"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The customer is always right?

I received this email from a friend of mine, Craig, today. (He's the one who leaves rude, age-related comments on my blog!) I would like to say I am amazed at the stupidity of Argos and of the employees in question, but, sadly, it all sounds only too plausible these days.

Situation : Mum and Dad had ordered some home delivery items from Argos
Scene : Outside the house with a courier

Me : Thank you....is there another item ?
Courier : No
Me : Well, how many have you given me ?
Courier : 5
Me : Well there should be 6
Courier : But I've given you 5
Me : I know - there should be 6
Courier : So ?
Me : So that means you have an item missing.
Courier : How many ?
Me : There should be 6 and you gave me 5
Courier : Yeah, so how many is missing ?
Me : ........ ONE !
Courier : Well I haven't got it.
Me : Can you check your van ?
Courier : No
Me : Why not ?
Courier : 'Cos it's not there.
Me : How do you know ?
Courier : I don't.
Me : Can I have a look then ?
Courier : No, you're not insured.
Me : So what happens now ?
Courier : How'd you mean ?
Me : How do I get my missing item ?
Courier : Phone Argos I suppose.

Scene : Me phoning Argos

Max : Hello, Max speaking - how may I help ?
Me : Can I give you an order reference ?
Max : Why ?
Me : Because your answerphone message whilst I was on hold for the last 10 minutes told me to have it ready.
Max : Oh. Okay then.
Me : (Gives order ref)
Max : Ah yes - it will be there any time now. Thank you for calling.
Me : No ! Wait ! It has arrived, the driver has just left.
Max : Oh, then that's good.
Me : No, it's not.
Max : Why not ?
Me : Because an item is missing.
Max : Is he still there ? Can you chase him ?
Me : No no, he says that the item wasn't there.
Max : But it must be - my computer says it was.
Me : Well the human says it wasn't.
Max : Did he check the van well ?
Me : No, he said it wasn't there.
Max : Sometimes small boxes can slide under the seat.
Me : I'm sure they can - but that's no good now as he has gone.
Max : So what do we do now ?
Me : Isn't that my question ?
Max : Just a moment - I'll check with my supervisor. (On Hold)

Max : Hello ! Good news ! I have the answer.
Me : Oh..
Max : It wasn't on the van at all.
Me : Oh..
Max : Because it was damaged when it arrived from us.
Me : Oh..
Max : But now we've ran out of them.
Me : Well, what can we do about it ?
Max : I can refund it, you can wait 3 weeks for it to come back in, or you can collect it from your local store.
Me : Does my local store have it in stock then ?
Max : I don't know.
Me : Well, can you check ?
Max : Oh yeah - hang on.
(5 mins later)
Max : Good news ! They have it in stock ! I have reserved it for you and put notes on it so that they know what's happened. Here's the reservation number.

Scene : Me at Argos (totally defeating the point of a £5 delivery fee !)

Nobody at the tills.......
Still nobody at the tills.....

Cashier : (Running) Oh, hello sir - can I help ?
Me : I have been given this reservation number as our home delivery has arrived with an item missing.
Cashier : Right ?
Me : Yes, right.
Cashier : So ?
Me : So you need to give me the missing item.
Cashier : How ?
Me : What do you mean 'how' ?
Cashier : How can I give it you ? I don't know what it is.
Me : Well if you put the reference number in, it will tell you.
Cashier : Oh, yeah. (Types on computer) - found it !
Me : Good
Cashier : That's £59.99 please
Me : No - we've already paid.
Cashier : No you haven't.
Me : It was home delivery.
Cashier : That doesn't mean you've paid.
Me : Of course it does. You don't send anything unless you've paid.
Cashier : Well I need money from you.
Me : Well you're not going to get it.
Cashier : Or credit card.
Me : No, you're not listening.
Cashier : Debit card ?
Me : Can I speak to a manager ?
Cashier : They'll just tell you the same.
Me : No, they won't.

Supervisor : Can I help ?
Me : Has she told you what's happened ?
Supervisor : Yes
Me : And ?
Supervisor : We need to speak to Head Office.
Me : Okay
Supervisor : Do you have the number ?
Me : No - I'm the customer.
Supervisor : Okay then, we'll have to find it. Wait there please.......

5 more minutes pass.....

Supervisor : (On phone) Well he says the item was missing......Oh really ? !
**SHOUTING TO ME** They're about to arrive at your house any minute with your full order !
Me : They already have.
Supervisor : (To person on phone) They already have. (To me) What do you mean they already have ? So what's your problem ?
Me : An item is missing.
Supervisor : Well you'll have to phone Head Office.
Me : I have !
Supervisor : So what did they say ?
Me : Come here to collect the missing item !

and this went on for an eon until they finally twigged and I went away with the missing item !

The sequel to this tale is that Argos eventually delivered the missing parcel. It had been hidden behind another one on the van, so now he has two.


  1. You couldn't make this sort of thing up. Ok in your case you copied it, but my point if still valid !!

    Early on in the post I had a senior moment and forgot that you were telling us about what happened to Craig and so when Mr Idiot (minus the Savant bit) at Argos called you sir, I wondered why you hadn't given him a good slap !

    I'm easily confused.........


  2. Talk about thick! Cor!
    Oh dear. Not you, Ian. I meant the customer service people. It's the same all over. Dreadful, innit?

  3. It might have been funny if it hadn't sounded so much like a real life experience - like those bizarre mazes that most of us have been through when dealing with officialdom.

  4. I can believe it! If it had happened to me though I'd have gone ballistic.
    Have a good weekend.

  5. Thanks for the laugh. Mind you if it happened to me I wouldn't have been laughing.

  6. It is at times like this that I take comfort from Bill Bryson's glorious phrase "thick as pig dribble."



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