I hate to sound like one of those adults who think that generations following mine are falling apart but seriously when it comes to customer service trends, I may have to raise that flag.  I’ve done my stint at being ‘behind the counter’ via numerous part-time jobs throughout high school and university – engaging the customer by being pleasant, attentive, and helpful was always a requirement and a priority.  Now I wonder if it’s even mentioned to a new hire.  Don’t get me wrong – there are some great moments with bright, engaging folk and I always feel invigorated after those encounters.  But this is a rant and a chance to say how annoying the other times are.

I often feel invisible as I enter the world of the cashier.  I am surprised if s/he mumbles hello, shocked if there is eye contact.  If there are 2 people behind the checkout counter, most often they are locked into their own conversation – important topics like what they did last night or what great event is on their radar after work.  I thought Facebook covered all that.  Sometimes for fun, I’ll try to join in the conversation just to make a point.  Mostly I just hope for a glimpse of recognition that I am there.  I can’t count the times I have waited for a clerk to stop texting in order to take my cash.  Or, standing with their back to me, the employee in the middle of a phone call glances over their shoulder with some disdain at my interruption, having to tell their pal that they will call back in a minute. That’s when I always apologize for the interruption.  Usually they don’t catch the sarcasm.  On those rare occasions when one is actually spoken to, it is often lack luster.  How are you did you find everything have a good day.

My most memorable experience was at a Safeway liquor store.  I was the only customer in the store at the time.  As I placed my 2 bottles of wine on the counter, the clerk barely looked my way.  I gave him my credit card, stood waiting for it to ring through and watched in horror as the clerk, also waiting, half sat on the counter, picked up a book and started reading it in front of me.  “What are you doing?”  “I’m reading.”  “You’re not supposed to be reading.”  “Why not?  What do you want me to do – talk to you or something?!”

Actually, yes I do.




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