Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I (still) Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone

Today I've had like 5 calls from prior difficult customers, or as I like to call them, "ex" customers.  And they're not getting through.  They will never get through.  It made me feel the need to say something; it's a sore subject with me.  Why don't you ever see these signs around anymore that say "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone"?  Is it the fear of reprisal? Acusations of discrimation?

How about, sometimes, we just hate you, as a customer, because you're nasty.  This should not surprise you--you're the one doing it.

Why is this such a hard concept?  I help run our family business, and over the years, yes, we have definitely run across people who have put themselves (by sheer force of mean personality, complainyness, and rudeness) squarely on the List of people we Refuse to Work With.  Ever.  This means that, if they call, I won't answer.  If they email, I won't answer.  If they send a carrier pigeon, I will train it to do tricks and keep it locked under the stairs.  Am I clear? I will NOT do business with them. 

Aside from that, if they hate us so much, WHY would they call/email back again, this year, to place an order?  Haven't we disappointed them enough already?  Are they gluttons for punishment?  Have they forgotten what they said/wrote to me last time we interacted?  Do they think I don't have caller ID?  Baffling.

By the way, I keep notes on everything, people, so:  Be. Nice. 

But, why is it that I can't just say it?  Ok, here's the deal.  If you are someone who has called and screamed at me, cursed at me, given me a condescending lecture, hung up on me, written me an-ever-so-carefully-crafted nasty email, or said "We are taking our business elsewhere in the future, and we are going to tell everyone we know how much we hate you!", then why, why, WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME BACK???

Here's what happens.  My phone rings, and if I mistakenly somehow end up on the phone with one of these horrid people, who I've vowed I will never be forced to do business with again, I look like this:
Awww, crap.  It's...YOU

Hello...again.   But the whole time, I'm thinking really? Are you serious?!? How can you possibly keep calling and leaving messages that you'd "appreciate a call back"?? Flip back through your mental notes and check...is there any reason that you can recall, why I might not want to ever speak to you again? Yeah, I thought you might remember that. 

So, what's the appropriate response? Never call them back and let them just think (at worst) that we have terrible phone service/email response time and they should shop elsewhere?  Answer and tell them we don't have this, or that, or that, or ANYthing they might want; and we have no dates open on the schedule.  We're booked straight through everysingledate until December 2019. 

WHY can't I just answer, and when they say who they are, I'd love to say, "Oh, hi (rude person), thanks for calling, but after reviewing the disturbing notes from our last transaction with you, I find that we are unable to make you happy in any way.  We don't want to disappoint you further, as we always seem to do, so, yeah, thanks for calling, but we can't take care of you.  Please don't call back, ever.  Goodbye." 

What's wrong with that? Are they going to call the Family Business Vendor Police and tell them to call me and force me to take this person's money?  Write the BBB? ("they won't sell to me!")  Put it on Yelp (now there's a fun crowd...)?  What??  Is this against some law somewhere?  ("You have to take everyone's money and any amount of nastiness they want to dish out, ALL the time, forever.  And, you should probably always apologize for everything.")  The customer is not always right.  Sometimes, they're just a jerk, and there's no help for them, but that doesn't mean I have to subject myself to their horrid behavior.  It's like volunteering for a beating.  Umm, no.

I always wonder, do they do this with everyone?  I'm not that special, I'm certainly not difficult on the phone, and I'm not even that fun to yell at, so maybe this is just how they deal with every vendor they meet.  Which makes me think, if this is how they deal with everyone, is it working?? Is this why they feel like it's OK to spew this kind of nasty all over me, every time, because I will somehow cave in and kiss their ass and continue to put up with their BS, and then thank them for their business?  Really?

Maybe someone needs to point out that, although you may believe that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease", unfortunately, around here, the squeaky wheel gets....replaced.  With a newer, friendlier, less-squeaky wheel, if you get my drift.

Still...why can't I just answer when these people call, and say, "Hi, remember me?  You cursed and yelled at me last time.  Yeah...it's me; same girl.  So, in light of that---"  *SLAM*  and just hang up.  Oh wait, I keep forgetting that phones no longer give you the satisfaction of hanging UP on someone, right in their ear.  You have to touch the screen.  That is SO not gratifying.  Plus, sometimes, you don't know if they're really gone...and there's that fear that they will hear what you say after you think you hung up (not that I *say* anything...)  I just love the old b-a-n-g that a good old-fashioned phone would give you when you were really mad.  Remember?

                                                                                               SLAM!  Yep.  Satisfying.

Maybe we could start our own version of Yelp, where vendors can go online, post this person's phone number, name, address, and photo, and WE get to write whatever horror story we have about THEM.  Like, sort of a warning system for other vendors.  Hey, this lady's a nutjob.  Do not work with her.  Isn't that what customers (yelpers? whatever) do on Yelp? (whiny voice): "I hate this place.  The fries were soggy, and my waitress's fingernails were the wrong color, and my ice tea had too much ice in it."  Terrible ratings, here you go.    gahhhh!

Someone should make up a ring-back tone or something, which would sound like the old hang-up 'slam' that we used to get out of a good old-fashioned hard plastic phone.  In the meantime, I'll be over here, screening calls and laughing like a mad scientist when they finally give up.


  1. I hope you don't mind my posting this, as it was written awhile ago (new to your blog) but I miss the days of phones that were tough enough to withstand the banging hang up. When I get nostalgic I just watch this a couple of times: http://youtu.be/DiMySnHNmnw

    1. Bwahaha! That's funny! Yeah. You definitely can't take out your frustration on a smart phone....

  2. URGH. What's with nasty people expecting me to do favors for them? How does that make any sense? Actually, I used to work at a vet clinic where there really was a "pain in the ass" charge for difficult clients. Hidden in the other charges, of course.

    1. Was it coded PIA by any chance...? We have those, too. It's called "Your delivery fee is now TWICE AS MUCH as last year." muahaha

  3. Just seen this while looking for reasons not to get up and get on with the day. It is so funny - I totally agree with you about how unsatisfying it is to 'hang up' on someone on a cell phone. I too miss that wonderful smashing down of the phone we used to enjoy back in the good old days. Someone should invent an app that makes the other persons phone explode when you hit the explode button on your own phone :-)

    1. Oh....yes. I always think I *could* just invest in one of those airhorn things, and then I could just HONK IT in their ear right before I hang up.

      Still, there's just something about that good old-fashioned BANG we used to get when we'd slam the phone down. I miss those days...:D