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  Monday, July 29, 2002

Compare and Contrast:

We have today a study in customer service, and customer disservice.

Exhibit A: Brita.  We purchased a Brita On Tap water filter for our faucet. Our town water has a lot of minerals and the water doesn't always taste great. We use the filtered water for cooking and for drinking, and we like it. The unit generally works very well, except that twice so far we've had the LED lights that indicate if a filter is good (green), or ready to be changed (red), stop working properly. Both times, Brita has helped us get new ones. First, they told us to go to the store and buy a new one. We sent them the reciept and a few weeks later we got a check for what we spent, including tax. The next time they just sent us a new unit, including a new filter ($17 value just for the filter). Result - I'm telling everyone I know, and all the rest of you folks, about Brita's good service. I would buy more Brita stuff.

Exhibit B: Staples. I like office supply stores in general. They seemed filled with possibilities of business to come. I used to love shopping for school supplies, even if it meant that summer was ending and school was coming. I also like Staples, as certain members of my inner circle who shall remain nameless work there. However, today I had a very time-wasting experience.

I signed up to get marketing spam from Staples. I voluntarily opened my email box to a weekly newsletter touting the goodness of all that is the Staples universe. Today I tried to redeam a coupon they sent me for being a loyal customer, following these directions on their website. You'd think I was a criminal. The cashier looked at the email, listed below, and asked if it "was for real." (Oh, you caught me. I didn't really get this in email. Haha.) 

Return-path: <>
Envelope-to: - {my real address removed}
Delivery-date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 11:43:17 -0400

Don’t miss our red hot summer savings.
Better turn up the AC, because we’ve got the hottest savings in town! Hurry and take advantage of these summertime bonus coupons -- they expire on 8/3/02. And be sure to look below for a sample of the sizzling deals we’ve cooked up for you.
$10 FREE toward any in-store purchase of $40 or more.*
Coupon code: xxxx (real code removed, even though I could have been mean to staples)
Expires 8/3/02

$15 FREE toward any in-store, catalog or online purchase of $75 or more.** Coupon code: YYY
Expires 8/3/02
Click below for instructions on how to redeem these coupons.

Now, I know about the Starbucks coupon hoax of the past week and I'm sure people have tried to pull the same with Staples. But you'd think the fine folks at Staples corporate would alert employees to what is real for the week, and what isn't. After having to wait for her to finish with another customer, find the manager, wait for him, have him come over and give her a phone number for corporate to "check these things out," then tell her to "try the code and see if it works", I wasn't even able to check out! Someone else who had put things on hold by the register came back and the cashier took her first!

Now, it was about 100 degrees in NYC and I was trying to remain calm. I didn't yell, but I told her I didn't appreciate her taking that other customer, especially after the time I had to wait for my coupon. She spent the next two minutes explaining that she had accepted a bad coupon once and had to answer for it. I gave up waiting for the "I'm sorry" that I wanted and left.

I have since found that the items in question are cheaper at the very reliable (for me)

The reader is left to her own conclusions.

8:46:34 PM  comment []    

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