It seems I had to pay a shopping visit to Auchan Vitan again to add an article to my blog. Too bad for me, though I’m working on my novels, too bad for them.
“Abandon all hope, yee who enter here.” Hope of receiving deferential attention—or any attention at all—and the right price, the right receipt, the right answers, you name it. Although the array of products is large, the very reason Auchan attracts shoppers, at Auchan Vitan you invariably stumble upon employees’ bad manners, bad temper, lack of communication, lack of knowledge—expertise would be too highbrow to use in the context—bad everything. In short, unprofessionalism. That’s why, I say, guard your shopping way throughout the store, and out through the cash desk!
Yesterday, a beautiful Friday as a matter of fact, I dared a venture: go shopping at… Auchan Vitan Bucharest. All seemed fine, at least till I got home and unpacked the shopping.
I couldn’t wait to grill a piece of sheatfish. I had bought two—one Romanian sheatfish, one exotic salmon—but was dead set on pampering my gustative buds on the former. Lo and behold, it had been weighed as salmon, three times more expensive. That’s when the proper day’s adventure began. I slipped on some clothes and went out the door headed back for the store, a small bag of bi-cultural fish in hand.
Professionalism, a dream
Both ladies at the public relations department were busy dealing with another two customers who denounced the same blunder: wrong pricing. When one representative—truly representative of what Vitan branch stands for—deigned address my problem, she overlooked addressing me properly, meaning, first and foremost, addressing me a mere look. While I spoke, she kept busying herself on either a computer on the desk—wow—or the telephone in hand.
I stopped and waited. Still ear glued to the phone and eyes to the electronic screen, she demanded a quick answer to an even quicker interrogation: did I want a refund or what? Whoa, things turned Gestapo-style, so I said yes, but won’t she at least look at me? The woman launched a fiery glare on the spot, and the target was me. Refund or products reweighed? That was her urgent dilemma, shot sharp and loud. But wasn’t she interested in the reason for my request? She said not. So wasn’t she going to report the error back to the fish counter? No, she was NOT.
OK, lady, I said, then could you please tell me what your job description contains? She said she had never heard of a job description. Then how come you’re on the job, I asked. What exactly do you do here? She gave a blunt answer: only sold cigarettes and refunded money. And nothing came with refunding—before, while, or after? Nothing at all, she said. What about complaints, where are unhappy customers supposed to submit complaints? Here, she said. Therefore receiving complaints was part of her job description. No such thing as a job description, but yes, she admitted she did what I had just described.
Although I hate writing complaints—don’t have time for that—I asked for a form, for her name, and also to see the supervisor on duty. She gave me the form, but kept turning a deaf ear to my other requests. She would not introduce herself, that was against the company’s policy, she sustained. I pleaded with the other representative present. “Call Mimosa,” the angry lady whispered in her ear. And Mimosa appeared.
I didn’t go to the trouble of explaining the wrong price tags, which had certainly been unintentional, just mentioned the proclaimed absence of job descriptions—poor management, I already knew that—and the employee’s refusal to introduce herself. At which first remark the angry one barged in: she never said that, she had been in possession of a job description for twelve years. Wow.
Stun-gunned while shopping
As Mimosa only shrugged shoulders, I tried a different approach. Could she kindly tell me why she wore a name tag? To identify myself to customers, came her prompt reply, and she introduced her full name. You see, dear lady, I asked the angry employee, turning in place to face her. Then insisted: why was she wearing a name tag? To comply with the firm’s regulations. And why did the firm’s regulations include that? Name tags were decorative accessories to their uniforms. That capped the climax.
At the end of debates, with phlegmatic reluctance, the mystery representative disclosed her identity, full: Mimosissima Something-Acidica. She had both a name and a signed job description therefore.
Healed through blog posts
Pudica excused herself in the name of the company. But Acidica, no way. Anyway, what else is there to say? Maybe that their manager is some kind of pharaoh, unperturbed, unreachable in his/her peak of the pyramid. When asked if I could ever see the big boss, Pudica rolled awe-struck eyes upward, toward an indefinite high, and said no.
That recalled my never getting an answer to a complaint submitted online two years before. Another gruesome adventure in the same shopping spot. That time I also came home and posted an article on this blog. That’s why I say writing can be therapeutic.