Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

It’s No, No, No, Nordstrom Anniversary!

August 4, 2012

Sigh.  Nordstrom used to represent legendary customer service.   Today, I returned, after a bit of frustration, a skirt and 2 pairs of shoes to my local Nordstrom that I had sent to me during the (in)famous Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

I’d rather have a root canal.  Ok, maybe not that extreme but close.

I stepped off the elevator and took my items to the customer service department.  I wanted to just dart in, out and continue on with my day.  Was I wrong!  As I placed my Nordstrom bag on the counter, with the receipts in hand and my Nordstrom card (trust me, for these acts alone I deserve a medal).  The customer service representative told me he could not help me with my returns.  Um, excuse me? I mean, it’s a return.  You are customer service.  He pointed to a sign that said I could go to any department and they’d be happy to assist me with my return.  Seriously? I mean, this is a Nordstrom: places of legendary (and false) tire returns.

I trudged over to St. John’s (the closest department) and while the woman was lovely, she couldn’t return the shoes.  Something about a “company policy” again and I know Nordstrom employees take flak all day so I smiled and took my items downstairs to the shoe department.

I walked up to the shoe counter with my items and was asked if I needed help.  Yes, I needed to return some items from the Anniversary Sale.  And the sales associate offered to find somebody (I sort of wondered why she asked if she wasn’t going to help but oh well).  I pulled out my two pairs of shoes and my skirt.  The new sales associate apologized but said he couldn’t help me with the skirt but would take care of the shoes.  At this point, I was wondering *where* Nordstrom and their famous customer service went.  I asked about the sign at customer service that any department could help with any return.  He explained that shoes was different due to a “company policy”.  After inspecting my shoes in a manner that would make a US Marine Corps Drill Sergeant proud, he stated he could return the shoes.  (Great, I’m thinking because I bought them less than two weeks ago, looked at them in person and said not for me.)

I went back up to St. John’s and returned the skirt.  The woman apologized again saying that different departments can only return some items.   She helped me return the skirt and was nice but really? 4 departments for 3 items? Target and Wal-Mart both don’t have you run all over the store for a simple return.

On my way out, I stopped by customer service.  I wanted to let them know their sign was wrong.  He explained the same “company policy” on returns about different departments.  .  I half jokingly asked the customer service rep if I could purchase a roll of quarters from him since that was on my to-do list.  He said he was sorry but it was against company policy.  At this point, I had to think what exactly does customer service DO all day?

On a lark, I looked a www.nordstrom.com for their returns policy:  “Simply bring the packing slip and credit card used when you placed the order to any one of our stores.”  And be prepared to run around for a bit.

The Employment Road: Part I

February 4, 2012

I’ve spent most of the past two years looking for a job, working as a temp. During the process, and it really was more of an ordeal than a process, I learned a ton and had my typical wacky adventures.  I promised myself once I had an honest-to-God offer letter, I’d write about some of the more interesting tales.  None, zero, nada, zilch of what I’m writing about happened at the company that now employs me.  All of these are my (probably) distorted perceptions of some of the truly insane things that happen when you start to look for a job with a bit of I applied for a position of “event planner” (I loved, loved, loved that aspect of a former job).  The company screened through a placement agency (common) and passed me on to the company.  I didn’t think that the employment questions from the placement agency matched the job description I had been given but I know enough to know that there are a lot of let’s-see-how-you-can-handle-this type questions.  At the time, I was grateful that nobody asked me about flowers because the only thing I know about flowers is that white flowers are culturally inappropriate or appropriate and they all make me sneeze.

I drove over to the corporate headquarters located on a nondescript office campus.  Yes, it was lovely like the recruiter told me (note, these are things I don’t care about).  Yes, it was right off of a main route (right after a left merge which means it was really off one of the prime Boston bottlenecks!), and yes, they had a cafeteria (see things I don’t care about).  Little did I know these observations were the only “normal” experiences of the day.

Do you remember these guys? I interviewed with them.

They exist!

They exist!

 

In what can only be described as one of the most surreal interviews of my life, I was transported to the world of the Spartan cheerleaders.  Ok, I am the first to admit, I am not exactly the most overtly bubbly person in the world.  I tend to arch an eyebrow and have beyond a sarcastic/sardonic sense of humor that if you don’t get, well, there is a reason I adore the I-95 section from Philly to Maine.

