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Author Topic: Making people wait . . .  (Read 3233 times)

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Making people wait . . .
« on: October 27, 2012, 04:49:43 PM »
. . . when it's not your fault.

Was there something else I could/should have done?

I stopped in the local liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine and cigarettes. I got to the counter and there was no one behind me. I asked for my cigarettes and was told that they didn't have them. No big deal.

Then, after she rang up my wine, before totaling the bill (and just as another customer came into line) the clerk looked at me and said "Wait. I think we just got a shipment in. Let me go look."

I said "Oh. No thank you. I don't want to make people wait" as I smiled at the gentleman behind me.

Clerk said "It will only take a second . . . "

Again, I thanked her and insisted that it really wasn't a problem. No need to check.

The gentleman smiled and told the clerk "Go ahead, I'm in no hurry."

Clerk quickly walked away, I thanked the gentleman and we had a bit of a chit-chat. By this time there was another customer behind him.

Clerk quickly came back, reached around the cash register trying to find something and sheepishly said "I forgot the keys."

Again I tried to say "Please, just check me out. I really don't want people to wait . . ."

But she ran away again saying "This will only take a second!"

It was much longer than a second. By the time she came back there were 5 other customers behind the gentleman. I was feeling quite the heel at this point.

As she was trying to open the carton to get out my 1 pack, her manager appeared (probably because there was such a line :-[) and they had a slight discussion about how she couldn't get the cabinet locked, she handed him the keys, blah blah blah.

THEN! To top it off, when she was finally checking me out she told me that "Guess What! You have enough reward points so this pack of cigarettes is free!" So, it took a minute or two for her to figure out how to ring up the reward points.

I felt that the gentleman was pretty close to rolling his eyes at this point, even though he was quite pleasant to the point of commenting "Well, that's a good happy birthday to you!" (about my free pack of cigs) and I could tell that there were at least a few almost disgruntled people in line.

I would say that this transaction took at least 10 minutes or more, maybe not, but it seemed like 30.

When the transaction was ending I looked at the gentleman behind me and said "Thank You" then nodded to the people in line and said "Sorry it took so long."

I acknowledged the clerk and said "Thank you very much."

She cheerily said "Don't worry about it. We aim to please!"

What is your take on this?

Is there anything that I should have done differently?

Even though I felt embarrassed for holding up the line for so long for something that really wasn't necessary, I showed appreciation for her help.

(In all honesty I could have made an extra stop at the local gas station to get a pack of cigs in the time that it took clerk to do so without holding up any line.)


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Re: Making people wait . . .
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 05:18:29 PM »
This is so totally not your fault.

The store had the cigarettes, but hadn't put them out where they belong.
The clerk forgot the keys.
The clerk took a while to find the cigarettes.
The clerk couldn't lock the cabinet.
The manager chose to have a discussion with her while customers were waiting.
The clerk didn't know how to ring up the rewards points.

Nowhere did you do anything that caused other people to wait.

I had a revelation one day, way back before bar codes were used in supermarkets. Somehow, I managed to get in line at the cash register with two items that didn't have price stickers on them. I was standing there, feeling badly for the people waiting behind me, as the cashier tried to get price checks on them.

The guy behind me said something snippy to me. And suddenly it dawned on me. *I* was not the cause of the delay--the store was. Was I supposed to inspect every single item I purchased for the elusive price sticker? What if none of a given item had the sticker? Or was the store supposed to do it's job and make sure that all items were properly labeled.

This was so not my fault. So instead of ignoring the guy, I turned to him and said that, yes, it was frustrating when *the store* didn't mark their merchandize correctly. That's the day I stopped apologizing for things that weren't my fault.

You were nice to apologize to the other customers, but really, the delay was not caused by you. The clerk should have been the one apologizing.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: Making people wait . . .
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 05:33:49 PM »
Short of screaming at her to hammer home the point that you didn't need her to go look for the cigarettes, I don't know what you could have done differently.


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Re: Making people wait . . .
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 05:59:25 PM »
Makes you appreciate efficient people...the coffee lady at work is the most effective at processing EVERYONE in an efficient if I have a latte that takes a little extra time...she starts my latte...handles people who just want to buy the cup for the pour your own, and then finish mine up.  I don't mind because I know that overall it is fast for everyone.