Monday, November 21, 2005

Customer service? Linens and Things? NO WAY!

I guess I'm getting too old. There used to be a time when stores actually cared whether you walked through their doors. The object was to get you to spend money. Now I don't think some of them give a hoot.

One of those conglomerates of bean counters ran an ad in yesterday's newspaper. You might know them: Linens and Things. From now on in my book they are Dirty Linen and No Things!

We got a little flyer with a pretty picture and a price with one of those darn rebate offers.

You know the ones: "you got ten minutes after you leave the store to send this back to us to get some of your money back and we're betting you either forget, lose the receipt, throw the UP-whatver code away, or go by a fast food place and choke to death. We got your money so we don't care about you- fool."

Anyway, they had this Internet site where I could order it on-line and just pick it up. Sounds simple, right?


First the web site must have been written by someone who doesn't understand making things easy for customer to part with their money.. There was the picture of the item (A bloody roasting pan) and a little hot spot that said Click here to order.

Well, that hot spot drops you to the order page but then you've got to find the item again. Of course searching for "roasting pan" or the item reference number should make things easy, right? Wrong again! The search turns up nothing! I should have stopped right there, but no! I saw an 800 number.

I called. I hate customer service with any company. I think frontal lobotomies are mandatory. Livids and No Things didn't change my appraisal.

The clerk told me it was out of stock. Now I don't know about you but I don't think she was a mind reader. She didn't even ask me where I lived! So I asked for her supervisor. I don't think clerks know what the word supervisor means. I finally got a supervisor. I might as well have been talking to one of those Indian call centers where folks have redneck names and can't speak or understand English. This supervisor at least asked me where I live. Sure enough she told me the item was out of stock. I asked how that could be since the ad just ran yesterday. I forgot I was asking her to think. I asked for her supervisor. He wasn't there. When will he be in? I don't know? What is his name? I can't give that to you it is against policy. Is that a written policy? Yes. I told her I would be asking someone who cared about customers to send me that policy. I'll bet she smiled. She knew no one cares. Her boss is supposed to call me. Eight hours later I guess he's still on coffee break or looking for another job. Want to get frustrated try to elevate a problem to anyone who cares. THey don't exist! There is NEVER anyone in a call center above second level. NEVER!

Not to be deterred I called the local store. Another mistake. I immediatly asked to speak to the manger, my thought was, why waste time and get more frustrated. So lo and behold Melissa gets on the phone. I ask her if she is the manager. Yes. I explain my frustration. She tells me there is nothing that can be done. Would I like the manager to call me? WAIT A MINUTE! I asked for the manager. She told me she WAS the manager. Where is the manager? He's out all week. Who is his boss?

She gives me a long distance number. I can call on my nickel to discuss THEIR problem. By now I'm spitting nails. This has the look and feel of bait and switch with a lot of deceptive advertising thrown in. Add employees who could care less about customer satisfaction and you've got Dirty Linen and No Things in a nutshell.

So as a last ditch gauntlet I call the main 800 number to register a complaint about the store.

Another person with understanding difficulties answers. I'm told that the first two ladies had NO WAY of knowing that the item was out of stock. He claims that the call center and stores are TWO separate entities! Get it? Neither one is supposed to know what the other one is doing and I guess he doesn't realize I just wanted the bloody roasting pan and that the ad says both left hands are supposed to know what is going on. He is going to have his VP call me. So far another eight hours is gone forever. My bet is that he's out having coffee with the manager of the call center.

So I'm buying a disposable pan and will never think about doing business with Livids and No Things. I guess like their ad says some quantities might be limited. That includes satisfied customers. I hope somebody like Wally's World drives them out of business. They deserve it. Talk about turkeys!