Customer Service Faux Pas – Is It Really Dead?

I went out for dinner with a friend, to the local pub,
and almost everything about the meal and service – was appalling!

Nothing sets me off more, than going to a business who treats you
as if you don’t really exist, or don’t matter to them… while they are
taking your (hard earned) money for nothing, or almost nothing.
It is a sheer and utter waste of time, a disrespect and a disgrace, period.

Have you ever had such a bad customer service experience ?
I bet I’m not the only one to notice this demeaning robotical behaviour ?…

Not caring about the people around us, is the main reason we are
destroying this planet… when you don’t care, it’s obvious, you don’t
pay attention to the small things that matter, like courtesy, respect and manners.

I don’t like it that some days it seems more and more people do NOT care,
are cheating others to get ahead, or are just giving up – feeling
hopeless, destitute, lost, aggravated, frustrated and doing nothing about it!
Just pretending to care, with a cheshire cat smile.  It’s depressing… unless,
of course, you care… then getting worked up for a few minutes, helps.
[ and so does a good laugh ! ]

If you don’t care or catch yourself not caring – well that is not good enough!!

If you don’t care, who will?  There are many, many good things to care about.

There are more good reasons to care, than not to.  It’s true.

Folks that feel this way maybe are just not looking.

It’s a great life, a gift, a privilege to be here, yes, here on Earth.  I said it!
Make the most of it, caring is love, wins every time… will change your life.

This is why I wrote this article, when I went out for dinner to the local pub,
we were hit by a tsunami of NOT CARING, so I had to get to the bottom of it,
and I wrote it all out, for the pub owner.  Guts and all.

But perhaps the response from the owner, was even more interesting
than my letter… though, was it appropriate after what happened ?
Because I do care, I am willing to question my own actions.. but also
call a spade a spade, darn it!

Do you want to be the judge today ?
Tell it to me straight !  Did he (the pub owner) act in an appropriate manner ?
Did I ?

Should he (pub owner) have responded:
√ better ?
√ differently ?
√ no, everything is A-OK, “Joseph, don’t be such a hard-ass.”…?
√ would you be satisfied with his response ?… ie: “yes, it is a good response”
or “yes, it is a pretty good response, but…” ?

√ would you have written a letter to the pub, what would you do if you had such service ?
√ if you were the owner, how would you have responded and what would you do ?

√ you ever been pissed off by super-bad customer service ?… tell me about it !

Below, is my (hopefully constructive and wildly entertaining) letter responding to that
deplorable service event ‘DSE’, then followed by his letter and response.

It’s Customer Service people, heck, give it to me straight, and give me some caring… or not.

From: JoEarth
Date: November 7, 2010 9:07:07 PM PST (CA)
Subject: you’re kiddin’, right ?

Lxx and Lxxxx Steward

why even bother to write about these things??
i just can’t accept that people in this world actually don’t care
… that is exactly the problem, why we’re wrecking the Earth
– damn it, can we start caring!!… can we?

a complaint is like a rope,
either you get hung up on the wrong details and hang yourself
or you examine it carefully, and then use it for something useful

article – CS Faux Pas

Come on people, where’s your customer service!  Ohhh!

My name is Joseph Borkovic.

I am a business owner here in the Cowichan Valley,
born and raised on Vancouver Island.

I am also a published author, coaching and writing
about business and customer service, as well as coordinator
of green mystery shopping, for sustainable/eco businesses.

You may even have my name and phone number,
as I left it on my table receipt recently, with my
notes about our interesting customer service at your
Cxxxx Sxxxxx Pub, on the night, Thursday Nov. 04th, 2010.
note to self: table #60

The note started out, “You have got to be kiddin’ me.”
or something to that effect, and continued with the bits
we came to be pissed off about, until I ran out of room.

I also left my phone number, so you wouldn’t mistake me
for a raving lunatic, at least not indefinitely,
and if the sincere gesture of leaving my contact phone #
wasn’t noticed, perhaps the complete absence of any tip, was.

Did you know that the word tip, originates from the cowboy
days when a rider would come into town, and to ensure proper
care of his horse, before he gives it to the stable hand the
cowboy would, in good prudence, pay the fee upfront, with a
bit of extra – To Insure Prompt (hint: spells TIP) service?
Now perhaps this
is an old wives tale, but your lack of service this night was not.

With the service being so cold, heck we could just pretend we
were in Iceland, where tipping, like China, is not expected at all.

Now the fact that no one from your company has called me today,
or the day after, tick tock, tock tock, means:
– either that you do not care, or
– do not actually know.
As the customer, who received substantially appalling service,
how am I to know, if you know?  As you do care enough to take our money.

Well maybe now, you know.

I have visited the brew pub previously, and every few months,
the service seems to grow progressively… weaker… so okay,
as a business owner myself… I give the benefit of the doubt,
lord knows there are few perfect days.  On the other coin,
businesses also can get lazier as time floats on.

But this meal was the day the water broke the camel’s back,
or the straw that poked the pigeon in the eye, or something
like that… you see, I am slightly off next day, as I had been on
the toilet in an intimate conversation with that night’s (your)
not-so-dead chicken wings.  This chicken knows how to fly.

Am I coming back, no, probably not for a long, long time, as my ass
just won’t let me, and I will not give you any more of the money
I work my ass off for – it would just be too sadomachoistic.

By the way if your waitress is looking for her blue pen, I know where it is.
This isn’t a revenge thing – it’s just about what is decent and right, period!

If you are at all interested
– certainly by now you should be pissed off
… not at this letter, but your current staff providing
the lack of service
that necessarily had to spawn this letter,
as I just can’t stand the thought of sharing this with a therapist,
instead only just being a bit pist… but as Buddha said to his monks, “Yes,
you may be angry, but only for one night.”

