8 December 2008

Just another five minutes at the checkout counter...

'Twas the night before Eid, and the stores were superbusy with everyone rushing to get their last minute shopping done, just in time for the festivities the next day. I was at a hypermarket getting a few basics, five minutes before closing time, and looked around for an empty lane to pay and leave through the busy crowds of shoppers, all dressed in their warm jackets and sweaters, keeping away the cold of the winter outside (and the frozen foods section).

As the case always is with Bahrain, the '10 items or less' counter is always lined up with queues of people buying trolleyfulls of rubbish, so the concept of buying a few small items really doesn't mean you're getting out of there much faster than anyone else. I waited as the truckloads of groceries and household goods infront of me were loaded onto the checkout counter, and everything seemed to move slowly but smoothly.

As I waited, I dazed off to a warm beach on a far away land, relaxing on the golden sands next to a cool blue sea. People played beach volleyball to the sounds of funky reggae tunes, while others just basked in the sun or swam in the sea. The waves were smooth, swayed around by the light breeze, as the sounds of an angry screaming lady rang in the background.


I came out of my little daydream, only to realize the lady in the line infront was shouting at the checkout assistant. I wondered what had happened during the few minutes on my island, and realized that one of the items she wanted to buy had no tag on it. The checkout guy requested one of the staff members to get another one of the items to price it, and the whole process seemed to be taking a little over a minute or two, which seemed to be too much for little screaming woman to wait.

"What kind of service is this?!" she shouted as her tempers started to reach the boiling point. "I have things to do and I can't waste my time waiting for your people to get a tag!"

Classic example of idiotism and intolerance. First of all, if you're so damn busy and don't have much time to waste, explain how long you wasted filling up two trolleyfulls of stuff? Second, this is a huge hypermarket, sometimes tags tend to fall off things, are removed by other customers, or disappear for whatever reason, get over it. Third, the checkout guy is doing his job and hasn't been inefficient in any way. He even tried explaining to the lady what the problem was, to be met with more screaming and howling. Fourth, if your time really is that important, why don't you just leave your untagged budget pyjamas for today, pay for everything else and leave?

Lots of people overestimate the concepts of customer service. It's not even taking them for granted, it's actually expecting everything to be totally perfect. Sure, I can understand that businesses try to aim for it, but in most cases, this isn't a utopia, and things don't always come out flawless.

This situation was a little silly, considering that this was a normal inconvenience, and a pretty common occurence, especially considering the size of this hypermarket; the lady really didn't need to get too upset. Also, she let out all of her fury on the checkout guy, who was actually doing a good job, probably had nothing to do with the cause of the situation, and really has no way of fixing it in the long term; any complaints should be directed to either management or customer service.

Get over it woman. Unless your service has been compromised directly by this guy, shouting at him really doesn't do much more than make you look like a bit of an ass to everyone around you. And this goes out to all of you reading this; if you get served by anyone, just know that they're usually trying their best (well, usually). You're probably the hundredth person they've had to deal with today, and i'm willing to bet quite a few have acted (unnecessarily) like miss howling woman here. If they've still got a smile on and doing their job, give them a break.

The tag finally came, and the lady took her budget pyjamas and left. Checkout dude heaved a sigh of relief, as did most of the shoppers around who had to listen to her shouting. I got my items checked, paid, took my change, and gave the guy a heartfelt 'thank you'.

He smiled, and I left. More shoppers, more tags to check, more items to sell. Just another five minutes at the checkout counter.


Homers Secret Mistress said...

looooooool, i loved this post!!

Iv been working part-time in retail for some time now to help with student finances, and i can fully comrehend the situation!!!! ahhh!!!

Im currently working at hugo boss, and stupid snobs think they can slave talk me just because they can! BITCHES! ahhh! make me soo angry! you know wht i find funny thou, i think the way this lady reacted is the epitomy of arab-ness, and more so of the arabian gulf region. There is a strong societal employment heirachy, and for the arab mind, if you arent in an office, or with a phd then you are part of the LOW END! total bullshit! well neway, my empathy for the retail guy, and many thanx to you for saying THANKYOU! its not hard to say those words yet they do mean soo much after a tough day! :D:D

Homers Secret Mistress said...

and wats even funnier is all of this for some fat ass budget pjs! loooooool.. if your gona try and act snobby, you can atleast try and make it beleivable! loooool

MSB said...

i cannot stand rude people and i cannot tolerate indecency! you shoulda smacked her upside her head!

Manutdfanatic said...

You see this everywhere, all too often. Sad, really.

rosh said...

I was this *.* close to bitch slap a chav at SHJ Co-op society on Tuesday. I don't understand HOW some people think they can treat anyone rude with no reason or fault of their own! Why didn't she check the damn price/tab when pulling of her fat assed PJ's?

You are so right bro, "Thank you's" make world of a difference!