Today I had lunch at the local Subway (The as in “one of the four”) and witnessed an interesting scenario.
The woman in front of me ordered a foot long turkey sub on white. As the artiste was creating his masterpiece, I could see this woman growing visibly distraught. Her shoulders slumped and her head started shaking back and forth, back and forth.
"Why did you take it from the bottom?" she asked as the sandwich craftsman laid slice after slice of mechanically sliced turkey.
He looked up, surprised, still laying slices. “I’m sorry?”
"Why did you take it from the bottom? Usually you take it from the top."
"I don’t know, I just grabbed some," he replied, implacably laying yet another slice.
"I don’t understand. I’d feel better if you took it from the top."
"It all comes from the same package. It’s all the same."
At this point, another artisan came over. “What’s going on?” she asked.
"I want to know why he took it from the bottom. It seems like he should just grab it from the top."
"It doesn’t really matter," the second sub whiz replied, "sometimes you just grab it from a different place."
"I’d really rather not have it from the bottom."
At this point, both of the creators looked at her blankly and then offered up yet another defense of the offending sandwich technique.
"Never mind, I don’t want it," said the woman and walked out with her head down. Both of the sandwich people gave me a "God, how crazy was she" look and then muttered to each other while they threw the sandwich masterpiece away.
So… what? Why bother relaying this story? I’ve been in customer service positions before and I know there are customers you can’t do anything about, but this woman? I’m pretty sure she wasn’t one of them. This was someone that a simple apology and an offer to start a new sandwich would probably have defused everything. But the employees were more concerned with defending their actions instead of pleasing a customer. There wasn’t even the slightest bit of concern or empathy in their response to her. I don’t feel like they did anything wrong, but I also don’t feel like they did much right either.
What do you think?