While most people looked ahead to 2014, I did exactly the opposite. I reflected on some of my more sour moments and realized what I learned from them. Typically I'm the most jovial customer, but in a brazen spree of outrage and deceit I did some things that I can't take back, so this is my moment of penance:
1. I took the $2, but didn't take the survey: Hey, I was distracted by how crisp and vivid the bills were; it was as if Ben Bernanke had mailed them himself! Sorry, clever survey company whose name I can't remember, next time I'll stay focused.
2. I walked out of a sporting goods store without paying for an item: I think the cashier was a bit perturbed that I picked the box that wouldn't scan. Then, to make his day even more special, the item had no price tag. After he finally got a price, the then-surly cashier removed the sensor tag from the air gun, took down some required information for the purchase, but never actually charged me for the gun. I didn't realize it until I pulled out the receipt later that day. I did not go back to the store.
3. I rearranged the Cheerios display: Everybody knows that grocers stock the new stuff toward the back of the display, and then place the stuff that's about to expire toward the front. Well, I was having a bad day. I plucked my sugary goodness from the back of the display, and then proceeded to move all of the boxes that I could reach from the back to the front. Now! Take that, you, you Shoprite stocker guy! At the time, I didn't think about how silly I must have looked rummaging through cereal boxes like a deranged lunatic. But hey, I walked away with a big cheesy grin.
4. I only left a 10 percent tip at a restaurant: I know the going rate is closer to 20 percent, but in the moment I didn't think she earned it. The food was tasteless and the service was sparse. Nevertheless, I shouldn't have blamed the waitress was for management's incompetence and I certainly didn't notice her wearing a chef's hat.
5. I evaded a ridiculous restocking fee: I told my mobile carrier that I dropped my new cell into the kitchen sink, but I actually submerged it in a glass of water just like I saw on the TV commercial. I bragged in front of friends about how amazing and waterproof the phone was. It was not waterproof.
6. I made a customer service agent cry: I am most contrite about this one, as I found out later that she was a new hire. In an attempt to help me book a family trip, the agent said something that stirred up a whirlwind of emotion from a previous experience with the company. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. It could have ended there, but in one last-ditch effort to avoid transferring the call she said something even more ridiculous than before, and I lost it. I yelled at her, and for that I truly felt bad. She was actually doing her job to the best of her ability but she wasn't given the tools to do it correctly which wasn't her fault at all.
Phew! I feel so much better now. I'm going to end this with a quote that dovetails well with the lessons I've learned here:
"If we are ever in doubt about what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done." ~John Lubbock
About the author:
Vanessa Saulsberry is Senior Project Manager, Marketing and Client Delivery, at 1to1 Media