Minimum Wage = Minimum Contact

January 22nd, 2013
By

We've all heard it before - probably said it as well - when we receive less than stellar service, "must be a minimum wage workah".

It's a sad cliche said frequently but I've always believed dat anyone working at minimum wage - or close to it - should not have any contact with customers. You getting paid like crap so why would you expect that particular person/position to act like they were the highest paid person on da floor? Wat I don't understand is why businesses would pay a position dat deals with customers 100% of the time usually da lowest rate?

Tink about it. Would you put out more or less effort if you were being paid $7.25 /hr? Wat if your wage rate was $12 /hr? Granted you still going get some lolo's dat not going give da effort but at da very least, employers wouldn't hire any Joe Shmo at a higher rate, right?

It's not to say there aren't any terrific workahs with great attitudes at da lower pay scale but c'mon, would you just hire anybody at $12 /hr as compared to $7.25?

Da oddah week we was at Target Salt Lake looking for an item and found it out of stock on da shelf. We looked around for a "customer service agent" and even waited a few minutes for one to hopefully pop up. Nada. Naturally of course we see workahs all ovah da place wen we no need but now we need so Da Wife sends me off to da "Help Phone" (really, there's a phone to call for "assistance") about twenty yards away.

As I picked up the phone and followed da prompts given by da robot voice, a lady pops up out of nowhere and I was tinking wow, dat was fast but of course, it was short lived.

WORKAH: Can I help you? (in a really sassy mattah-of-fact kine of tone)
BL: Yes, we're looking for this scrub but it's not on the shelf. (brought da tag)
WORKAH: What are you doing with that (tag)? (in a scolding tone)
BL: Well, I brought it looking for someone to scan it to see if it's in stock but no one was around so I'm calling for help.
WORKAH: I was right around the corner. (still in a sassy scolding tone)
BL: *tinking, was I supposed to know dat she was right around a corner dat I not even going to?*

Aftah a few more sassy remarks I was fed up and said,

BL: Look, you don't have to give me attitude. All we wanted was to find someone to check stock on an item. If you no like help, I just going look for someone else.
WORKAH: I don't have an attitude.

Wassup Wit Dat!

Trust me, she had. It was fairly early in da morning and luckily I was still groggy (tolerant) oddahwise da earlier conversation wouldn't have gone on for dat long. I couldn't believe I was getting an attitude just looking for help. I mean really, is there a reason for dat? And no tell me dat she could be having a bad day....... she's at work! Her bad day ends da moment she punches in and resumes da moment she punches out!

Do you tink dat "customer service" workahs should be paid more and then more selective on who employers hire? Do you feel, as a consumer, dat you have to deal with a workahs "bad day"? Have you evah seen workahs all ovah but wen you need 'em, no one's around?

I no understand why employers don't pay - or treat - those who are literally their first contact and "representative" of da company more. It should be dat da more contact da job requires, da more your hourly wage should be - wat you tink about dat?








Posted in WWD! | 33 Comments »

33 Responses to “Minimum Wage = Minimum Contact”

  1. PFP:

    First


  2. PFP:

    Ok. Now that I got that out of the way, here are my thoughts, my braddah.

    First, I feel for retail employees. Service workers, low pay, unappreciated. I give these guys a lot of leeway. When I was in high school, I worked retail. It sucked, but it was a job. For most people who work retail beyond the high school years, it's a suck job, and they are doing it because they can't find anything else at the moment. Retail is a job you do until you get a real job. Knowing this, I give these guys a lot of slack. I don't expect a lot from these guys, including customer service. Basically, when you shop target, it's hit or miss, and it's self service. If it's not on the shelf, no one has ever found it in the back storage room for me, ever, and so I accept this is being the truth about what is "in stock" and what is "out of stock" and go to another store.

    Second, did I mention I feel for retail employees.

    BL, cut these braddahs some slack. Most have two or more jobs. Most of unskilled laborers, earning minimum wage, and are going to school to get a better job or are actively looking for better jobs.

    You would get this same kind of attitude from plumbers, mechanics, and electricians making $75 per hour. Sometimes, it's just the person. Locals, sadly, tend to have this kind of "bad" attitude more than mainlanders.

    Not always true, but more true than not.

    For example, my family and I stayed at Koolina recently. The local staff treated us "differently" from how they treated "mainland" visitors, especially with how they spoke to the mainland group and how they spoke to us. They were polite and pleasant to the mainland folks, and matter of fact and borderline rude when they spoke to us. Never mind we paid for the suite and the mainland folks paid for the economy room. It's an attitude thing.

