Sunday, December 04, 2011

Customer Service

I feel like customer service has really taken a hit from the blah economy. It seems that many people who work in service jobs such as waitresses, cashiers and store clerks seem very disgruntled to say the least. Usually I just ignore it and move on with my life. A few weeks ago, however, while doing some very early morning shopping at Meijer (we're talking before sunrise kind of early shopping) I decided enough was enough.
Let me back up a little to explain the situation. I went to Meijer at 6a.m. one early Saturday morning. My weeks are so busy now a days, with school and internship, that I usually put off big Meijer trips until the weekends. So there I am, at Meijer, at the crack of dawn and shopping merrily. Once my cart was full of the Simpson household necessities, I attempted to find a check out line. There were none to be had. Apparently Meijers thinks that the early morning shoppers only want the self checkout option. NOT me! I would rather get a flu shot than deal with the self checkout, "No item in bagging area" have to wait for CASHIER ASSISTANCE crap. I asked a lady donned in the Meijer red if she was opening a lane, to which she just answered with a grunt. Was that a "Yes, I am opening lane 2?" or " Hell no find yourself another employee?" I stood there awkwardly for about a minute and then she waved me over exasperatedly. Like I should have known all along that was what the grunt meant. As I am frantically loading the belt in attempts to not further irritate the cashier, I decide this is a bunch of crap. Why am I being treated like this? All I am trying to do is buy groceries!! If this women doesn't want to be here maybe she should get a new job. These are just some of the mean and nasty thoughts that were racing through my head. I then decide that I am not just going to think these thoughts, I am going to tell the manager about this cashiers crappy attitude. Then she says a simple sentence, "So, how are you today?" I was taken a back. Here we were, a good ten minutes into a very awkward and unpleasant exchange and now it was headed somewhere else. This was the week before Thanksgiving so I answered back with, "So are you ready for Thanksgiving?" Then the cashier proceeded to tell me about how she finds both Thanksgiving and Christmas very difficult since her mother passed away a few years ago. Her mother had always made both the meals and since her death, this women, the cashier at Meijers that I was hell bent on reporting to her manager, was struggling.
We went on to have a very pleasant conversation. I expressed my sympathies and we ended up joking about the holiday rush and believe it or not..grouchy people.
I left Meijer as the sun was rising feeling very strongly that God was teaching me a lesson on an early Saturday morning in the grocery store. He was showing me to be careful how I judge others and what I am assuming through their behaviors. If I had just barreled on with my decision to inform this lady's manager about her less than jovial customer service, it would have made a difficult day in a grieving daughter's life all that more miserable. Thankfully something made my heart soften and to sense there was something beneath the grouchy, uninterested exterior.
These types of moments make me so grateful and thankful for the Holy Spirit's prompting to do and say and be like Jesus would be. To not make the world revolve around me and my needs but to show those who are hurting and in need that HE knows and HE cares. Even at Meijer at 6a.m.

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