My dog’s harness broke the other day, the little plastic clip that adjusts the fit of the harness cracked.

Alas, this was her back up harness after her other one broke a few months ago and I had yet to replace the back up.

That’s on me.

What also stunk is that the harness broke on a Saturday evening as I was heading out for the movies. I knew the small pet store in my neighborhood would be closed (plus they didn’t have any harnesses for her the last time I looked) so I had to head out to a big box pet store on the way to the movie.

So I went to the big box store. And I looked around for harnesses. There were no harnesses in my dog’s size.

None.

Zero.

Zip.

Nada.

Betty is a shorkie- she weighs about seven pounds and is obviously small. But she is very similar to many dogs that live in the city. It is not unusal to see a 7 pound dog in Manhattan. In fact, extra small to small dogs are the norm.

So why are there no harnesses that fit her in a big box pet store?

There were TONS of XL and XXL harnesses…but barely anything made to fit a small dog.

Is this small dog discrimination?

My vet said that small dogs should only wear harnesses…

But I was desperate, so I bought the smallest harness I could find, which I knew would be a loose fit at best.

When I got to the check out the obviously bored clerk asked-

Did you find everything you were looking for?

I responded truthfully-

No

The cashier rang up my purchase without another word. Did not ask what I was looking for. Did not say sorry. Just told me to insert the chip when I was ready.

Not. One. Word. in response to my answer to his question.

Which begs me to ask:

Why do you have employees ask a question that they aren’t going to act on?

Do the employess even listen to what the customer is saying, or is this just scripted patter that is supposed to happen to make the in store experience better?

Did the employee asking me the question make my experience better?

On another note, my daughter simultaneously went to another big box pet store, and a small pet store. Neither had harnesses that fit my dog.

We needed to order one off Amazon- next day delivery.

I know many people commented the other day on never using self check outs because they want to keep people employed. This is a fine sentiment. But you can see that is probably not going to work. The in store experience could very well go the way of the dinosaur. If employees don’t care, and stores don’t stock what you need, what is their purpose?

77 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: Did you find what you need

    1. I agree I believe customer service is a dying breed. 20 years ago I had to go to a customer service seminar that lasted 1 week for 8 hours a day to be 100 % hired. This was Home Depot. It was for a regular customer service on the floor with customers job. I thought “the customer is right,” and to be EMPATHIC and listen to them. It really saddens me that I don’t see that too much anymore. But I will definitely sing from the tree tops and visit their establishment at all costs just for good quality customer service.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love self check too, but I was really surprised the other day when people commented how they won’t use self check. It could be an interesting blog topic

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  1. Sadly, big box stores don’t pay their employees enough. You could even say that they aren’t paid enough to care. Find a store where the employees are paid on commission and they will be all over you with care because they want their sale and they want the good survey that comes with a good experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unless they profile and read you wrong, my dad once dressed in a jogging and went into a jewelry story and was pretty much ignored then a young came in to the dressed to impress and the clerk approached him. A rookie clerk then helped my Dad, turns out my dad had money to spend the young guy was looking to finance.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have had a similar situation. Mine has to do with the Apple store where I’d paid everything full…phone, insurance, etc…. I went to the APPLE store and I had just gotten done playing tough with Charley W. and looked it. I was told to use the customer service telephone at QFC to handle my lost claim. Then, once I said I would just go ahead and buy a new one, because at that time I could, they told me the purchasing line was over there. Everybody else who dressed like they were from Aspen CO was getting help. But, what’s cool is knowing you are not the stereotype or perception. That’s kinda powerful. But it’s so gross to witness it. Doesn’t feel too good.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I hate commission stores because I hate the pressure they apply. And the pay thing…yes…retail sucks for pay. However, as minimum wage increases, more stores will add self check out. At the end of the day, profit is still key

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I know. It’s sad. I found out too when I went IN to a store to pay my phone bill it was $5.00 higher than usual. I asked as to why. Come to find out that it costs them money for that person to do the computer work to enter in the information. It remained the regular price if did online. So, why would employees care about their work? They probably don’t even know that is their 5 dollars the company just made off of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The staff is trained to be helpful and friendly at Publix. It’s the only store I shop regularly, because It’s so much easier to buy on Amazon. And making returns on Amazon is fast and easy. I respect your efforts to support stores, but why go through all that drama for your dog if you can get the harness on Amazon usually in a day or three? COVID has changed my buying habits. Shopping online is fast and efficient and I don’t have to risk my life by walking into a store.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always support local business, whether it’s a national chain or mom and pop. First, keeps people employed. Second, keeps stores occupied. And realistically, you risk your life with everything you do. Slip in the bathtub, car accident, etc

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I live in a smaller place where the supplies in our stores, both big and small, are at the mercy of HO somewhere else. Now I realize, thanks to your post, that we’re all in the same boat. My guess is that there are no small sizes because they’re all sold out and the supply chain isn’t working any better for NYC than for Fredericton, NB. Our natl chain grocery store clerks stopped being required to ask that question a few years ago when it became clear that it wasn’t receiving positive feedback, for the very reason you describe. But I don’t blame any of this on the poor clerks, who have no control over any of it. Sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thing is, if Amazon has them, why don’t stores? I can understand it if no one has them…but it’s just inefficiency for a pet store to not stock basic pet needs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s no doubt that Amazon has figured out how to have muscle that even the biggest national/multinational chains don’t seem to have, or don’t care enough about, or don’t choose to pay enough to make work. But I do know that in our region, away from centers of population that might have more influence, outlets of nationals/multinationals have no control whatsoever over their supply chain, which has gotten worse because of the pandemic. I don’t know about single-owner shops.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I needed to buy tennis balls over the winter. I went to an independent sports shop in my neighborhood (the big box sports retailer went out of business) the Indy store told me they’re not going to carry a lot of tennis balls because not enough profit margin, too easy to steal and not worth locking up.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m experiencing both, sometimes I’m completely ignored when in need of help, and occasionally surprised to find a helpful clerk? It’s not consistent and that’s frustrating. I find the staff at restaurants consistently attentive, C

