A couple of weeks ago, we went out to Lowe’s to purchase a wrought-iron patio table and four matching chairs. I had stayed outside at the car while my wife went into the store to check out the selection. After a few minutes, I went in to find her. I started walking down the main isle of the store, and then asked an associate who worked there where the patio furniture was.
“Back there,” he said, pointing in the direction from which he had come. That was it. Nothing else. Sure it was easy enough to find, but I was about to be a PAYING CUSTOMER! As I found my wife, she told me that she had already been helped, and the guy wasn’t too happy about it. “Oh, yeah, I must have just passed him,” I said and began to relate the story to her of the events which had just taken place.
He brought the table and chairs out to us from the back, and then disappeared. Were we supposed to proceed to the check out pushing the flatbed cart, or would he come back to take care of us the way we expected?
As we stood there making snide remarks to one another, I began to plan my next blog entry and considered speaking to the manager. The associate finally returned and wheeled the cart to the register for us to pay. Once there, he turned and said, “If you need help loading this, there’s a guy out in the parking lot wearing a straw hat. He’ll help you.” And with that he returned to the hidden recesses of the store — where those pesky customers couldn’t harass him!
So, I paid for our items and then headed out the door to find the “guy with a straw hat.” After two or three minutes of standing there waiting with my Honda CRV right next to the cart, he finally strolled across the parking lot and toward me.
“The guy inside said that you’d help us load this in our car,” I said to him.
“Yeah,” he replied and continued to walk inside the store. By this time, I was really starting to lose my patience.
When he again emerged, I again asked him to help me load the furniture in our car. “You want to put it in there??” he asked incredulously.
“We can tie the table on the roof, if you have some twine or rope,” I suggested. And what happened next was what really sent me over.
“We do have twine on that cart over there,” he said, pointing to a wheeled cart with a box of twine on it. And I waited for him to volunteer to get it. But by this time, my wife was ready to leave, and said, “Mark, you just go get it.” So I did, complaining verbally the whole way there and back to the car.
We finally crammed the four chairs into the front seat and got the table tied onto the roof of the car. I managed to cram myself into the child booster seat in the back, on top of two 40-pound bags of top soil. It was quite a sight.
The ride home, I considered that the associates at places like Wal-Mart and Lowe’s really need to get back into the business of SERVING THE CUSTOMER, not just putting time in to get a paycheck. Maybe they should read The Emergence of The Relationship Economy!
How ’bout it?