How May I Be of Service? [NOT 5/11/21]

How may I help you?

The My Brain Is Fried Friday NOT series of the most important questions in world continues…

What Was Your Best or Worst Customer Service Experience?

I have worked in retail; it was draining to be constantly helpful and pleasant. Customers fell into three categories: the appreciative, the transactional, and those who exploited the power dynamic. I will never treat a service worker poorly or tip poorly – they work hard for their money.

I have had consistently excellent customer service from Amazon, especially regarding Kindle readers, tablets, and firesticks. Their humans have been helpful, engaged, and well-trained.

I have recently had poor customer service from a different retailer. They changed websites a year ago, forcing a new login. But – my logins didn’t merge against my email as promised, and I am unable to see or track orders. I have been trying, since June, to resolve it. Meh…

How about you???

About Elliecoo 475 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. My wife and I both needed new glasses so went to Costco recently.  My wife has a really tough prescription & hates the way she looks in glasses but the employee was super helpful and patient.  She handled her first and got her glass choice all worked out and then helped me.  All said, she spent over an hour with us and never stopped being helpful.  I was so happy when all was said and done that I had to contact Costco and sing her praises.  I told a friend about it and he asked what she looked like, he had a similar experience with the same worker.  Costco workers are usually pretty good and happy in their jobs but this one was amazing.

  2. ive found customer service in most shops at least to be excellent

    please and thank you go a long fucking way

    just say those

    really….service staff dont ask for much….just some basic respect

    online….its a little iffier…but the same rule applies

    you want shit done…be nice about it

    nobody wants to help a dickhead

  3. Oh & big shout out to my beer guy.  Making me feel like Norm at Cheers even though I only go once every few weeks is awesome.  He knows exactly what I want & has a cold beer sitting at the counter waiting for me before I can even ask.

    • Costco treats their employees very well. It’s a good place to shop.

  4. When my daughter was around 3 or 4 she was sick. Some childhood thing, nothing serious but ill enough to require a visit to the doctor. Afterwards we stopped at the grocery store for chicken broth and pastina so I could get some food in her. It was a very small purchase that fit in one bag. When we got home I opened the bag to find no broth. I couldn’t go back but I was upset and called to tell them. And explained that I had specifically stopped so I could make soup for my sick child. The woman on the phone put me on hold for a moment, came back on, apologized and asked for my address so they could deliver the broth. I was very surprised, pleasantly so. When the young man came to deliver the broth they had added some deli chicken noodle soup, a plush cat toy, and a get well card signed by the store manager! I sent a thank you card to the store. And a letter to the corporate office expressing my gratitude. Best customer service ever.

    • That’s amazing.  Need more stories like that these days.

      • I even told them it wasn’t necessary to bring it, I was going to boil the pastina and pour a little milk and sugar on it, like my Nonna used to do for me. But they insisted and were so nice. I wasn’t even bitchy when I called although I was on the verge of tears. I just wanted them to know I didn’t get it. I was a young mother, by myself, had only moved to the area recently and didn’t really know anyone. Their kindness meant a lot to me. That cat was a favorite toy of my daughter’s for years.

    • That’s a perfect entry for Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul. Made me tear up.

  5. I have a local hardware store where you can drop in with a piece of a faucet handle and they’ll find exactly the replacement you need for about $3.48 and tell you exactly how to replace it.

    They are within walking distance and needless to say I pick them over Home Depot or Lowes whenever possible.

    • Local hardware stores are the best.

      You can go in with a random piece of metal hardware and they’ll be like “oh yeah, those are in aisle 4, section D, shelf 7, spot 8. But there are some similar ones in plastic over in aisle 7, tell me if you want to see those.”

  6. There was a girl (I say “girl” because I was 28-ish at the time and she seemed to be a few years younger) who managed Subway in Gardner, MA in 2007-ish to whom I’d like to give a shout-out for the off chance she might one day come across this comment.

    There are about 5 places to eat in that shithole lovely, quaint town so having a vegan diet was less than ideal. I lived in a hotel in Leominster (pronounced lemon-sta, apparently) so eating out was my only option. Subway was my every day lunch.

    As always, the first thing I said was “may I please have two veggie subs on whole wheat?”

    “What kind of cheese? American?”

    I was unaware that American cheese was a thing…presumably the same as “Canadian” cheese? Or “North American” cheese? Or “milk from a cow from anywhere in the world” cheese? To this day, I do not know – or want to know – what Americans think is different about their cheese…and FUCK the Green Bay Packers while I am here!


    “No cheese, please…can I just get a mountain of olives?”

    Server puts six olive slices on bread

    “I know you, here in MA, think your tiny hills are ‘mountains’ but believe me when I say they are not nor is that a mountain of olives.”

