Today a Warehouse checkout lady felt the need to comment directly to my children that they should be sitting down in the trolley. I was already in a foul mood so as you can imagine, this went down as well as a cup of cold vomit.
Look, I’m more than happy to receive parenting guidance/help/suggestions from family, friends, anyone really, who is actively involved in the raising of my children (it takes a village right?). And yes, the twins were standing up in the trolley, but it’s not like they were abseiling off the side of it and obviously I had already weighed up the relative risk of having them stand in the trolley and hold on to the sides. So if girlfriend wants to come and babysit all three of my children so I can get a break from the fighting, whinging, whining, constant demands, lack of privacy and inability to care for my own basic needs, then she’s welcome to comment all she likes. Until then, she can sit the fuck down herself and keep her lips zipped.
Now those of you who know me well will know that you don’t want to mess with me on a bad day. Particularly if you don’t want to be the recipient of my modus operandi: the sternly written (and in this case, slightly snarky) letter. So hold on to your bar code scanners Warehouse Upper Hutt, this email is winging its way to you expediently…
Dear Warehouse Upper Hutt team,
Following an experience I had at your store earlier today, I feel compelled to provide some feedback. While completing a quick transaction at your checkout, the checkout operator who served me felt the need to comment directly to my children that they should be sitting down in the trolley. I understand your policy regarding the safety of children in trolleys, however I would like to remind you that communicating opinions regarding someone’s parenting choices extends beyond your remit as a retail store.
Rather, along with providing a wide range of retail merchandise, I see one of your main objectives as providing customer service. Good customer service should result in someone walking away from the interaction feeling better, not worse as was what occurred in this case. I think you should know that I felt extremely upset by the comments.
Interestingly, I had a contrasting experience immediately after at Pak n Save. The checkout operator took notice of me as an individual and noticed that I was having a rough time (not least worsened by my visit to your store). Instead of taking a judgemental stance, the checkout operator engaged positively with my children in an effort to help and support me. Even more interesting, was the demographic this person represented – a young male.
Since your employee felt the need to provide an assessment and opinion on the choice I made about the safety of my children, I’d like to return the favour and make some suggestions about how you can improve your customer service;
- Refrain from addressing people’s children directly without permission, especially with regards to parenting or discipline.
- Acknowledge your customers when they approach the checkout and instead of rattling off a script about whether they want to donate to <insert charity> and want a bag, treat them as an individual and ask how their day is going.
- If you’re so concerned with the safety of children in trolleys, provide trolleys that allow for more than one child to sit securely in the trolley. These are available.
As a parent, I am constantly assessing the relative risks of my children’s activities. I’m a sensible, intelligent person and do not appreciate being treated as otherwise.
I’m not expecting this letter to change any policies or processes, but I do hope that it may make you consider how you treat your customers on an individual level. After all, what are you without your customers?
Post script: I probs won’t send this email by the way…