Clipping The Wings Of That Complaint Before It Can Fly

, , , , , | Right | February 2, 2019

(It’s our policy at our pet store to clip the wings and nails of the birds that go home. We are advocates of keeping bird wings clipped, as we receive so many calls of people who lost their birds because they were fully-flighted and flew right out the door. I’m working by myself and have a store full of people first thing in the morning while I’m trying to clean the cages. One woman is here to pick up two birds she bought over the weekend when I was not working. She’s rather strange and seems to think I should know who she is and what she’s here for without telling me. When I finally gather from her which birds she’s here for, I start to get them ready to go home. The birds are nervous because of the chaos in the store, so I take them into the office to clip them. As I’m finishing, the woman opens the office door.)

Customer: “What are you doing?”

Me: “I’m clipping their wings and nails.”

Customer: “Oh, well, don’t clip too much.”

(I’ve already clipped them, but we never clip enough for the birds to plummet to the floor when they try to take off, just enough so that they don’t fly around the room and smash into window or mirrors. In the craziness, one of them snagged its nail. It bled very little, but the nail is loose and will probably fall off. My boss tells me over the phone that if it seems like the bird needs to be seen by a vet to bring him down to the vet next door.)

Me: “I just wanted to let you know that the bird snagged its nail a bit. It’s not bleeding, but the nail will probably fall off. It doesn’t look all that damaged, though, and I’m sure it’s going to grow back. However, if you’re worried about it, I can bring him down to the vet next door.”

Customer: “No, I’ve got birds; it’s not a problem. I can handle it.”

(Since the woman doesn’t seem fazed by it and says she can handle it, I send the birds home with her. Later that afternoon, my boss suggests that I call her to be sure the bird was all right when it got home.)

Me: *on the phone with the woman* “I just wanted to be sure the little bird’s toe was all right and it hadn’t started bleeding.”

Customer: “Yes, it’s fine, but I’m very upset about that whole fiasco while I was there. I intend to talk to [Owner] about it.”

Me: “What fiasco?”

Customer: “I am an experienced bird owner, and I did not want my birds’ wings clipped.”

(The birds’ wings were actually already clipped before she bought them, and I just trimmed the very ends of them. Mind you, the feathers grow back in a short period of time.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, but that’s our policy when we send birds home.”

Customer: “It should have been discussed with me beforehand.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, but that is our policy. The owner will sometimes make exceptions, but no one told me that you didn’t want it done.”

Customer: “I’ll be talking to [Owner] about it.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry for the confusion. I’m happy that the little bird’s toe is all right, though.”

Customer: “Yes, it’s fine.”

(After that conversation, I called my boss to give her a heads-up. She said the woman was ridiculous and that it was our policy to clip. I know I had nothing to worry about, as the owner is very good about backing up her employees, but I like to let her know when she should be expecting a crazy customer to phone her.)

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