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    Seven-thirty is Too Early to Be Pissed Off

    I apologize for giving you extra work, Ms. Customer Service Manager...

    I cracked open my piggy bank this morning (not really a Pig, it was a tin can with a coin slot on top and wrapped with the image of an oversized 100 dollar bill) and trekked over to my local Associated Supermarket on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, N.Y., when it opened at seven this morning in hopes of transforming my 30+ pounds of coins to cash to use for some late Christmas gifts (or a birthday present to myself – I turn 42 Thursday).

    After almost a half-hour at the Coinstar machine (note to Coinstar, this unit has a problem with Nickels – it returned about 80), my final tally was one dollar coin, 759 quarters, 381 dimes, 92 nickels (see what I mean?) and 904 pennies, for a grand total of $242.49, of which $26.43 goes to the store and Coinstar, however they split it up, and $216.06 for me!

    Happy with my found cash, I visited the customer service desk, because the receipt needs a manager signature.

    However, when the associate manning the desk saw the amount and realized she didn’t have it in her cash drawer, she slapped the receipt on the counter-top, rolled her eyes, then went into the office to get the cash. When she came out, she counted the cash and gave it to me, not one word of thanks or even acknowledgement.

    A couple of things came to mind:

    • What a crappy way to start a day, especially during the holiday season and toward a very profitable customer. What will the rest of her day be like, especially when it gets busy? (I was among the first three customers).
    • I had just spent 30 minutes of my time feeding coins into the machine (and picking up the overrun of nickels from the floor), and she was the one who was inconvenienced?
    • If this is how the CUSTOMER SERVICE manager acts, what kind of behavior can I expect from the rest of the store?

    Contrast this with my taxi ride home last night. Normally taxi drivers who pick up Queens-bound fares in Manhattan are not too happy, and I expect a bit of grumbling. This driver welcomed me with a holiday greeting, and offered me one of those holiday-colored mints when I got in the car, and we had a pleasant conversation during my ride home.

    Too bad the Associated manager didn’t share the ride with me – she would have learned something about customer service.

    The taxi driver got a nice holiday tip. And next time I will bring my coins to TD Bank.

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