Friday, December 23, 2005

The Dear Customer Letters (cont’d): Tis the Season for migraine inducement

Dear Customer,

I’m sorry that you waited until the very last minute to have the epiphany that led to figuring out the perfect gift for your mom/dad/brother/sister/son/daughter/niece/nephew. I know how hard it can be to shop for those you love. Still as they say in show business: timing is everything. And your timing? Sucks. I could attribute you absolute need to possess the Silver Spoon above all other Italian cookbooks to the lemming-like tendencies many people experience when the media tells them that this is the Next New Thing! But the truth is that this snarky thought just came to me and is probably the result of lack of caffeine. So here’s the deal. I don’t have it. The bookstores around me don’t have it. And since yesterday I got a call out of California from someone looking for the book, I’m assuming most states around me don’t have it either. Oh, and the publisher is out. Your choices are Amazon or buying them something else. I’m sorry if that’s not what you want to hear.

*


Dear Customer,

You seem like a nice lady. You even acknowledged that your question was odd, but having done that does not then give you the right to ask me to call Costco to see if they have the same book. I’m sorry I can’t help you; I haven’t been in a Costco in three years, and I certainly don’t know their number. Even if I did it would not be my responsibility to call them because Costco? A double shot of undiluted evil when it comes to the bookstores. We can’t compete with their price cuts, and, with a line of 12 people at the counter waiting to be rung through I’m not going to call them to pass on your business. I’m sorry if you feel that this is part of my job description, I can assure you it’s not.

*


Dear Customer,

Despite the world of technology that we live in, some things still move slower than the speed of light. You know how charges don’t always show up on your statement right away? It’s the same for credits. If you made a return late Tuesday night and had the money put back on your debit card then it is entirely possible (probably even given the season, the circumstances, and the different systems involved) that the transaction won’t clear with your bank until Friday. Not seeing the credit in your account a little over 24 hours later does not mean you should panic and call the store to demand that they make sure the credit really went through.

Nationwide bookstores do not make it a practice to rip customers off, it’s not good business. Refusing to get off the phone at peak rush hours until someone wades through the paperwork to make sure that your transaction went through does not help the situation. Especially when you have yet to call the bank to ask if them if they have any hold policies on money returned to cards (several credit card companies have rules that apply to this), and instead used your online viewing account as the basis for this hunting procedure. I know its Christmas and we all need our money, but technology doesn’t mean that everything happens immediately. I’m sorry if this is an inconvenience.

*


Dear Customer,

In kindergarten I was taught the importance of waiting my turning and using my polite voice. I’m not sure if you missed this day in class or don’t think these lessons apply to you, but it is the height of rudeness when I’m ringing a long line of customers to come up to my side of the counter and yell in my ear, “Miss. Miss! I have a question!”

This may come as a surprise, but I already knew you were there, and chose not to acknowledge your presence for a reason: it wasn’t your turn. I was helping someone else. Using your best outside voice was not going to change that fact, but perhaps you missed that day in class too. In the future, if you have a question involving the book stock, look for a person working the floor instead of heading straight to the counter. If you do not see that person (and I don’t know how you could miss us because the shirts they make us wear are uuuuuuugly), please get into line and wait until someone can help you. When it is your turn you will be that person’s sole focus; they will be at your beck and call and all because you waited until they could get to you.

If your time is money and you feel your money is being wasted by standing in line, please feel free to search the store yourself. Despite being heavily shopped by ravaging customers, most books are in the right place. The new books are even placed up front for your convenience. You might even run into the floor person while you are looking.

*


Dear Customer,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Can I make you cookies, take you to dinner, or have your babies? I know it might not work out given that we’re both women (therefore making that having your babies thing a bit difficult) and you seem to be happily married to a really nice guy (I caught him re-alphabetizing the kids section), but really, I mean it. Let me do something for you. Most people don’t even care when the book they set down falls behind the shelves, let alone pull out the shelf and retrieve all the lost items behind there, dust them off and stack them neatly! I’m in awe. Complete awe. You’re secretly an elf, aren’t you? I do believe in Santa. I do, I do! Are you looking for a job? No, wait. Don’t answer that. I don’t want to be disappointed when you say no and you don’t deserve the stress of working here during the Christmas season. It was nice to just have this moment, this acknowledgement that someone takes this much responsibility and care with their shopping. Please, come back anytime.

*

2 comments:

jason evans said...

As to defendant 1, count 1, conspiracy to herd in a sheeplike manner, we the jury find the defendant guilty as charged.

As to defendant 2, count 1, unlawful conversion of bovine testicles, we the jury find the defendant guilty as charged.

As to defendant 3, count 1, obessive and compulsive disorderly conduct, we the jury find the defendant guilty as charged.

As to defendant 4, count 1, felony insult to the human condition, we the jury find the defendant guilty as charged.

Defendants 1, 2, 3, and 4, you are hereby sentenced to circle the mall without finding a parking place until you run out of gas, have a collision, or get in a fistfight with another holiday reveler.

Bookseller Chick said...

Thanks for the laugh, Jason! Happy Holidays!