Nov 13

Jedward, watch out

In honour of the words of wisdom left on my GAME: Take It, or Leave It open letter by “weareallhuman”, I felt I had to put together the above based on a line from his comment.

Sorry if this seems like I’m taking the piss. It’s probably because I am a wee bit. But don’t blame me – we are all human, after all.

EXTRA BONUS – click on the image and get to see the full-size version. Baayybbeeeee!

Nov 12

Be seeing you!

I suppose I knew it had to come. The last email between me and GAME over the “Take it or leave it” shopping trip from hell. Well, the last one unless I keep things going. Which I’m not going to, mainly because I think that’s a path that can only end with me being filmed for a BBC documentary. The sort of documentary where I have a camera crew watching me as I go about my day, gleefully filming the boggling eyes, wild hair, piss-stained trousers and suitcases full of printouts of emails from GAME (who are currently selling the AppleSoft HyperCube X3400). So this is it. That’s that. Done and dusted.

As stated previously the apology made is on behalf of the company.

Again, please rest assured the comments you have made have been highlighted at the very highest level and our staff are hand picked to offer the very highest standards of customer service and as such your feedback has been taken very seriously.

I am certain that Macmillians will appreciate the donation and it was a really nice gesture on your part.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Kindest Regards

And so there we go. I’m amazed that so many people tweeted about this, retweeted, sent messages of support, wrote a story on a games website (!), commented, re-commented and everything else. Amazed and very, very grateful. And tons of other things (including amused at being called a dick, a bitch and a queen in the same conversation). But mainly amazed, grateful, heartened and more convinced than ever that there are some really cool people out there in the world. Huzzah!

Nov 12

Bernard hears of a customer with only one receipt

So last night I was trying to decide whether to continue on in my communications with GAME Customer Service, or just leave it. In the end I went for both. I thought I should dash off a last email, to wrap things up. So here it is – a bit late, but I actually started playing Modern Warfare 3 tonight. Dunno why but my enthusiasm for it was a bit reduced the last few days!

Thanks for your email. The donation to Macmillan is great, and I’m happier with that than I would have been trudging to the bank to cash in a £5 cheque and having to find something to do with a goodie bag! (beyond, of course, look a bit awkward).

I’ll admit I’m less than happy about the idea of not getting an apology from the manager directly. If you’re telling me it’s really not a possibility then I’ll have to accept that and hope I’m not being fobbed off, but it would have been good. As someone pointed out on the comments to my open letter, it’s possible that on paper (by sales figures etc) this guy looks brilliant and quite possibly is going about his work believing he was perfectly in the right. A word from him to acknowledge otherwise…well, like I say, it would have been nice.

As I said, thanks for all your help with this. My dealings with you, the staff running the @Gamedigital twitter account, your CEO and even dear old Kenan have been great. I’ve even been chatting to a couple of GAME employees on Twitter and they’re nice people and have been helpful and interested in the case. That said it only takes one guy to spoil the overall impression of you as a company. Well, two, as one GAME employee has commented on the letter saying they would have done the same thing as the manager, but who’s counting?

If I don’t hear from you before close of play today, have a good weekend.

Regards

So there we go. I think closure is fast approaching. And at least the second GAME employee who would do the same as the manager didn’t call me a dick. Someone else did, though. Twice in the one comment. I like to think the commenter was trying to be helpful and remind me, so that when I get to the end of the comment I can click my fingers and go “Oh that’s right, I’m a dick. Good to know.”

Nov 10

Jim'll Fix Themanager

After all of that, a last email of the day from GAME customer service!

Thank you for your email.

I have requested a cheque for £50.00, this will be sent to Macmillans as soon as possible.

The apology that has been made is on behalf of the business, which includes myself and the Store Manager concerned.

I was pleased to learn that we have gone someway to restoring your faith.

Kind Regards

Which is a bit shorter than the previous one, but I’m not going to worry too much about that. It’s streets ahead of “Take it or leave it” so I’m hoping this is a progression of sorts. All of which leaves me with a bit of a decision: I would really have liked to have got an apology from Mister Themanager himself. I feel strongly about this because he’s the one who did wrong and while Customer Service Lady is doing her job to be Themanager’s Ambassador, it’s not what I was after. It’s like being hoofed in the knackers by someone and then getting a phone call later that night from their Auntie Doris (who lives in Melbourne) to say sorry.

