Monday, February 1, 2010

Kroger Story #5

Remember yesterday, when I was almost bragging on Kroger, for being so helpful-- someone had told me that if ever I needed a lane open, they were happy to open one for me? Ahh, that was nice. Well, picture this:

It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday. I was headed to church, where in Children's Worship we would be talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. I was stopping in at Kroger to buy some actual fruit, so that we could have a "fruit-tasting" to go along with our Bible story. I knew, going to the store at 7:30 in the morning meant that there would be no checkout lanes open. But since just a couple of weeks prior I'd been told they were happy to open a lane for me if needed, I didn't figure I'd encounter any problems that morning.

I gathered up all my produce, and did in fact find that the only lanes open were the self checkout lanes. I politely asked the attendant if it was possible for her to find someone who could open up a real checkout lane for me. I explained that I had a bunch of produce and that it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to look all of them up on the self-scan lane. In reality, if no one was available to do that, I would have been fine with doing it myself. But it never hurts to ask, right?

Well. The woman looked startled when I asked her this simple question. Then she (picture it) sat up real tall, looked over one shoulder, and then looked over the other. And then looked back at me and said, in a condescending voice, "Do YOUsee anyone that can help you?"

I took just a moment to pick my jaw up off of the floor before I said to her (calmly and politely), "Oh. Well last week I was told that if I ever needed anyone to open up a lane for me, that it was possible, and you guys would be happy to do that. I just thought there might be someone that could do that. I might have been given wrong information, though. I'll confirm that with the manager when I call back for him later."

She then lost quite a bit of her attitude, and pretty much kissed up to me the rest of my visit. She said she would look up all the produce codes for me if I needed her to and told me at least 20 times to have a good day.

Having learned from previous experiences, I did make a mental note of the woman's name so I would have it with me when I called back for the store manager. This time, the manager was extremely apologetic and was really embarassed that the woman had said what she did. The manager told me that she appreciated the call, and if I remember correctly (it was about a year ago that this happened), I received a $10 gift card as an apology.

I'm not a mean person. And I really don't think I have unfair expectations for customer service. And generally, when I am given poor customer service, I take in to account the fact that sometimes people just have a bad day. Maybe nothing's gone right for them that day, maybe their boss is a jerk, or maybe they're mad that they're at work instead of at home with their family. There could be lots of things. As a rule, if someone is rude to me, I am not rude in return. Sometimes I'm better at that than others.

BUT. If inappropriate behavior or patterns of poor customer service continue, then something must be said. Nothing can change if those in charge are unaware. For me, Kroger continues to "miss it". Well. The Kroger stores I've been to in Kentucky anyway.

And this concludes the Kroger Chronicles. There are more stories that could be told-- of the cashier a friend and I heard cussing while speaking to a customer, of the fact that the store often doesn't have items on my shopping list. But I think I'd rather move on to happier topics. :)

And... just so you know, if I ever receive exceptional customer service at Kroger, I always take a moment to speak to or call the manager to brag on my cashier, or whoever it was that was helpful. I don't just comment on the bad stuff. And believe it or not, I've actually made a handful of calls to the store with positive feedback!

Thanks for reading!


Jason said...

nice! love your response!

Ingram Gang said...

Your Kroger Chronicals are sadly funny. That really is terrible customer service and I love that you stand up for what is right. Everyone needs accountability!