They flapped. They clapped. They showed me a rah-rah video.  I’m thinking ok, this is event planning: when are they going to ask me about my budgeting skills, my favorite places in some major convention cities, great ‘escape’ places for reward trips.  You know: drilling me on the industry.  The Will Ferrell interviewer told me about his team.  Apparently, somebody was able to book 4 Broadway tickets and the customer was so grateful, his employee was sent a box of Godiva chocolates! (each word emphasized, each word said with great enthusasim…each word made I’m-really-interested-in-what-you-are-saying-face smile while my brain was churning, um Godiva? Dude. 12 pieces is like $15 bucks. And the chocolate isn’t that great.)  The Cheri Oteri interviewer asked me what my favorite travel experience was: I honestly had to pause and think.  I said it was either watching the whales dance across the ocean in South Africa or being in Paris (anywhere. It never gets old for me).  I get I’ve been all over the world and back again.  I’m lucky.  The Spartans looked at each other and said, almost in scary unison, you’ve been to Paris with an inflection of “you had dinner with the Dali Lama?” Cheri continued to explain the services offered and about how the customers were the “elite” of American society.  I really struggled not to laugh.  I suddenly connected the dots: this is the place you call when you want to redeem your credit card rewards points from American Express for something other than movie tickets or Starbucks cards!  My first thought?

There were some actual issues with the job itself and the company after I did some research (I never would have interviewed with them had I known who they were at the time).  In the middle of the recession they had 20 openings. The reason? After six months, they offer benefits and a set schedule.  The average length of employment in this position is just under six months.  It’s a burn and churn that is open 6a – midnight with no fixed days off, no set schedule, and no request for time off for the first year.  I’ve kept my eye on the company.  Every six months, they have about 20 or so openings.  They are not growing: they are burning and churning people.  It is a port in the storm economy: but having worked retail and in call centers, I know they can make a fixed schedule with a need for variation.  There (should) be statistical data that shows call volume, work loads, and other metrics.

After doing a bit of research (and getting a short-term temp job), I withdrew my name from consideration.  I knew it wasn’t a good fit: I’m not peppy.  I knew I’d run into problems with their lack of a schedule and my inability not to get sick, winter traffic (remember the Winter of 2010?) and a 40 minute commute.  It took me 3 attempts to withdraw my name: they kept calling telling me how happy I’d be to work for their organization: how they always had fun.

We Want You

We Want You!

Thin mints, cupcakes and seriously?

January 14, 2012

At times I feel like I’m living in a weird movie that if taken without copious amounts of coffee would lead to the utter collapse of Western Civilization (ok, maybe not that extreme!).  Any week that combines a full moon Monday with a Friday the 13th will now be spent under covers.  Or in suit of armor.  Then I caught up on the news of the week.  Apparently one Girl Scout is boycotting (and asking others to do the same) the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale.  Look, I get that she is a kid: I don’t like a kid being politicized (either one!).  Adults need to step in here.  Girl Scouts from the time of, oh Juliette Low, have always been somewhat left-of-center.  And have always welcomed member and often with scholarship dollars to make sure all kids have the opportunity.  Radical, no, wait, inclusive.  This shouldn’t be a headline: it should be a teaching moment.  We don’t all have to agree on a topic, on an issue but we all need to learn civility and that really, everybody is welcome.  It’s not about religion: it’s about being kind and decent to each other.  The world is hard enough without encouraging our children to boycott each other.  Go buy a box of thin mints.

Oh, and why you are at it, buy a cupcake.  And go through a security line and report back.  In the update to Cupcake gate, a friend of mine appears on Fox and Friends (snark noted) because she dared to bring through a food item.  Look, before I get blasted by 394950 people about “it’s a new world” and “you are a fool”.  Back up to the start of the story: Rebecca brought through two cupcakes.  Both cleared Logan TSA (which flying out of Logan 10 or so times a year, I can say, there are post 9/11 screenings which are not found in other airports, two of the planes left from here).  Returning from Vega$, the one remaining was a “security threat”.  Ok, maybe the glass is questionable: wait, you can buy a Starbucks mug in airports.  Ok, maybe the ganache was more than 3oz (wait, the jar can fit into a Ziploc bag).  Ok, maybe the TSA policies are not clear enough? Bingo.  Don’t blame the agent: the guidelines are unclear (and if you don’t believe me, ask Rebecca, it was her cupcake and she has never slammed the agent).  Look, I cleared TSA in KC with the WRONG boarding pass (you know, that license and boarding pass check).  I was told by TSA that “happens all the time, but don’t worry, we still screen you” (um).  So, clearing TSA with the wrong boarding pass is OK, but damn, those cupcakes.

