Customer Service

It’s often been said that effective marketing is all about getting into the head of your customer. At Markdown Mania, the employees don’t give a damn about that.

Ears PluggedWe’re under paid and under appreciated. We stand on linoleum covered concrete floors for 4-7 hours per shift. We’re paid to take the customer’s money, and to take their shit, within reason.

This ain’t no luxury limo service.

No, the employees at MM are there for one thing, the piddly paycheck. Yes, we’ll smile and grovel as much as we can stand. But make no mistake. The company doesn’t care about us. They know we are expendable. In fact, they make sure we stay that way.

Only a very few stick around for the long haul. The rest of us either just get tired or we lose our rose-colored glasses and realize that this is always going to be a shit job.

So I guess Doris’s attitude should really come as no big surprise.

It was 11 a.m. on a weekday. Doris stood at the customer service desk, tapping her perfectly manicured acrylic nails on the glass counter top.

This week her nails are decorated with watermelons. Her mouth, however, is pursed like a lemon, and she’s looking out the store front window at Markdown Mania’s rugged parking lot. (It hasn’t been re-surfaced in years.)

Her nail tapping is dangerously rhythmical. It reminded me of a cat stalking her prey. There wasn’t much action in the store that morning, but there was plenty of turmoil in Doris’s head.

Still boring holes in the store front windows, she says,”Let me tell you something.” Her smoker’s voice is deep and she’s got Baptist fire in her eyes. “At 9 o’clock this morning, there were people waiting in the parking lot to get into this store.”

Doris paused for an effect that I didn’t feel.

It was true. People had been waiting at 9 a.m. to get into the store. Nothing unusual about that. What was so vile about it?

Doris’s mouth pruned up a bit more, her judgment forthcoming. And then there it was, like an A bomb. “What in God’s name could be so important that they had to here at 9 a.m.?”

I didn’t think Doris’s mouth could take much more. But she drives a hard bargain. Doris sucked in her judgment and held it in her deflated cheeks, as her lips looked like a fish bobbing for air.

Doris suddenly shifted her stance, her fish mouth opening and her smoker’s voice made its pronouncement. “Then I checked those same people out,” she growled. “And let me tell you, there wasn’t a goddam thing that they bought that was a matter of life and death.”

She clicked her watermelon nails again on the glass counter top for emphasis. “Now you tell me why it was so important to those people that they HAD to be here when the store opened.”

I didn’t have an answer for Doris. Instead, I shook my head, wondering about the mystery of it all.