Monday, April 13, 2015

The Burden of the Stress Catcher

What is a "stress catcher"? One who is the designated listener to everyone's problems. Yep. That's me. I remember being in 3rd grade and sitting in the school cafeteria. A classmate of mine was sitting across from me and she looked distraught. She had big blue eyes and frizzy blonde hair. We never really talked that much, but she was one of the more popular girls in school. I made the mistake of asking her a two word question: "What's wrong?"

Five minutes later I was privy to her "boyfriend problem." Of course, 9 year olds had different "boyfriend problems" back in the 70's than the 9 year olds do today. She was upset that he didn't carry her books like some of the other boys did for their girlfriends. None of this resulted in me offering any advice or anything. All I did was listen and empathize and my unofficial stress catching career was a go. 30+ years later I'm doing the same thing.

I'm the go-to-guy when people have problems. From ages 13 to 53, I've heard so many stories just within the past year alone. 75% of the time they want my opinion.  I try to be open, honest, and unbiased.  I rarely sugar-coat anything because the direct truth is sometimes needed.  The other 25% of the time I just sit, listen, and console if applicable.

The downside to all of that is that people will always view me as their "rock" or "problem solver." Because of that they will never ask me "what's wrong?" when I'm going through something.  So I've learned that when something is going on in my life that I need to speak up.  I volunteer information because I rarely get asked the question, "what's wrong?"  And who can blame people for not asking?  I'm always the one who's smiling.  I guess they think, "How could he ever possibly have a bad day?"

But, that's the burden of a "stress catcher."  Although it can be difficult at times, I'm good with it. Everyone has a purpose in life and I know that one of my purposes is to be a "stress catcher." To help people carry the load so that they can acquire just a little more happiness in their life.

There will always be a sign outside of my door that states, "The Dr. is in."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

HORRIBLE Customer Service at @DestinationXL

And I stress the word "HORRIBLE!"  However, this is par for the course in today's America.  A lot of today's companies have little interest in keeping you satisfied as a customer.  They just want your money.  If you're inconvenienced or wronged in any sort of way by them then that's just something you have to deal with on your own.

I went to Destination XL (Jackson, MS) on 3/16 to find a new pair of dress pants.  I've shopped at this particular location for at least 10-15 years.  Before they re-branded themselves as DXL they were known as Casual Male.  I don't know the employees in the store by name, but I've shopped there long enough for us to recognize each other's faces.

I found a pair of pants in my size for the waist, but the length was too long.  After all, they're called "Big & Tall" stores and not"Big & Short."  So, the lady who worked there asked me if I just wanted to order a pair online from within the store and have it shipped to my house.  Although I needed the pants sooner than later, I decided to go with that option rather than buy the lengthy pair I had in my hands and paying someone to hem them.  The lady verified my info, placed the order for me, and told me that it would be 5-7 business days.  I got my receipt and left satisfied.

Today (six business days later) I received a package in my mailbox.  Although I'd hope to get the pants in 3-4 days, I wasn't upset because it did arrive within the window they promised.  I got the package inside and popped it open.  Instead of a pair of black slacks, I pulled out a Carolina blue polo shirt in a size 7XLT.  Now, I'm a big dude, but I'm nowhere near a 7XLT.

I double-checked the receipt to see if I received the wrong package.  But the receipt showed that the package contained one pair of black slacks although that's not what I received.  Go figure.

Now, I'm a bit ticked off that I've waited a week to get the wrong order.  I know that it's not the fault of the employees in the store, so I don't show my frustration.  The lady took my receipt and a manager showed her how to refund my item without the item actually being present.  She asked me to sign a receipt showing a credit back to my card and she handed me a copy.  I said "thank you" and she said "you're welcome" and she went on about her business.

I paused for a second and thought that surely at least I'd get an apology, but no, that wasn't the case.  Despite waiting a week for merchandise I never received and having to make a 2nd trip to the store, I never even got a "we apologize for your inconvenience."  And as petty as that sounds, because I left that store with a bad taste in my mouth I don't plan on ever shopping there or any of their locations again.  I will order my items strictly online or go to the mall.

I'm not one to look for a handout just because a mistake is made.  You don't have to give me a coupon or something free.  However, when a mistake is made I do expect an employee to apologize on the company's behalf.  I definitely expect a manager to know better.  But these two employees didn't feel the need to do that.  They're probably not even trained to do so because why should Destination XL care how I feel?  Either I'm giving them money for their product or I'm not.  Fat people have to shop somewhere, so they know that I'm not going to Old Navy without a serious weight loss plan.  Why bother to put forth the effort to satisfy me?  And I know this may have had more to do with the actual people than the store itself, but I have had other complaints about DXL that I'm omitting at this time.  This was just the icing on the cake.

An apology can go a long way in any situation, business or personal.  I stopped doing business with Edible Arrangements because of their lack of empathy in screwing up a Valentine's Day delivery.  How are you going to deliver something after everyone has pretty much left the office for the day?

But some people wait for you to start to walk away before they apologize.  I'm sure that if I would have said, "I'm never shopping here again" that I would have received an reactionary apology.  But, I've been coming there for 10-15 years.  I'm not going anywhere else, right?


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