As much as I profess the benefits of complaining, it can be a truly baffling experience thanks to the impressively ridiculous things that sales assistants sometimes say. What have you been told?
To uncover the extent of this phenomenon, we asked people what bizarre and unusual things they had been told by sales assistants and customer service departments.
Sometimes it’s your eyebrows that are to blame for the problem, as Linda found out:
‘I collected my new specs from a local opticians, but when I got them home they didn’t fit correctly. The arms were misaligned and so they sat at a lopsided angle on my face.
‘I took them back to the opticians where his assistant put them on me, stood back and looked at me, and then announced “there’s nothing wrong with your glasses madam, you’ve got one eyebrow higher than the other”.’
You shouldn’t eat with cutlery, as Jacqueline found out:
‘I bought a set of beautiful gold-plated cutlery. The plating soon wore off, and the company said you’re not supposed to eat with it!’
We don’t talk to our customers
When Julia tried to make a complaint in a supermarket, the staff were too busy to talk:
‘I complained about a misleading “3 for 2” display in Sainsbury’s and was not satisfied with the reply so asked to speak to a manager, only to be told there were none available as they were practicing their dance for the Christmas party!’
While Geoff found himself strictly forbidden from talking:
‘When I wanted to make a complaint in Argos I was told that “customers aren’t allowed to talk to our head office and you can’t email them either. Send them a letter if you want to complain”.’
You just don’t understand
When Ron and his wife tried to order hot drinks, they were told it was too dangerous:
‘We were purchasing food at the food court in West Quay, Southampton. The food had been ordered and we then asked for our drinks. Mine was a coffee and my wife asked for hot water (she drinks hot water in preference to tea or coffee). The assistant refused so we said that we would purchase the tea but asked her not to put the tea bag in the water.
‘Again she refused and said that for “Elf ‘n’ Safety” reasons she could not fulfil our request because if my wife didn’t drink all of the water the cleaner who cleared our table might not notice the hot water and then might scald herself.’
Christine was given a lesson in a new way to mix cement:
‘I went to Focus to buy a small bag of ready-mix cement to repair a cracked step. Assistant went outside to get a bag which had obviously been allowed to get wet. When I commented that the contents were solid and not powder (clearly due to getting wet) the assistant told me that you had to break it down before use!’
So there you have it. Good guidance on what not to say to customers. Have you had a peculiar response when making a complaint? Have you been left speechless in the aisles?