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I needed sandals a few months ago. Went to Macy’s. In person…the flagship in nyc. They didn’t have the sandals in my size. The clerk didn’t even ask if she could check and see if another store had them (this used to be SOP) and they work on commission. I went to website and ordered them. But really, why wouldn’t this clerk check?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah. That does seem to be constant. I agree I do get very surprised with a helpful clerk! I have been going out of my way to put in a good review via either a comment card, an email, or more specifically a letter. I really believe that good customer service should be appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I would think a big box store would have a good variety on products. And I see small dogs during my walks around my neighborhood. As for customer service… yeah, it can feel like clerks are just going through the motions until their shift is over. I agree that good service has become a unicorn. I wonder if Covid has made that worse… the clerks having to deal with the worry of contracting it from us customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My guess is the small sizes get sold out. My daughter had to get a new harness for Waffles the pug that was escape proof. He could wiggle out of his size with the normal harness. You might want to order a cat harness online. They are super small.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t buy a monstrous hound that snaps harnesses with such regularity. And next time it happens just pop her in your handbag, that’s what all the cool media starts do, isn’t it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my on her not replying to your “No.” I always wondered what an employee would say if I said that and now …. Yes, poor customer service like that is what drives more and more people to doing online shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After retirement, John worked for a now-defunct store that required cashiers to ask that awful question about finding what you wanted. He thought it was totally useless and would not ask. His line always moved the fastest, and his customers seemed quite satisfied.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So very true. Perhaps there are no small harnesses because “many dogs that live in the city. It is not unusual to see a 7 pound dog in Manhattan. In fact, extra small to small dogs are the norm.” Now that is not to say that the big box stores shouldn’t also know that and keep an extra large supply of extra small harnesses, but there you go. At the very least the clerk should have asked what you were looking for. Maybe there were “some in the back.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sadly, you are right about stores becoming dinosaurs because of poor customer service and the ease of online shopping but question : why have we allowed customer service fall to these appalling levels? Why haven’t employers demanded more or their staff? Isn’t excellent service rewarded? Or is it because the customer prefers to pay peanuts? I don’t have answers. I just think its a damn shame…..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reflective of the leadership, or lack thereof in this instance. Last weekend, I went to a big box store, and asked the clerk if they had any portable air conditioners. Exasperated the clerk responded, I’m all out! Not, you know, we just sold the last one, did you want to order one online….leadership is lacking in many instances today.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Living in a small town is different, I think. Good customer service is pretty much the norm. Great customer service is not unusual. Still, I mostly prefer self checkout. Just call it the introvert, control freak line.😁 Sorry about your harness experience. Sometimes online shopping is the only way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, but I hate it. I don’t like shopping, but (exception of clothes where I use a subscription service) I like to touch, see etc. I am usually disappointed in online purchases unless I know exactly what I’m getting

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I bought an item today and my change was $3.44. The friendly, polite, high school age clerk got out three one dollar bills, but was clearly having trouble figuring out what coins added up to .44 cents. Another clerk helped him.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was wondering how old the cashier was? I was in the pharmacy and asked a young female clerk where the peppermint oil was and she said, “I don’t know” andjust continued stocking the shelves. She looked young and maybe it was her first job, so I said, “Well could you ask someone else if they would know?” So she did, and came back with another clerk. So maybe it’s a question of training? Something we might take for granted, that if you don’t know something, you find out in order to help the customer? BTW I explained that peppermint oil diluted in a spray water bottle was good for deterring spiders in the garage and they both seemed interested!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I didn’t comment on your self-service post but I would have said essentially the same thing I’m saying here. The bottom line on this is that it’s really all about the bottom line.

    I’ve noticed that even big box stores, and I thought Target was one, who also offer self-service still employ at least one warm party amongst those lines to handle problems like the one you had. This keeps all the lines moving and thus keeps them efficient (like how I added this comment related to one of your other posts).

    Anyway, my guess is that the reason they do this, thus incurring a higher cost of doing business and often now paying their employees a decent wage, which I believe Target may also now have pledged to do, is due to competition from online sellers. Due to the pandemic, online selling has grown so much faster than I think it would have otherwise because there are still dinosaurs like me and some of your other readers who prefer to handle stuff before they buy it. We were forced to enter the 21st century sooner than we wanted so we wouldn’t expose ourselves to the deadly virus and couldn’t get the stuff we just had to have any other safe way!

    I guess you can still get decent customer service is the merchant is still making a profit on the product even after having to pay for a live body of some sort somewhere to provide said service. Another one of those competitive advantage things. That’s besides the supply and demand thing which clearly is the reason you couldn’t get a harness for your small dog. Advantage goes to the online seller there. Again all sellers in this case are mainly interested in what is best for their bottom lines/profits.

    Liked by 1 person

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