No hard feelings, but before I share this lousy experience with
50 friends or 100 strangers, please by all means respond, as it is only fair
if I give you a chance to respond – go ahead, make my day!

Here is my mystery shopper check list:
√  came in at 5:41 pm
√  greeted within 1 minute, offered seating
√  after several minutes obtained menus, server busy
no drink order made yet
√  after several more minutes, another server returns for drink order
√  drinks come
√  merridale cider, completely flat with ice – ice not asked for, nor wanted
√  guinness beer can comes, already open, and is flatter than Dale Purinton’s career
hint: do not serve drinks flat, that are supposed to have bubbles, or beer that
relies on being poured upon opening (ie; there is a nitrogen canister in Guinness)

[ note: you did this last time too… is this a way you discourage folks to…
oh maybe… I don’t know… try your brew pub beer?? ]

more information here: **

√  discussion at table to return drinks… decide to rely on the food
√  food ordered, took 12 minutes
√  when ordered waitress asks to split fries w/ salad, yet ‘fails to mention’…
√  barbq chicken wings, come out only warm… sitting out, waiting for the burger ?
√  burger arrives fresh, hot and is tasty
√  as for requested ketchup making it grande appearance
… almost 10 minutes and almost all the burger/fries gone, then magically arrives
√  as for extra blue cheese, comes when I have 2 cold wings left, hurray
√  at no time does the server check back on the food, ‘how is everything?’
√  and it takes almost another 15 minutes to pay the bill
√  at which time server again does not inquire as to satisfaction… of course, why ?
√  extra charges on bill, *we did not order, NO sour cream… and if that was an entry
… for the extra 1 ounce condiment size ketchup – then you have got to be kiddin’ me!! $2.00
√  yes, you did also charge extra $1.50 for the blue cheese, how cheesy
√  … here’s the ‘fails to mention’ part
… upon order of the burger, at no time did server disclose it was an extra $1.50 – lameo
… and if that isn’t enough you spelt ‘Guiness’ WRONG, have you no respect for the beer institution man?
√  notes left on bill with Christie, made her night too, eh?… just like you destroyed our dinner
after a long, long day, we have to indulge your incompetence?
… and for the love of god… do you really care more about your customers than your hair?
√  on way out we see same server in restaurant next door, hmm?
√  well that helps to understand, jake of all trades, master of none (hint: spread too thin?)
√  $5.00 extra in lame or fake charges, or 12.23092% of the bill

Yes, I am writing an article on your brutal service… but only once the 24 hour grace
period expires – for your earnest and straight honest reply.  If you don’t care, have
the guts to say so.  If not, I’m listening damn it!

Say nothing in reply, risk the punishment of death… for your business, I mean,
as it is not possible we are the only ones, not bloody way Mate!

Hint, or word of advice:  If you are going to hire pretty girls, then maybe, just
maybe you could consider… oh, I don’t know – instead of using them as demeaning props
– training them too!… just a thought!

** excerpt from:
A widget is a device placed in a container of beer to manage the characteristics of the beer’s head. The original widget was patented in Ireland by Guinness. The “floating widget” is found in cans of beer as a hollow plastic sphere, 3 cm in diameter (similar in appearance to a small table tennis ball) with a small hole in one side.

You want Another tip?  OK…
Don’t fry bacon with your shirt off,
keep your eye on the ball,
don’t eat yellow snow,
don’t talk to strangers,
read the map before you’re lost,
don’t tip drunk cabbies,
always use a condom, no glove = no love,
do not be rude to the elderly,
don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose,
don’t lend or borrow money from friends,
don’t get ripped off twice,
stop pretending you know what you’re doing, and have fun instead.

< end of my letter to the pub >

< e-mail from Mr. Steward – who did NOT call >

—– Forwarded message from “Cxxxx Sxxxxx Brewery” <> —–

(my note: isn’t it funny the pub initials CS, could also stand for ‘customer service’… hmm?)

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for your lengthy poignant note of complaint dated November 7.
While it is such a disheartening and deflating experience to receive
such a letter, I found your note to be somewhat entertaining and

I would first like to apologise for three things: I did not receive your
written message from my server so I was oblivious to your situation. Two
– I feel terrible that you were given such poor service and it has
declined each visit. Thirdly, I am sorry that you feel we misrepresent
our notes in the menu, assuming you are talking about our claim about

I assure you that we are doing our level best to train our staff to give
good service. We provide them with the tools and reference materials and
training shifts in an effort to give our customers their best possible
guest experience. Believe me, the server knows to get to a table and
take a drink order in the first thirty seconds of a customer sitting
down and all of our cooks know to cook the wings to piping hot. I
apologize that these essential, basic services were not met. It is a
relentless ongoing battle keeping the young people we hire sharp and

As time “floats” on here we do not see ourselves getting lazier and when
we tell people that we care we are not “kiddin'”. I will sort through
your comments and will discuss your poor experience with all of the
management team and the staff involved.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to write and I apologise
for your negative visit.

Yours truly,
Lxxxx Steward

< end of e-mail from pub owner >

JoEarth’s ending note:

I’m going back to being a vegetarian, oh sure once in while I might miss
chicken wings (my mom makes the best, old farm style)
and I never ate burgers much, but if I am
going to talk about caring, then I have to consider my actions too, and
Ghandi said that vegetarianism was one good way to take care of the planet.
Starting today, I am going to try it!… because yes, I do care
about caring
about the Earth.

Where are you today?

JoEarth, over and out(side)

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