No coffee for her: Customer service wanting


In the past two weeks, I have tried to buy a coffee at the Starbucks on campus; not just a normal coffee, I wanted a venti specialty coffee, which would have totaled something like $9.

Both times, I tried to order and was turned down because they didn’t have the ingredients.

That’s fine, I guess.

I suppose it’s not uncommon for a business to run low on stock, but that was not what bothered me.

I was willing to spend $9 on coffee, and instead of trying to keep my money, the people who waited on me simply informed me that they did not have the ingredients to make what I had requested.

They didn’t suggest a different drink, or ask me if I wanted to try something else.

Nope, they told me they didn’t have what I wanted and let me and my $9 – as well as any other cash I might have spent in the future – walk away.

Is it just me, or does it seem like customer service has all but disappeared lately?

My sister’s wedding was on Sept. 6, the night after the thunderstorm that swept through Southeast Michigan and Chicago, leaving many without electricity.

My sister’s wedding venue and hotel suite were two of the places left without electricity.

Again, I understand that sometimes there is no solution when an act of God strikes, but the service my family received during my sister’s wedding was deplorable.

First, instead of offering to supply a generator, the owner of the venue called two hours before the ceremony and asked my sister and her fiancée to bring their own means to power the music and lights.

Then, the hotel charged them the full price to stay in a room without air conditioning, functioning windows and properly lit exit signs.

Neither location offered any kind of apology. Where has common decency gone?

I’m sure most of us have experienced this lack of service in some way, and I’m just about sick of it.

If you have ever found yourself on the receiving end of someone else’s bad day or have had to fight with an unapologetic customer-service representative, remember that you do not deserve to be treated with disrespect.

You have the power to bring back customer service.

The first thing I do, whether I have received bad service or good service, is to tell people about my experience. 

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve raved about a tasty restaurant or a well-run shop, but I am also not afraid to talk about a poorly managed business. 

My parents like to say that they have put a lot of companies out or business simply by word of mouth; do not underestimate the power of your opinion.

It’s also important not to let a business treat you poorly because it offers a service that you might want.

Spend your money wherever you feel most respected, and it also does not hurt to be confident, knowledgeable about what you want and to be personable (because why would anyone treat you well if you are not kind to them first?).


Whitehead is VN staff writer