Customer relations: some people never learn. These people won’t get a next time:
1. I won’t go back to any shop where staff cruise around accosting me with “Hi there, how are you?” I invent babbling answers too late: “I’m great – and you? How are the twins?” Or “Funny you should ask – I’ve just come out of hospital and you wouldn’t believe what they found!”
2. No one I’ve warned should be going to the diner where I ordered coffee and a muffin. It was eleven in the morning and there was no one in the place except for a waitress who hadn't bothered to clean any of the tables until I sat down at one, which she then wiped right under my nose. When it came the coffee was fine – hot and rich. The muffin was disgusting. It had been split, and clearly toasted on the same smelly, greasy hot plate as burgers. When I went to pay, the waitress said "everything OK?" I explained why I hadn’t eaten the muffin, but she wasn't listening, because she said “that's good!” as she took my money and rang it up. Yes, I paid, but I shouldn’t have.
3. I wonder what the kitchen's like at the fairly expensive restaurant where someone at a neighbouring table dropped a knife on the floor and a passing waitress picked it up and placed it back on the table, albeit with a smile.
4. The staff at the soft furnishing store where I went to buy some curtains, or have them made, need to brush up on customer relations. While I was looking at ready-mades, a middle-aged assistant appeared at my elbow. She asked the measurements of the windows. I told her and she said “Too wide. You’ll just have to have them made, won’t you!” and stalked off. So did I, right out the door.
5. I was shocked by the waste disposal people who were incandescent with rage at the new city council rubbish collection service. They took it out on their customers by posting an answerphone message so vitriolic that when I rang to arrange a pick-up, my phone nearly melted before I hung up without speaking. They went bust.
6. We couldn’t believe the shop where no one would tell us how much a photocopier was. “It depends” the man kept saying. “On what?" we said. "We want to buy one of those, how much is it?” He eventually said he would send us a brochure, but it never came. We bought elsewhere. Then came clever printers attached to computers that did everything and we didn't need a photocopier at all.