Saturday, October 11, 2008

Little Old Ladies: Not So Sweet

As promised, here is my entry on Customer Rage. One day last week this little old lady asked me for the autobiography of some random man. Not understanding how computers work, she didn't realise that I needed to actually type in what she had said before the answer would magically appear on my screen so she kept interjecting with further information. Unfortunately, every time she said the bugger's name she changed it slightly. (Tony, Anthony... etc). So I furiously and with my best customer service demeanor tried all possible combinations. Then she said "I don't know who wrote it". At this point, we had a little discussion on the subtle yet important difference between biography and autobiography.

In a noble exchange of information, the Little Old Lady scathingly told me that the man in question was Princess Margaret's first husband. Or something like that. Someone royal in any case but having to remember such things as the distinction between biography and autobiography sadly leaves little room in my brain for remembering the details of love and marriage of a bunch of Germans who call themselves English and wear a lot of tweed. Anyway... at this point she and I acknowledged our mutual dislike of and disdain for one another, and I wrote down the details of her enquiry for someone else to handle later on.

After a decent period of time, I was venting to a colleague (one not strange enough to deserve a nickname) who actually knew the book she was after. Apparently - for those playing at home - the book is called Snowdon. I left a message on the Little Old Lady's answering machine* that very clearly stated: "The book you are after is called Snowdon and we can order it for you. It will take 5 - 7 days. Please call us if you would like us to order it for you."

A couple of days later she called back and said "You rang me and said you could get that book: Townsend. Can you order it for me? Thanks." We have decided that even if the book she thinks she wants is called Townsend, she probably isn't going to know the difference so we might as well get Snowdon for her.

*She seems to have entered the 20th century, if not the 21st.


Nerd Girl said...

Sometimes it's just easier to get customers what they need rather than what they think they need or what they have asked for. Then send them on their way before they realise you made the sensible switch.

Rosie said...

i think i have a touch of whatever that lady has.


Felix for Zosia said...

NG - I find it easier to give them whatever they think they want rather than what they actually want. I don't care what they need.

Rosie - I think I do too and it's not the forgetfulness that I mind so much as her crabbiness. said...

I used to work at a bookstore and a "seemingly" sweet old lady came to the counter to ask how much a cupcake cookbook was (just to add to the sweet old lady stereotype).

The book was $24.99 as was clearly evident by the price label on the front, but when I told her this she said "then why does it say 12.99 on the back?".

I tried to explain that this was actually the price in pounds not AU dollars, she reacted by throwing the book at me and telling me she would give me $12, but she was not paying $24.99, and walked out of the store.

Felix for Zosia said...

Oh Jeebus - I wish I could say that story surprises me but it is hauntingly familiar. I am pretty convinced that people get crabbier the older they get.