As we drove away I turned to Z-D and said, “some blog posts just write themselves.”
HE NODDED IN AGREEMENT.
Granted we could have refused to buy what we came for, but after hauling about 500 lbs of stepping stones + bagged mulch + bagged pebbles onto a flatbed cart then pushing it from the back of the Garden Center to the checkout register by the gated entry at the front of the Garden Center, we were committed to the project.
Plus we’d intentionally parked our car near the Garden Center gate so that we’d make it easier on ourselves when it came time to load our items into our car, but the joke was on us about that, too.
Here’s what happened.
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On a sunny spring Saturday morning around 9:00 a.m. Zen-Den and I went to Lowe’s to buy gardening materials and some plants. Like many other shoppers we wanted to get going on our gardening projects while the weather was with us.
The Garden Center was busy with about 20 people shopping, everyone grabbing items, putting them in a basket cart or on a flatbed cart. Then going to stand in line by the registers, waiting for an employee to ring us out. But there were no cashiers to be seen by the registers.
After waiting about 5 minutes, pleasantly chatting with other shoppers, I decided to walk through the large store to go tell Customer Service that… stick with me here… there were customers who required some service. That is, a cashier to ring us out.
Instead of being received in a positive way*, the woman in charge of Customer Service told me I was wrong, stating that at there were no customers waiting to be checked out in the Garden Center.
YES, SHE SAID I, THE PERSON STATING A VERIFIABLE FACT, WAS WRONG.
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I said “yes” there were customers in the Garden Center with basket carts and flatbed carts filled with items to purchase. At least 10 when I left the area to come and politely tell her we needed some… stick with me here… customer service.
But she said “no” that can’t be. She knew she was right because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It opened at 10:00 a.m. and it was only 9:20 a.m.
Repeating myself I told her “no” it was open, that the gates were unlocked, and that about 10 people were waiting to buy stuff.
THEN SHE ASKED ME IF I’D BROKEN THE LOCK TO GET INTO THE GARDEN CENTER.
I assured her that I hadn’t broken in and that it was open when we drove up. And most importantly… stick with me here… we needed someone to ring us out. Like one of the three cashiers I could see standing at three customer-free registers in the main part of the store.
Again this woman told me I was wrong because the Garden Center wasn’t open. It was kind of a theme with her to not believe me, the teller of truth.
At which point I walked away from her heading back to the Garden Center, shouting over my shoulder, “IT’S OPEN.”
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Welp, what happened next is absurd, a case study in poor retail store management. By the time I walked back to the Garden Center the customer service woman had sent an employee to… stick with me here… lock the gates. Yep, she didn’t send one of the three cashiers who was doing nothing to ring us out.
INSTEAD OF ACCOMMODATING THE CUSTOMERS SHE MADE HER VERSION OF REALITY COME TRUE BY CLOSING THE GARDEN CENTER.
But of course the story doesn’t end here. That’d be too easy.
Nope, then we the customers were directed to traipse through the store pushing are loaded carts to where the three cashiers were standing by registers ready to ring us out.
Except they weren’t really ready to ring us out.
This is because many of the garden supplies and plants didn’t have UPC codes on them so without the official Garden Center information notebook the inside cashiers had no way to know what to charge us for the items that are sold exclusively in the Garden Center.
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So we waited… stick with me here… while someone from Customer Service went back into the closed Garden Center to get the information notebooks about the UPC codes for the items we wanted to buy.
Eventually our pleasant, but frazzled, cashier got the information she needed and was able to ring up our purchases. We paid. Then we pushed the flatbed cart across the large parking lot to where we’d parked our car conveniently adjacent to the Garden Center gates.
That’d be the Garden Center that was open when we arrived, but now was locked up tight on a beautiful spring Saturday morning in the suburbs.
BECAUSE CUSTOMER SERVICE MADE IT SO.
*Good Customer Service would have said something to the effect of: “Thank you for telling me what’s going on in the Garden Center. It’s not meant to be open until 10:00 a.m. I don’t have any cashiers to run those registers now BUT I’LL SEND SOME EMPLOYEES TO HELP YOU PUSH YOUR CARTS TO THIS PART OF THE STORE where we have registers open. I apologize for the inconvenience.” And that would have been the end of it. No story to tell.