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I was not really referring to rights of customers but to the rights of staff serving those customers. Staff these days who have a customer facing job are quite within their rights to refuse to serve any customer who is in their opinion abusive or threatening. You can "escalate " a problem all you wish but the simple fact of you raising your voice could see you down the local nick being charged with anything from disturbing the peace to causing an affray.
--
Joe Finlay

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On Sun, 24 Aug 2003 03:40:12 +0100, Joseph Finlay wrote:

You *do* need to sort of the difference between being "assertive" and "aggressive". You do not raise your voice when being assertive, if anything you lower it and speak slowly, calmly, and clearly. As has already been said you remain in control (of your emotions) when being assertive. Raising your voice is the early stages of losing that control.
--
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wrote:

SWMBO is a manager with a retail outlet and a sweeter, more helpful person you couldn't hope to meet (yes, really, she's not looking over my shoulder) but some of the arrogant, ignorant a*******s she has to deal with on a daily basis under the guise of customers have to be seen to be believed. It's the one time I'm glad I'm in a trade (although some of our customers aren't much better) but I'd cheerfully hang one on some of these berks. My friends wife works for a supermarket that rhymes with Hasda and their customer policy is superb - take anything back, anytime and they'll give you a refund - including the woman who returned a birthday cake, half eaten, the day after the party saying it wasn't just what they wanted - AMAZING! I'd've told her to stick it up her arse Richard
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On Sun, 24 Aug 2003 21:57:24 +0100, "Frisket"

I think that a lot depends on the part of the retail sector and with the general ethos of the store. We had started with talking about the DIY sheds and as I think I mentioned, I have generally had good results at B&Q and poor results at the others in terms of customer service.
In a different part of the retail sector, I was recently looking for some shirts of a particular type, colour and style and found them on Marks and Spencer's web site. Wanting to go and look, I called their nearest store with convenient parking (in Camberley) and asked them to confirm that they had stock of the particular style and size. They said that they had plenty.
I went over there (about 10 miles each way) and they didn't. I explained the situation to the department manager - that I had made a special trip that had been a wild goose chase. She apologised and gave me 10 in cash for the fuel cost, plus a little apology card with her name written inside. Moreover she committed to call me when they had stock. She did, and asked me if I wanted to come in again or for her to arrange shipment from their web site organisation instead.

Supermarkets are a different ballgame anyway. Both of my kids have been through that (tread)mill in school holidays.
The return/refund situation is all factored into the business model.
First of all, they throw away large amounts of dated fresh produce each day anyway, although good stock rotation and management and price reductions on dating products minimises this.
Secondly, for food sales there is a whole bunch of legislation whereby they will almost automatically be quite heavily fined through action by Trading Standards - e.g. foreign bodies in products, food that has deteriorated etc. The refund and replace schemes such that the customer goes away happy and hopefully they avoid being prosecuted.
One could argue that this is too much in favour of the consumer, but the supermarkets know the rules of the game and factor it all in to the pricing.

.andy
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snip
and on getting those customers to return to spend more money I should think.

--
Sheila :-D (Remove e to mail.)
If two wrongs don't make a right, try three.
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wrote:

No argument with that. However taking my recent experience in various DIY sheds into account it doesn't appear to me that there is any great shortage of customers queueing at the tills.
Dunno what it is about Homebase in particular, but their tills always take absolutely ages to get thru. Other DIY outlets are typically quite fast at processing customers.
Andrew
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On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 19:37:47 +0100, Andrew McKay

That is one of the world's imponderable questions.
Similar at Makro. (Supposed to be trade only, documents required.)
Councils all over the north of England run special buses there for the disabled.
DG
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On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 19:37:47 +0100, Andrew McKay

