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Are You Being Served? – the Bad Service Fairies strike again!

By bunnycoat 8 February 2008 38

I went to Fyshwick today to try to buy some lamps.

Visited 6 stores – only one where anyone seemed to be interested in helping me by asking what I was after and checking their catalogues and floor stock.

In one other (national chain) store I was greeted and directed to the relevant area of the store where 3 young women were too busy talking to each other to pay any attention to potential customers.

Another (national chain) had no floor staff in the furniture section. In another store I was faced with a surly “nup we don’t have anything like that” and I left to find the car blocked in by a delivery truck in the customer car park.

The other stores were completely empty of all floor staff so I could easily have helped myself to anything, including the cash register. Maybe these stores have come to the conclusion that paying staff to provide bad service is more negative to their business than letting potential customers help themselves to free goods.

Alas, the lamp hunt continues…..

What’s Your opinion?


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38 Responses to
Are You Being Served? – the Bad Service Fairies strike again!
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Holden Caulfield 4:42 pm 12 Feb 08

Anyone been to grapefoodwine on the Federal Hwy recently?

wishuwell 12:23 pm 11 Feb 08

Harvey Norm and Doymayne fall under the same umbrella along with a number of other chains. In most cases they consist of individual franchaise holders under the same roof. Makes bundling impossible as you need to make individual purchases as you go instead of one swipe of the card at the end of your shop.

VYBerlinaV8 12:15 pm 11 Feb 08

Agreed. Where I work we are now taking uni students in part time to become part of the company, so we don’t have to fight as hard for the good graduates. We have one facility in Australia that employees several hundred uni students on a part time basis. The traditional Woolies and Pizza Hut jobs just can’t compete with this.

Ingeegoodbee 12:09 pm 11 Feb 08

VY I agree with your observations on the kind of people in service roles today. Not long ago many people in jobs like supermarket checkout, food service etc were there because they were high school or university students on their way to some other profession. It seems that now days, for the people in these jobs – its about as good as they’re ever going to get.

On the Domayne thing, I was told that it was operated by Harvey Norman and was designed to capture the market segment that wouldn’t go to Harvey Norman because it was considered too Pov. It’s certainly the same business model – It all looks like one seemless store but in reality, each area – washing machines, televisions, vacuum cleaners are in fact separate and independent businesses.

neanderthalsis 12:01 pm 11 Feb 08

I prefer the “male” approach to shopping: you wander about the store, sitting on things, pressing buttons and generally trying things out. A shop assistant usually comes over if you have all the TV / Stereos blaring at full volume or you are bouncing on a bed to test the sturdiness. If one does not magically appear, you find what you want then proceed to drag it to the counter.

Ralph 11:50 am 11 Feb 08

When I was in USA, I found that when shop assistants come to greet you, ask you what you would like help with, measure you, show you different things etc etc to be a very weird experience at first. This is their standard though, which is high. They inevitably make you spend more though.

Coming back here, you get the usual shit service, being ignored in shops, snarly shop assistants and not knowing what they sell.

Sammy 11:04 am 11 Feb 08

I believe the ‘mayne’ in Domayne harks back to the Joyce Mayne days.

VYBerlinaV8 10:40 am 11 Feb 08

I don’t buy from Domayne anyway, as they seem kinda expensive to me. They may not be for some things, but when I’ve been in there the stuff I looked at was more expensive than elsewhere.

Plus, the ‘ay’ component of their name seems bogan to me, and I am always suspicious of bogans.

Sammy 9:58 am 11 Feb 08

I was in Domayne the other day looking for a new laptop for work and there service was fantastic

Just wait until you need to return something. Domayne Electrical are all sweetness-and-light until you want to return something that is faulty. Then it becomes a Jekyll and Hyde routine for the salesguy (SG).

Me: I need to return this clock radio as the AM reception is no good.

SG: Oh, ok, would you like to swap it for another?

Me: No, it was the only one that was suitable, so i’ll just take a refund.

SG: We cannot give you a refund, but we can give you a store credit.

Me: Well actually you can and will give me a refund. According to my statutory consumer rights you have to give me a refund in one of three circumstances:

1. If products do not meet a basic level of quality and performance.
2. If products are not suitable for any purposes the consumer made known when buying them
3. If products do not match a description or sample they were given or shown

Option one is clearly the case as the item has very poor radio reception, which is supposed to be a key feature of a clock *radio*. Option two is also applicable as I mentioned that I wanted to listen to the radio when I bought my clock *radio*. Option three is also appropriate as the packaging clearly stated that inside the box was a clock *radio*, and one would assume that a basic feature of a clock *radio* would be the ability to receive radio.

