on customer service

This evening I stopped in at a local office supply store (one of the major chains) to make some photocopies. Having spent 20 years teaching, I am well versed in the use of copying machines -- from Gestetners to modern computerized whizbangs, so I opted for the self serve copiers.

The copies were made without incident, and I went to pay for them. This is where the experience became nasty. I have made copies at this particular store many times. Each time I have received a discount when the total number of copies exceeded a certain number. This evening the total number of copies exceeded that number. No discount was applied.

When I asked about the discount, I was told, quite haughtily, that the discount only applies to FULL SERVICE COPIES. That is, you get charged LESS if you get someone else to do the work for you. I mentioned that I had received the discount on all previous visits to the store. The clerk became rude and repeated, in a very nasty tone, that the discount only applies to full service copies.

At this point I asked for a manager. A polite young fellow arrived in record time, and asked what the problem was. I repeated what I had told the clerk. The manager said that there was no problem, the discount would be applied to my purchase. As he was saying this, the clerk was continuing to state that the discount only applies to full service copies. The manager told me that next time I should simply let whoever was behind the desk know that I wanted the discounted price before I started copying, and there would be no problem. The clerk was still repeating that the discount only applies to full service copies.

Were I the manager of that store, the clerk in question would no longer have a job. She may have been stating the store policy, but she was incredibly rude to a customer who spends quite a bit of money in the store. She continued to be incredibly rude while her manager was fixing the mess she had made by being rude. Please note that I did not become rude or agitated or unpleasant during this whole ordeal. I was, in fact, quite pleasant to everyone involved. The clerk, on the other hand, was nasty from the get go. I have no illusions. If looks could kill, I would be six feet under, and I'm very sure that miss clerk continued to make nasty comments about the incident until well after I had left the store.

Josh, the manager on duty at Office Depot in Madison Square, gets a thumbs up for great customer service. The clerk, whom I shall not name, should not be working in a place where she has contact with customers.