    Needless to say, we will never ever spend another dime at Koolina. Our staycation at Koolina was horrible, because of the poor treatment and poor service.

    K den, shootz.


  3. B:

    wrong already. she talking back to you means she get attitude. my opinion on stuff like this is... if we spending money any employee should be treating you with the utmost care. no matter if the employee making minimum or the ceo making millions. service should be top priority. gotta treat people like how you like be treated. now get too many choices.

    if a store/business gave you 100% terrific service but had the same item on-line for cheaper price where would you go? I'll go for the service.


  4. M:

    Howzit BL,
    When you dealing wit customers you got to give dem da respect and be as nice as you can no mattah what. If you give em a hard time, den they no come back. If everybody no come back, stoah profit go down, den no moa job fo you.


  5. JoeyDaCat:

    I agree with B, service should win all the time. American businesses need to take a lesson in customer service from the japanese. More often than not, japanese businesses take customer service to another level than we americans ever experience. On a recent business trip, each member of our group was apologized to because the airlines had to charge us an additional fee for overweight baggage. An apology and a bow...try getting that in the states. Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.


  6. lowtone123:

    I'm usually willing to cut them some slack because I know that typically low paying customer service employees are working in areas where customer service is not a priority. Low pay does not always equate to bad customer service. If a company makes great customer service a part of doing business then the employees will follow or they will not be employed there (Safeway, for example).


  7. Annoddah Dave:

    BL: lowtone123 has the essence of the problem...it is the culture of the organization that drives good customer service. No matter what the pay, the development of the quality in customer service is the responsibility of the leadership and management. If I have poor customer service, I do not address it to the employee, rather, to their manager. The manager is responsible for training the employee. The employee's failure to produce quality customer service is the failure of their manager. If the manager says the employee is the problem, then who hired the employee? Management!! Duh! Leadership has to hire people from the neck up, not the neck down. Take a look at some of the Malcolm Baldrige winning companies...you will find great customer service oriented ones. BTW, lowtone123 cites Safeway...they copied some of the customer service training given to Ritz-Carlton employees. Their motto was "Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen". To counter PFP, I have stayed at the Ihilani at least 4 times as a staycation and the staff was on it whether you were local or not. The key, I believe is treating the staff with respect and you get respect in return. Retail is not a "suck job", it is a job and a respectable one. If every customer approached a retail clerk like "you got a suck job" you poor thing!, then naturally that attitude will be conveyed. I found that respecting all people will generally result in better customer relations.


  8. Bigislandkurt:

    Sadly, the "service" in customer service has been on a downward spiral in Hawaii for the last 20 years.


  9. mows:

    You can scan the tag (upc on item or the price tag on the shelf) in the scanner next to the phone and it will tell you stockroom - yes or no. I use it all the time. Then if stockroom: yes pick up the phone and there is an option for a team member to meet you at that location. They will be there in 60 seconds or less. The message even states that.


  10. cojef:

    Worked menial jobs while attending college(GI bill) like cleaning toilet at the college, yard boy at lakefront cottage(second-home for the rich) so have had low wage jobs, even caddied at Wailua Golf Course when we got 25 cents for 9 holes. Of course being oriental is half of solving so called "disrespect" favorite word by civil rights activists. It's about wanting to to do best job you can do. Must have pride in what you do, even menial jobs. Occassionally shop at Wal-Mart and have not had any problems with customer severice people, guess could be I look like I am in need of help. Probably so after all he is a senior, uses a cane and probably has Alzheimer. Advantage of being old.


  11. dihudfan:

    s y hud... go shopping for something and get stressed becuz one lolo forget how to act... it aint about the pay, even if they were paid good money, attitude would still be there, s y hud...
    next time just get her name and talk to the manager, let them get stressed, not you...
    even tho we live in the home of ALOHA, no mean everybody act like dat... too bad!!!
    like I keep saying... if had more bruddahs like you, this world would have PEACE!!! One beddah place too live!!!


  12. kamaaina808:

    I call it customer dis-service, sadly. If you are into your job - I don't care what you get paid - you will try to be amiable to your customer. If you hate your job & just are there so you can go break & go home, well of course you gonna have attitude.

