4 Minutes with Little Miss Dangling Arms


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4 Minutes With Little Miss Dangling Arms

I  am not one of those people.  I write about great service, not bad service.  If I write about bad service it’s usually about how we the consumers aren’t as saintly as we like to believe we are.

But then Monday happened.  4 minutes of shock and awe(ful)

It was so bad it was almost funny.  It was actually funny.  Like out of a movie funny.

I’m not sure of the lesson here today.  Maybe it’s to say that even in a highly competitive market with technology alternatives ( and really, isnt that true for all of us? ) that service like this still exists or maybe it’s just to prove the old adage that you will indeed tell 10 people ( or um..a bit more if you have blog :)) if really bad service happens to you.  Not sure, but here goes.

Monday 11:41 am.

I had to go to this unnamed place.  You’re familiar with it I suspect.  It is a place where you can get a package to someone who needs it.  And boy,  was that ever true.   My 16 year son who lives with his Mom during the week 80 miles away, left his Galaxy S4 Smartphone on my kitchen counter Sunday as we were leaving.  For my son ( and for many of his ilk), that’s like leaving your severed limb in the wood chipper and knowing that in mere hours, certain death will ensue.  

“Hi, I need to make sure I get this package to my son tomorrow, I’m not sure the best way to do it.”

 “Where does it need to go?” she said.

 I gave her the town name. 

“Do you have the zip code?” she said.

“No, I’m sorry – I don’t remember it.”  I replied.

She stared at me.  Slight smile.  Arms relaxed by her side.  She stared at me some more. 

Awkward.  Really awkward I thought.  I concentrated and gave her a zip code that came to mind.  She typed it in.  “Nope,  that’s not it.” 

She stared at me.  Those arms dangling by her side.  Dangling by her side.

Finally I said “Do you want me to look it up?” I asked, as I reached for my IPhone.  I didn’t know what else to do.

She just smiled.

I googled it.  It took 2 sites and 5 clicks to finally get the zip code and I gave it to her.   And yes, as I googled it,  the shocking irony occurred to me.  I am standing in a place where the Zip Code must be King, where The Zip Code is probably an Ebook with a 5 part ethics pledge employees must swear to and where TV shows like 90210 run continuously in the break room.   And I can’t get a bloody zip code from anyone but me. 

And it wasn’t over. 

“Just fill the out the To and From addresses right here on this and it will be $16 dollars. ” she said.

“And when you are done with that,  Ann can help you.” she added. 

Ann?  Who’s Ann?  I thought.   I looked up from writing and then past Little Miss Dangling Arms and saw no one.

Before I could figure out who Ann was,  Ms. Arms slid forward a big plastic sign under my nose that said “Next Window Please”.

I looked left and saw who must have been Ann at that next window with 2 customers in her line. I returned my gaze to my now staff-less service desk and realized my 4 minute transaction would be much more than that as I was about to be getting back in line to Ann.

Heading back to my car after finally getting my son’s smartphone shipped off in an ice packed cooler, I realized the effort Little Miss Dangling Arms took to overtly not help me and make darn sure no one and nothing was getting in the way of her 11:45 am break.  Wow.

Now you know one of the all time lows in customer service.  Not sure how that helps but I think now I know why I wrote it –  I feel better having told um,  let’s call it 10 people. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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5 thoughts on “4 Minutes with Little Miss Dangling Arms

  1. Brown, Brent

    Sounds like the old Newcastle (Miramichi) Post Office. A lot of sighing and rolling eyes from behind the counter. Their favorite thing was to stand around talking to their friends while one clerk dealt with the 10-person lineup, literally out the door.

    I complained about it to a friend of mine one day. Unbeknownst to me, he had just been promoted to manager of Canada Post for northern New Brunswick. I was surprised when I went in one day a few months later and the staff was attentive and smiling. Same staff, new attitude.

    I hope you spoke a word in the right ear.

  2. Terry

    Hi Mark,
    Love your blog, it is always so refreshingly up to date on the latest trends within our society. When I’m faced with a situation like this I look around to see if any one else is picking up the subtle behavior and it seems like most people go into a trance while waiting. Sometimes I can’t help myself but make some obvious comment about the situation. Kind of stirs things up, to say the least. I find the best remedy is to pull out the electronic device and delve into it instead of being a victim to the situation, it’s surprising how fast the line begins to move.
    Keep up the good work
    Terry Porter

    • Terry- I’m so sorry my comment is late replying to yours. Thanks for you perspective and readership. Great advice for a work around to the situation! — you’re right– we are becoming accustomed and filling that void with electronic gadgets. sad.

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