Good day gone bad.
It's a late Sunday afternoon. After church and brunch, I'm in a fantastic mood. I decide to go to the store because I need two things: Hangers for my clothes and shampoo.
It's my first time at the store so I walk around for a while searching for the items, but no luck. I finally see two ladies wearing the supermarkets' uniform nearby. If not for their uniforms I would never have guessed they worked there. They were sitting in a corner laughing hysterically. It was as if they were long lost friends, reunited and in the middle of an epic catch up sesh.
I almost felt bad that I was about to interrupt their gist, but they worked in the store right? And I just really needed to ask, "Please, do you know where I can find hangers?"
The louder one, still sitting down, looks up at me. Then with her nose turned up, as if everything around her stunk, she quickly responds,
"Ah Ah.. How we suppose know?
You don't see we're in another section?!"
Excuse me whaaat?
Ok so I've been in Nigeria long enough to know customer service is not one of our strengths... But COME ON! Did she just say that?
Her "co-worker" continues... "Just go there. Ask that man. That one." She points a few meters away, to a very short, dark skinned man with a huge beer belly. "He might know where they are."
I thought, "Oh great, this one might know. Lucky me, eh?" Smh
Before I got a chance to say thank you (although there were currently zero reasons to thank them), they resume their laughter and squeals and continue their conversation... Like I never happened. Like I wasn't still standing right in front of them.
To avoid further neglect I quickly took myself to the next guy and asked him the same question- this time trying to sound as Nigerian as possible. Maybe that would help. "Oga, abeg where are your hangers?"
He looks up to the ceiling for a second and scratches his head.
"Ah. Madam, I don't know oh. Just keep walking that way.
Just keep walking. I'm sure you'll find it. It's there."
It's there?? That was his advice? It's there?!? I mean duh it's somewhere! Could he at least pretend he knew? Or walk with me to help find it?
But no, he had done enough. Technically, while he was saying "it's there" he was also making continuous hand gestures pointing to only God knows where. So in his mind he had put in a lot of work, right?
At this point I had no choice, but to venture off on my own. As I went through all the aisles I finally found some shampoo, thank God. And later found the hangers - in between completely random, unrelated items - of course.
Typically I would keep wandering the store and end up buying a few other things, but not today.
With all this roaming, I was drained and quickly joined the line at the register. Great, yet another endeavor to overcome.
The lady in front of me was buying just a toothbrush that cost N300. She gives the cashier a 500 Naira note. The cashier responds, “Madam, you don’t have change?
“No, just 500’s”
“Ah. I don’t have change oh.”
“Okayyy?? So go and get some?”
“Oh ok ok, I’ll try.”
The cashier signals to another “co-worker.” Again, I’m using this term very loosely. “Abeg, help me get change.”
The girl snaps back, “Is that part of my job?! No oh. I can’t do that one.” She hisses and rushes off.
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
Our cashier lady continues standing behind the register and starts shouting over us asking every co-worker she sees, "You get change?" Finally one agrees to help her get cash, but then several minutes later comes back with literally only N200 in change. So just enough for the lady, but clearly not enough for the rest of us in this long line that had now formed behind me.
It’s now my turn, so I hand her the hangers and shampoo. She swipes and puts the hangers in a bag, but then when it’s time for the shampoo she says, “Madam, I’m sorry, but I don’t know how much this shampoo is. It’s not swiping.”
I look at her like you’ve got to be kidding. "Ki lo de! Find out how much it costs then.”
“I’m sorry ma, I can’t do that.
The person in charge of that section has gone home.”
LOL. I literally laughed out loud.
“Ok she's gone home. Sooooo what do you want me to do then?”
“Madam, you have to leave it. Come back and buy it tomorrow.”
At this point, my uber driver had been calling. And she still didn’t have any change for me to even just get the hangers. So I left. Can you imagine? After spending almost an hour in the store, I left with absolutely nothing bought.
I go outside and the Uber driver is no where to be found.
I call his phone and he answers, “Madam, I’m coming. I suspected that you were still shopping so I went inside to buy something as well. But I’m coming!”
Noooooooo. Even my trusty Uber? Uber that is usually the exception to this nightmare?
Nigeria, we’ve got to do better!
I should mention that I randomly went to the new Shoprite in Ajah the other day and the customer service there was outstanding. So I guess customer service does exist. Ajah is maddd far though! Any suggestions of other places to try out?
Have you had similar customer service experiences? Any tips on how to handle or avoid such situations?