    What usually works to snap (some) out of their 'stupor' is: May I speak with your supervisor or the manager, please? Thank you." :-)


  13. MrK:

    I really don't think that pay has anything to do with it because I've experienced bad attitude from computer "help desk" people. These people are college graduates, get paid a decent salary, yet some of these people treat you like you're an idiot when you call them for help with your computer. I've also experienced crappy attitude from doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, and we all know how much money these health professionals make.

    On the flip side of the coin, I've experienced friendly attitudes from custodians, toll booth workers, etc. I remember this one bridge toll booth worker in San Fran. As I handed him the money, he cheerfully said to me, "Now you have yourself a WONDERFUL DAY, sir! Drive safely now!" This is from a guy who spends his day trapped in a tiny box, breathing car exhaust all day long. It's all about attitude, and about being raised properly. If you feel that the world owes you, then you're gonna have a crappy attitude, no matter how much money you make. However, if you were raised to feel thankful for what you have (even if you have very little), then you'll likely have a good attitude towards other and towards life in general.


  14. CoconutWilly:

    @lowtone-you obviously never shopped at Safeway Salt Lake


  15. BowlingBuddy:

    I guess you got to be "somebody" to be treated with the utmost service. The so called "customer service" in some stores are a joke. On the other side, there are stores with very helpful "customer service" personnel. I continue to go there.


  16. Masako:

    I don't think its the pay that matters, its the attitude. Also management has a lot to do with it too. My workplace has custodians that make 16.00 bucks an hour, when I tell custodians on the outside they are like "are you kidding me? They must bust thier butts". I'm sad to say that half of them do the bare minimum. Got two of them who are constantly on thier cell phones talking or texing or hiding out somewhere chatting with each other. After lunch this other guy is nowhere to be found, we know he is in the storeroom sleeping. Why does this happen? Because our boss has his head in the sand. On the other spectrum they are other workers who take pride in thier work and are constantly keeping busy, even when they pau thier duties they look for something to do. They all get the same pay.


  17. Masako:

    Here's my take on customer service.....Hard to find these days. Japan is the best example of customer service, I have never had bad service there, everywhere, from restaurants, hotels, stores, train stations, tourist attractions its the best. I talk to my friends there and most of the customer service workers make minimum wage which is right around what the minimum wage is here. Another thing that amazes me is that wait help, hotel workers and cab drivers do not accept tip, i've had them come chasing after me to return tip that I left for them. Its all about attitude, respect and taking pride in doing a good job.

    I think here in the US a good incentive would be to offer bonuses to the exceptional customer service workers instead of paying more accross the board cause always going have those workers that have attitude even if you give them higher pay.


  18. M:

    Guud morning BL!

    I totally agree wit Masako about Japan. Da bestes customer service evah, they even go out of da way to help us because we no can talk or undastand the language. They go find somebody who can undastand and speak english fo us and they no even take our tip! We been to Japan 5 times and nevah had one experience wit bad customer service at all.


  19. Da808:

    There's no such thing called customer service in Hawaii. You look at the younger generation coming into the workforce. They come in with an attitude that "They're" doing you a favor by hiring them to work for you, so you better pay me top dollars for standing around. I recently had dinner at an Asian restaurant located at the top of Kapiolani Blvd and King Street. The waitresses must have been fighting with each other because this one waitress refused to take our order because it wasn't her "side" of tables she was responsible for. So what would have been an easy 45 minute dinner turned-out to be 2 hours longs? Because they one waitress assumed we got serve while the other waitress assumed the same. Are we going back to that restuarant.."NO"...did they get their tip..."NO"..Are we telling all our friends not to go there....."HELL YES".


  20. MrK:

    @Da808
    You hit the nail on the head with people who think they are doing YOU a favor when they perform their jobs. Lots of State and City workers are like that.

    @Masako
    What you say about Japan customer service is so true. On the flip side, I have found that Japanese tourist who come to Hawaii are some of the easiest people to service. They are not demanding, and they are, generally, very polite. To a Japanese worker - treating a customer poorly, not giving his/her best effort, and being lazy would be a disgrace. It would shame the family name, his/her employer, and his or herself. It would be an all-around disgrace. Let's just say that many people in America don't care about those values.


  21. rayboyjr:

    :cool: Good Morning Everyone!!! :cool:

    ... hey Braddah Lance ... I agree with you on this ... a company should invest more in the people they hire because they are literally the faces of their business ... it could be in training, higher wages or incentives ... but it's hard to think that you could hire these workers at minimum wages, throw them out to the wolves (customers) and always expect a good result ...

