As of today, once again, Waitrose tops the ‘Which’ poll for customer satisfaction along with M&S. The majority of my personal shopping is done at both these places and I have to say that I agree with the poll. Both companies have high standards of store design and exceptional own brand products, in particular for me M&S and the amazing runny scotch eggs that are annoyingly no longer ranged in my local store. (Can you believe that I actually have to order them in specially) The survey talks about the great customer experience from the shop staff themselves that on the whole I find welcoming and offer an excellent service. I however would love to see a survey from supermarket / retail shop staff themselves on the quality of customer behavior. I can’t see any measure for that but I would say that the level has dropped over the years.
I’ve noticed that during the last 12 to 18 months the customers that visit my local stores have considerably reduced their courtesy levels to fellow shoppers and shop staff alike. Recently I visited Waitrose to take advantage of a meal deal. £20 for a three course meal and a bottle of wine. The experience reminded me of those scenes when a farmer delivers the feed to a pigs. A mass of knuckle scrapping animals pushing and shoving to grab a starter, main, sweet pudding and a bottle of plonk. I only wanted to see what was available but found myself being squeezed out of the way by the bigger apes. Now, I don’t know if this makes me any better than them but I actually crawled out from the food brawl, gathered myself and shouted to them, “Let me know when you fuckers are finished and I’ll come back, you selfish bastards” Clearly the red mist descended! I spoke to a member of Waitrose staff and he seem to confirm my animal theory. He said that when he fills the shelves with new produce, he kind of throws it onto the display and runs away. One time he was actually pushed off a ladder in the chaos.
This got me thinking about the public and how they treat each other. I started to people watch and the majority of the time; London shoppers are really rude and aggressive towards each other. Walking down a busy city street is a bit like a rugby match with shoulders bashing into each other and not even a look back or a sorry/excuse me. I remember coming out of a Knightsbridge department store and stopping on the fairly quiet pavement. A woman was walking along the street towards me and chatting on her mobile phone. I noticed her from well over 100 meters away and I took no real notice of her as that’s not really an uncommon sight. However, as she got closer, she looked up from her walk to see me and then promptly continued to walk full body blow into me and pushing me right out of the way. Shocked by the experience I turned to see her continue walking along the street, talking on her phone as if I didn’t exist. I started to wonder if I was a ghost and should therefore expect people to walk through me without any awareness of my presence. Even my, “What the hell” comment was ignored. There’s rude and then there’s London shopper rude.
Has anyone else noticed this?
I’ve also noticed that when people need information from you like directions for example they just walk off once they get what they need. My parents always taught me to say thank you, so I could be more sensitive to those that don’t do the same. I just couldn’t imagine not saying, “thanks for that” or even “cheers for the help” But to spin on my heels and head off makes my really angry. It isn’t in my rule book and as they head off I often say, “Your welcome” It shows such an epic disregard to the person and sets the value of the individual well below that of the information they seek, such as the location of Argos or the nearest bank.
I’m sitting in Land Rover getting my car serviced right now, excellent service by the way, and I’ve just spoken to the receptionist about this blog post. She said that a bunch of kids that have just been into the dealership with their mother were offered a cold drink and a cake. However, when she walked off the kids then emptied the fridge of all the cans of drink into their pockets and took all the cakes while the mother watched. Great parenting!
Did it that all start with bad parenting? Is it a millennial thing? Can it be changed? Clearly not any time soon!
Please share your experiences in the comments section; I’d love to hear them. It’s clearly about time we had a human experience survey. Come on Which, I’m ready to cast my vote.