Observation of the helpless consumer

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by txquis, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. txquis

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    [IM EDITING THIS POST BECAUSE IVE CAUSED A BIT OF CONFUSION
    ABOUT MY INTENT. I HAVE NOTICED PEOPLE BEING RUDE IN PUBLIC MORE AND MORE...LESS PATIENT, MORE NEEDY...ANYONE ELSE NOTICED THAT TREND?]

    When in public (either as a shopper, moviegoer, eating at a restaurant,
    riding public transit, waiting in line),
    I am polite, and I help myself.
    But increasingly,I am *not* the norm.
    Here are examples from each of my careers:

    1) TEACHING- Many parents are not teaching their children to be responsible their behavior and decisions. Someone else is
    *always* to blame. "I dont like my child's grade, there must be something wrong with this school". I knew several who *encouraged* their children to bully, and go against authority.

    2) PERFORMING- Audiences at live theater no longer know how to react/behave. TV
    has taught them to "talk back"...and "kick back".....as if they were in
    their own living room. I've been in Broadway shows where people in the
    front row chatted on their cell phones throughout the performance.

    3)CUSTOMER SERVICE(*not really talking about telephone, but in restaurants and stores*)- Customers want instant service, and i guess the Amazon dot com has taught them to expect it. Patience is more thin when waiting in line to pay, or for a table.

    4)RETAIL MANAGEMENT- People are more clueless as to how to behave in restaurants, and retail stores....they breast feed, they change diapers, they let kids run rampant and unattended,
    they leave garbage on the floor, and
    ruin merchandise...opening sealed packaging, etc...they
    scream profanities in front of little children,
    and most, i insist,
    want personal shoppers. "Fetch this list of things for me".

    WHAT IS HAPPENING? i'm appalled at the increasing rudeness of the
    public at large,
    and it is becoming
    the majority.
    I don't usually rant, but does anyone else know
    of what I speak?
     
  2. jonb

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    Actually, I once heard a filk about customer service:

    At first I was afraid - I had lost my mind
    The phone would ring, I'd do my thing and get maligned
    But then I spent so many months
    Helping users dial-out, I'm filled with doubt
    'bout my ability not to shout
    At users who...
    Can hardly think
    I showed them how to click on things
    and even pulled them from the brink
    I should have known they'd never learn,
    and realised they wouldn't see
    If I'd have known for just one second
    they'd be back to bother me!

    So here I go!
    Put them on Hold
    Just take a nap now...
    I'm sure they'll wait until they're old!
    Weren't they the ones who tried to say I lost their files
    They thought I'd help them...
    And now I'm rollin' in the aisles!
    Oh, yes, for I
    I will survive
    Oh, and as long as they keep dialin' up
    They're on hold until they die!
    I've got all my life to live.
    And I've some brains left to give.
    And I'll survive. I will survive.
    Hey, hey!

    [bridge]

    It took me ten cases of Jolt - not to fall apart
    Just trying to get this ignoramus to click on 'Start'
    And I spent oh so many nights
    Trying to get them just to see I used to cry,
    But now I just sit down and lie
    And you'll hear me
    Put them in a queue
    I'm not that chained up tech supporter trying to help them through.
    If you should feel like calling in
    And getting me to help you clear that porno out of your webcache,
    Then I'll laugh and disappear!

    So here I go!
    Put them on Hold
    Just take a nap now...
    I'm sure they'll wait until they're old!
    Weren't they the ones who tried to say I lost their files
    They thought I'd help them...
    And now I'm rollin' in the aisles!
    Oh, yes, for I
    I will survive
    Oh, and as long as they keep dialin' up
    They're on hold until they die!
    I've got all my life to live.
    And I've some brains left to give.
    And I'll survive. I will survive.
    Hey, hey!

    (Repeat until fade.)
     
  3. Hockeytiger

    Hockeytiger Active Member

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    I agree and disagree with your comments. I’ll take them in order.

    1) Teaching-I wholehearted agree with you. Parents all too often hold the wrong party responsible for poor performance. I am, however, more inclined to believe the parents, if they are active in their child’s education. Too many think it is the job of schools to do all the teaching.