    ... I mostly give these workers a pass ... because as much as I think we all deserve good customer service ... I realize most of the workers we encounter are not well trained (if at all) in customer service ...

    ... if you're going to be upset with the workers ... you should also be very upset with managment and the owners too ... as others have mentioned, they are ultimately responsible for the experience you get while patronizing their business ...

    ... Have a Good One Everyone!!! ...


  22. 808Dad:

    Please check out the Times story. Now this is customer service.

    http://www.midweek.com/locked-keys-loose-wires/


  23. Willie:

    B Lance, well there are always good & bad everywhere. I had a very good experience at Target Salt Lake around Christmas. Looking for a DVD and asked one of the young guys. He was friendly, took me to the DVD section, found me the DVD I was looking for and even talked about how he liked it. Only regret is that I did not give this guy props to management.

    Maybe dat chick you ran into was having that time of the month moment? Maybe you still have time to report this one?


  24. M:

    Guud morning BL!


  25. Braddah Lance:

    PFP:
    First

    And to you Da Quote of Da Day..........
    It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.
    Henry Ford

    ....it's a suck job, and they are doing it because they can't find anything else at the moment.

    Listening to Perry & Price yesterday morning, they spun a new perspective I nevah thought of about raising da minimum wage. Minimum wage isn't about making a liveable wage, it's all about entry level and for those teenagers, second job people and seniors looking for quick work. That is why it's "easy" to land those types of jobs as you stated it's also something for the time being.

    Basically, when you shop target, it's hit or miss, and it's self service. If it's not on the shelf, no one has ever found it in the back storage room for me, ever, and so I accept this is being the truth about what is "in stock" and what is "out of stock" and go to another store.

    Aftah da attitude session, she checked stock and they had cases in da back so we ended up buying five.

    Second, did I mention I feel for retail employees. BL, cut these braddahs some slack. Most have two or more jobs. Most of unskilled laborers, earning minimum wage, and are going to school to get a better job or are actively looking for better jobs.

    No frickin' way! It's a job and if you ain't going to do it, don't bother doing it. So wat if it's their second or third or fourth job?! Does that give them da right - or permission - to ack like an okole?

    btw, I worked a full-time job, TWO parttime jobs, still coached baseball in da spring, volunteered at my alma mater in da fall AND still went to college (more than half time student) and didn't give any of MY customers attitude. I was grateful my employers allowed me to do ALL da things I needed to do and still kept me employed. I was offered "promotions" but like you said, it's just temporary until you land da real thing........ I did it for nearly three years and it's a good thing I was young and could get by a couple hours of sleep a night.

    You would get this same kind of attitude from plumbers, mechanics, and electricians making $75 per hour. Sometimes, it's just the person.

    No doubt but it's probably cause they already tink their job "sucks" right?

    Locals, sadly, tend to have this kind of "bad" attitude more than mainlanders. Not always true, but more true than not.

    I dunno. It's definitely subjective as Da Wife and I have traveled quite a bit and have run into "normal" attitude on da mainland more than da customer service type and just shrugged it off cause it was "typical" mainland behavior and more tolerant of it on da Big Rock.

    For example, my family and I stayed at Koolina recently. The local staff treated us "differently" from how they treated "mainland" visitors, especially with how they spoke to the mainland group and how they spoke to us.

    Dat is a sad experience especially from Ko'olina Resort.

    Never mind we paid for the suite and the mainland folks paid for the economy room. It's an attitude thing. Needless to say, we will never ever spend another dime at Koolina. Our staycation at Koolina was horrible, because of the poor treatment and poor service.

    In da same breath, maybe it was a "suck job"? How come you nevah cut them any slack?
    .
    .
    .

    B:
    ... if we spending money any employee should be treating you with the utmost care. no matter if the employee making minimum or the ceo making millions. service should be top priority. gotta treat people like how you like be treated. now get too many choices.

    Amen.

    if a store/business gave you 100% terrific service but had the same item on-line for cheaper price where would you go? I'll go for the service.

    Is dat a trick question? :lol: I kinda chang so I would still go online. :razz: BUT, if it was two stores selling da same thing and as long as da price wasn't outrageously cheaper, I would definitely go to da bettah service side.
    .
    .
    .

    M:
    When you dealing wit customers you got to give dem da respect and be as nice as you can no mattah what. If you give em a hard time, den they no come back. If everybody no come back, stoah profit go down, den no moa job fo you.