It’s a mad world people.  Thank God the Packers are still playing.  Cheese, Cookies and Cupcakes.  Perfect halftime snack.

Oh Monday. . . .

December 5, 2011

A complete and total Monday.  The good: I managed to trouble shoot an issue with my car (I know nothing about cars but understand basic circuitry and figured out the positive cable from the battery was loose causing the light to come on.  My plan was to open the hood and tighten it but hey, I don’t have the grip strength to do that so off to the mechanic I go on Wednesday. Joy.)  One of my co-workers called in sick so I tried to deal with double the normal work load while pretending that the pounding migraine might just go away before oh, Christmas.  (It did after a copious amount of caffeine infusion).

I finally received the package from Best Buy Worst Store Ever.  Still haven’t heard from them, don’t expect to but hey, my sister’s Christmas errand is complete (trust me, I’m grateful, even if it is on my kitchen table).  Today would have been the perfect day to grab takeout, hit a drive through (ok, I do admit to hitting the golden arches today during the quest for caffeine, I hadn’t had any in a few days and was suffering …. I’d say like heroin withdrawal but that might be an exaggeration: on which side, I’m not sure) or something else.  Instead I made it 2 for 2 in my I’m not buying prepared food, I’m eating only what is in my pantry/kitchen/ and as local as possible (I do have somethings that are not S.O.L.E sourced left over that I’m not going to just toss).  What can I say, I’m drawn to the Dark Days Challenge in the sense that it forces me to think in advance about what I’m going to eat and where my food came from (couple that with the fact I’m still shaking my head at McDonald’s being an Olympic sponsor for some reason) and who is ‘profiting’ from my purchases.  Hey, I’m all for people making money: I’d just prefer it to be small businesses.  Again, based on zero scientific evidence, I do have to wonder if the increase in allergies, migraines and other expensive but not deadly health conditions is related to fillers in our food (but I’m a history major with a masters in theology, I know how to ask questions …. lots of them).

Anyway, today I wanted meatballs. Not a heavy pasta dish with meatballs.  Just meatballs (don’t ask me why).  For some reason, I had taken out some sausage from 8 O’clock Ranch this morning, grabbed an onion,  opened a jar of whole tomatoes from my CSA share at Nourse Farm I canned over the summer and mixed in some dried rosemary from my mom’s garden and mixed it with some GF bread crumbs.  I wound up freezing 1/2 into a meatloaf for later this winter and cooking the rest.  I made a sauce with some Fromage Blanc from Foxboro Cheese, half and half from Shaw’s Farm and a few leafs of spinach stirred in from the Somerville Winter’s Market.

I’m sure, oh, mid-January, I’m going to be screaming for the love of an avocado but right now, my past 2 attempts have been tasty.  The 2 items out of the radius, the meat and the rosemary.  If I make this again, I’ll add a pinch of salt: it needed a bit to offset the acid.

Meatballs and Spinach

Comfort food for a Monday

Lessons From BestBuy and Occupy Wall Street

December 1, 2011

I really think it was karmic revenge.  I finally received the UPS tracking number.  I should have the item on Monday.

I try to be a local consumer as much as possible.  Let’s face it: it is damn near impossible to be 100% locavore/consumer unless you live in a city and don’t have a car.  I linked somewhere about the average carrot traveling approximately 900 miles before reaching the consumer.  Mine travelled 28.  I have heard about rising food costs (ok, don’t laugh at me: most of my food comes from CSA/farm stands which tend to have some fixed prices) and when researching a completely different issue on the Attorney General’s office, learned that in MA, the minimum wage for agricultural workers is$1.60/hour (compare that to wait staff who receive tips and have a minimum wage of $2.31/hour) and wonder where the disconnect is between the two points.

