Monday, November 2, 2009

All I Ask ... Is For A Smile!

Oh, irritation! Oh, lack of customer appreciation!

I bought a few books Saturday at my new Barnes and Noble. One was a new hardback from Charlaine Harris – Grave Secret – a continuation of her Harper Connelly, I-was-struck-by-lightning-and-now-find-dead-bodies heroine (no, seriously, it’s very entertaining), along with another sci-fi book … and a romance book (don’t you judge me).

Standing at the register, making my purchases, I commented to the worker that I thought the Harris book had a members’ coupon available so she looked online for me and the following exchange took place.

“I’m not seeing one.”

“Oh … okay, I thought sure there was one but maybe it was for her other new release.”

“Well, if you buy it today then find the coupon, just bring it back with the receipt and we can take care of that for you.”


The coupon was in my email; I found it the next day. It expired tonight.

So, I made sure that I had the book, still in the bag with the receipt, in my car and headed there tonight after Sadie aka Sadistic-even-though-I-had-a-baby-10-days-ago fitness instructor extraordinaire found new and vicious uses for exercise balls. Finally back at Barnes and Noble, I made my way (gingerly) to the registers and explained to a worker there what was going on … no problem … she just needed a manager to authorize it.

The manager arrived. Here’s where the irritation began:

Hmm … the two were having problems getting the return to go through and the worker asked me if I have another receipt as the Harris book is not listed on the one I gave her.


I look at the receipt and then find myself in the awkward, and extremely irritating, position of explaining to them what apparently happened. I bought three books Saturday: The Harris hardback and two paperbacks. The person checking me out rang up one of the paperbacks twice and forgot to ring up the Harris book.

Initial blank looks. Final recognition.

“Sooooo ...” I noted, much to my chagrin, “it seems I’ll probably end up owing you more instead of getting any money back.”

No response as they are returning one of the paperbacks and ringing up the Harris book.

“Well, I guess at least this will help with your inventory.”  I chuckle.

No response.

No smile.


Now, I realize that I simply ended up paying for the books I received. I get that. But given the circumstances – that a customer believing she was entitled to money back from a coupon ends up paying more instead because of a mistake of one of their employees – could I have a bit of, oh, I don’t know …. extra kindness at least??

A freakin SMILE perhaps??!!

Honestly, I left feeling as though they thought I had done something WRONG when I can just as easily envision another customer flatly refusing to pay the additional amount because it was an error by one of their employees. It felt as if, because I was honest, I was only penalized.

All I ask … is for a smile while you’re taking MORE money from me. Is that too much?

I don’t think so.

Boo and hiss, Barnes and Noble.


  1. You need to come see me in Rockford to visit Reading Books, an awesome used book store in old train cars. It's dilapidated but filled to the brim with books and Kim the owner is awesome. Also...if you like romance books (I'm a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon) you should follow @smartbitches on twitter. They reveiw romance novels and are HILARIOUS

  2. Really. Why can't people just be nice? How hard is that?

  3. It was their mistake, not yours. They did not deserve one more penny (pissed off)

    Don't they have a "suggestion box"? You can whine about extremely bad service if they have one!!! (devilish face) LOL...