If you mean the one in Bracknell then it's because half of the operators have an IQ in two digits only, and the others are old women who want to gas to their friends as they go through the checkouts.
Worse is Focus at Winnersh who employ mainly teenagers with a really bad attitude problem. They are openly rude to customers and the words "please" and "thank you" are not in their vocabulary.
I seem to get much better results at B&Q - either the Reading one (if one can stand the smell) or the Farnborough one.
However none of them seem well staffed with people with product knowledge.
I was recently in Paris and made a visit to BHV next to the Hotel de Ville. Actually I just visited the hardware department in the basement which can be reached directly from the Metro.
What an Aladdin's Cave of a place. I've never seen so much packed into a relatively small space - you could even buy complete animal hides for leather work. There is a display of tools from each of the major manufacturers (a bit like a small trade show with individual stands) with an assistant one each who actually knew about the products. They even had a full range of timber and sheet materials, although how one would manage a sheet of 2440x1220 on the Metro I am not quite sure. I think they will deliver.
The checkout assistants were courteous. I had a conversation in French with one lady as she was adding up what I had bought and when I had a question and couldn't remember the words for a carpenter's square, asked me in French whether I would like to switch to English. That was helpful and unexpected.
.andy
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In my experience with the French if you try your best with their language to start with they then won't mind too much switching to English. It's starting in English that gets their backs up, understandably.
Peter
--
Peter Ashby
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland
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On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 21:36:59 +0100 (BST), "Dave Liquorice"

Agreed, and if it's somewhere like Finland where people don't really expect anyone, with the possible exception of somebody from Estonia to speak their language then even a basic attempt is much appreciated.
.andy
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The Dutch, however, fall about laughing at one's fumbling attempts in dutch pronunication, IME....
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

The trick is to wait to visit until you've had a bad cold...... ;-)
.andy
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dutch
It's kind of ironic that "Ik spreek geen Nederlands" ("I can't speak Dutch") is quite difficult to pronounce!
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 02:49:15 +0100, RichardS wrote:

And there is nothing wrong with that. I nearly added smile and laugh about the communication difficults to my orginal post. B-)
The worst pronunciation problems I've had was with Chinese, not sure if it was in Mandarin or Cantonese, but that makes little difference, the problems revolve around the "tone" of words. There are several (many?) that have completely different and unrelated meanings dependant on the "tone" but to western ears they all sound the same. I tried everything I could with what I thought was the "tone" and just got *very* puzzled expressions back. I sometimes wonder what I was actually saying...
--
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wrote:

"My hovercraft is full of eels?" ??
--
Bob Eager
rde at tavi.co.uk
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Agreed very much, the more obscure the language the more gratitude you get. I don't think I'll forget the huge smile on the waitress's face in Finland when I said 'thankyou very much' in Finnish to her (can't remember the spelling). The French though have a reputation of being sniffy about people not speaking French. A reputation probably from monoglot Brits who couldn't be bothered.
The only time I didn't make much of an effort was last year in Germany. That was because both kids speak reasonable German from school. One chap in the post office paid our eldest the complement of correcting her German in German. She was most chuffed that she had understood. I can however do the above list in German.
Peter
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On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 16:27:19 +0100, Peter Ashby

Kiitos.
.andy
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No, that is simply 'thankyou', iirc Kiitos paljon is 'thankyou very much'. Strangely, paljon is 'please' over the water in Estonia...
Peter
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On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 16:27:19 +0100, Peter Ashby

I once had an odd experience in France. Ordered some drinks in French, barmaid told me how much it was in English, I thanked her in French. But then maybe she was English too....
--
John

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John Armstrong wrote:

You should have seen my sister and a couple of her friends trying to order a meal in Austria despite them not knowing any German. They'd seen a plate of something come past that they liked the look of and had a go at trying to order it, and failed miserably. It descended into making animal noises and gestures to work out what was what on the menu, in the end they ordered 3 ham pizzas out of desperation. I came in afterward, used my very basic German to deal with the pleasantries and the gal serving asked me what I would like in English, just prooves if you make the effort so will they. All came to a dead stop nearly with the Hungarian waitress in the bar though, at least "beer" and the raised number of fingers seems to work in any language.
--
James...
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