Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Errands far and wide force rampant car use

No, ostensibly there was no reason not to ride my bike way the hell out to the glasses repair shop. My legs were working, as was my bike, and it wasn’t even raining. The question boils down to "How many hours do I have in a day to devote to transportation?"

If you need to go to more than one place in a day and these places are spread out all over, then to get to each one of them by bike would take three or four hours. Who has that kind of extra time?

OK, so I took my glasses there in my car, and the next day I picked them up in my car. Not till I got back and tried to use them did I discover there was glue or something all over one of the lenses, right in front of where my eyeball goes. I called the guy up, and though I was livid, I managed to convey my problem to him in a civilized tone.

His answer?
“Glue on the lens? Wow. I don’t see how that could have happened,” a reply which is not listed in the big book of fabulous customer service answers.

I declined the opportunity to respond “Duh! MIGHT it have occurred while you were using GLUE to GLUE the glasses TOGETHER?” and instead told him that I would bring the glasses back out to him so that he could fix the problem. I added that I was NOT HAPPY about having to come way the hell out there AGAIN, due to the inconvenient location of his shop. To which he mumbled some unintelligible pouty-sounding utterance.

The appropriate customer service answer would have been: “I am so sorry. I don’t know how I could have missed that, but I will send a bicycle courier to your location within minutes to pick them up, and if you can possibly endure being without your glasses for another couple of hours, I will take care of the problem immediately and have them delivered right back to you. No charge, of course. I apologize again for the trouble this has caused you.”

But that’s not the answer I got. I had to endure the whole weekend with this annoying visual impediment, and then had to take a large chunk out of my Monday to make another trip out there. Given the lameness of his first customer service stab at the situation, I was expecting trouble, and was preparing answers to possible defenses he might resort to like “They must have been like that already,” or “We’re not responsible for damage that might be incurred while repairing your glasses.”

When I handed him the glasses on Monday, he again expressed profound puzzlement and disappeared with them into the back somewhere, where he remained, soundless, for a very long time. After fifteen minutes without a peep, I was starting to wonder if he’d thrown up his hands and skipped out the back door for a drink somewhere; but not to worry, when another customer showed up he reappeared, spent ten minutes with her and then faded into the background yet again. I was feeling more agitated by the minute and tried to find solace in the fact that I wasn’t hearing any sinister sounds of grinding machinery or a hissing blowtorch.

Finally he came out with the lens completely cleared of obstruction, so now I don’t feel like I can justify exposing him all over blogland as completely inept. However, I do hold him completely responsible for the increment of globe warming incurred by my extra trip out there. So there.

I'll report on the bike parade tomorrow, now that I can finally see letters.


At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do symathize. This situation is a perfect example of why it saves so much stress to use local businesses when possible (not a critique, just a suggestion).
I spent extra money getting my glasses at Eagle Eye on SE Bellmont for that reason.
Many people tell me they save time by going to (for example) a supercenter. But the mental frustration that this story exemplifies, is a perfect support for close-in lifestyle.
(I of course would have given him some hell, especially in front of the other customer)
I hope the situation is better now.


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