Appear To Be Competent

Matt Jankowski

While returning something to a large consumer electronics store, I had the excellent fortune of being the absolute first person in line when the computer system crashed (after standing in line for about 30 minutes already). If I was returning anything that weighed less than 30 pounds, was easy to carry up stairs, fit simply into a cab, or cost less than $100, I would have left immediately - but I’d already invested enough time in the process that I was gonna stick it out.

Of course, most of the other people in line around me were very frustrated. While it’s acceptable to have a problem with your POS software from time to time, it’s sort of odd to become aggressively defensive about the situation when customer’s start asking what’s going on - but this is exactly what I witnessed over and over as I waited for the system to come back up.

Once it did come back up, I was able to return my purchase with very little hassle. As I headed out of the store a few minutes later, I heard a voice come onto the PA which announced that the system was down once again. Curious, I turned around and went back into the store - and headed straight for the TV section. I was curious about how the salespeople there - as opposed to the customer service people in the returns department - would handle the outage.

Well, what do you think happened?