Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I don't get even. I get evil.

So we can all just take a minute to talk about the sheer awesomeness that is the new Pretzel M&M's? Have you tried these yet?? Seriously. No joke. Life changing. As a matter of fact, I think that should be their motto. They should just print it right on that blue bag. And yes M&M Mars, you are welcome.

I have a story for you guys. Are you ready? This is a good one. It's all about one of my favorite topics of discussion: Customer Service. How many of you are with me in the belief that good customer service is on the endangered species list? Well, follow me as I take you on a journey, and tell me if you think this interaction was a PMCE (Positive Memorable Customer Experience).

The cafeteria at work is so kick ass, it actually has a Subway inside. And who loves Subway? This girl. So the other day, I purchased a delicious Subway sandwich (Spicy Italian with provolone on white), grabbed a small bag of baked chips and a drink and proceeded to the cash registers at the far end of the cafeteria. I always pick the same line because the cashier is always cheerful and friendly and I enjoy our usual witty chit chat. Unfortunately, as I got closer to the register, I was disappointed to see she was not there that day.

Regardless, I waited in line just briefly, and when it was my turn to pay, I set my items on the counter (I always forget to grab a tray so my hands were full) and waited for my total.

The substitute cashier was tall and thin, and very pretty, despite the ridiculously hideous uniform and hat she is required to wear. And obviously, she was not having the best day.

"Is that a refill?" she barked at me as I set my drink down. I hesitated for a moment because I didn't understand her question. The drink was in my company issued, insulated, ginormous plastic mug. They don't sell those mugs in the cafeteria, you just bring it in and fill it up. So yeah, it was a refill. I thought that was kind of obvious.

"Is. That. A. Reeefffiiilllll-uh???" she asked again. I looked at her in surprise, completely taken aback by her overwhelming hostility. And then I tilted my head and smiled at her. My great big I-will-not-sink-to-your-level smile.

"Yes," I said warmly. "It is a refill."

She turned back to her register, punched it in the face a few times, and then turned back to me. She held her hand out with loud exhale. I stared at her empty hand for a brief fraction of a second. And then I smiled again.

"I'm sorry," I said to her. "I must not have heard you tell me how much I owed you."

"$4.25." She shoved her hand closer to my face. I stuck my hand in the front pocket of my jeans, trying to dig out the folded bills without dropping them on the floor.

She sighed impatiently. By this time, one of my co-workers was in line right behind me. I could tell by the look on her face she had over heard some of this exchange and was a little shocked. I shrugged my shoulders at her.

I gave the cashier my Big Smile again. "I apologize. I guess I should have been more prepared for you." I handed her a five dollar bill.

"Yes. That helps." The cashier snapped the money from my finger tips and rolled her eyes.

I lowered my voice and leaned in closer to her. "My pants are too tight," I laughed. "I couldn't get my hand in my pocket to dig out my money." My co-worker laughed.

The cashier turned back to me and then looked down at my lunch. "Well," she said with a sarcastic smirk, "Subway will take care of that."
(I KNOW, RIGHT???? I still can't believe it.)

My co-worker actually gasped. I looked straight into the cashiers eyes and smiled The Big Smile again. "Yeah, you are probably right," I said to her with a little laugh. "Thank you for your patience. Have a great afternoon!"

And I confidently walked away.

So, dear friends, what went wrong here? How would the average person have handled this situation? Do you think this was a Positive Memorable Customer Experience?

(I think it is important for you to know this cashier is not an employee of Subway or the totally awesome company I now work for. She is an employee of the food service company contracted to work in our building.)

I could have been rude to her. I could have been equally hostile. I could have asked to speak to her supervisor. I could have been understandably embarrassed. I could have demanded an apology.

But I didn't.

Instead, today, I brought her a bag of Pretzel M&M's.

Partially because I wanted to be the better person. Partially because I wanted to share the life changing, candy coated drops of joy and happiness with others. Partially because I wanted to kill her with kindness and hopefully make her feel a teeny tiny bit regretful about being such a horrible nasty bitch. And partially because I hope she gets so strung out on them, she will eventually have no choice but to understand what it's like to dig wadded up bills out of the front pocket of super cute jeans that are cutting off her circulation.
I think I am teaching her an important lesson in expressing empathy, which is a key factor in PMCE's. Yep. That's what I am doing. Teaching people how to provide better service, one empty calorie at a time. That's how I sleep at night.
That and the crash after the sugar high.