    2) Performing-Again I agree. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at the movies or at a play when someone, usually more than one actually, starts up on their cell phone. Turn them off before entering! Is it that difficult?

    3) I have to disagree with you here. I spend more time on hold now than I ever have in my life. After 10 minutes on hold, I start to get pissed off. The reason is simple. As a business executive, I had to determine what level of customer support was appropriate. Frankly, after crunching the numbers, I have found making a customer wait more than around 7 minutes on hold is unreasonable. Usually it means the company executives have put their incentive bonuses over satisfying customer needs, which is ALWAYS a poor business practice. But customer service is always a rich and easy target when it comes to cost cutting. I never take my anger out on the rep on the phone. It is not their fault their bosses are greedy asses. If I have to wait more than 30 minutes I notify the company in writing of my intention to terminate my relationship with the company if they don’t rectify the wait time. I consider it a breach of contract. When I bought the product or contracted for services, customer support was part of the deal. If they put up unreasonable barriers to me using it, then it is a breach of contact.

    4) Retail management-I agree and disagree with you here. I agree with everything except the personal shopper. It is becoming more and more common to shop at large “warehouse” stores. They are so huge that I refuse to spend a half hour looking for what I want. And no one is ever around to help direct you. I hate it when I ask an “associate”, and I use that term VERY loosely, a question and they look annoyed. What the hell do they think they are there for? They are there to help me if I want/need help and I will get that help, or I will go elsewhere, and I will let the manager know it too.

    By the way, I’ve been know to “accidentally” stick a foot out when parents let their kids run rampant. I thoroughly enjoy the “thump” when the kid hits the floor.
     
  4. txquis

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    Gosh,
    sorry...in my haste,
    I realize that i was completely vague about my jobs...
    i meant to be, but it led to things
    being addressed that i've never even dealt with
    like *telephone* customer service
    and warehouse stores, neither of which i know a thing about,
    jobwise.

    I dont doubt that in every job there is an instance
    where the customer is right in demanding better service.

    My point (which i guess i was unclear on)
    is the trend in the customer becoming less independent...
    in many different scenarios.

    If i'm working for the Railway Information Booth,
    I am there to *give directions*

    I am not there
    to pack for you,
    carry your bags,
    and walk you to the train
    and seat you and hold your hand.

    Just giving directions is not enough,
    I'm finding.
    And it is rather fascinating to me.

    * I"M SURE WE"LL FIND SOME SMARTASS
    REMARKS BELOW THAT WILL PROVE THE
    POINT I"M TRYING TO MAKE ABOUT
    THE AMERICAN PUBLIC...READ ON...*


    .
     
  5. Hockeytiger

    Hockeytiger Active Member

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    I agree with you. If you are in the railway information booth, your job is to provide information, not any of that other stuff.

    I disagree with the consumer becoming less independent. I see it as the flip side of the same coin. Business doesn't want to be bothered with providing assistance anymore as a way to save money. I can remember my maternal grandmother telling me what it was like to go shopping at a fine department store. There were always people there to help you, and they were eager to do it. They asked you what you wanted and they helped you find it, or in many cases they went and found it and brought it to you. My experience with my wife recently was just the opposite. There was no one to help you, besides the people who ring up your order, and they refuse to move more than 2 feet from the registers. (Perhaps they are required to stay there.) When my wife asked where she could find a certain type of dress she was looking for, the assistant curtly replied, "I think they are over there somewhere." and broadly gestured across the two-thirds of the room. I might have understood if it was Sears, but this was Saks. When I pay for an item, I am also paying for service, and I will demand that service, or I won't buy it. I am getting tired of the McDonalds fast food, 30 minutes or less, I'm just a number, don't ask me I don't know anything because I only make minimum wage, self-serve world we live in. But maybe that's just me. :)
     
  6. SpeedoGuy

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    What do I think of customer service? I think it'd be a good idea!

    SG
     
  7. KinkGuy

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    What's customer service? Can't figure out what you guys are talking about. :wacko:
     
  8. txquis

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    I'm not talking about telephone customer service,
    where someone would help you on the telephone, to take an order
    for a company, or to file a complaint or make a payment.

