Thursday, October 19, 2006

Putting the cuss in customer service

“Name?” the sour-faced girl at the counter grunts at me without looking up.

I diligently reply even though I’ve been coming to this particular tanning salon since it opened back in 1998.

“Eyewear?” another grunt.

I comply, showing her my requisite pink peeper protectors.
If you’ve never been, here’s how it works: They set the timer on the bed from a computer at the front desk. They tell you which room is yours. You lock the door, strip, recline, pop on your peeper protectors, press the start button, and bask in the warm glow of potentially harmful and damaging rays.

It’s lovely. Usually.

But for the third time in less than a month, the counter chick forgets to set the timer, so I have to get dressed, open the door and remind her.

She shouts a shallow “Sorry!” and the timer is set.
I seethe for the seven minutes in the bed.

It’s supposed to be relaxing. I usually think about my favorite beach on Maui.

But all I can think about this time is how bad the customer service has become since that Crabby-Ass Bitch took over the business.
“The cuss in customer service? What a clever girl you are, Hedy.”

No, not so much. Somebody else thought of it way before it popped into my sorry little brain last night.

I love the Internet. It’s a great way to find out if you are Truly Brilliant or merely Sad, Average and Late.
It’s not as if I need to tan. It’s a luxury. Like escaping to a seven-minute spa.

So it oughtta be a positive experience. I should walk outta there relaxed and refreshed instead of tense and irritated.

What’s worse, it’s not as if the transaction is complicated or difficult. I’m not applying for a home loan, for shit’s sake.
The previous owners were an incomprehensibly orange and wrinkly pair of whacky middle-aged women who knew how to have fun while running a business.

They greeted me with a smile, looked me in the eye, and called me by my first name. Every time.

And even though it was most certainly work for them, they never gave off that impression. They were always very happy to see their customers, made it fun to be there, and thanked me profusely when I left.

I miss them.
On Saturdays, the new owner (the aforementioned Crabby-Ass Bitch) is always there.

Last weekend I walked in and waited patiently while she kept her back to me, folding a pile of towels. It was a full two minutes before she finished folding, turned around and barked what I’m assuming has become the standard greeting there: “Name?”

She never smiles. And she sighs a lot, like it’s a huge effort to push the two buttons required to set up the bed.

The only time she comes close to smiling is when I’m on my way out, as if she’s glad to be rid of me.
How do you know she didn’t see you come in?

1) This is not a large place.
2) She was standing at the counter.
3) And there’s a little bell on the door to let everyone know when customers arrive. That bell is now the friendliest part about the place.
We’ve all got ‘em. Ugly customer service stories.

Nothing is worse than giving your hard-earned money to someone who doesn’t appreciate it.

So I’ve decided to stop. I’m canceling my membership.

If it means driving a few extra miles to permanently damage and prematurely age my skin, I’ll happily do it.

Because I’m done getting burned by bad customer service.
I am listening to: A new episode of South Park
I am reading: The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
And I am: Dark