Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Customer Service??? Hello??

Have you ever gone to check out at a store and found no one at the check out counter? It seems as if this is happening more and more. Big conglomerate stores are replacing human beings with computers and technology, in "self-checkout" kiosks.

It's as if these companies have brought the ineffective automated phone menu to our stores. Where one pushes button after button, getting no human being to answer any questions, just more options, only when one finally reaches a person, they are located half a world away, and their English is sub par at best.

What frustrates me is the lack of customer service in general anywhere. In my town there is a movement of "shop local, buy local." After a melt down by yours truly at the self checkout at the grocery store today, I am looking into the food co-op and the CSA (no, not the Confederate States of America, but the Community Supported Agriculture).

First, my melt down happened because I was trying to use my own bags at the self-check isle. Since the only check out counter available was the express lane, and there was no clerk standing there, I was given no other choice but to self-check out. If you have ever tried to go shopping with a toddler/3 year old, you will know that half your attention needs to be on them at all times, or disaster will strike. Because I am not the kind of parent to ignore my children's misbehavior, or them while in public, self-check out is pure torture. Let's just say 5.6 seconds into my attempt at ringing up my purchases , things went afoul. Cookie started wondering towards the toys (which are conveniently placed across from the area) as I was struggling to put my own bags in the "bagging area" thus receiving a message that a clerk was needed. As I am looking around for someone to help me, wrangle my 3 year old, and figure it all out....I lost it. I started throwing the items back into the cart, announcing that "self-check" is crap and that is why I would prefer to be helped by a human. Of course now that I was making a scene, a person suddenly appeared saying, "ohhh but I will help you figure it out." Then I really lost it. "what is the point of you helping me here when I can have someone else help me the entire transaction at a regular line?" And miraculously the clerk for the express line appeared to "help me". This all left me grumbling like my grandmother, "this is why I hate technology replacing humans with computers, etc." Not only did I make a public scene in front of my child, I cursed and sounded like my grandmother. It was not my proudest moment by far.

Anyway the by product of this lovely shopping trip got me thinking about where I purchase our groceries. Which has me contemplating the local food co-op and the CSA. I've looked into the CSA before, opting not to participate, as I was concerned about getting 10 pounds of beets when I needed lettuce or potatoes. I have yet to visit the local food co-op, but am going to try it next week, even if it is on the other side of town. Since I am spending a third of our budget on food, I expect good service, I demand good service, and the idea that I have to bag my own groceries and check myself out makes me angry. This lady ain't takin' it no more.


  1. Working in CS I understand the frustrations of using other businesses and choosing not to use them due to their lack of CS. I'm sorry you had a bad experience.