "I am the manager!"

That was the part that blew my mind. What sort of manager treats his customers that way? What sort of manager doesn't know the prices of the items in his own store? To this day it still boggles my mind...
Tags: retail
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