It was a late winter’s night and I was driving home from an assignment, growing hungry with each and every passing mile.
Just two miles from the place where I hang my hats is a convenience store — Wheels, it’s called — and I’d say six nights a week I stop there to grab a snack, a meal, some milk, or whatever else grabs my fancy. (String cheese … oh, string cheese).
On this night — last night, to be exact — I pulled in and noticed the gas lights were dark while the store lights were on.
Peculiar, but in a world filled with electricity, things happen.
I walked to the door and pulled it open.
Only I didn’t.
It was locked.
I looked at my phone for the time. It was 11:26 p.m. — 34 minutes before closing time.
I have been stopping at this store for nine years after work, after late night assignments, sometimes even earlier as I head out for the day. I also get my gas here.
I figure on average I’ve spent $7 to $10 a visit to that store. Times that by six days a week that means $42 to $60 a week. That means roughly $200-plus a month. That’s $2,400 a year.
Over the nine years, I’ve lived in Connecticut that’s $21,600 I’ve spent in that store alone.
Staggering, when you add it all up, no?
Point being that starting on Jan. 1, 2016, the store decided it was going to close an hour earlier. Instead of staying open until midnight, it was closing at 11 p.m. (I didn’t even post signs to tell customers this … it just closed the doors and locked them up).
I’ve had issues with this store before. They sell out of stuff all the time because management doesn’t order enough of the things that are popular.
If you’re selling out of something, order more.
It’s a simple concept.
Bottom line: My local “convenience” store has become all too inconvenient for my liking, so I’ve made a decision.
Wheels … You are dead to me.
During this October Weekend, which I’ve dubbed the fall season of my life, one thing I’ve noticed about myself is I’m sick and tired of customer service going down hill.
There are two rules to customer service, right?
- The customer is always right
- If the customer is wrong, see rule No. 1
But this isn’t about me or anybody being right or wrong. This is me tired of standing in line because a business doesn’t have enough people working to take care of its demand.
It’s me going to a CVS pharmacy and seeing clueless people take more than five minutes to ring up one person who is buying one prescription drug that has already been filled.
It’s me walking into Walmart, or Stop n Shop, or Family Dollar Store — where stuff costs more than $1, I might add — and standing in a line of five or six people because the business refuses to open a new register.
It’s me walking into a bank during a lunch hour and seeing one person behind the counter because the other bank tellers are on their lunch break. Excuse me? Mr. Bank Manager … Don’t you think other people do most of their banking on their lunch hour? As such, wouldn’t you make sure that in the best interest of your customers you’d have enough people on your staff to help them?
Yes, your tellers work hard when they’re on the clock and deserve their own lunch breaks, but not during your busiest times. That’s just plain old poor customer service.
And I’m just so sick and tired of poor customer service.
I’m tired of calling a business and having to go through automated services to get to the person I want or need.
I called Bank of America once and it took 38 minutes to get a real person the phone.
I’m tired of it. And I’m done with it.
So it’s come down to this.
As of this date, Jan. 7, in the year of our Lord, 2016, if you deliver to me poor customer service, I’m done doing business with you.
That’s it. You’ve been officially warned.
Make me stand in a line for more than five minutes, I’m leaving my cart full and walking out of your store.
Leave me on hold for five minutes and I’m hanging up the phone.
Close an hour early and I will never set foot inside your convenience store again. (I will buy gas there when I need it because it’s the cheapest in town and 20 cents cheaper than the gas stations near where I work).
Yes, in the long run, all this is going to inconvenience me more than the companies that don’t give a shit about serving customers anymore.
But I don’t care … I’m tired of giving money to those companies who don’t put their customers first.
And it stops today.
Wheels, you are dead to me.
(Insert your company name here) … you’re next.