Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Archive for December 2010

How to Be a Better Customer in 2011: #15

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Range

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.

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December 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Happy Birthday, Jude Law

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Jude Law

Happy birthday, Jude Law.  I’m going to celebrate your special day by watching a movie you’ve been in.  I have plenty of choices since I’ve only seen two of them.  What have I been doing for the last twenty years?

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December 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

How to Be a Better Customer in 2011: #14

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Black Friday

Suggestion #14: Don’t go shopping on the busiest days of the year and complain that you can’t get any service.

Really, how stupid are you?

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December 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Happy Birthday, Denzel Washington

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Denzel Washington

Happy birthday, Denzel Washington.  I just realized that you share the exact same birthday with Gayle King.  Perhaps you’re twins, separated at birth, and Oprah is just hanging around Gayle until fate reunites you and your long-lost sibling so that she can finally make her move on you.  It could happen . . .

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December 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

How to Be a Better Customer in 2011: #13

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Canadian Tire

Suggestion #13: Don’t expect every employee in every department store to know everything about the store.

In a perfect world, you would walk into Canadian Tire’s garden center and be able to ask the girl at the counter where you would find a 3/4 drive, twelve-point, 11 mm socket, and she would tell you exactly which aisle to look in.  But in the real world she’s responsible for her department and that’s the only part of the store she knows.  That’s why it’s called a “department store.”

So don’t get angry with people who are trained to be specialists in their own areas when they don’t know much about the other ten-thousand items the store sells.  It’s unrealistic to walk into Walmart’s electronics department to ask the guy selling TVs why the zipper broke off your 38″ waist skinny jeans.  It’s unrealistic to walk into a Sears catalogue department without an item number to ask if they sell that obscure thing you saw on their website when you can’t even describe what it was.  It’s unrealistic to walk into the Bay to ask the counter staff what Zellers sells even though the same company owns both operations.  It’s unrealistic to believe that people who make a fraction of what you make should be smarter, more well-trained, more polite and more patient than you when you stand in front of them asking such stupid questions.

So don’t throw a tantrum at the counter when you can’t get an answer to your questions.  Face it — you’re not going to get expertise from most underpaid department store staff in the first place.  As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for,”  and the more realistic you are about your shopping experience the less-aggravated you’re going to be when you go shopping.

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December 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Tovah Feldshuh

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Tovah Feldshuh

Happy birthday, Tovah Feldshuh.  You have such an exotic name!  If I’m not mistaken, it’s French, right?

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December 27, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

How to Be a Better Customer in 2011: #12

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Messy Store

Suggestion #12: Don’t trash the stores you shop in.

It really should go without saying, but leaving a mess behind you in the stores where you shop is rude and disrespectful.  Don’t treat things that you don’t own like the crap that you do own.

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December 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm