aka The Frazzled Mom
Everyone does it. And if they claim they don’t? Pfft. Everyone does it, they just may not realize it. We do it as kids and teenagers, making assumptions about our parents or teachers. We do it as young adults, making snap judgments on the young and old. And it continues as we enter adulthood.
I fully admit that I do it on a daily basis. It’s a very hard habit to break. In fact, I think it’s nearly impossible to completely get out of the habit.
I was visiting with a friend the other day. She described an experience at a local hardware store. Let’s call it… Mowe’s to protect the innocent. 😉
She entered, uh, Mowe’s, with the intent of purchasing an item that would allow her to use a three prong plug in a two prong outlet. Now, she’s very different from me. While I might research the item until I’m absolutely certain of what I need, she flies by the seat of her pants and just shows up at the store. This means she has absolutely NO CLUE what she’s asking for and thus, has access only to the vocabulary in her brain.
Glancing at the Christmas decor (yes, it was December), she looks overwhelmed, unknown where to start looking. “I need the thingie that can take my 3 prong plug and let me plug it into a 2 prong plug so that I don’t have to shave or cut off the 3rd prong that grounds it but lets me use the 2 prong thingie. I don’t want to have to cut the third one. I just want to make it a 2 prong.” (I’m paraphrasing here.)
“Huh. Uh, yeah, I think I know what you’re talking about. That’ll be in aisle 5 with electrical,” he points towards the far end of the store, his voice less confident in his reply compared to his initial welcome.
“Oh, ok. I thought it might be with the Christmas stuff, but I guess electrical makes sense. Thanks.” She heads over to aisle 5 and proceeds to walk up and down said aisle for the next 10-15 minutes. No doubt she’s close to her 10,000 steps by this point. Standing between aisles 5 and 6, she does a slow 360. Where to now?
Seeing her frustration, another mid-20s employee approaches. “Need help finding anything?”
(Insert long description with many, many words, none of which seem to better communicate to this employees what she is in need of) “I’m looking for a thingie that can take my 3 prong plug and let me plug it into a 2 prong plug so that I don’t have to shave or cut off the 3rd prong that grounds it but lets me use the 2 prong thingie. I don’t want to have to cut the third one. I just want to make it a 2 prong.”
“Huh. Well, that would be in Aisle 5.”
“That’s where I was looking, but couldn’t find it. Would you mind taking me to it?” she asks, attempting to disguise the frustration in her request.
SIIIIIIIIIIIGH. “Ok,” he finally replies (yes, after the dramatic sigh of inconvenience). “It’s right here— Oh. Huh. It’s in the Christmas section.”
“I.was.just.there,” she says through clenched teeth, but he seems to not have heard her because suddenly SQUIRREL!
He’s off to help someone else. Another trek back to the Christmas area and she spies the same guy that “helped” her earlier. She hesitates for a moment, debating another search in that area with the risk that he’ll come up and offer his “help”. But suddenly, as if the clouds parted with a ray of sunshine followed by a chorus of angels, she catches sight of an older gentleman (maybe in his 60s).
Allow me to interject for a moment. When she told me this story and got to that point, I said, “60-year-old? Oh, he’ll know exactly what you need.” lol Why? Because age equals wisdom and experience. I know, not always, but often. Corporations that don’t value older employees are shooting themselves in the foot. Sorry, but I’ve had a lot of poor experiences with employees in their 20s that just don’t care enough to go to any lengths (great or otherwise) to help. Ok, off my soapbox and on to the story.
“Can you help me?” she asks, approaching the older employee. (AGAIN, insert long description with many, many words, none of which seem to better communicate to this employees what she is in need of) “I’m looking for a thingie that can take my 3 prong plug and let me plug it into a 2 prong plug so that I don’t have to shave or cut off the 3rd prong that grounds it but lets me use the 2 prong thingie. I don’t want to have to cut the third one. I just want to make it a 2 prong.”
“A 15-Amp 125-Volt Polarized Grounding Plug Adapter? It’s in aisle 5. Let me show you.”
Her jaw drops, her eyes light up. She could have kissed him, but that would have been weird and made things extremely awkward. Instead, my friend happily followed behind the employee, confident in his abilities. Ah, aisle 5. Such a pleasant place to visit.
“Huh. Looks like we’re out of them.”
My friend quickly sighs realizing all this effort was for nothing.
“But I think there are some in the Christmas section.”
She stifles a laugh. He leads her back to the Christmas section, looks around and finally finds was he was looking for. My friend thanks him profusely and then grabs not one, but three adapters.
I’m not saying all millennials (or other employees in their 20s-30s) suck at customer service. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some. But that’s the thing. I’ve been surprised. Because more often than not, they haven’t been helpfully and leave me wanting to slam my head into the wall repeatedly. Are they purposefully being obtuse so they don’t have to go through the effort or do they honestly not understand how helping customers work? I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I feel like Classified from the Penguins movie, or Flint from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I’m officially part of the panini generation, stuck in the middle and burned on both sides.