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Consumer gripes: Here's what bugs me; how about you?

What bothers you? Is it the long lines at the supermarket? How about the gas station with an air pump that doesn’t work? Or maybe it’s dirty restaurant tables. Let me share a few of my gripes with you. And after I vent a little, please share your biggest gripes with me on the ConsumerMan Facebook page.Automated recordings while I’m on hold It’s never fun waiting on hold for a customer se

What bothers you? Is it the long lines at the supermarket? How about the gas station with an air pump that doesn’t work? Or maybe it’s dirty restaurant tables. 

Let me share a few of my gripes with you. And after I vent a little, please share your biggest gripes with me on the ConsumerMan Facebook page.

Automated recordings while I’m on hold

It’s never fun waiting on hold for a customer service agent to take your call. But I find the wait nearly unbearable when the recorded voice tells me “your call is important to us” over and over and over again. If I’m so dang important, then why don’t you have enough people to take my call within a reasonable amount of time? Once you’ve told me I’m important, please switch to music. 

Thumbs up: Some companies tell you the anticipated wait time, so you can decide whether to stay on the line or call back later. Comcast gives you the option of having a customer service agent call you back, usually within minutes. You can even schedule a callback at a later time. I used this service last weekend and it was great. Here’s a thumbs up to any other companies who do this sort of thing. 

Business cards

The most important information on a business card is your telephone number and email address. So why is this contact information always in mouse print? That’s bad design. Business cards must be functional and I wish the people who decide these things would realize that. 

Sales people who disappear as you approach

I find this happens most often at the big home improvement stores. Here’s the scenario: you’re walking down an aisle, clearly searching for something, and the sales associate makes it a point not to make eye contact with you. Rather, they take a turn and duck down another aisle. What’s that all about? I need help. You’re there to help. I can’t spend money unless I get help. 

Thumbs up: I like smaller hardware stores because they pride themselves on customer service.  Not only can they tell me what I need, they know where to find it and they can tell me how to use it. Big box stores may have lower prices, but service builds happy and loyal customers. 

Items with no price sticker and no price sign

I still remember the old days, when you could find a price sticker on everything. I realize that it’s cheaper for stores not to do that anymore (where allowed by law). But come on! You don’t put prices on the products and you don’t have a sign nearby.  Am I clairvoyant? 

This happens every spring when I go to buy new plants for the yard. And I always wonder if this is deliberate? Maybe they’re hoping I’ll head to the register without knowing the price and buy the wildly expensive shrub just because I’m already invested in the purchase. Not me, I walk away. 

Pilots who speak softly and mumble

I know you’re paid to fly the plane and not to be an announcer. But when the pilot has something to tell me – especially if it involves a flight delay or bad weather ahead – I’d really like to understand what they’re saying.  Please try to speak slowly and clearly. 

And if the flight crew in the cabin hears that the volume is too low, please do something about it. I know you’re busy, but this is important. In an emergency, hearing the captain could be critical. Thank you for your attention. Bye, bye now. 

I’d like to know your consumer gripes. You can share them with me on my Facebook page.