Auntie Fashion

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How to Be a Better Customer in 2011: #15

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Suggestion #15: Make realistic decisions when making major purchases.

I hear a lot of horror stories about people getting terrible service when they buy big ticket items.  I also hear a lot of stupid people telling me how the stores they shop in fail to meet their completely unrealistic expectations.  But mostly I hear a lot of horror stories that are a combination of bad salesmanship and unrealistic expectations on behalf of customers.

For instance, I listened in on a phone conversation where a store manager had to appease a customer who had disconnected his old stove in anticipation of the arrival of a new stove that was supposed to be delivered to his house on the evening before Thanksgiving.  The store offered a pick-up service for the old appliance that included removal of the old unit and installation of the new unit free of charge.  Yet the customer must have had plans for his old stove, so he decided to remove it himself before the new one was delivered.  He also decided that getting his new stove exactly as planned was something that was written in stone.  Nothing could go wrong because that’s how he planned it, right?  There was a problem with the delivery truck, of course, and he didn’t get the stove.  So he called the store and went on rant to the manager about how he had invited a whole bunch of people over for Thanksgiving dinner and he didn’t have a stove.

Now if that was me ordering a new stove, I would have made sure that I had the appliance a week or two ahead of the day I absolutely needed it.  I also would have taken advantage of the offer to dispose of my old range.  I would have allowed for the delivery company to reschedule, too, because I’m smart enough to realize that plenty of factors go into the logistics of a delivery service.  Traffic, weather, human error, etc., can all play a major role in delivery, so I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to leave everything to the very last minute and expect it all to work out exactly as planned.

I heard another story just the other day about someone getting carpet installed the day before she was throwing a party.  The salesman who measured the carpet made a mistake and didn’t measure correctly.  It wasn’t until the very last staircase was being carpeted when the installers realized that they didn’t have enough product to finish.  What were they supposed to do?  The carpet was ordered from the manufacturer and it would take weeks for more to arrive.  The homeowner was livid.  It was anyone’s fault but her own.

Or was it?  It made me wonder if every single moment of her entire life had gone exactly as planned until that incident?  Probably not.  People make mistakes, and all these services are run by people.  The mistakes the customers made by not allowing any room for error were just as foolish as the mistakes made by delivery driver who ran his truck off the road while answering his cell phone or the mistakes made by the carpet salesmen who couldn’t operate his calculator properly.

The moral of this story: Make realistic decisions with a margin for error and you’ll be far less likely to be disappointed when things go wrong.  Humans make errors — yourself included.

Written by Post Author

December 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

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