HomeLife & StyleTapman: It’s your job to serve me!

Tapman: It’s your job to serve me!


It’s been a while and I certainly have missed writing. As always I sincerely hope that life has been good to you.

Despite the various challenges I face, I strongly believe I am too blessed to be stressed!

One thing I must admit though, is that I do get extremely stressed about the low service standards in the country.

These days you shouldn’t be surprised to receive any one of these types of service :

l being stalked by security/shop floor personnel, as if you are about to rob the entire store;

l being “not” served by someone who is on their cellphone/or talking generalities to fellow co-workers;

l being given extreme attitude or the evil talking eye as in “I am not in the mood to help you today, just go away”; or

l being mass processed as if you are cattle at a dip, with the robotic “next please, NEXT!” And lest you have a genuine complaint, you can expect to have a manager who is willing to take you on, one-on-one, until the last man is standing!

Goodness, what happened to Zimbabwe being the friendliest of all the Southern African countries.

I think I will share a few examples that might help you, to explain to me, if I am being totally unreasonable or not. I went window shopping in one of the “’Dale” shops and immediate found I had a human shadow.

Everywhere I went, my shadow was sure to follow. To have a bit of fun, I stopped midstep, and turned my head around.

My shadow also turned its head around. I took a step forward, so did it. Seriously though, this man literally matched me step for step.

So, I asked him what exactly the problem was, to which he remained as quiet as a presidential guard. I decided to leave the shop as I truly felt uncomfortable. Probably that was the main objective, who knows?

At a neighbourhood pharmacy, where we would ordinarily expect good service, I walked in to buy some medicine.

The lady at the counter was on the cellphone in the middle of what was definitely a gossip session, which under no circumstances was to be interrupted.

The fact that I was a customer requiring service, was obviously of lesser importance. In my kindest, sweetest voice, I said, “excuse me, may I have a price for this?”

Her response was to signal that I should wait, then she turned away to continue with her important business of the day.

I went to a baby clothing shop, and only person there was a lady, who didn’t hide the fact that she was not in the best of moods.

I asked her if she had rompers for children, to which she gave me a very chilling look, that meant, please just look around by yourself, find what you want, pay and go away!

All this from one look! Anyway she did answer, and told me they were out of stock. I continued walking around the shop and there, right in front of my very own eyes, were, yes . . . rompers! I didn’t even bother to shop any further, I just took what I needed, paid and walked out.

As usual I got to thinking, where did this behaviour stem from. I remember the good old days when we were served with a smile, when the managers of stores were only called in to help under extremely dire circumstances.

Speaking of that, I had the misfortune of being short-changed at a till in a chain supermarket.

When I went back to the till operator, she was extremely polite and helpful, but had to call her manager to get permission to do a reconciliation.

Strangely though, it was the manager of the shop, who dressed me down with her eyes and told me repeatedly that I must have made a mistake.

The more I insisted that they check, the more rude she got. Eventually she consented, and after the reconciliation, it was found that indeed, the till operator had made a mistake.

The manager walked off in a huff, no apology, no remorse! Wow! Fantastic service indeed.

What is it with people these days? I know for a fact that not only Zimbabwe faces these challenges, it’s now a worldwide phenomenon, but having said that, there are some organisations that take customers so seriously, because they know their livelihoods literally depend on us.

What then is the real problem? Is it that shops are not investing in staff training anymore?

Could it be that staff are not motivated and driven to perform, because they feel underpaid and overburdened? How is it possible that personnel get away with what should be grounds for immediate dismissal? Is it that managers and top level personnel are not setting good examples?

Maybe, it is that despite how learned we are in this country, we are not taught how to serve.

I really don’t know, but if you have any idea, e-mail oldschoolvalues@ymail.com

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