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Outsourcing To A Third Party Often Ends In Disaster

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I am a personal shopper at a chain grocery store. My company offers “delivery,” but instead of using their own associates to deliver the groceries, they use a third party “choose your own hours”-type company. The drivers in our town choose not to drive in the evenings. Ever. If a customer places an order for delivery for an 8:00 or 9:00 pm timeslot, they are not getting their groceries.

This is annoying for everyone involved because customers don’t get their items and call us to complain, but there is nothing we can do except submit a request for a driver, suggest they come to pick up their items themselves, or cancel the order. Naturally, we are the ones that bear the brunt of their anger. I 100% believe that these customers have the right to be angry and definitely should find the right channel to complain to. Again, I really do empathize with them.

Most customers eventually accept a corporate number they can call and make a formal complaint, but this story takes the cake. It is the day after Thanksgiving at around 3:00 pm.

Customer: “Hello. I am calling about an order that was placed on Wednesday for 9:00 pm. I never received it. This is the third time I’ve called.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I talked to you on Wednesday night. I was not able to schedule a driver for your order.”

Customer: “I know. I told you I couldn’t come to get it because my truck is broken down, and you said you would keep requesting a driver until 10:30. I stayed up all that time waiting for my groceries and they never came. I am very unhappy about this, as you can understand, so I called earlier today and talked to somebody who said she was the manager. She told me she could cancel the order and I’d get a refund. The money is not on my account yet and I’m calling to find out why.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. It takes three to five days for the money to get processed.”

Customer: “Well, that is entirely unacceptable. I can only afford to buy groceries one day at a time, so I have had no food in my house for two days because of this. I need that refund right now because I have no money to buy food. I want my $98 back on my account right now.”

I’ve pulled the customer’s order up on the computer. It was for $49.

Me: “I am so sorry about that. Unfortunately, I can’t do anything to speed up that process. I have a phone number for customer service I can give you. They might be able to authorize a faster refund.”

Customer: “I don’t want to call a different number. I want you to do it. Give me back my $98!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m looking at your order. I can see you purchased a turkey, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, a pumpkin pie, and a few sodas. It says your total was $49. Where are you getting the $98 from?”

Customer: “The rest is for my pain and suffering because you ruined my Thanksgiving!”

Me: “I think you’d better call the customer service line. They have the authority to offer you some additional compensation.”

Customer: “You know what? You’re an idiot. Your whole department is made up of idiots. You completely ruined my Thanksgiving and won’t help me. I will never shop there again and will tell all my friends never to shop there. You’re all a bunch of motherf*****s!”

She hung up. Part of us did really feel bad for her. We understand she had financial hardship, and this is the kind of thing that makes us wish we could do deliveries ourselves. Most of her order had been substituted anyway, since it was placed the night before Thanksgiving — ham instead of turkey, sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin, etc.

But any food would have been better than none, and if we’d have been allowed, we’d have been glad to take it to her. Still, there wasn’t any more we could do. We do not have the authority to offer her more than what she paid. I hope she called and complained to someone who actually could help her.

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