Customer care? (Janice Pottinger)

I have found myself with a fair bit of birse up today due the lack of manners and general customer care in one of Shetland’s “super”markets. I do not put much trade their way, generally speaking, due to past experiences. I prefer to shop in the other supermarket whenever possible, mainly due to fantastic parent and child parking (as long as nobody who is child-less parks in them!), the superb customer relations and double trolleys available for small children.

I waited patiently with a smile on my face for the only two check-out assistants to acknowledge my presence and give me a sign as to which of them would like to serve me (a sign which I am still waiting for). I placed my few items to check out, as they continued to discuss how early they had to get out of bed to destroy yesterday’s daily papers – this discussion continued as I left the store. I was not offered a “hello”, or a smile, not even a “£5.97”, and needless to say, no “please”. The only word she uttered to me in a disgruntled tone was “clubcard?”(I almost laughed!). No mention of “thank you”, although that did not surprise me!

I am sure that not all staff at this store are grumpy, ill-mannered and downright rude. As a matter of fact, a nice young girl smiled at me as I walked past her with my five items clutched in my arms (as I could not find a basket when I came in the door). I would like to suggest that these nice staff be utilised in a more constructive way and put to operate the checkout desks, where a bit of friendly banter makes all the difference to a customer’s shopping experience. In my mind that is what every shop, from the good old corner-shop to Harrods, should offer: a “shopping experience”. Where a customer is offered a smile and a polite word of thank you to the person who ultimately is helping put money in their wage packet at the end of the day (no customer = no trade = no job).

The last time this happened, I called the manager of the store to advise him of the manner that customers were being treated (as I was sure he could not be aware of their ignorance), I was told it was “just their manner”. On this occasion I do not see the point in offering any constructive criticism to management as it doesn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference … I am sure many others have had similar experiences.

Mental note to shop on the other side of town at all costs – which incidentally are lower!

Janice Pottinger


Add Your Comment
  • Brian Smith

    • October 12th, 2011 11:54

    The local authority is planning to cut £26 million worth of local services, and BP is preparing for the worst ever oil spill off Shetland. Meanwhile, the population of Shetland is writing lots of letters about the service in local supermarkets …

  • Gordon Harmer

    • October 12th, 2011 13:55

    How dare you write on such a trivial matter Janice, now look what you’ve done, you’ve gone and upset that nice Mr Smith. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????
    Ironical how what goes around comes around isn’t it.

  • John Kryton

    • October 12th, 2011 14:44

    Ironic Irony me thinks ha ha ha ha.

  • J Pottinger

    • October 14th, 2011 8:29

    For many of the menial residents in Shetland (this letter is of-course in response to Mr Brian Smith), trivial matters like customer care is maybe an area we can actually help improve if the powers that be are made aware of our grievances; I do not imagine anything I have to say about BP will make the slightest bit of difference to any conclusion in the oil department. (Nor do I think anything you say will make any impact either).


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.