Every now and then, it comes to my attention that I need to be boycotting this or that major corporation for their support and/or espousal of repugnant causes. Okay, I try to follow through with that, 'cause you gotta put your money where your mouth is, right? But I will here confess that the boycotts that I never waver on, that get all my unslacking boycott energy, and that I will evangelically share with people are two places closer to home. My own private boycotts. I am boycotting these places because they ticked me off.
I would love to tell you how.
The first place is the Hallmark store near my house. It is next to the Publix I go to all the time. Hey Carol's Hallmark, if you're reading this, good. This boycott is tough for me, because this store is my most local purveyor of Vera Bradley and Crocs. Those two brands are like the oxygen and nitrogen of my suburban lifestyle, I need them and they must be replenished regularly for smooth biological functioning. And yet.
Back in the Christmas season of 2009, I had a $5 off coupon for Hallmark. These coupons were in all the lady magazines at that time of year. I was over there with Hank and I thought I'd take him in and let him pick out a Christmas ornament. I thought the ornaments might be 7 or 8 bucks, and the coupon would make them a nice deal. So in we went. Well, Hallmark ornaments are more like 10 to 16 bucks and up. Even with the coupon, it didn't seem worth it, so we looked around the store. Hank, who was just 3 then, fixated on this display of little light-up cottages that played music. They were supposed to be strung together with other little houses to make a village, and they all harmonized together. Okay, this was something plastic and noisemaking, and I wouldn't have been eager to spend money on it, except that they were clearanced down to $7.50. "Cool," I thought. This is a great use of my coupon. It will be dirt cheap and Hank will enjoy it." So Hank carefully picked one out, with the music he liked best, and I carried it up to the counter.
The nice old man at the counter--I think he must be the proprietor--chatted with Hank and started to ring up my purchase. Then I produced the coupon and he drew back, his good cheer shriveling before my very eyes. "That coupon can't be used on clearance things." I turned the coupon over and looked at the back, all innocence. I read aloud, "Valid for all merchandise including sale items, at participating locations." I looked up, "Are you a participating location?" I said this in the most pleasant voice in the world. I chirped and glimmered. I am really freaking charming.
Reader, he snatched the coupon from my hand. Snatched. From my hand. "I guess we are now," he mumbled. He continued ringing up the sale in the most snatchy and grumpy way possible. I continued to radiate holiday cheer. "It just makes it that much a better deal," I said happily. I thought I would give him a chance to recover is politeness. "Not for us," he said.
Okay! Okay, asshole! You need to ball up your issues and keep them away from my holiday shopping experience. Clearly this guy had not read How To Win Friends and Influence People. He was too busy poring over How Coupons Do Not Work and How To Lose Customers Effortlessly. He made me feel that by bringing in this coupon (which Hallmark would reimburse their agents for) I was imposing on him and basically robbing them. Here I had come in to spend money in his store, having spent untold amounts on Webkinz and other Hallmarky gewgaws in the past, and he totally utterly screws up what could have been a chance to make a friend. Efficient.
When he handed me my package, I wished him a "Merry Christmas!" in the most dulcet and sincere way I could muster, and I enjoyed how he could barely bring himself to grunt in response. Then I left and I have never been back there in a year and a half.
What is so funny is how mad I was. I was fuming at being treated that way. I came home and told Matt all about it, and you would have thought somebody shot my dog. And since that day I have told anyone who would listen. I don't know if they're feeling the pinch of my boycott, but I have taken my custom elsewhere.
So annoyed! I'm annoyed just writing this. Have you had a customer service experience that got you in this state?
The other place is the Burger King near Laura's swim practice. I pulled into their drive-through to see if they had unsweet tea one day. No one spoke to me from the speaker, so I said, "Yoohoo?" Then a guy said, "Yeah, we hear you." And he was sullen about it. I said, "No need to be rude." Then I pulled out of line, drove away, and have never been back. This is difficult because it was a very convenient place to get beverages during Laura's frequent swim practices. I wouldn't feed their food to a dog, but I do like a large tea now and again. But oh well. When one is on a crusade against sullen behavior, one must be willing to suffer some discomfort.