Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Customer Service

I'm a regular overnight visitor at one of the big box discount department stores.  I can't say I'm a huge fan, but the staff is nice, the store has what I need, and it's open all the time.

Here is something that happened to me twice in three weeks.  I was stuck waiting while the computer cash registers went through an upgrade and reboot at 4:00 AM.  Both times, I was stuck there for about ten minutes.

The last time, last week, the store was busier than usual for that time of day.  People had full carts and were heading toward the one manned checkout line.  I had only a few things, so I wandered over to the do-it-yourself checkout area.

My stomach sank.  Red lights above and "off line" symbols on display screens.  A fellow person in line said he was told the wait would be 20 minutes, and that was five minutes ago.

The manager on duty came over to apologize to the growing group of disgruntled shoppers.  My response was "I know this isn't your fault, but how did this company become the largest retailer in the country?"  He said "by being committed to low prices" and walked away.

There was nothing to do but wait, watch my frozen pizza thaw, and watch my blood pressure go up.

Here, you had a dozen people willing to give you money, and your horrible technology system keeps them waiting.  Obviously, the store and the chain needs to install a back up system.  Use one while the other is updated, and vice versa.  I guess investing in something that would keep customers happy and the money flowing would affect that commitment to low prices.

I was tempted to leave my stuff on the counter and walk.  Instead, I took a few deep breaths and waited it out.  This store is the only overnight game in town.  With KMart apparently on the way out, this could become the only big box discount store, period.

There has to be a better way.