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Category Archives: customer service

I Get Decked

And of course I mean decked as in knocked on my keester, not all decked out to go on a fun date. Some of you may recall my last week’s post about how I scrubbed the deck. This week I was determined to get it stained.

First I went to Aubuchon Hardware in Herkimer, NY, to buy the stain. I love to go to Aubuchon, because they are so helpful there. First I tried not to ask for help. I looked at paint cans till I saw some that said “stain” or “deck,” then I read labels till I found a can that looked good. I hesitated between two paintbrushes, but chose the less expensive one that said “Best” on the package. I thought, why would they lie? I looked at rollers, but decided it was time to ask advice. I was tired of carrying the paint can around with me anyways.

A young man at the register said he would let the resident paint expert, Ruth, take care of me. Ruth has helped me before with other stupid questions (I pretty much don’t have any other kind), so I was glad to wait for Ruth.

She looked at my can of stain and pretty much told me it was the wrong thing. She suggested something that would let the wood grain show through. Did I know what color or would I want to leave with some samples and decide? Oh, no, I would decide NOW. And, Ruth said, I would need a clear coat over top of it.

“I need two coats? Do I have to wait 48 hours for it to dry?” The thought was appalling. But, no, I could do both coats in one day. My plan to begin my container garden next weekend could still happen (I’m not saying it will; you know me).

Ruth shook up both cans (stain and clear coat), and we talked about rollers. She told me I could put the stain on with a roller then brush over it, doing the deck in sections. The manager came over at that point, and she told him there ought to be a video to show customers how. He said there was and called it up on the computer.

The video was actually a training session for employees. It turned out there was no application demo, but in the course of looking at parts of it (we did not watch the whole thing, thank goodness), we discovered there was another kind of stain with the clear coat built right in. I could do one coat! Yay! Ruth found that one for me in a color I thought was nice.

She advised I get liners for the roller tray, a thing I had not even considered but decided she was right: they are a good idea. She found me a tray with came with a roller handle (that I thought I needed) and a roller I can use another time when I paint something. Ruth also found me the roller specifically for stain.

I thanked her profusely for her help and patience, and I praised her knowledge. Graciously accepting the compliment for the whole store, she said she was glad to and that was why they had such training as the video we had looked at.

It was a tiring session at the store, especially after a long day of work, but I felt I was prepared for my upcoming adventure. I’ll continue the tale with another post, and you can hear about me really getting decked.

Aubuchon is at 105 N. Caroline St., Herkimer, phone 315-866-4931.

Just Be Nice

I try to keep this blog positive. It’s not that I have a problem with negative. In fact, sometimes when I read the reviews in Entertainment Weekly, I skip anything higher than a C+ (sometimes I don’t read any; when did movie reviewers get so easy to please?). But my purpose here is to be a booster for the area. I want to highlight something my readers might like, not warn them away from things they might not.

That makes it difficult when I go to a local business and do not have a good experience. I’m not going to warn anybody against any places where very possibly the staff was merely having a bad day. But I am also not going to give a positive review where one is not deserved.

Under these circumstances and given some recent experiences, I can only offer, without naming names or using identifying characteristics, is a rant about Dealing with the Public. I will preface this by saying I’ve been there! I know. In fact, I could do another whole blog post on what stinkers customers can be and you should be nice to service personnel (ooh, that can be my topic for tomorrow).

The first thing I have to observe is that it is not too hard to smile. You don’t have to gush, give compliments, chat me up, etc. You don’t even need to make recommendations or give positive feedback on my selections. But maintain a pleasant demeanor. Maybe you hate your job. Maybe you just helped the absolute worst customer in the world. Or your boss yelled at you for something that was not your fault. Or you just got horrendous personal news. Or you have a raging sinus headache or other physical pain. We’ve all been there (and if you haven’t been there, please go away; you have led too charmed a life to consort with us mere mortals). But here’s what I found: if I somehow, some way managed to be nice to the next customer, very often that customer would be nice back to me. And that would make me feel better.

To all retail and restaurant people out there who are doing your job to the best of your abilities and striving to stay pleasant: THANK YOU! To those of you who are being unpleasant, or neglecting to ask my husband does he want more coffee (he almost always does) (too specific?), or committing other infractions against good customer service, I doubt you know who you are. But I hope you start having better days soon. Then maybe I can give you and your employers a positive blog post.