Monday, June 7, 2010

If You're Ever Feeling Stupid

Just go to the Customer Is Not Always Right website and keep clicking the Random button until the feeling goes away.

Here's one example from a bookstore employee in South Dakota:

Customer: “I am looking for one of those things that are like a book, but not a book.”

Me: “Do you mean a magazine?”

Customer: “No, no. It is like a book, but not a book.”

Me: *speechless*

Customer: “You know! A book thing, but not a book.”

(After the customer tries to explain this object to me for about 10 minutes, my coworker comes back from lunch.)

Coworker: “What seems to be the problem here?”

Customer: “I asked your coworker if you have those things that are like books but not books, but she is too simple to understand.”

Coworker: “You mean a magazine?”

Customer: “No! Is it so hard to just find one of those things? I thought this was a bookstore!”

(Overhearing us, my manager tries to help.)

Manager: “Is there a problem?”

Customer: “I am looking for a thing that is like a book, but not a book.”

Manager: “Well, let’s go look for it…”

(My manager ended up leading the customer all around the store, pointing out every thing we had. The thing that was like a book but not a book? A bookmark.)


Michael Leddy said...


Daughter Number Three said...

Yes, that's the only plausible explanation, but -- at least as it's described -- the aphasiac person is less unhelpful than s/he could have been, plus sounds very annoyed that the staff can't figure out the identity of that obscure object of desire.

David Steinlicht said...

I was surprised and delighted at the manager's solution.

By taking the problem customer on a tour of the store, the manager did two things at once:

Got the problem away from the obviously frustrated workers and changed the problem from a vocabulary thing to a visual thing.

Good job!