(M&M Bag photo courtesy of


Stacey said...

Um...yeah. I am SO not the better person. I'd have mopped the floor with her. What a self righteous little monster. And hopefully the bag of M&M's will lead to a Pretzel M&M addiction that will add 15 pounds to her tall and thin frame.

And seriously, I also gasped out loud (GOL'd) when I read what you said. I'm surprised you didn't hear it all the way in AZ.

Moderate Means said...

I respect brilliance. I respect evil. But evil brilliance? Well, I just bow down and worship at your feet.

And now I feel I must consume a pretzel M&M. Even though my first time with a peanut butter M&M was supposed to be a quickie but has ended up as a multi-year affair. Alas, I have no room in my life for a new M&M. The PB M&M has already explained that I am allowed to enjoy no other M&M company.


"Intentionally Katie" said...

Um, follow up? How did she respond when you gave her the M&Ms???

WILLIAM said...

Coconut M&M's are quite good too.

I like to kill people likekt he sub cashier with kindness too.

Trisha said...

Whenever I meet such rude people (and that chick was very, very rude!) I always try to remain positive and friendly because I don't want to sink down to their level.

I always think that maybe, just maybe, the rude person will realize that they are being rude but . . . I don't know that they can think like that. They seem to be so wrapped up in themselves.

DevilsHeaven said...

O.M.G. I totally would have asked to speak to her supervisor. ESPECIALLY Since you had a witness.
I wouldn't be surprised if she made some crack about the M&M pretzels and your "tight" jeans.
If she does, hold her down and see to it she chokes on them.

Caitlin said...

I am shocked. SHOCKED. ...that you were able to be so nice. You are a better person than I. I've noticed lately that I am getting spicy in my old age, and my tolerance for BS and garbage like this is incredibly low. She needs a verbal slap in the face.
Although I say that knowing that in the moment I am often too shocked to say anything and think of the perfect comeback days later.
Hmm. I say continue to have fun with it. Like maybe next you could try the Act Crazy route. You know. Stand there doing nothing, holding your stuff, then look startled when she speaks, ask if she heard that too no wait shh listen, go bug-eyed, stare, use pauses that are too long to be socially acceptable, mumble to yourself. You know, that kind of thing.

But anyway. Onto the most important thing which is PRETZEL M&Ms OMG. I am DYING to try these and have not seen them anywhere! What the heck! I thought everyone hated Arizona these days so HOW COME YOU GET ALL THE PRETZEL M&Ms??!?!

Karen R said...

You did the right thing. Know how I know? I volunteered to help with Picture Day at our local jr high. A little girl with cutoff sleeves on her white blouse was giving everyone attitude. Would NOT stand in line for her picture. I said (with my own Big Smile) "Don't worry, you don't have to pay for anything. The Yearbook picture is free." She started wringing her hands and telling me her dad was in the hospital and her mother had no money. The other bitchy mothers were giving her attitude right back, but because of my Big Smile and empathy, she sat sweetly for her Yearbook picture. So, there you have it. Your girl probably went home with a much better attitude because of your kind gesture.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

So is she your BFF now?

Kristi said...

I must say that I admire your extreme restraint and lack of hostility! Good job April - you just created some intensely good positive karma for yourself!

Andrea said...

I'm not gonna are my hero! Not just because you asked for and got Mars/M&M's to combine two of my all time favorite things, but because you are the epitome of a classy lady!

Good for you! That little scab eating mouth breather will get hers and you can feel good knowing you didn't stoop to her level.
And yes, you are evil, which is what I love best about you! well, that and your fabulous taste in shoes and purses.


Book Girl said...

So as I was first reading this, I thought "Oh, I bet I know which temp cashier she got". And then, after I gasped out loud, I realized that the one I was thinking about would have been too stupid to come up with that kind of remark.

I am in awe at your response, I would have glared at her until she felt uncomfortable. And my glare has gotten so much meaner than you remember.