I’ll be honest – I shop…a lot. I am at a shop probably every day. Grocery shops, boutiques, department stores, Starbucks – with so much public interaction, I have seen my fair share of great service AND poor service. Yesterday, I saw REALLY, REALLY poor service. This piece is equal parts rant and “what do I do”, both questioning and answering the situation. Here’s what happened…
Last night, I brought some gently used items to a local consignment shop that I regularly shop and consign with. I was there for about twenty minutes, as my items were evaluated for selling. Despite my attempts at friendly small-talk, I was met with terse answers and harsh replies. While I tried to be positive, remain calm and refined, and present an outward appearance of an elegant young woman, I struggled with the following comments (and have added my private thoughts in parenthesis), made by the salesperson helping me:
“You’re late for the appointment” (I didn’t have an appointment)
“You have arrived too late. We close in an hour and a half. I can’t allow this.” (But you are still evaluating my items?)
“We don’t have time for you” (You don’t have time for my free stuff??)
“You are only allowed to bring 20 items” (I didn’t know that)
“This item is dirty – it is not our job to clean these items” (I didn’t realize the item was “dirty”)
“You will not be allowed to do this next time” (You think there will be a next time?!)
“These items are not good enough for our store” (Yes they are – I think I bought that exact sweater here)
“I’ll do you a favor by taking this item” (gee…thanks)
The general experience can be defined as awful – I felt very small and, as I rushed to the closest bar for an extremely necessary glass of wine (which turned into two vodka cranberries), I couldn’t believe I had allowed that kind of experience to happen. If I try to be positive, calm, refined, and elegant, shouldn’t I expect and insist on the same kind of experience? How do we handle very un-refined experiences? How do we react when we are made to feel very un-refined – unimportant, disrespected, and wronged?
I took deep breaths, replied calmly, and eventually left with a small shred of dignity left. I told myself the woman was likely having a bad day, and I needed to be the example that I want to see in this world. Do not react, Christine. Please forgive the whiny nature of this post – but I want to know. What should I have done? How should I have reacted? What do you do in a similar situation?