We all know that feeling…the feeling where you know you aren’t getting adequate customer service. That moment that makes you say, “I won’t be coming back here again.” Hopefully, you haven’t had to experience that very often, but unfortunately I believe it happens in our societies all too often.
Being an ex-waitress (sidenote: I would totally go back to doing that if I didn’t have to clean up after people, and if it actually paid…both of which would not happen), I know a little bit more about giving and receiving good customer service than your average patron out and about. Consider this a curse and a blessing at the same time. A curse because I know what good customer service is and when I’m not getting it. Sometimes, it’s better to be left in the dark and not understand what super good customer service is, instead of knowing what you’re missing out on. A blessing for the one’s that give me good customer service…their tips increase greatly, as well as the compliments to the managers in regards to the service I received.
In the end of this soapbox…there are two things that relate to each other when I’m out and about shopping. The level of customer service I receive directly affects my appetite. If you don’t give me good customer service, I’m less apt to spend money in your store (as I hope this is with anyone). Case and point today…………
Let’s start today’s journey at A Southern Season (one of my most favorite stores ever). You can read all about A Southern Season by clicking here, where I originally described it in mouth-watering detail (I won’t go into all that again on this post). We ate lunch at the Weathervane (their restaurant), and had a delightful server. He was a little dry, maybe because he didn’t know how to take my redheaded sense of humor. All in all, great service and amazing food (OMG, yes I just OMG’d, the burger I had was oozing with goodness!). Next, we caroused the store for anything we could get our hands on. Below you can see pictures of what I ended up purchasing…more Tandoori Sauce, a cool coffee mug, Quinoa, a gorgeous Bamboo Cutting Board, Bacchus (German wine), and a heavenly wedge of Panforte (which has a nice customer service story to go along with it). The gentleman giving the wine samples was absolutely delightful and very educational. I enjoyed him.
My favorite guy though, quite the handsome fella if I might add, was my cheese guy. I am going to call him Mr. Cheese for this story. It all began with the Panforte. I was reading the sign on it, quite intrigued by the description. It looked like a cheese wheel, but it’s ingredients consist of dried figs, walnuts, sugar, honey and spices. I was confused why it was in the cheese section. Mr. Cheese was quick to assist me. He took me by the hand…ha!…I wish…he waved me over to the other end of the counter and immediately unwrapped a wedge of the Panforte for me to try it. I tried the nibble he had cut off for me, and I was quite surprised of the intensity of the cinnamon and nutmeg. Although, it was quite tasty. Mr. Cheese then threw me a curveball. He grabbed a pinch of me…ha!…once again, just kidding…he grabbed a pinch of blue cheese, another nibble of the Panforte, put them together, and handed me the bite. Odd as it sounded and looked, he assured me it would be delicious. I trusted Mr. Cheese, and placed the nibble in my mouth. Talk about sensory overload! It was a taste explosion in my mouth. There was salty, there was sweet, there was sour, there was nutty, and then there was that cinnamon/nutmeg bite to it. It was a completely complex idea that my brain couldn’t wrap around, and still can’t quite wrap around….maybe he would be kind enough to provide me another taste test in the future. Just kidding, folks! A girl can dream, right? I kid, I kid! Anyways, all kidding aside, I remembered I had some blue cheese at home, and I continued my trip with buying the wedge he had let me sample off of. It was an excellent customer service experience, and I appreciate Mr. Cheese introducing my palate to something new and different.
The next place we stopped was Trader Joe’s. It’s a nicely organized organic foods store. Yes, I am on this quest to find a good fresh foods store…this trip took us here next. Everything looked delicious, and the prices were super low and affordable! We didn’t know it was a game day, so it was no wonder the stores were all slam-packed. I enjoyed Trader Joe’s a great deal. I bought a couple of things there…Calbee Snapea Crisps, and Bench & Field Feline Treats (had to get the baby something). The crisps are delicious, and to me, they scream Southern. They are like a cheese puff texture, but green, minus the cheese flavor, and substitute a green pea flavor. Weird sounding, yet very pleasing. I didn’t have much interaction from a customer service standpoint until the cashier. He was super nice. I told him this was our first time here, and he proceeded to tell us about Trader Joe’s and it’s history. A very knowledgeable fella indeed. I enjoyed him as well. Yes, he was quite attractive also.
The third and final place for us food-loving individuals, was Weaver Street Market. As much as I would love to chalk this up to this particular individual having a bad day, I can’t say I experienced excellent customer service skills at the cashier either. In short, as to not call anyone out, I asked a question of someone working there, they argued with me in a couple of sentences exchanged, and then condescendingly and sarcas-ass-tically replied to the point where all I could say was thank you and walk away. This didn’t leave a great impression in my mind, and unfortunately, it was at the beginning of the store where I had this encounter. Therefore, the whole time in the store, I really didn’t feel like buying much in there. I wasn’t hungry anymore, my appetite was shot. Luckily, before I encountered this employee, I had already picked up some French Fingerling Potatoes (of which, I am super excited to use). I mustered up the nerve to purchase a candy bar as well, but that was it. I was prepared to spend much more money there, but in the end, my appetite was lost on the poor customer service I had experienced.
Will I go back to A Southern Season?……DUH! I love this place, and until I have a sour experience, which I extremely doubt will ever happen, I will continue to be faithful to my store. Also, as long as they keep Mr. Cheese employed…I will be good…*smiles*
Will I go back to Trader Joe’s?….Absolutely. I will need to go back when I have a cooler though. They seemed to have some beautiful, tasty items. Excellent prices, and great quality!
Will I go back to Weaver Street Market?….I’m just not sure at this point. Isn’t that sad? As much as I love food, I feel that strongly about good customer service. I very well might consider trying one of their other locations, much further in the future…I strongly urge the support of local farmers, and they stand strongly for our local farmers. That is something I can respect about them.
Enjoy the pictures of what I purchased today below…and thank you for letting me tell you about my day…Oh yeah…I forgot to mention, my dear friend and I ran out of gas on the way home today, priceless. But…wait for it…we had Snapea Crisps and wine (screw-cap) to survive until her hub came and brought us gas! Thank you A Southern Season and Trader Joe’s for our out-of-gas supplies! Thank you to her hub for bailing us out, since mine wasn’t local to us (I know he would have been there immediately too if we had been closer to my house)! At the end of the day, it didn’t hurt to have great company to kill time with….*smiles*
Customer service indeed is that important, and so you should not even bother questioning yourself on that point. Publix, for instance, has had incredible customer service both times I’ve been there; when the people working seem to like the fact that you’re in their store, and they want to show off their goods, well, it kind of makes you enjoy the trip a little more than when they don’t see to care if you’re there or not, or worse, don’t want you there at all!
The shopping trip sounds like an all-around hit! You should tell us more about your adventures, because I really enjoyed reading this!
I’m glad that Publix has great customer service. I have heard a lot about it, but have never been blessed to be around one. It was an all-around hit, minus the running out of gas. We were so engrossed in yapping our heads off about the stores we had visited, that I completely wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t mention that her husband pulled up in the nick of time as this stranger was approaching our car to see if we were alright. Love the caring of the South! As far as telling you more about my adventures…I just might. Maybe, the next time I get Mr. Cheese, I will have more to write about in regards to him. *smiles*
Customer service is very important. I was a waitress for 22yrs and the things I’ve seen and heard and I had to do it all with a smile. Why? Beucase I wanted the tip and I want the ppl to return to the store. Great post and I love the pics of your purchases.
Thanks! I agree with you, we do it all with a smile to support the business we represent. :)