Friday, May 15, 2015

Why It Matters That I Got Shitty Service At The Best Buy (Hint I Am Disabled/Sarcoidosis)

I got shitty service at my local Best Buy. It was not the first time but it was the first time since I have been disabled. I was trying to buy my wife and Iphone 6 plus for our seventh wedding anniversary. Lucky number seven! I posted some stuff on Facebook about my problems at Best Buy and through that interaction things became clearer to me and thus for those reasons I will post a bit of what went on the ye old Facebook:

"Can anyone recommend a place to buy a cell phone? Sarah would like an Iphone 6 plus and would prefer to have good customer service. Also reminder the Best Buy on (location deleted) still has really crappy customer service, it is usually years between my visits there and I always forget until I get there and in the past we have sucked it up and just purchased what we came for and left but this time were like no and maybe it would be better if the Best buy employees did work on commission because when someone comes into buy a phone, not browse, they might actually try and sell her one instead of ignoring her for forty minutes. Commission is not always a bad word."

I got a lot of responses from friends making suggestions on where they had good experiences. I also had a friend that I did not know well but I knew in real life (not just a Facebook/Online friend) and they knew someone that worked at the Best Buy in question. They indicated there was a great deal of turnover and literally had junkies shooting up in the bathroom at that Best Buy location. This friend is someone I respect and admire, they are intelligent and thoughtful and I think my response was out of proportion:

"Unfortunately only people at the Cell Phone Station can help us or I would go back for your friend at the (department deleted), After forty minutes I said can you call someone over to help us and the young man said no, after these two employees at the cell phone station refused to acknowledge us or make eye contact for forty minutes. I managed the most robbed 7-Eleven in Utah for years and we were near a court mandated heroin rehab felicity. My two my common workman comp claims I filled out for clerks being beaten during a robbery or stuck with a needle emptying trash, I wish I was being hyperbolic. If anyone on my staff treated someone like these two I would have fired them. I am going to admit that I fired more people than other manager I knew but I also had less shrink (employee theft) and better sales year to year than them. I had a really hard time hiring employees after the month where the store was robbed five times in one month and corporate would not allow increase the hiring wage to be competitive with the environment and eventually when they started franchising stores I was one of the first to be laid off because of my complaining. Eventually corporate fixed the problems at the location after I was gone. The manager that took over got crushed and literally had two weeks worth of deliveries sitting on the floor waiting to be shelved, they are supposed to be put away when they come in. She did not last and eventually they started allowing more hours and higher wages I think the mistake I made was staying there so long. I think that competent people in horrible companies keep the companies from fixing things and the grass is often greener. I say to all of you who will listen if you are in a bad situation at a minimum transfer stores and you should probably quit. The next company I worked for was so much better and when they went bankrupt the company that took them over made a position for me, my job was eliminated because the new company did it in another state. They knew I was horribly sick and saw the value in me after a couple of months of working with me and even knowing the health liability they still hired me and they were/are concerned for me and treated my well. This taught me that I should have started looking sooner. I am not saying walk in tomorrow and quit but start looking for another job, a job where you don't have to make excuses for the company you work for. Sorry I sit at home and have a lot of time to type. Last things four other employees walked by and did not ask if we were finding anything okay, I am not saying they are not overworked I am saying is you should not stay somewhere that is run so poorly you can not do your job. A little sore subject for me that I spent twelve years of my life loyal to a company that looking back treated me really awfully. I mean I could tell you stories."

First in my defense everything I said in that reply was accurate but upon reflection it seemed to have more fire than would seem appropriate. I started with some introspection and you are not going to believe this but it is related to sarcoidosis.

Second let me just say this again, everything I said in that reply is accurate. The company I went to work for after 7-Eleven went bankrupt and when the new company acquired them they gave the employees that stayed on their seniority. That is important because I am going to relay an anecdote about my five year employment award with the last company I worked for and I did not work for them for five years.

The reason all that almost unreadable nonsense above matters is because at my five year employee acknowledgement ceremony I cried. After the vice president in charge of Utah said some nice words and gave me my five year award they asked for a few words, also for the record their were other people at the ceremony getting awards for various years of service but I can't remember anyone else who was there.

