Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coldfoot on Customer Service, Rude Bastards and Why You Need to Ignore Them

Today's well thought out, humorous, insightful article on game awards was scrapped to bring you this rant.

Warning: If you are an a-hole, or are offended by the use of that word, skip this blog today.

The snot-nose whiners, and the defenders of snot-nose whiners are at it again.

The always-looking-for-a-reason-to-be-offended, and I-am-never-ever-responsible-for-any-misfortune-I-may-suffer crowds have two main issues lately:

1. Is the customer always right? Is every person who walks through the door of your Friendly Neighborhood Game Store (FLGS) a potential customer who needs his ass kissed and his every whim indulged?

And 2, which I won't be touching on today: Does an obvious pricing error obligate a store to sell an item for said price?

As some of you may know, I drive a taxi from time to time. As a taxi driver I am not an employee, if I don't have customers I don't get paid, as such I do not believe in alienating customers.

What most of you don't know about me is that I may be the most laid back person you could meet. I have been known to pick a drunk out of a snowbank at -50, give him a free ride home, and listen to him call me a faggot for the whole trip. I will normally put up with a ton of crap before I am even tempted to put my foot down.

It is this perspective from which I write.

First and foremost, some of the people who walk through the doors of a business are assholes. Assholes drive off paying customers and good employees. You will find that assholes are tolerated in direct proportion to the amount of money they spend. If you are an asshole, you will find you get better customer service if you are known as a big spender.

Secondly, most assholes know they are being rude. This holds true if the jackass in question is normally a nice person who is merely having a bad day, or if it is a person who is always a jackass. The latter may complain and threaten to never again patronize a business if they are called on their rude behavior, but most jackasses are so self centered that any threat is forgotten as soon as they need something. The former may even feel the pang of guilt after they leave the store.

As I mentioned, I will usually put up with quite a bit of crap just to turn a buck. While that is true, it is also true that I have pulled one particular bitch out of my cab and left her sitting in the street. This particular handicap woman uses her disability to manipulate people, and I, like everyone else, tolerated it for quite a while. After yanking her out of the taxi she is still a bitch, but you know what? She is no longer a bitch to me and she still rides with me, perhaps more often than before.

I have sped up to 70-75 miles per hour and slammed on the brakes to propel one particular jackass into the dashboard. He hit the dashboard twice that night. I have gone on to give this particular asshole many cab rides. When he is drunk he is a loud, unreasonable jackass. When he is sober he is slightly less annoying, but you know what? He still remembers hitting the dashboard and he laughs about it every time he gets in a cab with me.

At the time, both of these individuals swore they would never ride with me, nor utilize my cab company again. I am quite sure that they both told their friends about the mean, unreasonable cab driver they had to endure. They probably milked the story for all the sympathy they could. When the sympathy well ran dry both went right back to calling the same cab company that they had always called as soon as they needed a ride.

I contend that self centered, malcontent, snively whiners (or assholes, if you will) seek affirmation for their actions by posting on the internet because deep down they know that they are wrong. Furthermore, despite their vocal protest to the contrary they will generally not boycott a particular store for long.

More often than not in the horror stories we read about FLGSs the writer will admit some fault, but then completely disregard that fact and place the full blame directly on an employee. Frequently the employee could have handled the situation better. The snot nose whiner will take that kernel of fault on the employee's part and weave a story around it. He will then twist the story around that fact in an attempt to exonerate his own actions. The discussion then centers on how the employee should have responded, instead of how the whiner caused the whole situation by being stupid.

Just because someone is whining, does not mean they not responsible for the situation they find themselves in.

I am sick of otherwise reasonable people reading these stories and focusing on the insignificant point the author wants them to focus on. If the author gets enough sympathy he is emboldened to continue his rude behavior.

Our hobby is pretty marginal as it is. Brick and mortar game stores are not making money hand over fist, they do not need unreasonable malcontents spreading internet rumors about them. Unfortunately this is unavoidable. Reasonable people need to be more critical of the stories they read and quit piling on in their criticism of FLGSs. I say almost unequivocally that the whiner will return to the store where he had his bad experience. He just needed to feel superior for a few minutes by posting a trumped up story on the internet.

The whiner will be smarter when he returns. If he was booted from the store at closing time he will show up a few minutes earlier the next time. If the store wouldn't sell him his games at a 30% discount, he'll ask for a 20% discount. Make no mistake, he will return, and he won't post the story of the excellent service he received when he wasn't being an asshole. Hopefully reasonable people won't boycott the store simply because some whiner needed an ego boost.

Note: Before someone else points it out, I have to count myself as a snively whiner. I had a bad experience with an on-line game store which I wrote about in my blog. Like other whiners I was partially at fault, which I glossed over in the story. (I had never before disputed a credit card charge. Knowing what I know now, I would have handled that part differently.)


Unknown said...

Well said.

I firmly believe that before taking a customer service matter public, one should try all avenues of resolution with the party in question. That guy clearly (and admittedly) didn't.

Shannon Appelcline said...

The 'late shopper' was talking about a game store that genuinely has serious, longtime problems with customer service. He may be exaggerating his story for effect, but it's got the kernel of truth.

Paul Kidd said...

In terms of issue no. 2:

My lawyer-aunt told me once that the price indicated on a good is technically just an indication of what would be accepted as an offer. The actual sale contract is negotiated when the potential buyer takes a good to the counter and asks to buy it. Legally, the seller can refuse to sell anything at any price. This is in Australia, but I'm pretty sure that's common law that would apply in any English speaking country.

There may be separate laws relating to false advertising etc, but they would rarely apply to something being inadvertently mis-priced on the sticker.