UPDATE: Habitat’s manager, Matt, just came to Metrodeco in person to apologise and to explain that he’d been having a bad day. He also offered us a permanent trade discount of 20% in recognition that we are regular customers. Matt and Habitat deserve full credit for listening and for being big enough to admit they got it wrong. Matt was very nice and went to great personal lengths to put things right and we respect him for being a really decent human being, not ‘rude’ and ‘inconsiderate’ as we said below.
Looks like Habitat is fostering a culture of listening and people like Matt are at the forefront of this. Well done and sincere thanks to both.
Anyone who knows Metrodeco will know that we are usually only praise-worthy of other businesses – so this blog might give you an idea of how annoyed we are.
Anyway, having visited Habitat, I arrived home to find that the shop assistant had forgotten to put four cups into the bag he had been filling for me as he wrapped my purchases.
We’d been chatting pleasantly and there was a lot of wrapping to be done so he was probably distracted. Easy mistake to make and I certainly wasn’t going to hold it against him. Besides, all I’d have to do was call the store and ask for the items to be sent to my home.
Or so I thought.
When I rang a young woman answered (not the rude, inconsiderate person I mentioned above) and confirmed my items were there at the shop. But, to my surprise, when I asked whether they could be delivered, given that it was the cashier’s mistake and that I couldn’t get back to the store easily, she quoted company policies about ‘left items’. Though trying to be pleasant, she was actually very irritating. When I told her what happened, she questioned my version of events, saying “we don’t know that, do we?”. We? Who was ‘we’? I knew exactly what had happened.
She then told me Habitat couldn’t deliver because staff weren’t insured after they left the shop and that it would be an extra expense to the store. What?!? Was I actually hearing this right? I asked to speak to the store manager and the situation deteriorated rapidly.
The patronising, self important, couldn’t-care-less bureaucrat spoke to me as if I was some kind of idiot wasting his precious time.
To make matters worse I didn’t even get a ‘sorry’. Not even a conditional apology, like “we’re sorry if you’re right about what happened”.
This time I was told I had been done ‘a favour’ because Habitat had not re-sold my property or thrown it in the bin. I was told he had to be “objective” about the matter, meaning he would not admit it may have been Habitat’s mistake.
Exasperated by his tone, I asked him if he was reading from an autocue or an ‘idiot board’.
His reply came straight from the Basil Fawlty School of Customer Services. “Habitat can’t afford autocues. But if you want a board, I can get one from the office.”
Ha, bloody ha.
Just to be clear, most of the staff at this branch in Brighton are charm personified. Over the months I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds stocking my tea shop, Metrodeco, with pretty crockery and never had any problems with sales staff.
But this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the patronising idiocy of the store’s management. I was willing to overlook the first incident, even though I was upset, but enough is enough.
I seriously doubt a company with this style of customer services does something as customer service-orientated as monitor what people are saying about it on the internet.
But if you are reading, Habitat, understand this:
1. I’ll think twice before visiting your store again.
2. If a customer leaves the shop without their shopping, whether it is their fault or not, don’t start quoting paragraph 12, sub-section 4a of the Officious Twerp’s Handbook at them – just be nice.
3. And don’t, whatever you do, no matter how woefully poor your customer service policies are, be patronising, make fun of their frustration and immediately go on the attack. That’s just rude.
Helen Wilkinson, co-owner, Metrodeco.