I wonder about the ease of the food supply chain (avocados in January, in New England? No problem!) and wonder what that is doing to our bodies, our environment and well, the reality of what are we seeing in terms of a constant on-demand society.  I made one of my rare grocery store trips the other week for a few oranges to put in a chutney I was making.  My choice(s) were South African, Florida or Mexico.  The South African oranges were the cheapest: how? Having done the flight from Boston to that part of South Africa, I can say it is an excruciating 26 hour flight.  I’m not going to get into the debate of “buy American” over oranges: my thought was exceedingly simple: how on earth is it cheaper to get an orange from the RSA versus the end of I-95?  None were organic, I’ve come to realize that “fair trade” and agriculture is an oxymoron, and all were probably commercially farmed.  I went with the one from Florida. I’m not sure that I want to go back to only being able to get locally grown, native foods (let’s face it, Columbus was looking for a passage to India for a reason) – plus I live in Massachusetts and I hate kale. I’d probably die if I had to survive a winter of kale based products.

I’ve been thinking about the local business movement: franchises throw me for a loop, national marketing support and/but locally owned.  The statistics abound about buying locally and the economic return to your community.  For me, I’ve realized it goes a bit deeper: buying from a small local farm, chances are I’m supporting a local business that is family run: not allowing a ConAgra to pay a person under $2.00/hour to pick my veggies (think about it for a second: based on a full year, a person working for that sanctioned wage makes UNDER $4,000 a year).

Two weeks ago, I was chatting with one of the farmers who grew the squash that is now in my freezer.  We talked about different recipes, favorite ways to cook squash and had a pleasant conversation.  This week, I did battle with a big box company that still hasn’t responded to me.  The reality? Both organizations received roughly the same amount of money from me.  One group (the farmers affiliate with the CSA appreciate my small volume of business, the other place? I’m a number.)

Karmic revenge.  Yes, in part it’s customer service but it’s also about investing my dollars into my community.  Can I be a 100% local only consumer? No.  Can I be a 95%  local consumer? Hopefully.  Maybe (in part) that is part of the message from OWS.  We have to invest in our local communities.  Our bailouts aren’t coming: but we can back away from the big boxes.  If $2 separates you from a local vendor vs a chain, you probably don’t need the item.  And from my perspective? How can we complain about a lack of local jobs when our shopping habits dictate so much of the employment opportunities available.

Still wating a response from Best Buy . . . . .

November 30, 2011

Dear Mr. Dunn, Ms. Smith and Mr. Paragi,

I am writing to inform you that I have simply never experienced such a monumental break down in customer service that I have endured for the 6 days with BestBuy.com.  While I realize many customers say they won’t shop an establishment again as a mere threat, I won’t shop with you again.  You won’t miss my business: I purchase very little in the way of electronics and when I do, I prefer to use local merchants.

However, this year, my sister wanted to purchase a Sony Computer Entertainment America-PlayStation 3 (160GB) Complete Entertainment Bundle-98310 which, as you know, was Black Friday door buster for $199.99.  This pricing or item was not unique to BestBuy: Wal-Mart and Target also offered the same product at the same price.  My sister’s preference for BestBuy had me purchase the item for her.  I used my credit card, had it shipped to my address.  On 11/24, I received an order confirmation stating that Order Number: BBY01-429769002426 was in process and expected to ship in 0-1 days.  On Monday (11/28) I received an email telling me there was a problem with my credit card or order.  As the on-line status indicated the item could not be cancelled and was in process, I did not pursue it feeling it might be an on-line scam.

Once I received as second email on 11/29 (Tuesday), I felt there might be a problem.  I called my credit card company, American Express, and they verified an authorization in the amount of $297.47 (American Express authorization number xxxxxx) to BestBuy for my order.  At this point, I called your customer service number to inquire as to the problem (I surmised it might have been a missed CIV number).  After spending 10 minutes on hold, to be transferred where I sat on hold for another 20 minutes, my day of sheer lunacy with your company began.

1)      Call number one: I was disconnected after being on the phone for approximately 46 minutes.