    People still have a hard time grasping logical deductive reasoning.
    .
    .
    .

    JoeyDaCat:
    More often than not, japanese businesses take customer service to another level than we americans ever experience.

    I can attest to dat. I've been to Japan twice and both times I felt I was rude. :shock: WWD!

    btw, HOLY CANOLI! E Komo Mai back to WWD! JoeyDaCat! I thought I lost a ton of readers once I was laid off and in hiatus! Nice to see we still got some Kwonics around. :grin:
    .
    .
    .

    lowtone123:
    Low pay does not always equate to bad customer service.

    True dat....... but you're also not hiring da cream of da crop right?

    If a company makes great customer service a part of doing business then the employees will follow or they will not be employed there

    I tink EVERY company talks da talk...... but only a few will walk da walk.
    .
    .
    .

    Annoddah Dave:
    If I have poor customer service, I do not address it to the employee, rather, to their manager. The manager is responsible for training the employee. The employee's failure to produce quality customer service is the failure of their manager. If the manager says the employee is the problem, then who hired the employee? Management!! Duh!

    Again, logical deductive reasoning. :grin: It is so true. I felt da same way aftah every loss in a game. I was captain in nearly every sport I was involved in - even in sports I wasn't - and I felt I let da team down (even though we had not so good coaches and players). People in position to make change should make it their job dat those changes/attitudes are in check.

    Retail is not a "suck job", it is a job and a respectable one. If every customer approached a retail clerk like "you got a suck job" you poor thing!, then naturally that attitude will be conveyed. I found that respecting all people will generally result in better customer relations.

    Well said.
    .
    .
    .

    Bigislandkurt:
    Sadly, the "service" in customer service has been on a downward spiral in Hawaii for the last 20 years.

    I no tink just in Hawai'i but I tink it's a trend also related to morals and values in society.

    btw, HOLY CANOLI AGAIN! Anoddah Kwonic Lurkah! :lol: Nice to see you still around as well! E Komo Mai back Bigislandkurt!
    .
    .
    .

    mows:
    You can scan the tag (upc on item or the price tag on the shelf) in the scanner next to the phone and it will tell you stockroom - yes or no. I use it all the time. Then if stockroom: yes pick up the phone and there is an option for a team member to meet you at that location. They will be there in 60 seconds or less. The message even states that.

    I nevah know dat. I thought it was just a price checker. Mahalo for dat tip!
    .
    .
    .

    cojef:
    It's about wanting to to do best job you can do. Must have pride in what you do, even menial jobs.

    OMFG! Exactly wat I feel like and live by. If you gotta do something, it's about pride and doing da best about it......... or maybe it could be just my OCD kicking in. :lol:

    Probably so after all he is a senior, uses a cane and probably has Alzheimer. Advantage of being old.

    I got some land in Kalapana I can sell you for reeeeaaaaal cheap. :razz:


  26. M:

    Howzit BL!
    Happy FGF!


  27. wafan:

    Just hosted our Customer Service contest yesterday. Those kids know their stuff. If I had to make a choice in hiring one who is college educated or one who knows how to work with people the choice would be obvious. Seen it too often.


  28. wafan:

    I tend not to write off a company because of the foolish acts of an employee; I will, though, notify the manager. If the manger does his/er job the employee will be retrained, disciplined or released. Of course, some of my kids tend to blame everyone and everything else . . . sucks to be them in the future if they choose not to figure it out.


  29. sally:

    Sorry... late to the party. Still got time to put in 2 cents?

    Many Americans are so darned spoiled and entitled that they forget it is a PRIVILEDGE to be employed. Let them try the alternative, WITHOUT state's assistance, and see them monku about foreigners taking all the jobs.

    Be grateful for employment and show it! No like your job? Quit! Let somebody else do it who can smile!


  30. M:

    Guud morning BL :!:


  31. 9thIslandGirl:

    Every time I complain about a worker to my husband, he tells me that they are minimum wage workers and I can't expect much. Back in the day, we earned minimum wage and we were courteous and efficient because that's what management expected of us ed us. I think there is something to the lack of training, the low expectations of management...On the flip side, I've seen some awesome workers, like at manoa bakery. They are always cheerful and polite.


  32. M:

    Wassssuuupppp BL!


  33. Ynaku:

    psst you still hea? Just checking. Aftah I retired I stay mo low den minimum wage but I no act li'dat