Have I really been “surfed?”

As time goes on, do you happen to remember your very best and worst customer service experiences?

I mean, we do so much out in the world today in terms of buying goods and services; as we bebop our way through life, we end up replacing old experiences with new ones on a constant basis, so that what we think of as our worst experiences are either replaced by something worse than that, or potentially by something that’s not as bad, but has more power in our minds because of it’s recency. Likewise, the same thing can happen with positive experiences; I think this is part of the nature of memory.

For example, I think that my most recent worst experience with customer service is when I tried to return a cymbal expansion pack for Rock Band drums to GameStop. They didn’t work exactly right, and I thought they were a little bit extraneous and not for me. I returned them well within the 30-day timeframe in accordance with their return policy to receive cash back.

What happened was that the employee I had to deal with tried to tell me that he couldn’t give me my money back but could do a gift card for store credit, and was trying to use the return policy as a way to back this up. I’m almost certain that he felt like he was doing the right thing, but I didn’t like his attitude, and the fact that I had read the return policy on the back of the receipt word for word, time and again, meant that I knew what I was talking about. I tried to show him where the return policy stated that I was allowed to bring them back for the money that I had paid for them, and he proceeded to tell me that I didn’t understand the return policy and that’s not what it meant, when it was in plain English right in front of his face. Turned off by his lack of understanding, I simply called it and left the store with a gift card.

I went home and wrote an email to the manager of the store, explaining that I understood what the return policy said and ‘this’ is what I was trying to do, and that I’m going to school to be an English teacher and I think I understand the language. The manager emailed me back the next day, told me that I was in the right, and that I should go back to the store and they would refund me my money and take back the gift card that I had accepted in lieu of cash.

Needless to say, going back was a little awkward, but it was pretty straightforward and went smoothly enough. While we can chalk this less-than-optimal service experience up to both ignorance on his part and pride on mine, is that really enough to qualify the situation as my worst service experience? I’m not so sure – it’s just the first to come to mind, as it’s the worst in the past several years, or so I believe. Honestly, I think my mind is playing tricks on me.

Other things come up too – Ruby Tuesday’s servers being really stingy with their biscuits and coffee, The seeming inability of Starbucks‘ baristas to consistently put a decent amount of milk in my coffee – but it’s just not enough to call it so much “bad” as “having left me distinctly dissatisfied.”

So do I remember my very worst service experience? Not really.

I mean, do I really even have one?

This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.


  1. Hah! A ‘prompt’ to your English Students: Write about a time when you felt ‘chagrin.’ Remember, time wounds all heels.
    Excellent yer gonna be an English teacher when you grow/throw up. We need male English teachers to model our hit on reality–whatever the hell that means. But can you coach? Not simply sports, for this outlet is necessary, but maybe debate/drama? Have you read McCourt’s Teacher Man?
    Excellent, ausgezeichnet.

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