The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Customer Service Isn't Dead....

...but it's feeling rather poorly. In fact, there are times when I think it just needs to put its affairs in order and start shuffling off this mortal coil. Consider this (sadly true) story:

I was out this evening picking up the last of Mr. K's gifts (which I'd love to tell you about because I'm so excited about it but he does read my blog so nanny-nanny-boo-boo to you, Mr. K--I ain't giving it away THAT easily. Ahem. Back to your regularly scheduled adult.) and I stopped by a grocery store, and I decided to stop and pick up some of the turkey I've been craving lately (yes, I do realize it's just two weeks past Thanksgiving--honestly, I could eat turkey until I blow up and not feel the least bit badly about any part of it except Mr. K having to clean giblets off the walls). I tend to like to snack/graze rather than eating big meals, and my doctor tells me this is a splendid idea for me as long as it's healthy stuff, so I often keep sliced deli turkey and chicken around for snacking on. I don't even have bread with it--just have it stark, staring naked, because that's the kind of sicko I am. Anyway.

So I walked up to the deli counter, and I told the lady behind the counter "I would like a pound of the peppered turkey breast, but I would like it sliced more thickly than what you have in the case, please." Simple, right? And so it seemed to me....until the lady went and got the big hunk of turkey, headed to the slicer, and then turned back and said "Well, how thick do you WANT it?" in a tone that is usually reserved for things like "how big do you WANT your ass to be?"--i.e., "you are clearly a complete whacknut and I only hope that someone somewhere will remember that I was last seen with you."

I was taken a bit aback, but then figured that perhaps I'd misread the woman, perhaps I was tired and/or cranky (not as cranky as I was about to me, though..she said in a foreshadowing sort of way), so I smiled brightly as I replied that I wanted it about half again as thick as what was in the case. Problem solved, yes?

No. Because she looked at the turkey in the case, and then looked at me with pursed lips, before asking "What do you want it for?'' What do I.....wait, what??? What do I WANT it for? I have to generate and justify a three day plan for a pound of sliced turkey? Look, I'm not adopting it--I don't need a home study. I just want my slightly thicker turkey. I thought all of this--I didn't say it. In fact, I was so surprised by the question that all I managed was a weak "I'm sorry?" She frowned more deeply and repeated the question, adding "Are you going to eat it in sandwiches?"

Why no, kind helpful deli-lady. I'm not going to eat it at all. I'm going to stitch all the slices back together and try to fashion a cunning little lifelike turkey made of turkey meat to stand on the table for next Thanksgiving. Does it freeze well, I hope? Or maybe I'll make a meat parachute out of it and go hopping out of planes. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might just be the one plane..I've not heard any good safety reports on meat parachutes. Again, I thought--but did not say. Instead, I think I just stared at her because she finally walked over to the deli case and plucked out a slice of turkey so thin that I could make some pretty hot lingerie out of it...if it weren't for the fact that cat spit isn't such a great aphrodesiac. She held up the turkey for me to gaze through, while saying "Because this is plenty thick enough for sandwiches. We slice it pretty thick." Uh-huh. Remind me not to let her cut my birthday cake for me.

At this point, I was too tired to be confrontational--my feet were sore and my eyes felt lightly sanded and someone was playing the anvil chorus with real anvils just south of my right temple. Instead, I just stared at her briefly and then said "Okay, fine. Go ahead and give me a pound of that." At this point, she seemed to realize that perhaps she had not been giving the "number one customer service" advertised somewhat falsely on her chest, and she opted to make matters far worse by arguing with me some more, telling me that no, she'd be happy to cut more turkey for me. Look, I said, I'm tired. It's fine. Just give me a pound of the turkey. You don't have to slice it. You can just give me a hunk of meat to gnaw on. Or a bone. Whatever--just do it while I still have enough of my own teeth to eat it.

Okay, I wish I'd said all that. I actually only said the first line. But I thought the rest quite firmly. And still, she didn't get it. She held the hunk of meat in one hand while telling me that she'd be happy to cut some more for me, if only so I could have some that was fresh. Fresh? The stuff in the case isn't fresh? How the hell old IS it? I mean, is it collecting a pension? Is it wearing giant granny panties and support hose? What are we talking here? She went on to say that it had probably been sliced around noon today, and she'd be happy to cut more if that made a difference to me. I said no, just please put a pound of that turkey in the case in a bag for me. Please. So she proceeded to put about 4/5 of a pound of meat on the scale, looked at me, and asked brightly "Is that okay?" Is that--why would that be okay? I asked for a pound of thickly sliced turkey--why would that sound to anyone like 4/5 of a pound of stuff I could not only read through but probably WRITE through as well (I'm using a few slices of it grafted together for a glare shield on my computer now...quite effective, actually, except for not being able to see through all the cats)?

In the end, though, it was okay because I didn't want to argue with her and because I was tired of the great turkey adventure and because if I'd said anything it would have been in that angry, shrill voice that I get when people act like dorks. And then I would have felt silly.

As if the turkey glare shield and the peppered turkey bra and panty set weren't making me feel silly enough.....


  • At 11:52 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Y'know, some people just shouldn't be in retail. This is the sort of thing that makes you wanna tear your hair out. (Then proceed to scatter it over the deli counter, but that'd probably get you thrown out of the store, so isn't worth it for the temporary relief. A pity, really.)

    I hate see-through deli meats too. Dammit, if I'm gonna be having a sandwich - or even just a piece to gnaw on, which I like to do too - I want something substantial enough to chew, even with having less than enough of my own teeth to chew it with. ;) Next time, just briskly say, "I'd like it thick-sliced, about an 8th of an inch or so." Some people apparently get wigged out if they don't have specifics, and that usually takes the wind out of their sails!

    And cool on Mr. K's gift! Gee, and it's not even the 24th yet - congrats!

  • At 4:22 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Dude, I know just what you speak of. I quit going to one particular market on Sunday mornings because that dude just could NOT give me a full pound of turkey.. could not, would not... even after I would request "A FULL pound of turkey, PLEASE" I did not mumble. It has to last the week for Bobby's lunch sandwiches...
    and wtf on the slicing?

  • At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Lilly said…

    Yummmm! Turkey!!!!!

  • At 6:34 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    Oh my lord. What is wrong with cutting a thicker slice? Let's hope that she never makes it to the customer service desk. LOL I like mine shaved, but that is to be but on sandwiched. Hopefully you won't have to deal with her again.


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