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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Customer Is Usually Stupid

For anyone not presently cognizant of the fact, I’m the assistant office manager at an upscale health and fitness club in NoVA. Most days, I love my job. It requires absurdly little work, I like the people I work with, and the people who are above me are very cool. The drawbacks, to the extent that they exist, are that I have to wake up at four in the morning to get there (though I am off every day by eleven) and that I have to man the front desk.

A touch of background:

The vast majority of our clientele is reasonably affluent. Most of them can easily afford the thousands of dollars they pay us each month to keep them looking attractive and relaxed. Or at least, their husbands can. So they tend to be somewhat picky. Which is fine – that’s the niche we’re trying to fill. But sometimes, their pickiness stops making any sense.

One other note: our club has several ‘zones,’ each of which has their own climate controls. So, for example, we can keep the cardio area at something like 68 degrees while keeping the locker rooms warmer in the winter months. Saturday, the climate control for the Yoga room stopped working. Luckily, it’s not as hot as it has been, but the room is still pushing the 80’s by the end of the day – not a pleasant, relaxing, Yogaistic experience. Sunday, the building sent someone to look at it (right at closing time – fuckers) and he explained that there was some sort of short in the A/C unit and he would have to shut the system off and come back Monday to fix it.

This, of course, screws me over huge.

See, Monday night Yoga classes are the most popular ones we have. They fill up weeks in advance. The people who have been waiting a while to get in are not going to be happy when the class is cancelled. And who gets to tell them? Of course, me. And our policy is that if we cancel, we have to give like twelve hours of notice. Meaning not only do I have to call twelve people to inform them that it’s cancelled, I also have to wake many of them up to do so. So Monday, 7:00 rolls around and I start to call. Mostly I get voicemails, though a couple people pick up, and in my cheerful manner, I let them know that it’s not our fault, but that they’ll be comped a free class.

Then the complaints start coming in.

And here’s what I don’t understand. I’m clearly not in a position to fix the problem. There’s a sign up apologizing, so you know for a fact that I am aware of the problem. So why do people feel the need to bitch at me? Yes, I am fully aware that you are paying to be here. Why do people feel the need to inform me that they are not in fact breaking in or stealing? I get that you’re a paying customer. I still don’t have the engineering degree that will allow me to change anything. No, you will not get a free month’s membership, a t-shirt or a free training session as a result. This should be self-evidently obvious to you.

Next time, I’ll just lie. I’ll say, “I’ll get right on that! And would you like a coffee while you wait?” before ostentatiously not moving from where I’m sitting. That’ll show them.

cranked out at 7:01 AM | |

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