Thursday, March 10, 2016

BAM: Customer Service?

Update # 2: One of my friends spoke to the staff at a different BAM store and they were surprised about what they were hearing and told my friend that they would never get away with that type of behavior or practices. One of them said: "So, that's how they get out so early!" Which told my friends and I that this was a local management decision and that the management of that store in Sandhills obviously does not care about their customers (which confirmed our previous impression). We decided that our loyalty was betrayed and we will not to go back there.

We have tried several places for coffee and, personally, I am sold on Panera. Everybody's attitude there is super positive and friendly, the coffee and pastries are great, and the atmosphere is cozy and light. Good bye Sandhills BAM, hello Sandhills Panera!

* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

Update #1: A representative from BAM contacted me within hours of posting this entry and apologized. Less than a day later, the District Manager contacted me via phone. Both of them offered their apology for our bad experience and promised to remedy the situation. We were even offered a free cup of coffee for our trouble.

* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

I rarely complain about things. It is not one of the activities that I consider productive. And I rarely write about problems I have with companies or suppliers, but I am making an exception about the rude and unwelcoming treatment two friends and I experienced at Books-A-Million at the Sandhills Mall.

My friends and I have been meeting at the BAM in Sandhills for several years now. We get there at 7:30 PM on Wednesdays and we leave when the store closes. We drink coffee and talk. We do not cause trouble and we are always cordial with the staff. A couple of months ago the barista started to put chairs on tables around 8 PM, an hour before closing. This made us uncomfortable. Two weeks later the same thing happened and we made the comment that doing so was giving us an un-welcomed feeling and may give potential customers the signal that the coffee shop was closed. The barista continued putting chairs up regardless. I complained to the store manager and she indicated she would take care of it.

Last night, again at 8 PM, a new barista started putting chairs up on tables and, essentially, shutting down the place. I complained and she said she was doing what her manager had told her to do. So, I told my friends that we were no longer welcomed at BAM's Joe Mugs and that I was not coming back.

So … beware. In my opinion, the Joe Mugs coffee shop inside Books-A-Million in Sandhills is not a welcoming business that cares about its customers. It only makes me wonder if the same attitude prevails in other parts of the bookstore. Considering that the staff was vacuuming the front door area at 7 PM (something they normally did at 9 PM) I am guessing that it is. BAM may be saving a few dollars by not keeping their staff working after 9 PM, but they are also pushing customers away with this unfriendly attitude.

Is it any wonder that regular stores are not very profitable and cannot compete with online stores? At least if I buy books online I don't have to deal with a loud vacuum cleaner interrupting my shopping experience, or the unwelcoming feeling of staff putting away chairs an hour before closing time while my friends and I are having a pleasant conversation.

Rudeness has a price attached to it, and the BAM store in Sandhills has rudeness on sale at their store … but I am not buying any.

Oh, and don't try calling the Customer Service 800 number. You cannot talk with anyone there to share your experience.