14 November 2009

Mean people suck

I don’t like bullies. And by bully, I don’t mean a big kid who is threatening to beat me up if I don’t hand over my math homework. I’m talking about adults with aggressively strong personalities who communicate in a confrontational tone and manner. These people frighten me and they might as well be threatening to beat me up because that’s exactly how I feel when the conversation is over: like I just got knocked down.

I don’t do well in conflict situations to begin with, and I completely lose my ability to function if I am having a conflict with a bully. It happened today. I had this unfortunate encounter with a woman about 10 to 15 years older than I who owns the lighting store where we recently purchased two chandeliers. Cristy and I hired a man who does electrical contracting work on the side to install all of our light fixtures. It is convenient because he works on the weekend and she and I don’t have to take more time off work to meet him at the house.

The new chandeliers are for the foyer and kitchen. Cristy and our installer went to the store to pick up the boxes this morning and he started installing them. Unfortunately, when he took the foyer lantern out of the box, he walked over to tell me that he had some bad news – the chandelier was broken. He showed me where the problem was and we packed it back up so I could return it.

Later, I took the fixture back and immediately felt a chill spread through the room when I suggested that I’d like to exchange it. I waited for a while with my boxed up lantern and then a while longer when they took it to the “back” for their “guy” to inspect it. The bully, I mean, owner, approached me with a stern look on her face and I felt like I was about to get in trouble. She went on the attack immediately: who was my installer, what was his name, what was the name of his company, was he a licensed electrician? I stammered and tried to explain that he was a qualified electrician, but had another full time job. That was all the fuel she needed. He was incompetent! He twisted up all the wires when he tried to install it! It was going to take their “guy” a couple of days to repair the mess!

This didn’t make sense to me. I told her that my installer merely removed it from the box and did not even attempt to install it because he noticed the flaw. Didn’t matter what I said.

I was instructed to return on Monday or Tuesday to pick it up.

Then she walked away.

I walked out to my car feeling scared and ashamed.

The store called Cristy later in the afternoon to say that the repairs were complete and we could pick it up. I don’t feel good about going. I know, I’m such a wimp. I’ll get it another time. When I’m feeling less diminished. Mean people suck.


  1. You hit the third rail with me. I have a HUGE problem with bad customer service and victimization of the client in any situation. Like yesterday I bought a fixture on clearance. The price was wrong, so that meant I had to instant wait in an exhange mode for my money back. I stood there while they researched what the price was supposed to be. Then the woman from hardware showcased the "correct" price as she came back to the desk, as though I am a complete fool who can't choose the right item.

    The plumber that came to the house last week took twice as long as promised and the bill in the mail was not itemized. way too much for parts and labor. The new shower parts were provided by me partly so he just had to do the work. He left with the extra parts as his own and overcharged. This is standard with the workers I find here.

    This is why I am so do it myself.

    You are not alone.

    Post a review of the store on your local web services or yahoo local. Tell others to steer clear. That is the sweet revenge I get when I have to. I am very fair and understanding, but don't F__K with me as a paying customer. This is also why I stick to Lowe's, Home Depot and the major chains. They are usually interested in my being satisfied. I don't have time to write letters to companies every time something goes wrong.

    As a consumer, you have to be proactive and reward the good and punish the sub-standard, sleazy outfits.

  2. Thank you, my friend. I agree with you about Lowe's - their product return policy is the absolute best. They must be among the very top in customer service satisfaction.

    Your stories of customer service remind me of that old movie "Clerks." Did you ever see it? The catch phrase of the movie was "this would be a great job if it wasn't for the customers." That kind of says it all about lousy customer service. Pushing the blame to the customer for product defects, incorrect pricing, billing discrepancies, botched installations, delivery accidents...the list goes on.

    I like your idea about posting an unsolicited customer review. Maybe a letter to the BBB. Truth is, I'm more than a little nervous that they are selling me a defective product and are just patching it together to work. I feel like I absolutely have no recourse. I hate this feeling!

    Hope the rest of your weekend is splendid--

  3. Don't let those a-holes scare you off!