Thursday, September 6

Mama Kat's Prompt Day: The Scolding

Today's prompt topic is:
"Write about a time you were scolded…as an adult."
A dozen horrible memories from my flower shop days of "scoldings" immediately popped into my head.
There was a doozy in particular I'm going to share.

First, I have to explain a couple things for you to get the proper picture of the rules floral designers live by.
The flower shop I worked in was a Teleflora member. That means if someone anywhere orders a Teleflora arrangement, whether online or from a book in a store, I, as the floral designer, had to make exactly that arrangement, as closely as my supplies and flowers would allow.
A member flower shop can be heavily fined for not keeping this rule.  Many times the receiver of said Teleflora design wouldn't like it---because people tend to pick pictures based on their own tastes, not those of their friend or relative.
It was shop policy, though, to replace any arrangement with something the customer preferred of equal value, though sometimes people would just request a refund. In the case of out of town orders, refunds can only be made to the original sender through whatever service or shop they used, which necessarily means they'll be knowing you didn't like what they sent.
 Most people would rather just take the replacement. 

A Daisy Bubble Bowl
So, with that explained, on to my story:
Once upon a time there was a daughter living in another state who wanted to send her Mama some flowers. That daughter went online and ordered a "Teleflora Daisy Bubble Bowl" arrangement, such as pictured. Her Mama worked at the Officers Club on the nearby Air Force base, but instead of having it delivered, the daughter ordered it and called her Mama to pick it up.
It's a cute arrangement in a 6 inch "goldfish bowl" style vase listed for $39.99 not including tax and wiring fees. Just plain daisies with a bit of pittasporum greenery for weaving the stems through. It's not a very tall arrangement, because too much height makes the stems pop out of the bowl.
The designer working with me that day, Susie, put it together. She had a particular talent for the Daisy Bowls and it looked nice.
So at about 3:30 a friend of the Mama's arrived to pick-up the arrangement, which we'd carefully put in an open box to keep it flat in the car.
(Now I have no idea if her car was air-conditioned. It was summer in Florida with 90 degree heat and 80% humidity, so if the friend made that 25 minute trip back to the Officers Club without A/C---then those flowers would have arrived looking pretty pathetic.)
About 45 minutes later I was the unlucky person to answer the phone.
It was the Mama, screaming her dissatisfaction. She was an oriental lady, I could tell. She went on and on about how horrible the flowers were, how could anyone send such horrible flowers, etc, etc.
I didn't lose my cool, though, but went through my trained litany of solutions.
I first offered her that free replacement of her preference.
She flat refused, telling me she never wanted flowers from us again and that she was going to tell everyone she knew never to use our flower shop.
Since it sounded like she thought I'd just randomly sent this thing, I tried explaining to her that it was her daughter who had picked the arrangement from a picture in a book and that I had to do whatever was picked out.
Mama screamed, "Why did you let her?" and scolded me for letting her daughter pick out this thing she didn't like, as if I had any control.
Then she wanted her daughter to have a refund, to which I had to explain that only the sending flower shop could do that and it would involve her daughter having to know she didn't like what she'd sent.
More screaming and hollering ensued about how miserable our flowers and shop were.
I tried to be a sympathetic listener for a bit longer, but since she'd already refused a free replacement and a refund was out of my hands, there was little else left to do.
She kept me on the phone at least 7 or 8 minutes, screaming and carrying on, venting, repeating the same stuff over and over with no apparent intention of stopping. It was a deluge. 
Finally, out of desperation, I politely said something like,"Thanks for letting us know. I'll be sure to make a note of it. I'll be hanging up now."
I think I kept repeating that, keeping my ear near the receiver as I lowered it closer and closer the cradle. 
I could still hear her carrying on till the moment the receiver clicked into the cradle.
I felt bad about it, but the woman just wanted to scream and vent. If I'm not going to be allowed to fix it, what else is there to do?
At least she didn't cuss.
There are many other stories, but this was among the worst.
In remembering this, I told my husband how very glad I am not working there any more for just this sort of stuff.



Jerralea said...

How awful! I am glad you don't have to put up with irate people anymore.

I have to deal with people calling the church and asking for benevolent help. It's aggravating at times but at least they don't scream at me!

Classic NYer said...

Why do people yell at customer service representatives? Seriously, that's like the biggest waste of effort.

Visiting from Mama Kat's.

May said...

This is exactly the kind of interaction that makes me wonder if that little hut that the uni-bomber lived in out in the boondocks might be available for rent! Seriously, working with the public is such a challenge.

Carol said...

Working in "retail" is so challenging. I worked at JoAnn's for a very short period of time as an assistant manager. It didn't take me long to see that it wasn't for me. Dealing with rude, mean people takes a person with some very thick skin! And I don't have that. You did the only thing left to do.... hanging up politely.

Thanks for visiting my blog. And by the way, I love your background! I use it on my main blog.

kaye said...

I've always been glad to be a stay at home mom and grandma--my working husband and children are constantly sharing stories similar to yours. At least if someone scolds me at home they have to get over it or they don't get dinner. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

Azara said...

Working in retail and fast food in my teens convinced me that the general public is just not that bright, not to mention mean and nasty. It really says something about someone's character when they treat service people like that. And what a ridiculous thing to be upset about in the first place! "Argh, someone sent me flowers! My life is ruined; how can I go one?"

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