Monday, October 09, 2006

Customer Service with a Pant

I hate cleaning. Well, except laundry, I love doing laundry... ok maybe not the ironing and folding part but the washing/drying part, mmm just love it. But anyways, hate to clean. Unfortunately, I'm a bachelor with two bathrooms and a disdain for elbow grease. The solution? Chemical warfare baby!

I got so many scrubbing bubbles, upside-down ducks, sinking pucks and rock-eating sprays in one place that homeland security is probably watching me right now. The theory is, if I coat every surface with a "cleaner" then technically, the bathroom is "cleaner". Right? Right?!

Ok, so Saturday night, ran out of Clorox pucks. Yes, I know, panic mode right? So I ran out to Target to get some more. (Yes, this is what I do on my weekend nights now that I'm a month into my 30's.) So fast forward... scene change to Target... pucks in cart.

Now I don't know about you but I always have to stop at the games section when I'm at Target. You know those guys that can't step on cracks on the sidewalk or have to wash their hands 30 times? It's kinda like that. I can't leave the store without doing it.

So there I am, at the electronics section and I actually find a game I want to get. Should I wait and buy online or should I get it now? I decide to get it now, you know, cuz the toilet puck is looking a little lonely in the cart. Of course, they got the game locked up behind glass so now I have to find someone to help.

(If you haven't read my previous post on Target employees, this is a good time.)

No red shirts around, not a single one. But I do find a nice big button with a nice big sign that says, "Push for service" or something like that. Oh man, I do love pushing buttons. PUSH!

An automated voice comes on and says something like, "Thanks for pushing me, someone will be with you in 60 seconds." So now I'm thinking, "Wow, 60 seconds? That's accurate!" The next 60 seconds plays out something like this:

0:15 - Nothing... but it's only been 15 seconds.
0:30 - I'm not really counting so I guess it's been 30 seconds? Ooh look, new digital cameras!
0:45 - Maybe I should push the button again.

At 50 seconds, a red shirt walks up briskly. He's holding some sort of walkie-talkie and I hear an automated voice coming out of it:

"Customer service required at Electronics, who is responding? 10 seconds left."

Red shirt says something into his radio that sounds like his name and "responding". Red then walks right past me (with a very John Locke look in his eyes) and pushes something near the big button. Satisfied the store's not going to explode, he says, "Can I help you?" Yes, you can.

I got my game but obviously, the button thing got me thinking. Is Target trying to save money by reducing the staff and having the remaining staff "on call" around the store? I wonder what kind of stress that puts on the staff? What exactly happens when you don't reset the button within 60 seconds?

The irony is that I came out of there thinking that it's a giant game. The employees are probably running around answering pages and trying to increase their response "score". Happy customers come out with a smile. Ignored customers make a dejected "bloop bleep bloop" sound and leave. Eventually, the employees get better at it and then management kicks it into the next level: "30 seconds!"

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