jenny_islander (jenny_islander) wrote in bad_service,

Military Intelligence?

Full-time mom with part-time jobs. This is bad service I experienced while trying to do one of them.

I am the local vendor for a souvenir company. One of my accounts is at my local U.S. Coast Guard Exchange. They're the best organized, most efficient, nicest, and all-around easiest to work with of all of my stores. I got used to opening my freight and finding out that the Warehouse Elves had already dumped all the packing material for me and printed shelf labels for every item. That store just hummed along, even though they were crammed into a building so small that the Warehouse Elves had late-model laptops because there was no room for a regular PC. They were so efficient partly because they had no room to keep anything sitting around longer than absolutely necessary.

At my boss's request, I had started adding new items to our lineup at the Exchange, beginning with these cute little nesting dolls. I noticed that there were no shelf labels in the box, so I asked the Warehouse Elves for a label for my dolls. No problem; they could swipe the item for me and print right off their laptops, right?


In the week since I had last been to that store, the higher-ups had decided to increase efficiency. So they ordered the Warehouse Elves to install new software: a DOS emulator that turned their shiny laptops into so many dumb terminals. How dumb? This dumb: the SKU for each new item had to be faxed to Software Support, which would then enter it into the server. The next morning, when the Warehouse Elves did their daily download, the SKU would be in the software; then they would be able to print labels and the item could be shelved and sold. It took two and a half months for the SKU for those dolls to show up in the software. (It could have been worse; I could have ordered new chocolates--or sausages.)

As far as the Warehouse Elves can tell, Software Support for the entire USCG Exchange System consists of one person in (IIRC) Cleveland. (I'm in Alaska.) There were so many pallets of items marked "Not On File" in the warehouse by last week that the Warehouse Elves had to edge around them sideways. What the heck are they supposed to do when the holiday rush starts up--tell Coast Guard Mom she can't have any Pirates of the Caribbean Davy Jones gift wrap because it's not in the system?

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