    “We’re trained to only put six slices of olives as a topping.”

    “I’m paying for a piece of bread with no meat or cheese…can I have the ‘American cheese’ on the side so I can throw it in the garbage as it will give me that feeling of getting my money’s worth for all that olive money you’re saving?” (It was in jest…I’m not actually an asshole IRL)

    From the back: Hahahahahahaha just give him a mountain!

    Bless her soul! My daily two sub meals – with an inch of olives on both – came to about just less than $10/day. I always paid $15. Fast-forward 5 or 6 months…I was about 7th in line of 20 or 30 people (because there is nowhere else to eat within a 50 kilometre radius) and I see the line manager walk up behind one of the line servers, look at the olives, and say “I I told you that you’re going to need more olives…the olive guy is going to be here any minute.” Then she looked up, saw me in line, laughed and said “he’s already here. I told you!”

    That is only one reason she was the BEST! I moved away shortly after that but more than 3 years after I had already moved away I went down (from Quebec where I was living at the time) to a Patriots game and decided to swing by the old stomping ground and stop for a sub.

    “OMG OLIVE GUY!!!!”

    She was so happy to see me. I couldn’t believe she remembered me. She said I was impossible to forget…IDK if that is a good or bad thing but it’s nice to be remembered. Whatever she ended up doing with her life, I am certain she is still going out of her way to appease fellow unique, but dedicated individuals. After all, she’s one of a kind.

    • Your meet cute is just what I needed to jumpstart my Xmas holiday movie binge. I think you will have better luck getting this msg to her by posting a “Missed Connections” on Craigslist.

  7. I’ve worked a bit of food service, a few other customer-facing jobs, and some public library circulation desks.

    The public are fucking assholes.  and, while it’s not 100%, but in my experience there was a definite trend with the more wealth/power someone had, the more they were an asshole.

    That said, especially when I was working at libraries (mainly because there was a little bit of flexibility in how we interpreted/acted on ‘policy’), how much help I would give someone would be directly inversely proportional to how much of an asshole they were being.  I’d usually do what I could to help people with their problems.  But if they opened with a “I’m a taxpayer and you work for me” or otherwise just start out yelling and insulting, I’d often mysteriously simultaneously suffer some obscure computer network problems that would just happen to slow everything down.  And, I would also have to verify all their information (yes, again).  And I would completely shut down anything remotely against policy – “no, I can’t renew that book for a third time, the “system” won’t allow me” (nevermind that I could totally override it(usually…), we’ve got 4 other copies available, none are on hold, and this patron is the first to check that title out in almost 3 years…).  Whereas, the patrons that simply walk up and ask for a third renewal, I’d usually override it if it wasn’t on hold/we had extra copies/etc.

    The patrons that were actually nice/polite?  yeah, I’d totally push the policy boundaries, maybe even break them.  Like the one who’s clearly financially strapped, and very apologetic about spilling a coffee on the book, and is totally willing to pay the replacement costs… “Well, thank you for bringing this damage to our attention, but I’m pretty sure it was already damaged before you checked it out.  I’ll remove it from your account so there is no charge to you, and get it sent to mending, thanks for letting us know”

    But, for the most part, public library patrons are overall pretty decent.  A disproportionate amount of weirdos, but even those are often nice, just in their weird little individual ways.  And a lot of people having a rough time with life, one way or another, but again, they were usually very nice and pretty easy to work with.

  8. One of my best, as a worker, was probably the customer I had yeeeears back, at the dancewear place.


    That year, we had a bunch of front-end staff quit just before Pro-Football Cheerleader tryouts, so I got roped into helping some of the ladies who were ordering their tryout outfits through us.


    I had one customer who wanted a sparkly pink hologram fabric for her top & shorts. I sent off swatches, she chose her fabrics (pink with black trim), and got the outfit cut, the stitches sewed it up, snd it shipped out.


    A a day or two after she got it, she decided she *also* wanted mitts to go with her outfit (a 10-minute cutting job, nearly as long to sew,snd it added another $75-ish (plus shipping) to her total, so I said “Sure, we can do that!).

    Sent them off, she collector’s say they were a bit too long,could she send them back & get them cut down (literally 2 minutes for me to hack off the top with a rotary cutter, snd 5 minutes or less to sew a hem, depending on if the machine had the right color thread ot not😉).


    Then she called to ask if we could trim them out at the top & bottom in black, instead, so they really matched her top & shorts.


    Again,this was less than 5 min of *my* time as the person cutting them, and less than 10 min of sewing time… for mitts which were now approaching the same price as her top & shorts.


    She was MORE than willing to pay the fees plus rush the shipping, and at this point we were making WELL over $300.00 for what had taken a total of 3-ish hours of conversations & cutting/sewing time.


