I went to a Staples recently with two things on my agenda.
1. Have a handful of papers spiral bound
2. Pick up a particular product
Staples advertises both of these. Stupidly, I assumed it would be easy. Don’t they proclaim to be the easy button people?
I dropped off the binding project with a nice young girl who told me it would be 15 minutes. I went to do my other shopping. I could not find the product I wanted. I went to the desk and asked if they had any in stock. The clerk says “The computer says we have 4 of them.” She tells the manager and he goes to look for them. After exhausting all his resources (and let me tell you that that didn’t take long) he concludes they don’t have any. Apparently the computer is wrong.
“Ok,” I ask. “Well can you call the store in the next town over and see if they have any, I’d be happy to drive there if I know they have them.” He agrees, claiming he will find out.
I go to check on my binding job, the nice girl is gone and in her place is a young timid obviously inexperienced girl. After waiting a few more minutes, she askes me what I want and I tell her I wanted to check on my job. She says “Oh yeah, just give me 2 more seconds.” I know she’s exaggerating, but I wait a few minutes and watch her complete the job, she hands it to me and I’m suppose to get a slip that the cashier can use to charge me. After a few minutes of watching her nervously walk around, I asked her, “Is there a problem?”
“Well I don’t know how to charge you and I don’t want to overcharge you.” Then she just stares at me. After I’ve paused long enough to realize the logical conclusion is not forth coming, I say, “well, is there someone you can ask?”
“Yes,” she says, “That person over there.” She points to the customer service desk on the other side of the store. Then she just stares at me some more. Again I leave enough time for the conclusion that is never going to happen, and finally I say, “Well are you allowed to leave this area and go get her?”
“Oh I think I’ll page her.”
Even better. She pages her and we get eye contact from the desk, but other customers are already being dealt with and eventually even though those customers go away, we are forgotten. The customer service person wanders away and the girl who’s *helping* me wonders out loud, “where is she going?” Another long pause while my brain screams, Go get her! It’s 30 feet away! Just ask her!
She pages her again, and eventually we get some attention. That’s all set, now where is that manager with the inventory of the other store. I had to go find him, seems he was not too concerned with getting back to me. “Oh yeah the computer says they have 6 of them.”
“The computer says? I asked you to call them. The computer also said that you had 4 but you don’t, so either it’s right and you can’t find them, or else it’s wrong and there is no reason to trust what it says about the other store.”
“I’ll call them,” he says. Turns out they have 2 of them.
Thanks, now take your easy button and choke on it.
PS – By the way, have you ever noticed you can purchase one of those stupid buttons for $8.00? Seriously, do I know anyone who’d pay money to fill their office (home or otherwise) with some other companies marketing crap? God I hope not.