Monday, June 30, 2008

Customer Service

My dad and I were at OfficeMax the other day. We were looking for something to clean his computer's DVD drive because it was either broken or dirty. Cleaning it would be an easy fix. If that didn't work, well, at least we could keep the cleaning kit for another time. So we went up to the first OfficeMax employee we came across and my dad asked him whether or not they carried a "CD drive lens cleaning kit." Without hesitation (and without thinking), the tall-ish white guy with short brown hair and a goatee closed his eyes, shook his head, and uttered a curt "no."

Despite this, we continued on into the store, and when we were out of earshot, I said, "I'm willing to bet that that guy doesn't know what he's talking about." We looked around, and sure enough, I found a CD drive lens cleaning kit. Knowing that they did carry the thing, my dad asked the same guy the exact same question for the second time, and this time he said "oh yeah, we have those."

Now, I don't know the guy, and I won't draw any conclusions about whether I think he's a nice person or not, but I am sick of people like him. I used to work in retail at a sporting goods store. I met and worked alongside many high school or college-age people there who made it abundantly clear that they didn't want to be there. Sure, it's not the greatest job ever, but it beats several alternatives. I certainly made the best of it, despite feeling out of place nearly the whole time. Anyway, these people went through every workday seemingly trying to help as few customers as was physically possible. Sometimes they'd give customers the runaround, and other times they'd do what OfficeMax guy did and simply say we didn't carry it. In all cases, it was simply because they didn't want to expend any effort to help.

Having been on both sides of customer service, I know what it's like to receive quality help, and I know what it's like to give quality help. The aforementioned people don't know it, but sometimes the latter is more gratifying than the former. Seeing the laziness and selfishness of people my age manifest itself in this way is really discouraging.

Sometimes even I go through the motions, when I don't want to be doing something. But when it comes to helping others, especially when it is your job, I just don't understand some people's reluctance, laziness, and lack of concern for others' needs.