Monday, February 06, 2023

I, Karen

I don't want to bore you with lengthy customer-service stories, so I will try to keep this brief. But suffice to say as fun as it is to rip on so-called Karens, there's a reason people have to act this way -- because corporate America will frequently walk all over you if you don't.

Damian does all his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve -- often overpaying for things because he knows what he wants and realizes he's forfeiting the chance to shop around by doing it at the last minute. As such, he ended up buying us a new salad bowl at Williams-Sonoma at the Time Warner Center. The first time we used it, we realized there was a crack in the bottom -- ironic since he had bought it to replace the one we had that developed a crack. My office isn't far from the store, so I said I would exchange it on my way home from work. I didn't have the receipt, but have shopped at Williams-Sonoma often enough to know that exchanging a damaged item for the exact same thing wouldn't be an issue. Well, turns out it was -- because the only ones they had left were other cracked bowls that had been returned, which had been marked down to $60. (Why someone would want a cracked salad bowl for $1, much less $60, is anyone's guess.) So I politely asked what my options were, thinking she would dazzle me with top-drawer customer service. Instead, she said because it was our fault for not noticing the crack when it was purchased and because I didn't have a receipt, the best she could do was give me a store credit for $60. I was taken aback by the finger-pointing, especially since it was obvious there was a manufacturing defect if multiple bowls had been returned. And I know when people say it's "not about the money" it usually is -- but this truly wasn't: I just wanted a nice (working) salad bowl. So after a brief standoff, my voice apparently raised just enough that a manager came over. (A real Karen would have already asked for to speak to one, I realize.) 

Although the manager treated me like I had been unnecessarily hostile toward his employee -- OK, he didn't treat me that way, he said as much -- he immediately figured out a solution; He ordered a replacement bowl online (to be shipped to our apartment) -- all I wanted in the first place -- which apparently never would have happened if I hadn't briefly been a "Karen." 

Do we really wonder why people (have to) act this way?

1 comment:

VRCooper said...


Customer service...

Don't get me started...

Your first encounter should have taken care of the matter. Instead of laying out YOUR faults and what YOU could have done to prevent being in the predicament GOOD customer service-with authority at her level-would be "I am sorry for the defective merchandise. You can see we have had problems with this particular product. This is what I can do. Would store credit be acceptable or would you like for us to order you one online and ship it to your home free of charge?" End of story.

I would tell my staff it is all right to tell a patient no, I am in healthcare, but couple the negative with a positive. In customer service terms this is called SERVICE RECOVERY. A patient/customer encountered a negative experience and you want to RECOVER that service. You want to change it to a positive experience and more than likely the person will come back. They now have the mindset "They will take care of me if something goes awry."

The manager, they will need to check their attitude at the door. They do not know what has transpired. They should come on the scene and be NEUTRAL. Now if you are truly a Karen you may have to be checked. I have checked my fair share of patients/family members. I am nice and firm about it, and by the time they get to their car a light will come on and they just now realized that I cussed their ass out.

Hope the replacement bowl comes in mint condition. Enjoy!!