Tuesday, November 8, 2011

it's a rant.

There are some blogs I read for no real reason whatsoever. Dooce is one of those, but when I read her story today, I felt the need to rant.

What better place to rant than my own site!?!?

I have been astonished, repeatedly, by poor customer service everywhere. I worked in retail for many years, and still found the energy to smile when someone walked through the door. No really, it wasn't even that hard. You don't have to pester people with service, just look at them, smile, and say something to let them know you see them. There are several place in the area that I actively avoid because as soon as I walk through the door I am glared at. (For my part I try to practice good customer-service service, I smile, make eye contact, and thank them for everything. I don't talk on my cell phone in a small store, and I never use it at a register. When I get flustered at checkout, I make some joke about being all thumbs, and apologize.) There's a serviceable coffee place in Issaquah, for instance, and the girls at the register NEVER SMILE. (This might be a handicap that I am being extremely insensitive to.)

The result of this overwhelming grumpiness is that I am actually AMAZED when I get someone friendly. We fly Akaska Airlines for several reasons; one of them being that the flight attendants actually seem to enjoy their jobs. (I have good stories about a few other Airlines; like the time one of the attendants was seated facing us and spent the whole flight lecturing us on how hard they worked and how all the people on board were spoiled by cheap flights.... etc etc. It was not a pleasant flight as I tried my best not to argue or ask her to stop griping at me. I smiled instead... it hurt.) Ask Patrick how many times I've walked out of a store saying "Well, they were nice!" simply because they tried for a few seconds to be helpful.

Of course, all of this is the result of a loss of courtesy across the board. When Patrick was injured and on crutches (broken hip) we had the displeasure of taking public transportation a few times, including a shuttle from the DFW airport during which NOT ONE PERSON STOOD UP TO LET HIM SIT DOWN. Angry Alison emerged (as tends to happen when you have mistreated one of her people) and passive aggressively glared at the people sitting underneath the "These seats reserved for those with handicaps and the elderly." One rider (also standing) mentioned loudly that "SOMEONE SHOULD GET UP AND LET THAT YOUNG MAN SIT DOWN" and I replied "Thank you for noticing, obviously they do not care to." I may or may not have smacked a few of the sitters accidentally with my suitcase. (It wasn't my fault, I had to deal with them all, and help my husband balance.)

On a brighter and somewhat related note, I'm ready to go full steam towards opening the (so, there.) shop space; which will feature amazing customer service because everyone deserves to be treated well. Inner Alison is super excited- Organized Alison is a little overwhelmed- and Positive-thinking Alison is telling you this as motivation to get it done.

Here're some pretty pictures. Thanks for hanging in!


  1. I worked at Safeway during my HS days, and they were so focused on customer service that we were required to be annoyingly nice. Our customers, for the most part, could tell that we were insincere and would take offense. That being said, I still believe it takes MORE effort to be rude or indifferent to people. There has to be some kind of balance.

    Good luck with the shop!

  2. I hate that too :( I am excited about the shop though - I would be happy to help you in any way I can!