I was sick the day of the awards, I did not have a cold I had sarcoidosis. The sarcoidosis had gotten progressively worse since I had been diagnosed and at this point I could still legally drive but I had a hard time wearing shoes and I could not get in and out of chairs and I was not on oxygen yet but I could not walk very far without being out of breath, in other words I knew that my days of working were coming to a close. When I say I knew it, I did not know it know it but I knew, knew it if you know what I mean.

Why did I cry?  Well first off the VP had made sure there was a big comfortable chair for me to sit in or it might have been his assistant that made sure but the point is somebody made sure there was a big chair for me.  I am a big guy and those conference room chairs with the arm rests squeeze my fat in unpleasant ways and at that point there was a lot of fat because I had been on huge doses of prednisone daily for quite some time and that stuff makes you eat and eat and eat like you can not imagine unless you have taken it.  That was a digression but I am back on target and not just because red leader told me to.

I get up to give my let speech and I kind of knew what I wanted to say but I did not have anything written or planned out but anywho I start talking about what a privilege it is to be able to serve and help people and I start to cry.  Looking back gives me a little more clarity on why I was crying so here let me lay some clarity on you.  First it is a privilege to be able to help people, when someone is upset or sad or even hopeless and you can diffuse the situation, bring them a little joy or show them there is some hope it brings you a feeling that would be hard to put into words but here I go.  First it is a sense of accomplishment but it is more than that because it is not like a built a book shelf kind of accomplishment it is you may have been the little nudge in someones life that turns things around for them.  I know if it had not been for some nudges in my life I would be dead or in prison or in jail or in a trailer park, you get the idea it would not have been good.

That last paragraph may have appeared to be self aggrandizing and that is because it was but I did help a lot of people a little and few people a lot.  

When I take a step back from the step back I have already taken I find that it might be I am jealous.  I am jealous of their ability to work.  I don't understand people that don't take pride in there work but before I go down another rabbit hole of me lecturing kids on their work ethic lets get to the heart of the matter.

That heart of the matter?

I can't go to the store when I want.  I have a handicap placard and when I get out of the car with my walker and oxygen tank nobody writes a nasty note saying I shouldn't be using the handicap spot.  When the stars align and the moon comes out and there is a partial eclipse and something optional seems like it could be an option and then I go and be ignored by people that are paid to help me.  When I ran a 7-Eleven I would have disabled folks come in and I would say let me know if there is anything I can help you find which was my worried way of trying to get across if you need help I am here and if you don't I wasn't saying anything to the contrary.  We had to go to these classes about how to comply with the Americans with disabilities act and it seemed weird and nebulous but now that I am disabled it has become much more clear.

The law says you must make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled folk the same access as abled folks.  I will say I do not think these two employees had been given any training about people with disabilities but just on a human level the thing I find unreasonable is this:

There are two associates working the cell phone station at Best Buy and each one of them was helping a customer, there was a line of one me.  Over the forty minutes I was there it would have been reasonable that they acknowledged I was there and that they knew I was waiting in line, second I watched a manager run in and give one of them an override for a refund and he did not acknowledge me, I also think it is reasonable to have managers that are capable of filling as needed and I think in the same way I have a handicap permit I would hope just on a human level people would want to help someone that can not do for themselves but more than that I think that is why the law exists.  This happened weeks ago and I have not been able to make it out again to shop for a cellphone for my wife.

Is it Best Buys fault that I am disabled no, is it there fault they ignored me and did not make any efforts to reasonable accommodate me yes.  Yes I am aware that I am asking for special treatment and I would forward that as a society we have decided that I should get special treatment.  I get to have a reserved parking space closer than everyone else and if you so saw someone who was not disabled taking that spot what would you say?  In that same vein should someone with a disability get special treatment in a store, I am not sure I have been on both sides of this debate in my head but what I am leaning towards this:  if I was able bodied would I want them to help a sick person ahead of me in line and the answer to that is yes but going even farther if an associate asked me to wait while they helped someone who was disabled would that be what I wanted?

I think the answer is yes, I am not sure but I think the answer is yes.

Just one last thing even if I wasn't disabled that was really shitty service from the Best Buy and I think the fact I am disabled makes it even shittier.  

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