    I'm really talking about people in a store,
    who might step up to a counter to return an item,
    or have a question about an item in a store...
    or the service one might get from a waiter at a restaurant,
    that kind of thing.
     
  9. txquis

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    REally cool post, Jonb,
    thanks.
    you get it.
    you are just about the only one, i'm afraid.
     
  10. txquis

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    Even when i'm the *customer* i am appalled
    at people's behavior in line...
    at the grocery store,
    waiting to get in a movie...whatever.

    I've seen and noticed the behavior changing.
    Period.
     
  11. KinkGuy

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    I'm not talking about telephone customer service,
    where someone would help you on the telephone, to take an order
    for a company, or to file a complaint or make a payment.

    I'm really talking about people in a store,
    who might step up to a counter to return an item,
    or have a question about an item in a store...
    or the service one might get from a waiter at a restaurant,
    that kind of thing.
    [post=257137]Quoted post[/post]​
    [/b][/quote]

    No, "I got it"....you didn't get my vague humor
     
  12. Hockeytiger

    Hockeytiger Active Member

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    I have to admit that I'm still a bit bewildered, but I think I'm getting a closer understanding. Yes, of course I've seen people be obnoxious in line. I'm usually quite embarrassed about it. But I really haven't seen a major increase over the years. Then again, I haven't really been looking. I can give you an example of an instance where I behaved poorly in line. It was at the Orange County, CA airport last winter. I arrived just a little bit over 3 hours before my scheduled departure. Two hours and forty minutes later I was still in line. Needless to say I was very unhappy but hadn’t been overtly rude yet. At that point, I was close to the front of the line, when one of the ticket agents left the counter leaving only two agents and a huge line still. I asked in an exasperated tone, “Why are you leaving when you can see there is a serious problem here?” She replied, sticking a cigarette in her mouth, “It’s time for my break.” I have to admit that I was just about as angry as I have ever been when I laid in on her, and unfortunately included quite a bit of profanity. I’m not particularly proud of what I did. In fact I’m now quite embarrassed. But she had the last laugh. One of her colleagues “mistakenly” checked my luggage for a lovely tour of Europe. :lol:

    The two of us look at the issue from completely opposite ends. Let me explain. I few years back I worked as a mid level executive in a decent sized corporation. One of my subordinates, the manager of the tech support group for the company, died suddenly and I had to take over day to day operations of it until I could find a replacement. I saw several people in the department who exhibited feelings not too dissimilar to those earlier in jonb's post. As soon as I discovered them, I looked at their records and in most cases, I had them transferred out or asked them to resign. I couldn't have tech support people who only wanted to give tech support to people who don't need tech support. The people who need tech support are the angry, the ignorant, the stupid, the manipulative, etc. It is not a question of giving support with a smile on one's face and keeping one's true feeling to oneself. That rarely works. I needed people who wanted to deal with such people. They see it as a challenge, and feel rewarded when they successfully make it through the tougher callers. Sometimes, the angry and abusive caller would even be quite apologetic and thankful by the end. That is what a good tech support person lived for. Yes it is a rare breed. Please don’t think that I come at this with some kind of moral superiority. Just the opposite. I revered those tech support people who could do their jobs well. I sure couldn’t do theirs. After about the 30th stupid call, I’d be mocking those idiots.

    In your case, I assume you do work in the information booth, since that was a rather specific example, as I said earlier, I agree that it really isn’t your job to do the things those people are asking of you. You are obviously annoyed about it. I would be too. But then again, I know I’m not suited for that type of job. If you don’t get satisfaction from going the extra mile for a customer, even an obnoxious, stupid, lazy customer, then perhaps you need to rethink your career. It isn’t a question of whether it is your job or not to do it. In my opinion if I were staffing your position, I would want someone who was glad to do what you find annoying. I can’t tell you whether you are suited for it. Really only you and those in your workforce really know that. Just think about it. I know this isn’t the response you wanted and you are full of angry defensive emotions. Let them pass and really think hard about it. Flame me if you want. But it won’t change your situation. You seem to be unhappy about your job. Instead of lashing out at annoying customers, of which I’m sure there are multitudes and absolutely nothing you can anything about, perhaps you should find a job that better fits your personality.
     