At this point the salesguy (a portly fellow with a name beginning with a letter somewhere between ‘i’ and ‘k’) realised i’d won this round and that a refund was forthcoming. Rather than admit defeat he decided he’d screw us around a bit longer and make us sit there while he set the thing up and tested it, and then also while he packed the whole thing up again. Throughout this entire process there was an enormous air of hostility and unfriendliness from the salesperson.

I’ll now only buy from Domayne as an absolute last resort.

VYBerlinaV8 9:54 am 11 Feb 08

I’m gunna get flamed for this, but I’ll push on anyway…

Because there are so many available jobs in Australia now, many people are employed in jobs that during previous generations would have been considered ‘too hard’ for them to do. This is true throughout the white and blue collar world.

As such, there has been an upward shift in the employment ‘level’ of an individual. Accordingly, many persons who would previously been unemployed, or unemployable, now work in jobs at the bottome end of the food chain.

Now this doesn’t mean that all people in retail or low paid jobs are idiots, because they aren’t. But bugger me, the proportion who ARE human turnips is high. I think service standards have declined massively over the past 10 years or so. I did my time in fast food and retail when at uni, and I would have been sacked for some of the things I routinely see going on in shops these days.

pointe 10:15 pm 09 Feb 08

I work in retail – and although I don’t work in a large store like the chain stores you are eluding to above, sometimes it is difficult to keep everyone happy. Who ever made the comment about “Monkey’s Wages” is right – today I made 4% (!!!) of what my store earned in a day. That’s disgusting. Sometimes it’s not the service staff but the customers who need to realize that retailers aren’t going to bow to their every need (and when I say every need I mean above and beyond the call of a shop assistant) on $12 an hour.

I’m not saying that you’re being rude to shop assistants (to the original poster) I’m just pointing out that it’s not always their fault. It may be the management, poor training, or even the customers themselves.

As for whoever posted the new comment – a few days ago I posted news, about an event that will be held in Canberra (Eating Disorders – Dispelling The Myths) and I recieved no comments, yet rants like these get many (including your) comments.

Genie 9:27 pm 09 Feb 08

Service in this town is shit !!!! I work in customer service and i feel insulted half the time i try and go shopping.

I seriously just feel like the inconvience the staff deal with so they can receive a paycheck.

Pandy 5:16 pm 09 Feb 08

Build a bridge, and get over it.

Oh wait the NCA has been cut back!

Ingeegoodbee 4:31 pm 09 Feb 08

Danman, I disagree. Any store has a limited window to get it right – If I get poor service from a store, or anywhere else, my job is to tell as many people as possible what crap service those people offer. Why should I go cap in hand like some nanny to the store manager to complain? Forget it … let them feel the pain through loss of reputation and loss of business.

iluka 2:51 pm 09 Feb 08

Good point sepi – I don’t need to be hassled on the display floor, i don’t need to be shown matching pieces of furniture, i don’t need to be told all about where the wood that made the bed come from – i just want to be acknowledged when i show interest in a piece and maybe answer a few questions, then take my damn money when i’ve chosen!!!

sepi 1:11 pm 09 Feb 08

Cheaper prices are no use to anyone if there is no way of buying the stuff.

I had three separate appointments with Doors Plus to come out and measure up for the doors we’d chosen, and they never turned up or rang to explain. After three attempts I gave up and went somewhere more expensive who turned up first go.

bunnycoat 12:39 pm 09 Feb 08

Personally I find being able to connect with local people to share info very useful – is there a better site for that than RiotACT?

needlenose 11:14 am 09 Feb 08

I agree with The Jas – Domayne is excellent. There’s a woman in the kitchen fit-out area called Sarah who was fantastic when I re-did my kitchen; then I went back more than a year later for an espresso machine and she actually remembered me. But all the staff are pretty good in the electrics department (oddly they seem to be completely crap in the furniture area though, so I don’t know how they do their recruiting there). I was also impressed that I’ve come in looking for some pricey designer kitchen appliance and they’ve told me actually I would be better off buying the much less expensive model which has better features/is more reliable. And they’ll also offer discounts, sometimes without even being asked. So yeah, I think the electrial sectyion in Domayne is pretty good. But the furniture department is useless – a shame, because they have some very cute things.

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