On the other hand, I don’t want to start being a dick who’s constantly firing off emails left, right and centre, so I am tempted to let the matter lie at that, with (I think) 4 out of the 5 things I asked for in my open letter having been achieved. As always, open to thoughts, comments, feedback etc on what you would do, but I’m leaning to the “leave it” if I am honest.

Actually, this could be fun, like one of those old “Make Your Own Adventure” books. “If you would like to continue to complain to customer services, turn to page 43. If you would like to go back to the shop, shout a rude word and backflip out of the shop and up Sauchiehall Street, farting all the way like an obscene human catherine wheel, turn to page 99.” You could even sell them in GAME sh-oh, never mind.

Nov 10

SHERBERT EYES!!!!!!!

And fresh from that response, I muddied up my iPad screen (Why, Steve? Why? IT LOOKS SO NICE AND THEN YOU HAVE TO TOUCH THE SCREEN TO MAKE IT WORK!) by picking out the following missive. Oh how nimbly my fingers danced, fuck-ugly handsausages skipping across the glass!

Again, thanks for your response – I appreciate the time you’re taking to get back to me on all of this.

I’m happy to go with your assurance that the complaint is being taken seriously, so I suppose the meeting with the Regional Manager isn’t needed. That was down as an “if possible” on my letter anyway.

And thank you so much for taking up the suggestion for the donation – much appreciated, and if you could let me know when that’s done that would be fantastic. Please don’t misunderstand me, the offer of the goodie bag was much appreciated but I’m not the goodie bag sort of guy. You should have seen the trouble my wife had getting me to buy a man-bag for work. Weeks, that took her. Weeks.

The only thing I’m still unwilling to let go (and I’m really, really sorry to keep coming back to this) is the apology from the store manager himself. I don’t know how possible this is but I would hope that since there seems to be a fairly clear acknowledgement coming from GAME (from the CEO, to your office, staff on twitter etc) that something has gone wrong, it might be something worth considering. I apologised to Kenan *before I left the shop* because I felt I had put him on the spot in a less than ideal situation on his first day, so I don’t think an apology from the manager is too big an ask.

Let me know if this sounds ok. Again, thanks for the help and for the many responses. My faith isn’t completely restored but at least now it’s not lying on the ground whimpering, missing its wallet. :-)

Regards

So the Regional Manager face-to-face is out. Which is a pity, because I wouldn’t have minded meeting him/her to have a chat about this whole thing. Ah well. They did something nice by agreeing to the donation. In terms of faith in GAME I’m still more of an atheist, but small steps!

P.S. The man-bag? Took her weeks, but now I love it. All men should have a man-bag. They’re the future, I’m telling you.

Nov 10

I sense him...Themanager is near!

Next instalment of the GAME response/response to response/response to response to response response-a-palooza can be found below! Once again, no fictional spice, or even real spice is involved. No Spice Girls, Girl Power, Girls Aloud or Gil Gerard either. Just me, a “bingbong” sound from my iPad and the email below:

Thank you for your response.

Please rest assured that we have taken your complaint very seriously, the matter has been highlighted at the very highest level within the business and a formal investigation is currently underway, both the Regional and Divisional Manager are involved in the investigation.  As I said yesterday any customer communication would be handled by myself.  But I can give you an absolute assurance that the points you have made by email are being addressed.

I am more than happy to make a donation to Macmillian Cancer Support as you have suggested and I will confirm when this is done.

There is no doubt at all that the service you have described is very disappointing and I would like to assure you that as part of the investigation we will review our current processes and ensure that any opportunities to improve our service offering are captured.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention and hopefully my actions have gone someway to restoring your faith in GAME.

Kind Regards

I’m not sure whether the Divisional or Regional Manager is bigger, but I expect to hear any moment that GAME have sent a squad of peacekeepers into Glasgow to help out while Divisional and Regional Managers wrestle in jelly to sort out the pecking order.

Good news is that Macmillan are getting their £50, which is excellent news and means that some good has come out of all of this. Just to be clear I really didn’t want to be ungrateful for the offer of the goodie bag. I just really didn’t want a goodie bag, and this was the first thing that popped into my head when the offer of something to restore my faith was put on the table.

ANYWAY! More to come!

Nov 09

Image, BBC. Spinning bowtie, author's own

And after GAME’s response to me, my response to GAME. If any of you have an allergy to fictional spice…well, don’t worry, none of that here!

Thank you for getting back to me on this, I appreciate your response.