    My bosses tore into me, for “wasting SO MUCH TIME on one customer!!!” And “giving *TOO MUCH* and ‘Too GOOD!’ of customer service!!!” (Over the span of 3+ weeks🙄)…


    Thing was?


    Those three-ish hours i spent dealing with her?


    Made her like us enough, that the next spring, after the Football season was done, she brought us an order for the College Dance Team she coached.

    And those three-ish hours i “wasted” giving customer service that was “too good,” brought us more than $15,000 within that next year (that was just the FIRST year her college team ordered their competition outfits from us… iirc, she ordered the following years, too.😁


    • You are the best.

      • Hannibal, it wasjust such BASIC common sense!😉


        Every time that woman called, I’d listen, then figure out the cost (using the formulas my bosses had determined!), and EVERY.SINGLE.TIME, there was zero hesitation from her, about paying 9vernight fees & rush charges.

        She was SO easy to work with, she just had a *very* particular vision in her head, of what she wanted her outfit to look like–and since she was already a multi-year veteran of the squad, she also KNEW what it took, look-wise to make that particular squad.


        And the other reasons why I was 100% on board with trying to get her experience with us *just right* were because she was spending MORE than double of what any of my other customers were that tryout season (BEFORE we got to the mitts!😉🤣)-most girls tried to keep their total under, or maaaaaybe *at* $100.00…


        And the other reason was because we were working with a “business consultant” at the time (rich husband of a former co-worker, and he was also the financial backing that had kept us aflot in the middle of a slump!), who had reminded us over & over, that, “It’s always easier to keep your current customers happy, and make them returning customers, than it is to develop even *one* NEW customer.


        And, “Both happy *and* upset customers will spread your company name around… so it’s FAR easier to keep the *happy* customers happy & recruiting more customers for you/your company,…” than to make any reasonable ones mad😉

  9. Best? The one I always remember is American Express. After grad school, we moved so I could take another job. Our house wouldn’t sell. For like 8 months we were paying rent and mortgage, and inevitably the money ran out about the same time my wife lost her job. So dodging creditors doesn’t work for long. I started calling the credit cards we had to explain and get extensions. They were almost uniformly assholes, ranting, raving, demanding money we didn’t have, until I got to Amex.

    They were incredibly polite and understanding. “Sir, we are so sorry to hear about your circumstances, and what we’ll do is let you pay what you can, when you can.” I almost started crying. I expected them to be incredibly nasty, like virtually everyone else. Almost as an afterthought they said, oh, we do need to turn off your card. I said of course, I’m not using it right now.

    Eventually we got our shit together and paid off every card and cancelled every one that was nasty to me (you don’t cancel when you’re in default — BIG MISTAKE). Interestingly, a lot of those were companies that no longer exist — hmmm. I still have that American Express account. I’ll never get rid of it. I’ve had a few other customer service calls with them in the intervening years and the experience was always the same. Polite, respectful, helpful.

  10. I can’t think of *one* singular experience as a customer, but I HAVE been lucky enough, to have had some truly excellent folks who I got goods and/or services from.


    I ended up with my auto shop, because I stopped by the location in my former town, when I had a tire that was losing air regularly, and I was new to that town.

    The tires were Goodyear, although i’d purchased them elsewhere, and the (Goodyear) shop’s owner told me there was no charge, once the hole was located & plugged, “Because they’re Goodyear.”


    I tried to get him to charge me *something,* since I know shop time/labor is money, but he insisted that it was “on the house.”

    So OBVIOUSLY a few months later, when I needed new tires & my next oil change, i knew which shop to go to… and they stayed “My Mechanics” for the rest of the years I lived in that city.


    Because when I took my cars there (with the exception of one young male service writer), NO ONE ever talked down to me, or treated me like “a dumb woman who doesn’t have a brain in her head.” Like literally EVERY other shop in that town that I went to.


    Instead, like every *Goodyear* shop in this region, I was treated honestly, without a “Sell up” that I needed something like “blinker fluid” or in the pre-nitrogen-filled tires, without needing to “have the air in my tires changed out,” every time I took my vehicles there.

    I spent enough there over the years, that when I had a break down early in the week & I needed a couple days to get the cash together to pay my full bill when I broke down at the school where I work, the original Goodyear’s sister-shop’s owner said, “I can SEE that you’ve been loyal to them, because you’ve spent more than 15K in the last few years. So YES, you can have until the end of business on Friday to get it to me.”

    Even though the car was fixed and back in my possession by Wednesday.


    And YEAH, I’ve spent thousands at my “new” shop–that sister shop which I now live much closer to.💖


Leave a Reply