Saturday, February 13, 2010

Patience is hard

vivid cowl button detailBack in my early days of blogging I was pretty quick to rush to the keyboard and report whenever a company had pissed me off. When I moved over to Blogger, I decided that I'd be a little more patient and hold back when it came to reporting my frustrations. Now, I still get annoyed and do my bit by "voting with my wallet;" I'm just a little more restrained when it comes to what I'll share. Oh, the stories you have all missed! (Pic is because there has to be a pic, right? Also, the buttons on the cowl are from the store I'm about to rant about, from a previous trip.)

I think of myself as a fairly easy-going, responsible consumer. But I won't beg a store to take my money, and I will reward poor customer service with my one-woman boycott for months (or years, in the case of Target, and that ain't easy!). On the flip-side, good customer service will gain a store/company/chain repeat business. (Oh, JetPens, I am SO coming back and ordering more!)

The economy in Michigan is not good right now. Stores are closing left and right, there are near-empty malls & shopping centers everywhere. Many people have less money to spend. So why on earth would a store allow their employees to turn customers away? Especially when they have a competitor in the same shopping center!?

One sacrifice we made when moving to the country is the lack of local shopping. The only grocery store nearby is scary, so we have to drive several more miles to a Meijer. It takes John over 3 hours to do the grocery shopping at 2 stores (1 fruit & veggie market, plus Meijer or Walmart). There are no book stores, no yarn stores. There aren't even any craft stores. It's inconvenient, sure, but we traded for space. And more quiet. I was pretty excited to realize that I could get off a couple exits early on one route home from work and, just a few miles out of the way, I could stop at a JoAnn Fabrics, sort of on the way home. (It's not LYS, but I'll take what I can get!)

I'm not a "customer is always right" kind of person. I don't make unreasonable demands. What I do want is to be able to pick out my items, pay and leave. Imagine my surprise when I got to the register the second time I stopped in at that store and as the cashier started ringing me up, she was interrupted by a senior staff member and sent to another part of the store to help another customer. I was left standing at the register with a pile of greeting cards, yarn and other crafty "necessities."

Help a customer? What was I?

I know some people would have picked up all their stuff, and gotten back in line or even demanded that the woman who sent the cashier away ring them up. But that's not how I roll. I don't beg people to take my money. So what was I? Not a customer anymore, that's for damn sure.

What cracks me up is that there is a Hobby Lobby just a few doors down from that JoAnn! Must be nice that they're doing so well they can send people away. (I'm not a huge fan of HL, because of the music playing, but I can tune it out well enough to grab what I need and get out.)

That all happened a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks ago yesterday, to be exact. Two weeks ago today, I fired off a letter to corporate and haven't heard "boo." (I win the bet I made with myself.) I decided to wait and see if they responded before I blogged about it (I immediately posted to Facebook, naturally). Of course I haven't been back to that JoAnn. Well, not any JoAnn, but I'm not going to say I'm never going back to any store in the chain. That one, though? Nope. And since it's the only convenient one for me to go to, that does mean they'll lose a good portion of my disposable crafty income.

I bought what I needed at the drugstore, Walmart (yes, Walmart. This is the country) and Hobby Lobby, or went without.


NessaKnits said...

Did you EVER get a letter back and did you EVER go back to the store?

Melissa said...

I did eventually get a letter, but it made no sense. The usual excuse-making crap, followed by a misunderstanding of my request. (I asked that my contact info. not be shared. The letter said they wouldn't be discussing this issue with the store at my request.)

No, I've never been back.