Saturday, August 30, 2008


I'm lousy at demanding a refund for poor service. I'm getting better, but like most good girls, I was raised to be a lady, and goodness knows ladies don't make a scene. Right?

Well, I've learned that opening my mouth and demanding better service can be done in a lady-like manner. It doesn't have to be obnoxious or loud. Usually. Of course, there are some people, places, companies that really respond better to rude and obnoxious.

I went shopping with my friend. We were standing patiently in line for the cash register. This old lady with a walker was at the counter demanding a certain kind of candy which evidently was advertised in their flyer. That particular store did not have that kind of candy. The woman refused--absolutely refused to leave or talk to anyone else except the woman at the register. Another clerk came and checked out everybody in line behind that woman. When we left, she was still there adamantly demanding the candy from the flyer. I'm willing to bet that they gave her an equivalent box of chocolates just to get her out of the store. Mission accomplished.

In general, though, I've found that a quiet request for the manager is all that's required. Amazing how anxious they are to fix whatever is wrong. The problem with restaurant fixes is this--by the time they recook your meal, everyone else is finished eating. So then what are you supposed to do? Scarf it down while everyone waits? Bag it up and go home hungry? What's the correct thing to do? Never quite figured that out.

Have you ever stood in one of those return lines after Christmas? Endless, boring, and irritating. I especially love the stores that return defective merchandise back to the shelf. Hey! If that microwave didn't work at my house, it's not likely to work at the next poor sucker's house either! I once deliberately made a small mark on the box of an item I returned. That item vanished and reappeared on the shelf in that store for months. Some times it was there when I passed down that aisle. Sometimes not. I wonder how many times they sold it before somebody just chucked it in the trash.

Well, if you have any tips for wringing the best of service from the places you patronize, please let us know! Everyone have a wonderful, safe, dry weekend!



  1. In restaurants, we speak to the manager. Usually the dinner is comped for whatever it was that went wrong. Sometimes a dessert is added. If they don't respond favorably, we've asked for compensation for the next time we come.

    We have the worst luck when we eat out.

  2. Depends on the situation. I generally get what I want with calm, polite words. I never back down but then I never raise my voice. It's something that takes practice. And the customer is always right until they can be proved wrong and then, with the greatest of pleasure, do you tell them. I hope candy lady was told

  3. If it's something mechanical I pretend I'm dumb and ask a store MAN to demonstrate how it works instead of saying there's something wrong with it. Eventually they open a new box and send me home with a properly functioning item after they've tried it.

  4. The best thing, of course, is to always conduct every interaction with courtesy and cheerfulness, before anything goes wrong in the first place. If people like restaurant servers like you from the outset, they'll go farther to make things right should the need arise.

    I had a colleague once who was an expert at being assertive yet polite about getting things fixed. For instance, she was served a salad once where the lettuce was more brown & wilty than green. Her words to the server--in a normal tone of voice: "This salad isn't edible. What can you do for me?" Asking instead of demanding, but still requiring that the problem be made right.

  5. ANNY!! I just saw your Love Neverending cover for the first time. It's gorgeous. Well done!

  6. That's why I always have to be the one who complains or returns things:) Hubby gets too loud.

  7. I try to be nice but assertive. One of my lunch buddies at work, however, gets nasty and obnoxious. She often embarrasses us. Then she won't want to return to the restaurant. We're running out of restaurants to go to at lunch.

  8. I have what my family calls THE LOOK. They always know when I'm ticked off because I get really quiet but my EYES get CRAZY. I am usually quiet about it but those who aren't giving the proper service scamper off to comply without protest.