I have many customer-related stories to tell today, accumulated over quite a number of days, even weeks. Months?
Just this pm, I went to the grocery. You know which one. I smiled at one of the personnel. She said something that I thought sounded like “Lumalakad ata kayo ah.” I was taken aback, of course, because I was in my wheelchair, so I begged her pardon. I give you one guess. She repeated herself, “Lumalapad ata kayo ah.” First thought was to say- “Sige uwi na lang ako.” But should I let such a remark rain on my parade? Second thought – walk out? Third thought – report her to her superiors? Thing is, she is now was my friend. So now she’ll just be my acquaintance. How rude, right? Oh no, there’s that word again. Rude. AC- rude? VG rude? Maybe the latter because the remark was directed at my appearance.
Another incident – Was at my favorite bread store. As soon as they saw me, several personnel smiled. I don’t know if those smiles were sincerely welcome, snide, or vitriolic. One told her coworkers – “O, ingat kayo sa bibilhin ni Ma’am.” I retorted, “Talaga. Para di na kayo mag dedeliver sa Loyola Heights.” Joseph, my favorite of the lot, attended to me without sarcasm. Nonetheless, as they were punching my purchases, I watched carefully as did my son, aware of what had transpired a few months back.
Third: I’m sure you’ve called some establishment where you’re greeted with “Customer service may I help you…” Yes, that should be a question but the intonation/inflection does not rise even as the question is answerable by yes or no. Instead when the voice reaches the word “you”, it goes down and sounds tired, irate, bored. But yesterday, when I called my favorite mall, the normally irked voice sounded chirpy when I asked for the phone number of a jewelry shop. They actually discriminate based on what number you’re asking for? Try it.
Fourth: I’ve seen this sign in all taxis. “May reklamo ka?” followed by instructions to call LTFRB or some government agency. How I wish the question were posed more politely. As is, it sounds like a challenge. Perhaps they could have added, “ba” after “May reklamo ka?” What do you think?
Today’s happy/cheery/best in customer service goes to Birkenstock Philippines. Yesterday, I emailed Comfort-sole, the distributor of Birkenstock footwear. This morning, though a Sunday, I got a reply. A very polite one signed by Ellen Tobias. This afternoon, we went to Birkenstock on the second floor of Glorietta 2. There were three women manning the store. And they were all solicitous, friendly, patient, eager to serve. See, husband was looking for diabetic shoes. They didn’t mind that he tried three pairs, called their other stores if these stores had the size husband needed, got husband’s number just in case their next shipment will have husband’s size. Bravo, Birkenstock Philippines. To the owners and management, thank you very much.
PS The other day, I had a haircut and had my hair colored in a salon in Shang. As I wrote in a post days back, I got really good service. I now wonder if one personnel was particular nice because I asked if CVS went to the salon sometimes, having read a post of hers indicating this. He asked, “Ano mo si CVS?” I didn’t know how to answer that without sounding immodest — for all I know CVS might say “Who she?”. Still, I had the temerity to say “She’s my friend.” And the personnel became even nicer. If I recall correctly he told me years back, “Hindi ka talaga mahilig mag-ayos no?” Ouch.
C’est la vie. Ma vie.
Oops, why did I write in French there? So it will sound less pathetic? Teehee. On a serious note, check out duolingo.com. The site offers lessons in various languages like French, Spanish, etc. I’m taking the Spanish module now. I still recall a few words from high school and college so I’m progressing. I don’t think I’ll progress much in the other languages to which I’ve not really been exposed. Try it. The good thing about it is that everyday, I get a reminder to practice so it helps keep me from slacking off.