Fraudery and Freakery and Fuckery
I used to wonder how Judge Judy could just look at someone, listen for a moment, and know that they were full of it. I'm beginning to get it. And there are levels. Levels of stupidity, some of which is based on simple (and frustrating) lack of experience of the world we phone jockeys live in, and some of which is based on a sense of entitlement and greed - regardless of financial status or color or sex.
There is the Kindness stupidity:
"The number of my credit card is 4444 ... [pause for 2 beats] - space - 5555 - [pause for 2 beats] -space -6666 - [pause for 2 beats] -space..."
Wow...now I know you have never worked in an office or in retail before.
There is the Blindness stupidity:
"Well I already tried calling the store, so you're never gonna get through."
Really, Sir? I work on the inside - think there just might be a way I have at least a different mode of contact???
And there is the You Think I'm Stupid stupidity:
"Well, the store should come out and remove the security tag from my clothing. They've come out and done it before! Yes they have!"
... [wow, that's a beaut. No. They really haven't.]
Marry the You-Think-I'm-Stupid stupidity with entitlement and watch out! I spoke to a woman today who not only thought I was her personal shopper but but that my time for her was limitless. All told - over the space of 2 calls - I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes with this woman. But hey it was worth it - I made an additional $2! Oh... Wait...
I pulled out some of the tricks I know to bring this long, looooooooong call to an end.
Speaking suggestively into the way-too-long "I'm-thinking-about-it-as-if-this-were-as-important-as-a-trial-vote" silence:
"So, do you want to go ahead and place the order for these?"
No response. Long pause. "Um..." Longer pause. "Well..."
Um...well...let me put you on hold while I kick something.
Getting the customer to create their own positive outcome so I could meet it:
"What would be a good outcome for you for this call? Getting those two dresses we found?"
"Well, I just don't know if I want to get two dresses, or get another extra one for myself...and my one friend...[giggle]...well, you know, she said she wanted something in that orange color...and y'know...well...she lives out in Minnesota and I think she used to be a size 14 but now she's probably a size 12...and I just don't know..."
Honey, I'm here to help, but I'm really not settling in with a cuppa to deliberate with you. For the love of all that's holy, buy something and let's move on!
Suggesting an easy answer to what seems to be a difficult choice:
"You know, you can get them something that you think they would like, and if they don't like it, or it's not quite right, they can always exchange it for something they do like."
"Um...well...yeah, I guess...Can we look at a 16th option?"
When she did - on the second call - finally buy, we had to place three separate orders and that's where she pulled out all of the stops.
All but one of the dresses she opted to also buy for herself were on sale. She paused (oh Jesus, please stop pausing!) and thinking it help her check OUT (please, God, I've used up all of my patience, and I'm still being patient; throw me a bone here!), I offered her a small discount.
It was the equivalent of my chewing off my own leg to escape a trap.
The trap tightened. She wanted a bigger discount.
Oh stupid me! I should have stood firm! I shouldn't have given in to my desparation! But no...I caved. Oh, no good! She took my offer, and then she wanted...more... She could smell my weakness like a cat smells treats. And she pounced on that perceived weakness.
She spent 10 minutes trying to confuse me, talk me around, and get a few more dollars off the sale, but there were no more dollars to be had. And she didn't like that.
she pulled out The Big Guns!
She informed me that the store has a policy of waiving the sales tax if the sales tax is larger than the shipping fee.
I put her on mute so she can't hear me, and I'm banging my head on the desk.
"Oh yes!" she assures me with great authority. "The store has done that for me several times!"
I have an image in my mind of federal agents knocking on her door to collect $3.42."
"Ma'am, that is a Federal policy, sales tax. There is no way to waive that."
"Oh no, you're wrong. If it is larger than the shipping fee..."
"Ma'am, it isn't larger than the shipping fee..."
"Well no, but if it were..."
And I couldn't do it anymore. I said, "I challenge you to prove to me that that has happened."
Silence. A silence during which I thought to myself that I might have just lost my job if anyone ever listened to this endless phone call.
So I prophylactically said, "Let me look up some of your old orders and see where that may have happened." Where it never in a million effing years happened, lady!
AHA!!!! End of the road! Stalemate!
She sighed and said, "Well, lemme check out before I change my mind."
DEAR GOD YES, BY ALL MEANS!
Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking this isn't what a shopping trip is supposed to include.
It's also not supposed to be what Customer Service includes. I'm gonna have to get some training on stopping endless conversations.
Meanwhile, I'm notified that I'm now actually ranked second among the sellers. "One of these things is not like the other..."
And speaking of song lyrics:
"Isn't it ironic....dontcha think?
It's like pain...on a shopping spree.
It's a free ride...on the sales tax you hate.
It's the small discount...that you just won't take..."
©2018 Lori Kirstein
Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business structures, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205
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