taking the service out of customer support

I was planning on writing a post about a completely different topic–which I might still do if I’m not too exhausted when I’m done with this.  But today just warrants its own blog post because–HOLY HELL, WTF?!

Look, people–I care.  Probably too much.  Maybe that’s a bad thing.  I think it’s a good thing.  And I care that other people care, too.  Nothing pisses me off more than someone not giving a shit about things they should care about.  Nothing on this Earth.

I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I love services that will deliver basically anything to me for a fee.  I hate shopping.  I hate standing in line.  It’s perfect for an introvert.  I used to dream about delivery coffee, and now, it’s just a tap away.

And for the most part, I’ve had good experiences.  There has been a creepy delivery guy or five–and sometimes–they screw up orders.  But mostly, I don’t mind forking over a few extra bucks.  My time is valuable, and my tolerance for people is low.  Ha.

Today must’ve been some giant wormhole of customer service hell because I had the exact opposite experience of what I consider okay service–or even tolerable service.  One actually qualified as the shittiest customer service experience of my life.  No joke.  I’ve had some bad experiences too.

In the first case, the reps were fine.  It was the company itself and the technology behind it that was the issue.  It should’ve been a simple fix–and in the past–it never would have happened.

I ordered some groceries from Instacart.  I had a $10 coupon because they didn’t apply a promo for me last time.  Instacart is not cheap.  I paid $10 for delivery plus more for a tip.  When I saw who the shopper was, I groaned.  I’ve had him before and he consistently is creepy.  But worse than that, he subs things that are much more expensive–even though I have specific replacements–and then lies about the items not being in stock.  Things that would never ever not be in stock.  Like butter.

Today, I wasn’t in the mood to argue with him over $5 worth of salt.  I accidentally ate some shellfish on Thursday night, so I’ve not felt well all weekend.  Worse, that weird ab pain has been back since last weekend’s packing hell, and it’s basically now parked near my pancreas–making me wonder if it’s inflamed.  It hurts worse than before and isn’t going away.  I have a couple other symptoms of pancreatitis, but they’re all mild and could just be caused by my not having a gall bladder.  I’ll give it a couple more days.  But in any case, I was a bit cranky and not in the mood to deal with nonsense.  So, I opted to just roll with the changes and not get aggravated.  I accepted all of his substitutions.  The very last item on his list was a rotisserie chicken.  I had decided to get one instead of dealing with raw poultry, and my entire meal plan this week hinged on that chicken.  In an instant, he just decided to drop the item–saying it wasn’t in stock.  Not replacing it with the raw chicken as I asked.  Because that apparently wasn’t in stock either.  Imagine that.

I immediately chatted with him–literally within 30 seconds–and he logged off.  Then I got a notice saying he was on his way.  So, to me, it was pretty clear he had already checked out by the time he sent the note about dropping the chicken–giving me zero chance to sub it.  And he was able to do this without any repercussions because Instacart recently stopped giving customers the option of talking to their shoppers unless the shoppers called them.  So, the ONLY way to talk to your shopper is through chat–which they can choose to log out of at any time.

I called the customer service line and the lady was nice enough.  She fixed the error–but made me buy more things to meet some $10 minimum for redelivery–even though it was clearly their screw up.  They waived the delivery fee.  How gracious.  I was pissed off, but just happy my chicken would be here before noon.  Because I wanted to cook and had lots to do.  But then I remembered she hadn’t written a note in comments.  So, if this brand was out or whatever, I might be dealing with this shit again.  I went in to edit the item and add a note that anything was fine when the item disappeared altogether and the order was cancelled without warning.  I tried to reorder, but it wanted to charge me a delivery fee and my coupon was not in my account.  So, I called again.  And got more frustrated.  The lady fixed the issue, but again the delivery fee was on.  I called again…and this time the coupon was missing.  Beyond pissed, I decided to email them.  And now I wait on my $20 refund.  I also mentioned in my email that I was mad that they forced me to buy something to get what I ordered originally.  If they fix it and return my money, I’ll stay a customer.  If not, I probably will look elsewhere or do it myself.  Because eff that noise.

I was starving before any of this shit happened, so I decided to order Postmates.  I was going to just order pizza since I had a freebie coming, but decided not to since the fridge was so full and I was now not in the mood to cook.  At all.  I figured I wouldn’t have leftovers and would not spend much if I did Postmates instead.  I ordered something from a restaurant within walking distance because I was so hungry and pissy.

Almost two hours later, I was still waiting and seeing my wait time increase–after being quoted 20 minutes originally.  I was so aggravated and hungry by then that I wanted to bludgeon someone.  I couldn’t cancel my order.  I couldn’t contact the delivery guy.  And to make matters worse, the customer service number was non-operational.  If I wanted service, I had to email.  I sent three emails that never were answered.  I finally DM’d them on Twitter, asking what was going on and how much longer it would be.  Instead of apologizing or answering my question, they cancelled the order entirely and told me to reorder.  Oh, and re-pay the fees for delivery.  And wait another hour for food that I could walk to.  No explanation as to why and just plain surly responses.  There is way more than that, of course, but I’ll spare you (and my blood pressure) the pleasure of its retelling.

I was pissed beyond belief by then and told them I was done with them.  Then–twenty minutes later–the email support emails me asking me why I cancelled my order?  The fuck.  I went off.  I’m sorry, but I did.

And then I ordered that pizza, which came in 10 minutes, was delivered by a kind person and cost me $2 for delivery, plus $5 for tip.

It was delicious, and I never had to email anyone to figure out why it wasn’t here.


Postmates and its ilk forget that we have choices.  Even here in sleepy Denver.  The choices may not have apps, but they have willing people ready to take our money with respect and actual care.

I love the idea of Postmates.  I love being able to track my Postmate (if the app actually works).  But I hate their service.  And it reflects so much of our modern world.  This idea that we should expect nothing at all, even though we’re paying a premium.  This idea that a thank you or an I’m sorry is never required no matter how much they fuck up.

Things happen.  Mistakes are made.  Tech fails.  That’s fine.  I get it.  I worked in customer service for years during school and even after.  I work with the public now.  I get how much customers can suck.

But you know–you suck, too.  Because I am always kind–overly kind–to service people.  I tip well above what’s required.  I go out of my way to be forgiving. I truly appreciate everything they do, and I am cognizant of all the things they put up with.   I never ever take out company BS on service people because I get it.  But a simple tiny bit of appreciation today would have changed everything.  That and listening to what I was actually asking for.

You know–I don’t love local pizza chains.  But they do their jobs well.  They deliver what I pay for, fast, and usually without any drama.  They don’t have fancy apps.  And they answer their damn phones.  Not doing so would put them out of business.

I can’t help but think, the more I interact with technology and the companies relying so much on it, that it’s a larger part of our problem than any of us realize.

But from now on, if I want a burger, I will walk my ass down to the restaurant, smile at a server who appreciates my tip, and remember that the world I remember where people gave a shit still exists. And my wallet will be fatter…my ass a whole lot smaller.  And I bet I won’t feel like I hate humanity after it either.


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