2)      Call number two: after second hold time of approximately 30 minutes, I spoke to “Judy” who claimed to be a supervisor.  She opened case number 9296255 regarding the multiple issues with this order.  I asked to speak to her manager: she stated that she did not have a supervisor as she “was” a supervisor.  I pointed out to her that everybody had a supervisor, even Mr. Dunn who reports to the Board of Directors.  I asked to hold: she declined and took my number and said one would call me back “within the hour”.  22 hours later, I am still waiting for a call back. During my conversation with Judy, she explained that because my order shipped in 2 parts, my credit card had to be re-authorized.  At this point, I explained your organization is still holding a charge pending and it’s a debit system back and once all 3 items are deducted, the balance owed to you from American Express and ultimately me would be zero.

  1. I discussed with the next 3 people the lack of “ship complete” options available on BestBuy.com.  I verified this when I made the order and then again today.  I would have done ship complete as the controller and blue-ray DVD remote are of no use to me without the PlayStation.  This is a basic feature for web sites.  In the early 1990’s (fully 20 years ago), Talbots had this feature available for telephone orders.  BN.com has this available today.
  2. I do not understand the logic behind multiple re-authorizations of a credit card when the credit has already been reserved by the credit card company.  At this point, BestBuy.com is holding $279.97 AND $212.49 of my credit for an order that totals $279.97.

3)      After contacting American Express, they agreed to one-off a second authorization to BestBuy.com for $212.49 so the item may be shipped.

4)      I called BestBuy.com again and provided the credit card number: the individual I spoke with was unable to verify that the charge went through (BestBuy case number xxxxxxxx)

5)      At 2:19 pm, I contacted the customer relations department listed on your web site and spoke to a gentleman named Lee.  He informed me it was not his job to handle complaints from BestBuy.Com.  At this point, I would like to point out the insanity of listing a customer relations department on your web site that does not handle web issues.  He then transferred me to “web research”.

6)      After spending 7 minutes on hold, Amy, verified that she was unable to do anything, unable to expedite my order and unable to explain to me why there was not a ship complete option and why the dual charge/charge release was your business practice.

7)      As of 10:38 this morning, the tracking number for the controller and remote are not showing tracking information.  My order for the PlayStation is still showing as “pending” and I have an additional charge (with no credit release) to my credit card company.

I am quite disgusted with BestBuy.com on several fronts: first, my calls were routinely dropped after 10-11 minutes of hold time because the phone lines were “too busy” according to the automated reply.  Second, your employees are not empowered to provide customer service to individuals who purchase from your store/on-line shop.  Third, there is not a mechanism to re-enter a credit card number during your on-line system when you have indicated there is an issue with a credit card number.  Fourth, there is zero point of escalation for individuals when resolution is complex.

I am not asking for a free PlayStation (although that would go a long way in taking your organization off of my blacklist) for my sister.  I do believe that your organization should do something to compensate me for my time and sheer lack of customer service provided by your organization.  At this point, I expect delivery of all 3 of my items by the end of the week and my American Express card to reflect a total charge of $279.97 with no pending debit holds from your company.

As you know, customers are exceedingly choosy about who they shop with for a myriad of reasons.  I had a choice when selecting who to purchase this item from: I made a mistake. The “bargain” that this item sold for has been nothing but a nightmare, between charge/charge backs to my credit card, unable to ship complete on web orders, employees who have lied to me and a simple inability to find out when I will receive my product.

I look forward to your reply,

(A not so) Best Buy: Tales in (missing) Customer Service

November 29, 2011

I’m sure this is karmic revenge for my friends who are tired of hearing me rail on the evils of on-line box stores.  First, let me be clear, this was my good deed of the decade as I was trying to help my sister surprise her tweeners.  It turned out to be my pro-local business, über vigilance coming back to bite me in the butt.  (Really, Santa, it was a GOOD DEED!).  My sister wanted to purchase a video gaming system for her kids for Christmas: since she has prying eyes, we agreed I’d get it for her, she’d pay me back – thus avoiding the problem of a possible false flag for credit card fraud and a surprise on Christmas morning.

Somehow, I managed to check every hour, on the hour, until this blasted thing went on sale.  I pre-notified my credit card company of out of habit spending.  I got it! I received the happy email from Best Buy saying “we will be sending this shortly”.  Great, I could see the authorization hold on my card and thought nothing of it.

