History Does Repeat… People Do Business With People They Like.

A few years ago I wrote about rude abrasive “service” that I received from a shop that I had done business with for many years. [and I use the word “service” here very loosely]

As a result of that incident of rude service, I decided to take my business elsewhere. This was despite the fact that going elsewhere was going to be less convenient for me. I just couldn’t continue to patronise a business that went out of its way to be disagreeable.

Sadly, this weekend, another display of complete arrogant disagreeability presented itself to me.

Let me frame this up.

Over the past five years, Jayne and I have needed to move home a couple of times.

In 2018, we decided to sell our family home in Sydney and relocate to our smaller country home. This involved moving contents from the Sydney home to a number of different locations.

Firstly, some contents from Sydney was moved into storage in Sydney as we prepared the Sydney home for sale.

Other contents from Sydney needed to be moved to our country home following the sale of Sydney, and some contents was moved to an apartment in Sydney where my children decided to relocate to.

Lastly, some of the contents from Sydney needed to be stored in storage in the country for dissemination into our country home, and rationalisation, at a later date.

Moving can be complicated.

Fortunately, during all of this selling and moving, we’ve had great service and relationships with the people of Kennards Storage in Pymble and in Mittagong, where we’ve hired storage space and we’ve purchased storage boxes.

Once we settled into our country home on a full-time basis, we decided that some renovation work to the home was required to make the home truly comfortable for our work-from-home needs.

So again, while we lived “offsite” during building and renovation works, storing things became a priority. More storage boxes were needed.

The cost of storage boxes can mount up.

One of the good things about storage boxes is that the removalists, and Kennards do offer to buy back storage boxes and recycle them. These repurposed boxes are made available for purchase to other movers looking for the recycled boxes as a way of saving on packaging.

Anyway, finally, over the last two weeks, after months of unpacking and settling in, I have finally gotten around to returning the accumulating used storage boxes that were in good condition. And of course, collecting my repayment for their return.

The reason it took me a couple of weeks to return these boxes was because there were so many of them…. there was more than one ute-load of boxes to return.

I felt like a child again… it reminded me of what it was like when I was a schoolboy collecting drink bottles and returning them to the local milk-bar for the 5c refund…

Anyhow….

Last week, when I rang the Kennards Self Storage at Mittagong about returning boxes to them, they directed me to their Moss Vale facility, which was conveniently located closer to my home.

The first drop off and refund payment was uneventful. The man who handled my returns did so professionally and we spent time in pleasant conversation.

There was only one small hiccup… my refund due was an amount larger than the outlet’s EFTPOS terminal would allow, and needed to be split into two lesser amounts to be finalised.

No big deal.

The total amount paid to me was smaller than I’d imagined, and I remarked to the nice man working there that rather than returning the remainder of my boxes next week, I might consider burning them as a more rewarding and better use of my time.

He was alarmed, and suggested that this might not be the “greenest” solution to their repurposing…

So here’s what happened with the second load of boxes that needed to be returned..

When I arrived at Kennards Moss Vale this weekend with the second load of boxes, the man working there seemed to be in a very unhappy mood.

Firstly, when I told him I had some boxes to return, he grumbled that he didn’t have the room to accept them, and then grumbled begrudgingly, that he would take them.

It was almost as if he had been pre-warned and was pre-judging me… he asked me how many more loads of boxes did I have?

I wasn’t sure about him.. I was confused…and I asked him whether he was the person who I had dealt with on my previous visit, because he certainly seemed to know [in advance] who I was….

When he came out to help me unload the boxes from my ute, he complained that the boxes were “all mixed up” when in fact only one box was out of place with the respect to the others.

He brought some of my boxes inside the store. Last week the nice chap who had attended to me, and I, had sorted all the boxes outside of the store… so I asked the grumpy chap whether he wanted me to bring my boxes inside or leave them outside?

Mr Grumpy replied curtly that if we left them outside then they would not be able to be accepted as they would have been “outside boxes” and they needed to be kept as “inside boxes”, or something along those lines….

Lastly, as I unpacked the 5 porta-robe boxes that I had brought back, Mr Grumpy refused to accept three of them as they were not Kennard boxes. This was despite the fact that a sign to the contrary was prominently displayed inside his store.

When I pointed this out to Mr Grumpy, that his sign inside his store said that they did accept competitors’ boxes, he said that the sign should have been taken down six weeks ago, but it hadn’t, and that this was now their new policy..

Mr Grumpy told me begrudgingly that he would only accept the three non-Kennard porta-robes, but he would have to charge me a dumping fee.

I told him that I would take the three porta-robes with me. Begrudgingly, Mr Grumpy carried the porta-robes outside and leant them against my ute.

After my refund had been processed, I told Mr Grumpy that in my business, I advise my clients that if an offer is still displayed on their website, and a customer calls about that offer, then my client needs to honour that offer, even if the offer has expired…. and if they don’t want to have to keep honouring the offer then they need to remove it from display.

When he told me that this was “now their policy” regarding the non-acceptance of competitors’ boxes, I told him politely that policies were things used by governments, and the military, but in business, the reference to “our policies” were invalid and inappropriate in the world of customer service.

I told him there was no winner when a business makes excuses about its own incomplete processes.

I told him that based on the number of boxes I’d returned, that he should have been able to profile me in his data base and seen that I was a very loyal and long-term Kennards client. Over decades.

Through his behaviours and his opinionated arrogance this day, Mr Grumpy had wiped the slate clean of all respect and loyalty that I had built up with Kennards over the many years that I had used their services.

Now, I don’t know whether Mr Grumpy was an employee at Moss Vale Kennards, or whether he was actually the franchise location owner, but through his actions and behaviours this weekend,  I’ll never be sending any business to him at that location or any other location he is ever associated with.

Because his behaviour was so judgemental, and so inappropriate. And without reason….

One of the things that every employee and every business owner needs to know is that when the curtain comes up for “Show Time”, the customers and the audience are paying for 100% effort, without backstory, and without opinion.

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