As I went through all that cancer nonsense, I had to let go of some things. There was no point in being angry all the time, for instance. As much as I wanted to rail and scream about my illness, it was bad for my health to dwell on it, so I let that go. I also let go of other things, like holding grudges against people who said or did something to hurt me.
Except that I didn't actually let go of all my grudges, I realized today. But I also noticed a pattern in my grudges. They seem to be all about customer service. Office Max, for instance. They got on my list one day about ten years ago when we were trying to buy office chairs. After searching for a couple of hours for the right kind of chair, the manager showed up abruptly to say that we were wasting her time because Saturday or something. Office Max was bought out by Office Depot, of course, but I still will not set foot in any of their stores.
I still hold a grudge against Bath and Body Works, as well. Why? Because after making me wait in a hideous line for longer than 30 minutes one Christmas, the manager sent the cashier on break(with ten people in line) and did not replace her with another, and became angry when I asked about it. I had my hands full of gifts, but I put them all down and walked out of the store. I haven't been back since, even when someone gave me a gift card.
I understand that things happen that are not anyone's fault. I understand that employees have bad days. I can usually deal with the occasional grumpiness or bad attitude, because I have my own days. As long as I can take care of my business and move on, I'll let it go. Rarely do I feel the need to approach a manager, or write a letter. But there comes a point, if the service is awful and the employees act like you're at fault, that I lose my temper. I don't yell or become violent.
I just leave.
I'm done. It doesn't even matter if the CEO of the company calls me personally to apologize. I just walk out the door, shake the dust off, and find another store. Several of the places I've crossed off my list closed soon after, so I have to think that the problem was systemic, and not just my powerful shopping skills ending someone's business career.
Customer service, at its heart, doesn't require expensive classes or graduate degrees. In any transaction, there's more going on than an exchange of goods for money. In that few minutes it takes to buy something, there's opportunity. If you treat people with kindness, or at least basic decency, that goes a whole lot further than the dollars.
I remember places where I am treated with dignity. We go back to places that take the time to build relationships, however superficial. In this current environment, with all the poop flinging encouraged by people who ought to know better, that human interaction becomes even more important. Businesses need to remember that. Because I do hold grudges.
How about you? Any grudges out there?