introdogOoooh. . . we all have a service story that has left us spitting and sputtering. I’ll bet that at one time or another, every one of us has left an establishment saying, “How in the world do they stay in business?”

I know you’ve got some customer service horror stories that you’d love to tell me, but here’s one of my own. In fact, by the time I’d finished with this ordeal, I was so mad my chin quivered!

Several years ago, I needed a new microwave.

Now I’m not mentioning any names, but I went shopping at a famous Bed & Bath store – the one that sends out oversized postcards with 20% off coupons.

In fact, I used to do all my shopping there ­ throw rugs, towels, salad bowels, etc. Not anymore. . But, I digress. . .

So, I’m in the market for this new microwave, and I select a model based on the fact that it’s cheap, & it comes with an additional $10 rebate.

The sales staff practically fell over themselves helping me make this purchase.

They put the over­sized box in my shopping cart, ushered me to the check out stand, and then escorted me to the parking lot, where they helped me load the microwave in my car.

Now, I just had to get it in the house without dropping it– in the dark – and, oh, did I mention it was raining cats & dogs?

But, after my great experience at the store, I was feeling pretty good, so even at 10 o’clock in the evening, I successfully unpacked and installed the microwave.

Wait a minute . . . . . . where was my gosh darned $10 rebate?


After going through the trash and turning the box over and around to hunt for the rebate, I concluded that it wasn’t there.

Now, this may seem like a simple problem, but I was really annoyed. I work extremely long hours, never having time to make personal phone calls or take a lunch ­ let alone call customer service over a $10 rebate!

Jeesh . . .

                    . . . time to call Customer Service

(Did I mention that this was all because of a $10 rebate?)

Now it wasn’t the money (I could easily walk away from $10 – which would’ve been the easy thing to do), but it became the principle of the thing, so being a Customer Service Professional (I can do this), I pursued the matter.

One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy – they picked up the phone in 3 rings! Great! But . . .

. . . the Rep didn’t say her name.

Uh oh, my customer service antennae went up immediately. RELAX. Just because someone answers the phone incorrectly doesn’t mean anything. . . or does it?

So, I asked the Rep for her name – and do you know she tried to change the subject to avoid giving it to me?

Grrrr . . . bad customer service

I was beginning to feel a bit snippy and snarly over the name thing . . .

. . . but WAIT! It gets better.

Granted, the rep should have said her name, but I was willing to overlook that little detail.

I began to tell her my story about the microwave, the rain, and the missing rebate. I took total blame. I said that I must have been too tired and just overlooked it. However, I saved all the packaging, so where was the rebate located?

The rep proceeded to tell me my mistake. Yep. . . you heard me right. She actually used the word “mistake.” She then compounded the problem by telling me what I did “wrong!” and what I “should” have done.


Was I hearing her correctly? I know how to handle complaints, and the cardinal rule is to . . .

. . . NEVER tell the customer what they did wrong!

It was all more than I could bear. . . My chin started to quiver. Apparently, I was supposed to ask for the rebate form at the check out stand. (Why didn’t they tell me that at the store?)

The rep made me feel like an idiot!


This silly rebate thing had managed to strip me of my dignity and diminish my “power.” Well, she had done such an excellent job of “baiting” me,

I decided to “bite.”

bad customer service

The gauntlet was thrown. I went toe to toe with her – pointing out all her errors – and demanded an apology. (Yeah, right. Like I was going to get that any time, soon!)

I don’t lose it very often, but when I do, my husband always grabs my wrist and checks my pulse as a way of getting me to laugh at the situation. Since he wasn’t around to administer CPR, I decided to be the adult, took a deep breath and tried to . . .

. . . get this conversation back on track.

I had one last hope. Sh–­­ happens. And, every customer service representative worth their salt knows how to “Make It Right” – right? Ok, not everyone. This representative’s idea of how to make it right was to tell me to . . .

. . . go back to the store and ask the clerk for the rebate form.

Nuh uh. . . I don’t think so.

Did I mention it was Christmas, raining, and next to a Toys “R” Us? The freeways and parking lots were jammed! You get the idea, this suggestion was not received well. I’m never going back there again!

Let’s just say this wasn’t a good experience. I thought the service was great, but I soon realized that . . .

. . . this company didn’t know how to handle a problem!

When there’s a SNAFU ­ the service can really fall apart – and you can lose valued customers. Needless to say, they finally wore me down, and I walked away from the $10 rebate.

But, I did get my revenge! I’ve told this story to thousands of people over the last 10 years. And now,

I’ve gone viral!

bad customer service story

Thanks for listening!

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