Also, thanks for the apology. I have gone over what happened last night a few times in my head and while I did challenge the position being put to me, don’t think that I was unreasonable or rude in any way or at any point and didn’t intend for it to be a problem. If I needed both bits of paper and the manager had confirmed this, fine and dandy, but he didn’t. He immediately went on the attack and closed off any other route to a solution. I don’t even think I was pompous or arrogant, but perhaps those words are a case of “least said, soonest mended”.

I’m not sure why the manager didn’t explore other solutions to the problem with me, especially as tweets received from a GAME staff member indicate that there’s a simple enough one that could have been used (claim the £5 back within 28 days of release – seems easy enough).

I’m pleased that the matter is being looked into but would still, if possible, like to meet with the regional manager to discuss the issue in person. I understand that GAME will need to investigate and take any appropriate steps internally and that I don’t have any business hearing about those – fair enough – but I feel strongly that the treatment I received was unacceptable and would like the opportunity to get this across in person if at all possible. I don’t for a minute think that my emails will be ignored but there are times when emails do the job, and times when you want to see someone and talk to them face-to-face. This is a face-to-face sort of thing.

Your gesture of a goodie bag is appreciated, but really not necessary. Tell you what, if you want to go about restoring my faith in GAME, take the price of one copy of MW3, stick my £5 refund onto it, and get GAME to donate £50 to Macmillan Cancer Support: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/ – if you do that, we can talk a little more about my faith and it’s current level of restoration! :-)

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I really don’t, but I don’t want extras or anything out of this beyond the apologies I mentioned on my initial letter. The apology from the manager is my sticking point – while I want the company to apologise (and I know, you already have, and thank you) when it comes down to it, *he* did wrong and he needs to make that right. Or at the very least acknowledge that he did wrong.

Anyway, thank you for your help with this. I look forward to your response and still hold the faint hope that some element of this might yet involve the Saville-related flourish I mentioned in my letter!

I know it probably makes me sound like a complete arse, but I want that apology. As the CEO of GAME has been tweeting me about this and assures me that “lessons will be learned”, might this not be a good point for him to lead by example and issue an apology from his office? And while he’s at it, maybe ask one of his managers to apologise for so mismanaging a situation with a reasonable customer? God knows, in the (depressingly many) times in my life when I have been a dick I have always managed to do the right thing, go back and say sorry even though it was pretty far down the list of things I would like to do.

So let’s see it. You want my faith in GAME restored? Let’s see them satisfy one of the first lessons my mum and dad taught me – you do wrong, you say sorry.

Nov 09

Whaddaya gonna do?

So I wrote to Game about my poor experience from their Sauchiehall Street branch. To be honest, wasn’t expecting the response I got. What started out as a single open letter quicky became retweet after retweet, replies, offers of support, suggestions, phone calls from GAME customer service and even tweets from the company CEO. Along the way there were some amazingly nice things said by some amazingly cool people on Twitter. OK, so one guy called me a little bitch. Another, an OTT drama queen. One more accused me of writing an account of the situation “spiced with fiction” but I’m less worried about him as the temporary wormhole connecting us to 1922 will have died out by now.

Anyway, to the response! I got a couple of phone calls and several emails from a lady in GAME customer service. She was very nice, very understanding and very good to deal with. I am going to assume her surname was not Themanager. Here is her response:

Thank you for your patience.

May I begin by apologising for your disappointment, as a company that prides itself on the standard of service offered it is always  disappointing to receive feedback such as this.

The service you have described falls way short of the high standards we would expect and as I indicated earlier your comments have been forwarded to the Regional Manager responsible for the Glasgow store.  The Regional Manager will investigate your concerns and address the service issues you have raised.

Please rest assured your concerns has been highlighted at the very highest level within the business and your complaint has been taken seriously.  The result of the investigation will remain confidential, as a result of the investigation any remedial action necessary will be addressed by our field HR team or the Regional Manager where appropriate.

Our pre-order process and releases such as MW3 are very important to us and we would always want any customer experience to be a positive one, and I am really sorry that this was not the case.  I have shared your comments regarding the process we have in place for receipts with our Operations Team.

If you would be kind enough to send me your mailing address I will arrange for a cheque for £5.00 to be posted to you, by way of refund for your deposit.  It is important to us that customers feel that their feedback has been addressed and as a gesture of goodwill I would like to offer you a MW3 branded goodie bag.

Once again I am sorry for your disappointment, and I hope that my response has gone someway to restoring your faith in GAME. I look forward to hearing from you.

