Monday, October 20, 2014

He had to ask



I stood inside the empty Tire and Lube bay at WalMart, watching three associates butcher the simple act of taking information for an oil change. As my wife later said, “Do you wonder why you have no customers? Start with inept employees.”

Inept. That was the exact word I thought of as I held my temper in check and did not interrupt the incompetence, deciding immediate evaluation of ability might influence the associates’ performance of said oil change.

Then, two assistant managers walked in from outside, the man in the lead with a demeanor of “I am important,” and the trailing man with the look of “Yes, you are, and I am so lucky to be led by one like you.” The man in the lead walked past me, with no indication of my presence. The trailing assistant manager ruined my moment and his by asking, “How is everything going, sir?”

Aw, shoot. You had to ask, didn’t you?

By then both assistant managers had reached the door that led inside, but both stopped when I said, “Never have I seen three more incompetent people attempt to do a job.”

The senior of the two said, “What is the problem, sir?”

“First of all, we were not greeted. We had to find somebody to tell we wanted an oil change. Then, that man told us to go inside and give information to the man at the counter. We went inside. That man told us to go back outside and talk to the man who told us to go inside. The outside man took that device that enters information and fiddled with it and took out the battery pack and shoved the pack back and said, ‘Who used this last? I had to reset the batteries.’ Then he started poking at the device, but apparently nothing happened.”

Both assistant mangers by now had that blank look people get when they stop listening and just want you to go away.

I said, “Do not tell them now, because I do not want them to screw up the oil change.”

The senior man said, “Well, sir, we apologize for any inconvenience and we are sorry your experience was not better.”

I turned away then. The two men went somewhere.

When my wife joined me and we were inside the store, away from Tire and Lube ears, she said, “Umm, umm, umm.” (If you are not from the South, you might not recognize that as a lady keeping her cool and not uttering remarks on the parentage and intelligence of an inept person or persons.)

“I know,” I said. I then told her of my conversation with the two assistant managers.

That was when she said, “Do you wonder why you have no customers? Start with inept employees.”


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