Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The consumer activist

I emailed Amtrak's customer service about that lousy tuna sandwich, and the sneaky high fare. I told them they should give me a $24.50 credit. Let's see what happens.
Sometimes, I have to admit, I am a real wuss about making demands on people. If the service is a little slow in a restaurant, I always think, ok, I've been there, waiting tables sucks, I'm going to cut them some slack. And there are numerous other examples where out of sympathy or non-confrontational wimpiness, I just haven't complained about things. But on other occasions, I have gotten fired up and spoken out!
There was that time I called Unilever about the rancid deodorant and got a refund and a whole batch of coupons. On another occasion, I wrote to Jockey about some tank tops that I felt had shrunk to an unacceptable degree, and they sent me a full replacement, along with a very detailed explanation of how that batch of cotton had been inferior and that they now had practices in place to prevent such lapses in quality control from ever happening again.
And back when I was in college, we used to like to get drunk and call the 800 numbers on products just to see what they'd say if we asked stupid questions. I had a very nice conversation about Lemon Pledge, I think? Or was it Endust?-- and whether it was appropriate for use on mirrors. (The lady I spoke to didn't think so, because it might leave a visible residue on a glass surface, since it was really intended for furniture.)
But I have yet to ask my local deli why they charge $1.95 for a smear of peanut butter.


Caitlin said...

I *love* that deodorant story (if that's not under your favorite posts it SHOULD be)

I hope amtrak gives you some SATisFACtion (sorry had a rolling stones moment there) and at least some cash or equivalent.

And re: the peanut butter...don't you mean a "schmear"? ;)

Anonymous said...

you clearly have a lot of time on your hands.

James L said...

You should totally challenge the $1.95 premium. Just make sure you don't piss them off or you'll have to look for another deli =(

Bitty said...

My daughter's friend is very vocal about demanding satisfaction. She gets replacement merchandise streaming into her home as a result.

MOST companies do care about customer service.

Years ago I bought a chocolate milk at a convenience store, took it back to the office, took a big gulp...and it was rancid. I called the dairy, where the PR rep seemed genuinely not to believe me. It couldn't have been sour! They have controls in place! She reluctantly agreed to send out free milk coupons.

In the meantime, I was thirsty the rest of the afternoon.

Then there was Outback. I got takeout; they flubbed the order in a small way. I was considerate enough to call after the rush. The manager was able to look up my order and confirm that I had paid for 'shrooms but not received 'shrooms. He offered to send a coupon for "an appetizer" which was more valuable than the 'shrooms I didn't get.

Imagine my disappointment when the "appetizer" turned out to be a bloomin' coupon for a bloomin' onion.

I have yet to cash it in, but when I do, I'm going to try to wangle for a different appetizer...or my 'shrooms.

Maybe I should quit getting food to go.