Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Experiences with Dumb Employees

Sometimes, with the sheer stupidity of some people, you just don't know whether to laugh or cry ...

So I just went into VIP (it's an auto parts store ... I'm not sure if it's a national chain or not) to get a bulb for my mother's car. Now, you need to understand that my mother is rather odd about certain things, for lack of a better way of putting it. Her car, for example ... she takes it to the dealership for, like, having a blinker bulb changed, gets charged over fifty dollars, and doesn't realize how asinine that is. Andy said he'd change the bulb for her, that it'd take him, like, five minutes if that, and he wouldn't charge her anything. She thought that sounded like a good plan and, since she's in Florida with Belle, I told her I'd make sure it got done before she got back. Yeah, they're getting back tonight ...

So anyway, I went to the service desk at VIP and said, "I need to buy a left rear blinker light for a Ford 500." The guy looked at his computer for a few minutes and replied, "It's not listed." I kind of looked at him blankly for a minute ... I mean, this is an AUTO PARTS STORE! Then, as so often happens in my life, it perpetuated. He called over a couple of other employees and they looked in the computer and basically said that, since it wasn't listed, they couldn't help me out. One said, "If you have the car with you, we can take out the old one and try to match it." Well, I didn't have the car with me because driving my mom's car makes me nervous enough already because with my luck I'd total it, plus it's (no offense intended to anyone) kind of an old lady car, plus it doesn't have a left rear blinker at the moment.

Anyway, I called Andy and told him they "didn't have it listed", and he said, "I'm not sure off the top of my head, but I'll call a Ford dealership and get right back to you." Approximately two minutes later, Andy (who was at his own work, I might add, and certainly not getting paid for being an auto parts specialist) called me back and said, "Tell them you need a 3157." That simple. Two minutes. One phone call.

Obviously, I don't expect them to know the exact parts for every car in existence, but
a) We're talking about a Ford here, not a Maserati.
b) Three VIP employees stood around looking on the computer for the same thing.
c) It didn't occur to them to explore other options (Andy said there's some book that VIP should have that gives all that information).
d) It took Andy two minutes to get the information ... it certainly couldn't have taken them any longer than that.
e) After I left, I googled "blinker light Ford 500" and the information was RIGHT THERE. I don't know what the heck they were doing on the computer, but I could have figured it out on my CrackBerry in less time. Uh ... I could have figured it out on my CrackBerry PERIOD.

When I took the Praxis II exam to be certified as a high school English teacher, I was really nervous because the test covered the entire body of literature, from pre-Homeric writings to the relatively recent genre of "chick lit" and everything in between. I needed to have a working familiarity with Moby Dick, but I also needed to know about iambic pentameter and gerunds and so on. Trust me, I know better than anyone about having too much material to know, and you can't possibly be an expert at everything, but at the same time, it's okay to stop and look something up and, in this day and age, there are a vast number of ways to do that!

Okay, rant over. Am I overreacting here? (I have a tendency to do that sometimes ;)) What experiences have you had with incompetent employees?