The Art of Listening

I’ve been told I’m a good listener. I’m amazed at people who aren’t, especially when it’s part of their job.

I opened a pack of turkey meat this morning. I got it at Walmart day before yesterday. it was a large pack – a 22 oz sized package. I took out a few slices and the ones right below the top ones had bad looking circles on the meat. I wondered if it was grizzle or what that had been sliced through. The circles were gray. I started to just throw those pieces away and then noticed there were more bad looking pieces below those. So I decided to return the container.

I went out early – just after 9:00 to try to avoid the crowd. The woman working Customer Service, and the word “working” is debateable, but she had absolutely no listening skills and no speaking skills either, unless she was issuing demands.

I had my receipt. I handed that to her. I took the container of turkey meat out of the bag and opened the package. I showed her the discolored meat in the package. She saw me open it (it had already been opened this morning) and if she had eyes, which she appeared to have, she could have seen the discolored meat, but she was too busy yelling to someone that “I ain’t coming in on Saturdays no more. I’ve already had to do (something or other, couldn’t understand what she was slurring together, but it involved working, which obviously she is allergic to) . . . but she ain’t coming in on Saturday no more.” Maybe that’s how she missed my showing her the discolored meat. She whipped her head around after issuing her demand about which days she was willing to pretend to work and asked “so you’re returning this?” I said “yes”. Saying “trying to” would have been an insult that sailed right over her head. So she scanned the bottom of my receipt, flipped the container over and scanned it and then said something in a slurry manner to me. “What?” I asked her. “What did you say?”

“Pit yur cerd shu ze thing” . . . Oh, uh slide my card through the card reader?  “Zep”, she said as if she was tired of talking to me.

Then it came up for me to sign. I was taking money OFF my card, not putting it on. “Do I have to sign it?” I asked, because was that right? Did this slurring, inattentive Customer Service wanna-be employee even know what we were doing?

“Zep!” she said.

So I signed it. She stapled the return receipt to the original receipt as if I had another pack of turkey at home I would be returning using that same receipt???? and turning her head back towards the other employee, she told me to “huv a neice zay” . . . Who me, or the person you’re looking at????

Then she picked up the pack of meat . . . still upside down from having the bar code on it scanned, and went to throw it in a cart. The top flew open and she said, as if surprised, “Oh . . . it open already”  .. .  Yep , it was open when I showed you the discolored meat.

I ignored her,  grabbed my receipts and walked out.

I don’t know if it’s Common Core to blame, or what, but when I went to school and actually GOT an education, which many today do not have, even after graduating, I was taught how to LISTEN. We even had lessons in it. Many people today have no clue how to listen. They somehow don’t think they need to look at the person speaking to them. They regard any voices, except their own, as background noise to be ignored.

Well, Walmart, I’m taking a well deserved break from you. Until you find anyone worth minimum wage to hire, why go back when I may have to return an item at your dysfunctional Customer Service Department? Hey, since your employees didn’t learn to LISTEN in school, why don’t you include the art of listening in your training . . . you do some employee training, don’t you, or do you throw them out in the store and say, “Give it your best shot. These customers will still come back, no matter how you treat them.”? If you need me to write up the ways to LISTEN when someone else is SPEAKING, I’ll be glad to do it. For a price.

You know where to find me. I’m here most days.



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