“Once it’s done with you, it’s done with you.”

Cleaning yesterday. Shopping today. Hit up a million stores including Bed Bath and Beyond.

There was a little glitch at the check out. No SKU on one item, so the manager had to be called.

The woman checking me out was NOT going with the flow. No. she. was. not.  She was pissy. Was she was having a bad day? I don’t know. It seemed like a pretty minor problem to me.

Finally, everything was resolved, I swiped my credit card and the screen said to hand the card to the clerk and swipe again.

“No!” she barked. “You’re done. Don’t touch that screen! Once it’s done with you, it’s done with you.”

She meant the machine. The MACHINE was done with me. So why did I think she meant that SHE was done with me?

All day long G and I kept saying to each other: “Once it’s done with you, it’s DONE with you!

And then we would crack up.


And It’s All Seth Godin’s Fault

I had a “customer service moment” in Wegman’s today.

I love Wegman’s, I really do (I can see Catherine waving and jumping up and down, yelling “Me too!” all the way from Iowa. Hi Catherine!)

Love the produce, the fish, the beer aisle(s) !!

Love the magazine section, love Nature’s Marketplace.  Love the cafe.  I even love the bathroom where there is usually a vase of fresh flowers near the sinks.

But the coffee kiosk???  Not such a fan.

My standing order is: soy latte, hold the foam.  Not a complicated order, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve gotten half a cup of foam.

Sometimes, when the baristas –I even hesitate to call them by that honorific since they don’t have much, if any, “skillzzzz” but are merely java jockeys), are being slammed, I just take my half cup of foam and walk off  and sulk in the broccoli aisle.

But today, today was different.  Today the store was quiet (10 AM on a Thursday) and there was no line.  I was “it,” the only customer for miles.

I was happy, in a good mood. I asked her to hold back the foam, and when she started to pour the pitcher of soy milk into the shot with no hold-back, I stopped her and reminded her, “Please hold back the foam.”  She gave me a look and a sneer and said, “That’s how we make them here!”

I picked up the cup, and yup, it was light. Half foam.

Me: “Could you just take a spoon and scoop off the foam and give me what’s left of the soymilk in the pitcher?”

“Fine!” she huffed, and proceeded to make me another drink.  She slammed the fridge door closed, sloshed the soy milk into the pitcher, shoved it under the wand, and then proceeded to hold back the raging river of foam with a teaspoon, which was completely ineffectual.

Result?  Same drink, except this one had a lot of added venom (on the house).


She plopped it down as if to say, “Here.  You happy now, bitch?”

I said nothing, but craned to look at her name tag which was attached to her hat. She saw me and pointed to it and said, “Yeah, it’s Roxanna!”

(All righty then.)

I talked to a manager on my way out.  Told him the whole sad story of Roxanna and her snippy attitude and her inability and unwillingness to hold back foam.

I told him she didn’t fit in with the whole Wegman’s experience of the happy fish guy and the woman who goes out of her way to find me the goji berries. She doesn’t fit in with the flowers in the bathroom and Cathy, the checker who can pack a bag so expertly that it looks like Rubic’s cube of geometric symmetry. And on top of that, she always smiles and talks to me like I’m a person. (Amazing.)

Ever since I’ve been reading Seth Godin and Chris Brogan and all the other gurus of the new business paradigm, I am less tolerant of businesses that have mediocre or, (godforbid) downright bad customer service.

Businesses like Amazon and Zappos and L.LBean and a host of others have spoiled me (and a lot of other “me-like” people out there) and we know we don’t have to put up with the likes of Roxanna any more.

I told the manager at Wegman’s that I will just get my no-foam soy latte at The Soulful Cup next time so as not to have to have my perfect Wegman’s shopping experience sullied by the likes of the Evil Roxanna.  (I didn’t call her that.)

He said he was really sorry.  He asked me to wait a few weeks and then try the kiosk again, and if I still had a problem to come see him (his name is Steve).  He gave me a $7 gift card to treat myself to a coffee on the store.

Now that’s the Wegman’s I know and love.

And PS.

Roxanna? Honey? I think you might be going back to the stock room.  Where you belong.


I just got finished reading dooce’s blog account of her nightmare with trying to get her Maytag washer fixed.

Dooce is what Seth Godin would call a “sneezer.”  Sneezers spread idea viruses.  Sneezers let people know when they like things, and when they don’t, and sneezers have A LOT OF INFLUENCE.  When they recommend a restaurant, people go to it.  When they like a pair of shoes, lots of people go out and buy them.  And when they get shitty customer service from Maytag, whoah boy.  Watch out.

dooce, has a wildly popular blog with hundreds of thousands of readers.

dooce, has one million, one hundred fifty-three thousand, three hundred and ninety (1, 153, 390) followers on Twitter (of which I am one).

But do the customer service people at Maytag know this when she calls and tries to get her very expensive, brand new washer fixed?  No they do not.  They treat her just like they would treat you or me.  (Like shit.)

So here is what happened: After going through hell trying to get her washer fixed, dooce Twittered about it. And to be fair, she warned the person on the phone that she was going to Twitter about it, and that person just laughed at her.

(BIG mistake.  Huge.)

So she wrote a series of Twitters saying DON’T BUY MAYTAG. MAYTAG IS A NIGHTMARE. And other Twitters to that effect.

And guess what happened?  Yep.  She got satisfaction, baby! Yes she did. The CEO of Maytag contacted her and made it all better, PRONTO.  (And she Twittered about that, too.)

Here is her account of her adventure.  You’ve got to go read it.  It’s hilarious.  She is such a great writer.  I would give some non-essential body part (my adenoids?) to be able to write half as good as she does.

But here is the lesson.  Businesses of all stripe, large and small, need to pay attention to this because when they jerk us around how do they know we aren’t dooce?  How do they know we aren’t influential sneezers?  The answer is: they don’t.

Social media now has the power to kill a business, or at least give it a very ugly black eye.  Used to be people were only connected in small tribes without much power: families, neighborhoods, church groups and the like.  But now we have hundreds of friends on Facebook, tons of followers on Twitter, and lots of us are bloggers with small and large reader bases–or we could be. And people listen to each other.  And if you post that Maytag gave you shitty customer service, I believe you.  And I’m going to steer away from Maytag.

So if you are a business you need to take this dooce episode as a cautionary tale. You need to treat every single customer as if he or she were dooce.  Because if we sneezers like you, you’re golden.  If you piss us off, you’re done.