Thursday, April 15, 2010

The curmudgeon taps her foot again

So I have a question, just a question mind you, of a salesclerk in a store. This store sells wine and kitchen gizmos and exotic jewelry and furniture from around the world. Nothing's real expensive, but there's not a price displayed on a package of cookies. They come in three flavors, mango, strawberry, and apricot, and they look like they'd be just right for the bridge group. But I have my financial limits on what I'm willing to pay for 12 cookies from Portugal, so I take the package to the front counter.

Which is where our story really begins. The young woman in front of me is having a heck of a time getting her credit/debit card to go through. The young male clerk is little help. He keeps pushing buttons on the register which will lock up, then not. The woman explains that there's lots of money in that account. Lots. They just sold property. Oh, maybe it's the wrong card. She tries another. Same song, second verse.

Then our clerk lets go the truth: the machines were down the evening before. I'm thinking it's not that someone has drained the accounts, but that maybe the machine isn't back up and no one in the invisible back office has told the clerk. Finally, she pays cash, about $20, and vows to go check at the bank. I bet the teller got an earful.

I find out my cookies are reasonably priced, the register is working for that bit of info, and I go to load up.

Reappear at the same register, same clerk, different shopper, this one about my age, same problem. By this time, I'm wondering 1) where management is and 2) why this guy isn't still stocking, because customer service of the-credit-card-machine-isn't-working-ma'am type, is severely lacking. The amount in question this time is a bit over $5. She gives up and writes a check.

Now, if the credit card machine isn't working right, then the instant-verify your check isn't working either. Finally someone shows up to take the line of customers to another register. Trust me, I paid cash.

Management said she was sorry for the wait. That's when I unloaded: told her I'd waited twice. That the clerk was on his own. Why hadn't someone come to help him sooner?

As I'm leaving the cashless woman with the still spinning check standing at the counter, management is leaning over asking what's wrong.

Sheesh! And she even tried to get me on their mailing list!

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