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The Bottom Rung Of Customer Service

, , , | Right | August 12, 2021

I need to change some signs at work so I have to get our tallest ladder out. The three-metre-high ladder is not tall enough for me to work safely on but, unfortunately, I am forced to do so by stretching as high as I can to reach the bar holding the sign without having to stand on the second rung. As I get the ladder into place, I see a customer at one of our displays.

Me: “Hi, is there anything I can help you with?”

Customer: “No, thanks. I am just looking.”

I start climbing the ladder, noticing that the customer is watching me from near the display. I get to the top and stretch up to get the bar holding the sign to incline it. I need to use both hands — a huge safety risk as you are supposed to always have three limbs in contact with the ladder. I have my legs braced against the ladder, trying and hoping not to fall, when I hear the customer calling out.

Customer: “Excuse me, I need some help.”

I am thinking, “You waited until I got all the way up the f****** ladder.” I step down to a safer rung.

Me: “Okay, is it just a question I can answer from here?”

She picks up the smallest thing on the display.

Customer: “How much is this?”

Me: “The price ticket is on the shelf; it should be right in front of where you got that from.”

Customer: “I can’t work out which one it is. I need you to help me.”

I have to get off the ladder, fully knowing she did this on purpose, and go to point out the price ticket that was directly in front of the product. She puts the item back then moves away but keeps an eye on me. I am positive she’ll do the same thing, so I wait until she finally leaves the store before going back to my task.

On a side note, management will do nothing about the ladders being too short. After coming close to falling, I refuse to use them, so they resort to having taller staff placing signs. I am only 158 cm — about 5’2” — tall. A few months later, all of our stores are given platform ladders that we can use safely due to being able to stand on a platform at the top that has a waist-high safety rail.

Manager: “Oh, [Corporate] must have finally listened to all of the complaints. There was a message to say that we were to stop using the other ladders immediately.”

Me: “You know that someone had to have fallen off a ladder for them to finally acknowledge there was a problem.”

Manager: “Yeah! I know, but I am trying to believe that someone somewhere in the head office actually has some brains.”

Me: “I bet not. I just hope that whoever fell didn’t get badly injured.”

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