Re: Smart answers and useful answers

Subject: Re: Smart answers and useful answers
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: John Cook <john -dot- cook -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 18:15:40 -0500

John Cook wrote:

On 12/13/05, Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com> wrote:

"You're not looking for a 'composite cable.' You're looking for a

He then showed me what I wanted. Of course, by then I wasn't going to
buy anything from them.

Am I missing something? So they /did/ have what you were looking for,
but you didn't buy it there because they, the employees, weren't
trained as well as you, the consumer, were?

With all due respect, I'm at a loss to see how that's anything but
consumer snobbery. Walking out empty-handed seems like a Pyrrhic
victory at best (especially if they actually had what you were looking
for in the first place).

You're missing something.

Dan asked for a something-or-other to solve his clearly expressed problem. The second clerk corrected the first clerk with a smart-mouthed put-down, in front of Dan.

Dan walked out because of the rudeness of the clerk. I'd have done the same.

It's called putting your money where your principles are. That's not snobbery in my book.

Call me crazy, but I generally go to stores to buy stuff. It matters
little to me that I know more than the employees do. I'm prepared to
accept the fact that a 42 year old might be more up on whateveritis
than an 18 or 20 year old who don't have the scope or wealth of
knowledge I might have. I've kind of come to associate low price with
low service and do my homework ahead of time. As long as low price is
combined with acceptable product quality (and they have that
particular widget in stock), I'm happy.

Well, I've got to agree that your approach is realistic in terms of your expectation of poor service. My own approach is to kick myself for not just ordering the thing online in the first place. But once I'm in the situation, I generally make an effort to explain, adult-to-adult, to the store manager why I'm displeased with the level of service and leaving empty-handed.

In fact, the easier it is for me to find said widget myself and the
fewer 'helpful' employees that get in my way, the better. I feel some
degree of pity for those who are put in the unfortunate position of
knowing very little but are expected to prowl around offering
assistance when all they actually possess is desperation to keep a job
with a great employee discount.

Again, that's realistic; but you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. Look at the parallel situation:

"This documentation stinks."

"Oh, well that's because you want us to sell you the software at low prices, and our stockholders want us to make a high profit. So we laid off the senior tech writers and told the secretaries to write the manuals."

See where this leads? If you put up with crappy service in exchange for low prices, you're just whetting the appetites of those vultures circling over your job.

On a related tangent, does asking "Did you find everything you were
looking for?" at the check-out counter strike anybody else as a case
of too little, too late? (I'll consider that a rhetorical question as
this has already veered off-topic.)

The only place I'm asked that question is Trader Joe's. When I indicate I was looking for something but didn't find it, the clerk invariably either knows the stocking situation ("It's due in Wednesday" or "They moved it to another shelf; let me run and get it for you; how many did you want?") or gets the store manager to come over and answer the question within about ten seconds. Guess what. With service like that, I'd go back to the store even if they didn't have ridiculously low prices for high quality goods. If a Trader Joe's or a Wegmans can implement that kind of training, why can't a CompUSA or a Best Buy?

What's the lesson for TWs? I dunno. Maybe it's that you can get some idea of what a company would be like to work for by encountering them as a customer first.



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Smart answers and useful answers: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Smart answers and useful answers: From: John Cook

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