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2005-08-09 09:33:11

Standards Of Service In The Bahamas

The standard of service of the salespersons in the stores I visited, bar one charming lady in Festival Place, was an exercise in how not to impress the customer.

A recent Z.N.S. Sunday report revisited the issue of standards of service in The Bahamas. The segment rekindled memories of my recent experiences on Bay Street  when I had strolled the tourist route to pick up souveneir items for family and friends In Europe. I returned home grateful that I had, after several hours, found  Bahamian items which were neither T shirts nor trinkets made in China and that I only have to embark on this mission once per year. The standard of service of the salespersons in the stores I visited bar one charming lady in Festival Place was an exercise in "How not to impress the customer". To spare any public enbarassment I will refrain from naming business houses. My brief account may jog the memories of those I encountered.

At a large souveneir store two attendants were deep in conversation at the cash register. My approach bearing three purchases did not interupt this exchange at all. Not only was there no acknowledgment of my "Good Afternoon", with absolutely no eye contact the items were taken from me, rung up and wrapped. Money was received and change given without the remotest indication of "Thank you". My own "Good bye" apparently fell on deaf ears. I left store number one feeling like an A.B.M. (Automated Banking Machine) on legs.

Round two took place in a small establishment down a shopping arcade. The lone sales staff here was in earnest conversation on the phone with her partner. Not her business partner I stress, as the content was along the lines of "Honey do you still love me".  The rest of it I was mercifully spared as her voice was lowered on my entry, more I feel for her benefit than mine. I was assisted by her younger relative who I presume she was babysitting.I did at least get a cheery "Come again" here from both parties as I departed. The telephone conversation was seemingly still running redhot.

Finally the jewelry store. On dear, it alternated here from being shadowed as if I was America's Most Wanted to half hearted "Can I help you?'", the latter comments thrown my way in between a free for all discussion of the upcoming holiday weekend's concerts and who was going to which event.

Believe me, in my time I have worked behind bars, waited tables and worked sales in stores and flea markets. I have witnessed on occasion retail staff and catering workers being unfairly abused and berated by customers, Bahamian and visitor alike, and  I have let it be known to the staff on these occasions that I do not condone such poor consumer attitudes.

Yes, I know the customer is not always right, and may not always be our much lauded "High Ender" or "Big Spender" but they should at the very least be made to feel other than an intrusion.

By: Margaret Watson in a letter to the Editor of The Bahama Journal

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