Sunday, April 6, 2014

An Awkward Customer Service Experiance

When I finished my usual fortnightly grocery shop last night, I paused outside Woolies to check my reciept. I almost always find something that has been overcharged, and this time was no exception.
I called out nicely to get the ladies attention after waiting for a few minutes for her to notice me, and finally she wandered over. 

"I think I've been overcharged for these 2 items. My reciept shows $4.99, but if you look at the photo, the specials ticket says $3.96" (Yes, I am that customer, I take photo's as I shop but in my defence I was taking shots for an upcoming blog post).

She stared at me blankly for a few seconds, waiting for me to get to the point. "Do you think you could process the refund?"

"I'll have to get someone to check the shelf first" she told me with a sign, again pausing to stare at me blankly, not taking any action. I nodded, happy to wait while they double checked. Keep in mind, I am a real sweety when it comes to customer service interactions. These people do not get paid enough for the crap some customers dish out, so I always want to be the customer they are happy to serve. Apparently it didn't matter how sweet my smile was, this lady was not going to be happy. We waited in a stale mate, before she finally sighed and asked another staff member to act as the runner.

She paused at the back of the Customer Service counter, talking quietly with another staff member and glancing over occassionly, making me feel as though my tediousness was the topic of conversation.

Finally the girl came back, with the shelf tag in hand. My lovely service lady smirked. "It says only the pink one on the ticket". 

Well, as it was the only ticket beneath all of the colours, I assume it means all of them. But yes, I bought a pink as well as a purple. 

"Well, I only have to refund you for the pink. If you can't find an advertised price that says purple, you can't ask for a refund"

Again I showed her my photo, pointing out that it was the only price tag and that all the colours had been grouped together on the shelf, no doubt because customers who can think for themselves would take the Brands pricetag as covering all the varients.

Finally she sighed again, and asked me to find the 2 small pots of hair chalk in amongst my shopping. 5 minutes later my shopping was all over the floor while she stood, stonefaced watching.

$2.06. I was doing this for $2.06 in refunds.

"I need the credit card you used to pay for them". Well, that could be a problem because I used a giftcard to pay. I offered it to her, and she glared. I mean it. She glared. "You used a giftcard? I can't refund to a giftcard". Again, long, awkward silence. Was I expected to come up with a solution?

"OK." That's about all I could come up with. I mean, yes, I was doing all this for $2.06 in refunds, but she was putting me through all this to AVOID $2.06 in refunds. How ridiculous!

Again the sigh. She must take lessons from my 13 year old. "I'll have to give you a refund card." 

"OK" Get on with it. Honestly, my sweet smile was fading. Did she think that making me feel like this was the hardest thing in the world was going to change my mind? This was more tedious than trying to get my 13 year old to tell me about her school day. 

Finally she handed me a refund card with a $12.90 credit. What? I pointed out that the difference for the 2 pots was only $2.06, and she huffed and checked my reciept again, telling me indignantly that the refund was for $9.99 each. We looked at each other in confusion for a few seconds, before she finally sighed again and told me to keep it. I didn't bother to point out that what she told me makes no sense (cents!) at all.

Awkward much? I am up $12.90 for the interaction, with x2 free pots of hair chalk, but disgruntled. Normally the service counter houses the cream of the crop, people who know the value of a $1 refund to a customers perception of the company they serve. Not adults in teenagers skin.


  1. Excellent post. I have recently come across your blog and love it. I would do exactly the same for a refund. After all, it could be several lots of $2.06 in a year and that adds up.

    1. I have to admit, it's not normally that difficult! Usually the customer service staff are more than helpful and even a little apologetic for the hassle. Thanks so much for commenting its great to have you around.


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