  13. txquis

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    I have never lashed out at customers except
    right here, man.

    This is just the place i decided to vent. :D


    I manage a major US retail bookstore chain.
    And i was just venting
    about the dirty diapers,
    the unattended children,
    the shoplifters,
    people pushing grocery store carts into and through our store,
    bringing in fast food
    and leaving the leftovers on the table for
    employees to clear away...and
    tearing recipes out of magazines that they dont
    buy.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of retail.:)

    I should have mentioned
    the other half of the customers who
    are a delight, and very grateful.
    But,
    i see this behavior everywhere not
    just at my store.:(
     
  14. prepstudinsc

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    People have lost all manners, that is very true. I blame parents for not teaching their children on that. When I was a child, if I went running away from my mother in a store, I got yanked back to her side and if it happened again, I got spanked.
    These days, I see many kids go running through stores unattended and their parents just seem unaware or unconcerned, and they just say, "Johnny, come back here." Nothing is done about it. The kids look at the parents and have this look of, "yeah, right--come get me" on their faces. Everything in soceity is lax these days. People talk on their phones in restaurants during dinner, they talk during performances, phones ring during church. My church bulletin has a note in it to please turn all phones and pagers off or to vibrate, but at least once during every service, Jesus feels it necessary to call someone. People leave hats on when they eat. No one dresses up to go out to eat. Many churches are encouraging people to come to church casual--not at mine, thank God.

    Customer service has gone out the window, too. I think that in an effort to cut expenses and increase profits, companies slash workers, and it's never the executives that go, it's always the people who work with the public who get laid off.
    The ones who need to go are the upper level managers. The sales people and tech support people are the ones who need to be increased. No one would miss a mid level manager who is just crunching numbers and driving a company Ford Taurus. Those people are worth two or three "regular" employees and would do a world of good to the company, and could probably increase long term profits.

    Hockeytiger spoke about recently shopping at Sak's with his wife and getting poor service. I had to laugh because I had a similar experience. I grew up being drug to to the Sak's boy's department to get clothes when I was a kid. So as I got older, I continued to shop at Sak's through college and early adulthood. I found that the customer service got worse and worse. It seems that there is never anyone in the stores shopping but the sales people don't ever want to help you.
    I don't have a store near me, although they are going to open one here in the next couple of years. I only go when I'm out of town, but my experience is the same in every one I go to. When I go to a Neiman's, they sales associates are always great to help and will go with you to every department or get people to help you. I also find the same thing at Nordstrom. They will help you and stay with you and be your lackey. That is what customer service is about. They know that you will be loyal to them and be a return customer.

    When I go to me designer boutique stores, too, they are all about service. Even if I am going to buy a couple of tshirts, they call me by name, they show me the latest things they've gotten in. They pull out things they think I'll like. Going the extra mile to help a customer is what I want and what I expect. That's why I pay more to shop in those stores. If I wanted to have to pull out three pairs of pants myself or go in the back to find them, I'd shop at Sam's Club or Costco, but I'm paying for customer service. I'm the consumer.

    Priorities need to be put back into perspective. What really irks me, though is when I go into a store and a clerk is on the phone with a personal call and they won't get off the phone to help me. It's happened at the bank, too. That's an instant call to the branch manager for a complaint. I'm not shy about voicing my opinion.

    Ok, well I've rambled on enough now...I guess this topic punched some of my buttons. LOL
     
  15. txquis

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    Nice post...

    Speaking of phones,
    anyone notice how many people are on
    cell phones at the movies,
    in line at the store, at the restaurant?

    I've heard of signs in post offices that say if you are on
    your cell phone you will lose your place in line.
    i love that.

    The real reason i started this thread is because
    i remember (i'm in my thirties) when people
    said please and thank you and didnt
    yell profanities in public. Those days are gone i'm afraid.
    :(
     
  16. Hockeytiger

    Hockeytiger Active Member

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    From your post I assumed you never lashed out at them personally. You seemed too thoughtful to do something as horrid as that. If you just need a place to vent at annoying people, please feel free. Please don't let my intellectual musings deter ya.

