Mrs. Pringle* called me yesterday at work.
Hello. This is Mrs. Pringle. P-R-I-N-G-L-E. I would like a $72 gift card sent to my daughter. Her address is…
I could barely get a word in as she spewed out her request with all the confidence of an old woman who has always gotten her way. Finally I interrupted. We don’t mail out gift cards. She would have to come in the store.
What do you mean she would have to come into the store? She doesn’t drive. She has no way to get to one of our stores. For a long moment, I was very sympathetic.
My sympathy quickly disappeared as she continued to berate me for 10 minutes. Why wouldn’t the company mail out gift cards? It doesn’t take much effort to address an envelope. She would even pay the postage! And she was perfectly willing to give her VISA number. Do you know how much business you’re losing? $72 is a lot of money! Surely she’s not the first one to have this request!
Ten minutes, the same complaint over and over again. And what can I do?
I’m very sorry. I will pass your comments on to my manager. If you’d like, we have a hotline —
I do not have internet! I cannot get to a store! Why wouldn’t you mail out? That’s just ridiculous!
I meant a hotline you can call…
I don’t want to call. I’m talking to you and telling you.
Five minutes. A line of customers growing at my till.
Three more times, she repeats her complaint before hanging up. Insists I take her name (Mrs. Pringle. P-R-I-N-G-L-E.) and phone number, just in case a manager wants to talk to her about her complaint. I hang up exhausted.
It’s not that I think Mrs. Pringle’s request was ridiculous. I do have sympathy for older people who have difficulty getting around and must do as much as they can from within their home. But policies are policies and unfortunately, I get stuck enforcing them without having the power to work around them in order to make customers happy. Often, there is a work-around. Just not for lowly sales associates.
Of course, in Mrs. Pringles case, there is no work around. Does anyone know of a retail store that will sell a gift card over the phone and mail it to the person for whom it is intended?
My last day is tomorrow. I’m looking forward to escaping situations like this. But there are enough good things about retail, I think I’ll have to write another post about my three month experience.
* Name has been changed.