Went in to a major home improvement NASCAR sponsor store over the weekend to purchase some plywood.  I needed a 4’x8′ piece ripped to two 2×8 pieces.  Usually this is a service provided for free.  At Store #1, I inquired and was told the saw was “down”.  “But I’ll have it fixed in 30 minutes.  I know exactly what needs fixing, and I’m not going to wait for management to do it.  I’ll start there as soon as I’m finished here.”  Since my expectation was that 30 minutes was probably 90, I decided to try Store #2 (across the street and also a NASCAR sponsor).At Store #2, I couldn’t find anyone wearing the vests of the store’s livery for 15 minutes, and when I finally did, the person was walking by me at a fairly fast clip.  Our conversation was rather brief:Me: “Can you rip a piece of plywood for me?“Droid (walking by and then away from me): “Yes, but our saw is broken.”Me: “That sounds a lot like ‘no’ to me.“Droid: continues walking away and says nothing else.  At about 20 feet off, he looks over his shoulder, glares at me, and continues walking away.I was dumbfounded, walked around the corner about ready to leave when another member of the “customer service staff” asked (where was he 10 minutes before?) if I was finding everything OK.  I explained what had just happened and asked what level of “service” he thought I was getting.  He quickly offered that Store #1’s saw was broken.  When I pointed out that his saw was also broken and at least Store #1 owned up to that fact instead of walking off, he then proceeded to stay with me until I was satisfied (turns out the saw was shorting out when it got hot, but it worked enough to cut my two pieces of wood).Store #1 lost a good bit of business (and likely future business) by choosing to handle a stock task rather than handle a customer.  They had people in place and visible, but didn’t attend to customers’ needs.  Store #2 was understaffed and required customer effort to get any help, but then spent more time than I was likely worth to handle the situation to completion.  Neither scores an ‘A’, but as a customer, I want results, not excuses.

The only thing worse than no service is bad service.  Provide customers what they need.

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