Service Please…

carol-beer-computer-says-noMy wife called a local gym to ask about membership prices. I guess it’s part of their sales plan to get potential members in the door, so they’re reluctant to talk price on the phone. Margi said she understood, but was hoping to at least get a general idea — even a broad range — over the phone. The salesman said that she really needed to come in. Margi, being very polite and patient, said, “I will come in, but I’m really busy, and wonder if I could just get a general idea first.”

“Well, we’re all really busy,” the health club salesman replied.


I bought the wrong printer ink cartridges at my local mega-office-supply store, and wanted to return them. The youngish clerk asked for my driver’s license. I had forgotten it, but I knew my license number. I wrote it down for her, and she said, “How do I know you’re not making it up?”  Yes, I thought. I drove here to cheat your store out of money by giving you a new, unopened ink cartridge in exchange for a different one of the same price, and the whole fake driver’s license number is part of the scam. Busted. You got me.

Then she yawned in my face, and I saw she still had tonsils.

“Service in America sucks,” wrote business guru Ken Blanchard.

I spent an hour punching numbers on my phone trying to establish an online account with Wells Fargo bank.

Researchers recently tested a large number of churches, mostly smallish, by calling and leaving a message on the answering machine. The majority of churches never returned the call.


customer-serviceFor years, Home Depot acted like the big kid on the block in our [smallish] town. Recently, Lowe’s came to town.  Two weeks later, after Home Depot became a ghost town, they posted a sign by the check out counters:  “If you have any concerns about customer service in this store, please contact our manager at… [phone number.]”

Too late.

There is hope, however. Yesterday, we splurged at Nordstrom’s (a 2.75 hour drive) so my wife could pretend I was her Ken doll.  Chara, the associate who helped us, did Nordstrom’s proud.  Eager to help, fun, and positive, Chara went the extra mile–even going outside her department to take care of us. It was a great experience. I can testify that Nordstrom’s legendary customer service is alive and well, at least in Roseville, CA.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45, NKJV.

How’s your service?


7 thoughts on “Service Please…

  1. Good customer service deserves loyalty, it is what has kept me employed for 30 years. These days too many consumers demand the lowest price without understanding that good employees cost money. It would seem that you still get what you pay for, even in the 21st century.

    Speaking of disappointment, a day long “pretty woman, only with a fine looking Italian man instead” type shopping spree without pictures?

    You are such a tease.

  2. I’m at Wendy’s. I ask the cashier, “How big is your large soda?” Evidently I was the first one to ever ask her that question. She stammered and then said, “Um, It’s a little bigger than the medium.”

    I’m at Ross and asked to be measured for a fitted shirt. The sales gal looked confused and asked me to repeat the question. She made a phone call and asked me to wait. I waited about 5 minutes. The manager stopped by and handed her something on his way through and the sales gal handed it to me. It was a measuring tape like you’d find at a construction site. She said, “Bring it back when your done.”

    Gotta love that modern day customer service.

  3. I went to a restaurant and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. They brought me chicken strips in a basket. I politely told them that I ordered the chicken sandwich. They took it back and brought me out chicken strips (yes the same ones they had just removed, I know because I marked them first) on a bun. I politely asked them if the menu said GRILLED chicken sandwich (I knew it did, I had just read it and purposely ordered it because I am watching my girlish figure;) The OWNER said “I dont know, did it say that? Well, you are going to have to wait a looong time.” Meanwhile my husband is almost done eating so I just eat fatty chicken strips in a basket while tossing, no…. throwing, no…. shoving…yes thats it! that bun right where it ahhhh!!! This story still makes me mad!! That last part is made up, thats what I WANTED (and still want) to do. I just ate it and payed for it and we left and vowed to never eat there again. I haven’t, you know!!

  4. Well, when the “mom ‘n pops” were replaced by the huge mega-stores, something had to go – service is not longer just endangered, it’s gone extinct (almost). In our store, it’s difficult to give good service to non-existent customers who have gone the “cheaper” way to catalogs, under-the-table fake stores, or megas who sell in amounts of product rather than the best or unique, with great service.

    In a world more and more “I-centered,” it’s really no wonder serving others isn’t top on the priority list.

    One wonders why the serving attitude in Christianity isn’t more embraced by our society rather than scorned by most of the money-grubbers out for self-fulfillment. Oh, I guess that’s sin, isn’t it?

  5. Hey Bill,
    I still remember your “Reality Triangle”

    Pick any 2:


    Fast Cheap

    You can’t have all 3.
    Nordstrom’s: Good and Fast
    McDonalds: Fast and Cheap


  6. What bewilders me is businesses who jack around customers with coupons. The whole idea of buying an ad with coupons is to recruit customers. Why, then, would Pioneer Chicken, for example, give us two skinny wings as a sample of their “chicken dinner” when we took our coupon in? Obviously, we have never been near a Pioneer Chicken since. (Are they even in business any more?)

    This kind of nonsense happens fairly often!

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