    Upon reflection, I tend to agree that, over all, people have become less considerate and more self centered. BTW, everything you listed about people’s behaviors in the bookstore is absolutely reprehensible. (Shopping cart in a bookstore? Talk about crude!) Don’t get me started about cell phones. I’d go on ranting for days. Personally, as soon as I enter a building it gets turned off. I see it as kind of like a hat thing, not that anyone observes that either. Also, I always hold a door open for someone right behind me, and I have noticed that the number of people saying thank you has dropped considerably over the past 5 years. Many times though they are on their cell phones and don’t want to interrupt their obviously critical conversation with a simple “thanks”.

    I’ve seen those signs about cell phone and losing one’s place in line at the local Subway too. I loved it.

    But I have to say this. I don’t go to my local bookstore anymore. This past June they remodeled, and I was disgusted with the result. There are now fewer employees. I guess that’s how they paid for it. There are plasma screens behind the check out counter that do nothing but mesmerize the customers in line so that they don’t notice how much longer they are standing in line lately. The impulse buy items have ballooned out of control. They now take up about a sixth of the total floor space of the store; mostly near the check out line, which is now longer. I’ll let everyone here draw their own conclusions about the relationship of the length of the line to the corresponding increase in impulse buy items nearby. Overall, I no longer see it as a bookstore. Rather, it has become a temple to crass consumerism. Maybe it was inevitable. But when my bookstore begins to look like the GAP, it is time to go. :(
     
  17. txquis

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    I agree Hockeytiger.

    Have you found that more and more stores
    are becoming more of a "superstore"
    and less of a specialty store?

    That is kind of disheartening.

    when i lived in NYC there were many
    specialty type stores....mystery bookshops,
    childrens bookstores (i worked at one)....
    even specialty video stores....etc, etc, etc.

    But away from the cities,
    it seems as though chains all have a sameness...

    The place i work does not sell software,
    for example, but it is certainly in discussion...
    We sell some school supplies (to a degree) now, too...
    Perhaps the consumer
    expects one-stop-shopping everywhere now.
     
  18. madame_zora

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    Customer service is as obsolete as child discipline. I detest going to Walmart, because in addition to having to spend at least a half hour to get a few simple things due to 1) the store being huge and disorganised 2) there never being anyone to answer the simple question "where could I find ___?" 3) God help me, I go there to buy fabric, which has to be cut, so a customer service rep MUST be found- this is often 30 minutes by itself- yes after knowing before I go in how long it's going to take, I also must deal with "screaming baby syndrome". Why do people simply NOT raise their children anymore? I am 41, so admitedly from another generation, but I simply can't fathom how people tolerate these monsters at home. The noise volume at Walmart is almost heart-stopping, and still I see the young mothers either ignoring it (THEY"VE learned to tune it out), talking on their cell, or not even around at all while the kid runs rampant all over the place. It's truly disgusting. I am not at all adverse to telling a kid to be quiet if his screaming is giving me a headache, and informing a twit parent that screaming in public is innappropriate behavior. I would be so happy for a return to personal accountability! What's so hard about throwing away your own trash at McDonald's?
    Those people are not there to clean up your personal garbage! And I have experienced an almost mob-like feeling erupt in line at Taco Bell because people are too damned stupid to step back, look at the situation, and realise that the management has not scheduled enough employees to handle the flow of customers, so they are rude to the few employees who are actually there to help them! How completely obnoxios!

    Let me add driving to the rant- why do people feel it's their "right" to drive slow in the passing lane, talk on their cell phone when decision making skills are needed regularly on the road, and be generally ignorant and unkind to fellow motorists? There used to be more a feeling of comaraderie amoung drivers, but anymore it's almost completely "me against the world" which is a shame.

    Rant over, I'm out
     
  19. jonb

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    That's America for you: Everyone's either an asshole or a cunt, which probably explains why we always get fucked by the Man.
     
  20. madame_zora

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    hey Jonb, all this sex talk is making me horny.
     
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