Yesterday, I received and e-mail saying their was a problem with my credit card.  Since I don’t shop at Best Buy (and note, never will again), I decided to call them (being a bit paranoid about credit card scams since the on-line status said my order was pending).  I was on hold 10 minutes. .  .to be transferred to the department that handles payments for games.  Ok, seriously? It’s a CREDIT CARD.  I sat on hold for 27 minutes (thankfully, I was working on a table at work) before being told my credit card had been denied. What? I provided them the authorization number given to me by the always fantastic American Express.

So, it turns out when you have an order shipped in more than one package (and there wasn’t a ship complete option!), Best Buy re-authorizes your credit card. Each. Time.  My credit card company thought it was fraud. Fast forward 6 hours (!!!!).  I had called Best Buy numerous times: including a supervisor who when I asked to speak to a manager said she didn’t have one: I pointed out she had a boss, even the CEO has a boss, called the customer service number listed on www.bestbuy.com and was told this number wasn’t for dot.com orders (what?) and that customer service couldn’t help me.  After much frustration and a bit of laughter from my co-workers I finally found somebody who could answer my question: the order was forced through after calls between Best Buy and American Express.  The person who “researches” internet issues told me she’s had a few hundred of these complaints.  Gee, I wonder why? Charging-refunding-charging cards? All with fees attached to both the consumer and company?

I’m livid with Best Buy, I’ll be writing several individuals in the company.  But oh, did I deserve it: I knew I should have bought the damn thing locally.  And trust me, I’m not going to purchase anything from Best Buy Worse Experience Ever again.  And the kicker? People asking me what they could do to help: hint, fix my order.

An Open Letter to the CEO of Delta Airlines

December 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I’m quite certain you don’t need/want/desire another letter on a blog about how to run Delta. Well, quite frankly, you wouldn’t have ever gotten one from me until today. I’ve been a loyal Delta customer for 15 years, I put up with the inability of people to understand 2 items, the insane baggage charges and having to beg for water. I’ve bounced between Silver and Gold Medallion for much of the past decade.  Today, six people made me question my loyalty: it’s obvious Delta doesn’t care about the consumer, why should we demonstrate loyalty to your organization?

As you know, New York/New England is in the midst of a post-Christmas blizzard.  Because if the industry standard hub system, and mergers, your airlines 4 of it’s 7 US hubs in winter locations. Logically, this seems disproportionate to an industry which relies on an uncontrollable force to ensure safe travels.  I can live with it: it’s my decision to fly Delta, and fighting through either Detroit, Minneapolis, JFK, or Salt Lake coupled with living in New England can be problematic.  What I cannot stand, and find intolerable is the attitude of your employees in dealing with weather related issues.

Today, I flew from Oklahoma City to Boston (the *only* flight to fly from ATL-BOS on 12/26 operated by Delta).  Having had previously acceptable service when dealing with delays on Delta (including receiving texts while waiting for a part to be fixed on an ATL-Tokyo flight), I felt somewhat assured that my flight to Boston was running on-time to possibly late because of weather.  I hadn’t received a voice mail or text. Fortunately, I tapped into my 3G network and noted an email from Delta at 4:10 am saying my flight had been cancelled and I was to be re-routed to SLC the next day (12/27) and then to Logan on 12/30.

As I was en-route to do some early post-holiday shopping with my sister, she dropped me off at the Will Rogers Airport. I knew there was a 6:52 departure to ATL and a 7:00 am departure to the Twin Cities and hoped to catch an earlier flight to make it home before the blizzard.  I arrived at 6:31 and was told by the counter agent she could not do anything for me since it was after 6:30 am. I realize this maybe your standard but I should have been told, let me ticket you on the 11:42 to the Twin Cities and go back to the gates and see if you can get on the plane. I had to beg for that flight and NOT to fly out to SLC on 12/27 (which, let’s face it, to fly from Oklahoma to get stuck in Utah makes as much sense as flying to Tokyo to connect to Phoenix from Oklahoma).  As the ticket agent was relatively new, her supervisor used this as a “training exercise”. I realize that experiential learning is a key component. I do not understand why a Medallion member, who is trying to beat a blizzard needed to be the object of such an undertaking. By the time I received my boarding passes, I was told both flights had boarded and were ‘closed’.

