Service of Inspiration: It’s All About Attitude

January 4th, 2021

Categories: Attitude, Customer Service, Retail, Service, Service Personality, Wine

Service is the root of my posts and the inspiration of my 12 year old blog. Memory of exceptionally bad service I received since I was a teen remain and fascinate me which is why I chose the topic. [I even remember a bus driver who yelled at my mother when I was young.]

I’ve previously written about the ruthlessly nasty man behind the engagement ring counter at Cartier. My fiancée and I were in our early 20s. His nasty attitude made its mark. Fully aware that this was only one person, I have nevertheless avoided the brand ever since.

I had a flashback to that exchange when I entered the local liquor store I’d frequented since the pandemic started after a lovely New Years Day walk with a friend. I didn’t recognize the two behind the counter in the otherwise empty store. They were chatting in French and didn’t greet me. I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket. I asked them “Can you please recommend a good red wine in the $10 range?”

One of them answered “No,” and turned back to his conversation. The single word felt like a slap.

I’ve never worked in retail sales but given a live customer and the fact there were no other customers waiting I’d have shown her a red costing $15 if necessary saying “You should give this one a try even though it’s a bit more.”

I wished I’d not let my French rot over years of neglect or I’d have mouthed a few choice words. Why were they working in a store with specially priced wines prominently displayed by price from $5.99 to $15?

I never gave Cartier another chance though I plan to return to the wine store to learn if the men are new owners or employees. If the latter, I will share my experience. If the former, I will find another store.

My wine store of choice is Trader Joe’s on 14th Street. Trader Joe’s hasn’t delivered in a few years and is not convenient–I avoid public transportation for frivolous reasons these days. Wine snobs: sneer all you like but I have been happier with wines I’ve bought there starting at $6 than I have some at $16 from the local store.

Have you noticed that insulting service is infrequent these days and therefore more startling? Do you have recent superbly good or bad service experiences to share?


8 Responses to “Service of Inspiration: It’s All About Attitude”

  1. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    I’ve been lucky and have received great service. Especially from the young man who delivered my first grocery order from Pea Pod. They don’t have to bring the groceries up to you. They can even leave them outside. I live in a condo so I assumed he’d leave them in the lobby. As I was was walking to the elevator with my little old lady shopping cart the young man came off the elevator, groceries in hand and brought them in and put them on the table! Gave him a nice tip and thanked him for his kindness. I think it’s the luck of the drawer. Sad that you basically received zero service! Hope you have a better experience in the future! Stay safe.

  2. ASK Said:

    I walked into Gucci when in college, really wanting a pair of Gucci loafers. I asked for my size, a pair was brought to me, I tried them on, and they were too wide. I asked for a narrow width. Gucci doesn’t make narrow widths. In those days a pair was $75, hefty for a student on a scholarship. When I said “No, thanks,” the clerk informed me that people were so keen to wear OUR shoes, they put pads in the shoes to make them fit. “Not me,” said I, and walked out. I have never bought anything Gucci since….

  3. BC Said:

    Sales folks these days are happy to have business , and have a job!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I, too, have been blown away about how caring service has been these days which is why this incident hit hard. I just returned from the store and learned that the men were employees. I reported the conversation with a junior employee who said he’d tell his manager.

    In my apartment house–and in most with door staff–deliveries are forbidden upstairs. Packages must be left in the lobby, are registered and the tenant is called. If the delivery is bulky or heavy, we have hotel suitcase carts to borrow.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am so glad that I’m not alone in carrying resentment for a brand for years.

    At the same time I empathize with any service business with a rogue staffer who can ruin things and go undetected for far too long, trashing the reputation for an otherwise valid business.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Like you I would think in this economy with so many out of work that any job that keeps the wolf from the door is welcome. Someone furloughed from a restaurant–and NYC has thousands of these people–who had anything to do with wine could slip into a sales job in a wine store. Wine/liquor businesses are doing well. If these men felt the job or my question was below them they should be replaced.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Hostility usually fades upon a show of respect. Arrogance from a client inspires a well deserved raspberry, “the customer is always right” mantra notwithstanding. This formula doesn’t always work, but I’ve met with success some 90% in front of and behind the counter – a percentage which has saved money and promoted good will along the way.

    It was difficult not to chuckle at ASK’s story. For some unknown reason, I avoid Gucci for no better reason that the very name emits ugly vibes. Call me psychic! My rates are reasonable!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I had been respectful in my question. I don’t need to pander or plead for service. I’d paid $16 for a terrible Côtes du Rhône a week before and figured they’d recommend something better–and perhaps cheaper.

    People who know me and have been with me in a restaurant or store–anywhere in fact–will vouch for my approach which ranges from pleasant to cheerful. I walked out and didn’t challenge these people. I had enjoyed a lovely walk and was in a good mood on the first day of the new year and didn’t want to spoil the mood with a fight with surly people who had zero interest in either doing their job or helping me.

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