We found ourselves wandering into the HMV store last night as we had ten minutes to kill before a dinner reservation. We made a beeline for the iPad section and found a young chap busy turning them all off.
“Hello, I wondered if you could help me” I asked of the young chap. Without even looking up from under his fringe or removing his large headphones he muttered:
“We are closing, I am just turning these off”
No, “hello”. No “I am sorry”. No “would you mind if I just carried on doing this whilst you talk to me”. Not a smile. No eye contact. Nothing.
“I can see that” I replied, “but I just wondered if you happened to have a 32gb 3g iPad2 in stock. I have been trying to get hold of one for ages and I can’t find one anywhere”.
It’s true, I have. For Mr B’s birthday a week ago, having had one on order and it still hasn’t arrived, I am now looking everywhere.
If he had said yes, it would have been the easiest £580 sale and we would have grabbed the box, paid for it and been out of there in less than two minutes.
“We haven’t got any… can’t get them…. tsunami in Japan”.
“Yes, I understand that. I haven’t been able to get one from anywhere, despite trying for weeks”.
“We can put you on an information list. We get one, we tell you, if you want it, come in”
Not once looking up and with a general air of utter hacked off-ness.
OK, so its nearly 8pm on a Tuesday night and I am sorry you are working still and I am sorry that I am trying to be a customer, trying to buy something you don’t even have to try very hard to sell me. I also understand that you have ten minutes to turn off four iPods.
I am not saying you were lazy or shurking your responsibilities in terms of tasks your manager has set you. But I am a customer trying to buy something. Where will you be without customers?
Thanks to that encounter I shall not be returning to HMV. In fact it is why I do all my DVD / Music purchasing via Amazon these days.
That level of customer service, or lack of it, is what is killing the High Street. Pure and simple.
It is what did Zavvi in, and will continue to kill off many other shops. Why can’t companies see that? Why can’t they understand that all it takes is a smile and a “can I help you / do you need some help / shout if you need anything”. That is all.
All you had to do was look up and say “I am so sorry Madam, we don’t”. Look at me. I know its not a pretty sight but hey, humour me.
So I shall take my £600 elsewhere. And all the odd £20 here and there for CDs / DVDs / Wii games etc etc.
As will J (himself a teenager) who also witnessed this and simply said “right then” in that wonderfully sarcastic tone.
Right then indeed.