After clearing TSA, I realized NEITHER flight had boarded and both had seats. Fortunately, the customer service manager had more common sense than anybody else today and was able to get me on the flight to Atlanta with a seat assignment on the 1:oo pm flight to Boston.

At this point, I encountered two of the rudest flight attendants I have ever had to deal with in over 500,000 air miles on commercial flights. I won’t fly Southwest. I don’t like their “cute” flight attendants. Having a no smoking pantomime isn’t funny, isn’t cute: it’s unprofessional. Being told on five (5) different occasions that “these were not Delta’s rules and if we had a problem to contact the FAA” was churlish. My final straw was when the second flight attendant took my pillow OUT of my lap and said “you cannot have this in an exit row.” (Now, I don’t know if it is Delta or the FAA that doesn’t allow this: but I do know that I fly with my pillow, sit in exit rows and this has NEVER happened before.)

Once I arrived at Hartsfield, I discovered all flights to Boston had been cancelled, save the 12:35 departure. I noticed this immediately and was placed on the stand-by list in Terminal E. My name was not pro-actively placed on the list: had I not checked the screen before grabbing coffee, I would not have been on the stand-by list.  Noting there were over 40 names and zero unclaimed seats, I asked to fly into DCA, JFK of LGA as from there, I can take Amtrak to Boston (which terminated service on 12/26 at 5:15pm). I was refused this request because “your ticket says Boston: that is where you have to fly to.” At this point, I realized that the Hartsfield operation of Delta Airlines is in serious need of common sense:

1) If I wanted to fly into an alternate city where there were open seats to then (at my own expense) secure transportation to my end destination, it frees Delta Airlines from having to secure a seat for me on either one of your aircraft or a competitors.

2) Being told “next time fly Air Tran” by your gate agent at A-03 is beyond appalling. Had I known Delta was both unwilling (and possibly incapable) of working with customers, if I ever have to fly to Atlanta, I might fly Air Tran, United, or any of your competitors: they certainly cannot be worse.

3) Yes, there is a massive blizzard pounding New England at the moment: however, Logan was open until 5 pm: meaning all flights from Atlanta could have left until 2pm.  The Atlanta staff saying there was “3 feet of snow on the ground in Boston” in an era of instant communication was memorable. It became more entertaining when the pilot of the flight indicated this was a turnaround and that it had yet to start snowing in Boston when they left.  As we landed on runway 4 in Boston which is an ocean-ocean landing, Logan ground conditions were not near blizzard like.

5) I realize the airline industry has faced many challenges. However, Delta is looking at possibly 3 days of no service between Boston-Atlanta. Passengers were told this was “an act of God” and Delta was not responsible for meal vouchers, hotels or other accommodations. There is a difference between “responsible” and “customer service”.  Individuals remember good service: many people make choices on where not to spend their money based on bad service. Is Delta required by the FAA to provide travellers with meal vouchers? No. Would it set Delta apart? Yes. 

Your flight crews used to say “you have a choice when flying, thank-you for flying Delta and our Sky Team partners.”  Perhaps it’s time to put some meanings behind the words.  Delta has lost my loyalty. I had to act like a hostile customer to get home because “please”, “thank-you” and reasonable requests got me nowhere.  Publically saying that the ineptitude of the airlines towards Medallion customers got me a seat home.  It really is too bad that it has come to that with your airlines. I’d much rather do business with an organzation where I can make a reasonable request that is mutually beneficial than act like an immature adult. 

There is a television show called Undercover Boss.  I’d suggest spending sometime working the front lines and listening to your passengers.  Alternate airports may work and when a passengers asks for that accommodation why not honor it when you are faced with weather or mechanical delays? You free up a seat and create a happy customer.  Unless, of course, the goal of Delta is to be acquired by AirTran. If so, you are well on your way.

Maybe the next time I fly, it will be on Delta. Maybe it won’t. Quite frankly, your organization has earned business for your competitors. I’m happily enjoying the blizzard: only because I didn’t mind throwing a temper tantrum that would have landed my nieces and nephews in time out for life so I could get home. I feel sorry for those travellers who have yet to learn, that is how you have to play the game.


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