Thursday, March 15, 2012

Customer? Not always right. Me? Usually right.

I got a text from my best friend this morning asking how my day was going. I told her that it was a good day so far, and I meant it. It's nice out, I feel well, and I'm emotionally balanced (which, let's face it, is a rare thing these days!)
I guess I was tempting the stars by saying so, because a few minutes later the business phone rang.

"Mister's Tire Shop," I greeted the customer. He wanted to talk to my father in law, but he was busy so I asked to take a message. He wanted a price on a lawn mower tire. That's my job.

"I can help you with that, what size are you looking for?" I asked politely. He couldn't read the tire, and had a couple of numbers mixed up, so I had to do some searching, but I finally found some tires in his size. Most of them were tractor-style tires, so I asked him what the tires were for specifically, and if he wanted a ribbed tire or a turf tire.

"Have you ever seen a lawn tractor with a ribbed tire on it?" he asked me, using that tone that (mostly older) men sometimes find suitable when speaking to women or children.

Yes, actually, I said to myself in my head, but refrained and simply kept looking for a turf tire.

"Give me just another second," I said, as I checked the fifth tire supplier. Sometimes mower tires are tough to find.

"Just go ask one of the guys. They ought to know how much it is. Ought to be 8-10 bucks." I giggled inside. We can't even buy a tube for that. "Just tell them the size and they can tell you how much it is," he suggested.

Have you MET my father-in-law? I thought to myself. All he will do is say, "Hell if I know, check Shumaker or something," and send me right back in here.

"Ok, here we go," I started. But I was rudely interrupted.

"There has to be one of the guys there who can tell you. They know how much they are. Just go ask them."

"Sir, they do not know the price of every size tire off the top of their heads. They always have to have me look them up, and each tire price varies by supplier. I just had to find a supplier who had that size in a turf tire. Looks like it will be 48.00," I said. NICELY.

"FORTY EIGHT DOLLARS! Check that again. You've got something wrong," he said. And I had reached my limit. He had already suggested I was stupid for thinking he might want a ribbed tire (though it's not at all uncommon in that size), and he had basically told me to find someone who knew what they were doing (when I knew EXACTLY what I was doing). Now he was telling me I did something wrong. Oooooh. Nerve struck.

"It's forty-eight, sir. I have it right here in front of me," I said, in my authoritative voice, leaving no room for argument. I repeated the size to him and affirmed that it was a turf tire, then told him the brand.

"Well, ok. But I know that's not right," he said, SNOTTILY (is snottily a word? It is now!)

"Actually, it IS right, whether YOU think so or not," I replied, HATEFULLY.

And click.

"Ass hole" I muttered as I hung up the phone.

Twenty minutes later the phone rang again, and I recognized the number.

"Hey uh I called earlier about the tires," he said.

Yeah. And now you've called around and realized that the price was not only right, but most likely a little lower than the other places you called.

"Yeah," I said in a snobby teenager tone. I was done being nice. "It's still 48.00," I added.

"What about a tube for it?" he inquired.

"Sixteen," I said, after a little looking.

"So about half the price of a new tire?" he asked.

"About a third," I corrected. Snottily.

"Hm. Ok. Thanks."

I told my FIL what had happened, just so he would be prepared if the guy called again. He wasn't mad. He just smiled.

And then the next guy who came in and gave him grief over a price heard him say, "HEY! Straighten this guy out like you did the one who called earlier!" to me. Then added, "Go talk to my secretary if you think I'm tough to deal with. She'll straighten you out."

I just smiled and said, "Have a nice day!"

This is likely why I'm not REALLY in the business of customer service. Because when I'm right, I'm right, and I'm not always polite about it :)


  1. That's a generational thing. I don't even bother calling about getting my vehicle fixed because when I'm on the phone with a guy and it's about that sort of thing, I know they think I don't know what I'm talking about. I spare myself the potential rise in my blood pressure.

  2. So annoying. Like go get a man lil lady! I am glad you fixed him too!