When Checkout Girls Go Bad

Angry Sales AssistantOne of the striking things about America is how friendly, helpful and attentive the shop assistants are even in the most down-market store, and you very quickly start to take it for granted.

But when a sales assistant turns bad it’s a real shock to the system, like getting a kick in the nuts from the Dhali Lama or having a Jehovah’s Witness telling you to f**k off. It’s ain’t natural.

We experienced this on Friday at Vons when we stopped off to grab a few things. We collected what we needed and paid at the checkout then went to the cigarette counter to buy some smokes.

There was no-one serving so we stood drumming our fingers on the counter, grumbling in a typically understated British way until the girl from the dry-cleaning counter deigned to serve us.

But we weren’t allowed to pay for them there as we would at home and had to queue up at the checkout again. We complained under our breath, but obeyed like good little shoppers.

Having queued for five minutes or so with just our cigarettes, the woman behind the counter snatched it off us and barked, ‘Who the hell gave you these? We don’t sell these in cartons!’

We were so shocked that we were ready to walk away rather than cause a scene, but the woman grumpily passed the cigarettes over then scanner and clearly they did sell them in cartons because it went through without a problem.

She then asked for payment in a tone of voice that suggested that we were complete mugs for spending so much to indulge our bad habit.

To make matters worse, the woman was a manager and the encounter really upset Mrs P while I was too dumbfounded to react. As I said, you quickly take impeccable, polite service for granted.

So we won’t be going to Vons again, but it hasn’t put Mrs P off shopping. She and Marj went to Kohls yesterday and had a whale of a time buying clothes and shoes.

It’s coupon paradise here in Vegas and with the various discounts, money back coupons etc, they saved $30 more than they actually spent!

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

7 comments… Add yours
  • Health-Advisor Pudding 29th April 2012

    V.O.N.S. = Victory Over Noxious Smokers! Give em up ye daft sod! They’re not “cool as a mountain stream”, they’re stinky little cylinders of dried vegetation with chemical additives!

  • john 29th April 2012

    once again
    the award for the best BLOG TITLE goes to….

    DON’T get me started on customer service……
    bastards the lot of em

  • Mr Parrot 29th April 2012

    Now, now YP, this post was about customer service (or lack of it) not whether smoking is a good thing or not. I’m sure your newsagent doesn’t pass moral judgement on you when you buy your copy of Hustler.

    And thank you John. I do try, but in this case it came naturally. The bastards!

  • Roger Green 29th April 2012

    Yup, bad customer service REALLY sucks.

  • Trevor Rowley 29th April 2012

    According to the photo you took, Mr P, it would appear that the bolshy shop assistant was in fact that “Good ol’ Boy”, Ozzy Osbourne. Didn’t spot Sharon in there as well, perhaps on one of the tills, did you?

  • Francisca 30th April 2012

    Eh, you’re Stateside…? Guess I’ve been away too long. You’re right, pleasant (albeit not always competent) customer service is the norm in the US of A… I can’t say the same for their cousins across the pond, though. Although to be fair, even Europeans are better today than let’s say 30 years ago… 🙂 Hope you’re having a grand time.

  • Mr Parrot 1st May 2012

    Trevor: The photo is actually one of an angry customer that I lifted from the web, but it fits the bill.

    Francisca: I suppose the woman was the exception that tests the rule. The experience certainly shocked me!


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