All of which is very nice, and I appreciate her taking the time to write back to me. It doesn’t cover what I am looking for, though (and Christ alone knows what I would do with a goodie bag) so I’m in the process of putting together my response. Which will, of course, be posted up here. Will it be spiced with fiction? Liberally sprinkled with the special sauce of wit? Coated in the odd-looking brown sauce of wry observation? I AM NOT TELLING.

Nov 09

Hi! My Name Is Craig Themanager!

To Whom It May Concern at GAME:

(and believe me, it should concern someone)

My name is Douglas and I want to let you know about the level of customer service I received tonight at your Sauchiehall Street branch. I’m trying to think of how best to sum it up. “Disgusting” seems too cliché, too Daily Mail for my liking. “Awful” is ok, “Terrible” gets more into the line of the things I am looking for. I’m probably going to settle for something between “shocking”, “appalling” and “horrible”.

So it’s the 8th of November as I write this. Modern Warfare 3 is upon us all. I go into your Sauchiehall Street branch at about 5:45pm –after work – with a preorder for the game. I’m met by a nice fellow at your front desk called Kenan, who pointed out (after a bit of opening banter) that I couldn’t get the £5 off the price through the preorder because I hadn’t brought along the two bits of the preorder, just the larger receipt. It seems there’s a big receipt and a wee receipt, and the smaller bit of paper is the actual preorder, as it turns out. I’ll admit to being unhappy about this – the receipt clearly has enough reference numbers on it (including the date / time of transaction etc) to surely find the preorder on the system. Kenan says no, and goes to get his manager.

(Kenan was, I should point out, polite and courteous at all times. I was a (very very) tiny bit irritated at what I thought was a pretty minor issue, but I assure you I was calm and nothing at any point got out of hand. I was just asking questions as to why the receipt couldn’t satisfy the function of the preorder. But Kenan did the right thing – tell the customer no, then if they don’t accept, kick it up the chain of command to the manager.)

That is when things took a sharp turn in a southward direction.

The manager (and we’ll come to his name in a moment, that gets its own little spot in the story) immediately took a belligerent and aggressive tone. Even his body language was confrontational. There was nothing about this man that suggested he was there to manage the situation, explain matters and possibly find a solution. This was a man who had decided in advance to say “No” and had got himself keyed up into an aggressive state to get that point across.

When I said that I thought the receipt would surely contain all of the information needed he repeated Kenan’s point that the smaller slip was required. When I asked why, he said that without it there would be nothing to prevent me “…presenting it tomorrow at another shop and claiming the £5 there too.” So, for those of you keeping score, that’s aggression and accusing the customer of trying to defraud the shop. I tried again, mentioning that the receipt would surely have a reference number to tie it to a specific pre-order, which would mean the system wouldn’t accept a second submission for another £5. Without a moment’s thought (this guy, I thought, must know the system inside and out) he said that there weren’t any common reference numbers and that I could – and this is a direct quote from someone who has been promoted up to be a manager in one of your larger stores“…take it or leave it.”

I’ll admit to being shocked.

By the way, the large receipt and the smaller slip have tons of similar reference numbers on them. Tons. I have circled them in red and counted. The barcode numbers are different but there are 5 areas with the same reference numbers, numerical codes, date and time references, loyalty card numbers etc. OK, 5 might not be tons, but it’s more than the “none” given to me by the manager. So can we add lying out of hand to the customer to the aggression?

I then asked to speak to this man’s manager. I was told that it was his shop and that he was in charge. When I asked to speak to his superior, he repeated this sentence. I asked for his name and got “Craig” spat at me. When I asked for his surname, I got “Craig The Manager”. Assuming, of course, that his name isn’t “Craig Themanager” we can now add to aggression, lying to the customer out of hand and accusing the customer of trying to defraud the shop with refusing to give his name so that I can refer this matter on to customer services. Several times at this stage the “Take it or leave it” offer was repeated. He even said that it wasn’t his fault that I didn’t follow the instructions I was given when I made the preorder.

At this point – speaking as someone who is also a manager in a workplace that deals with customers – I asked if he thought it was acceptable that he was speaking to me in this way. He said that he was speaking to me the way I was speaking to him. At a query from me he clarified this, saying I was speaking to him “pompously and arrogantly”. When I disagreed with this he repeated the claim and again called me pompous and arrogant. When my wife (oh yeah, the wife was there too, meant to mention!) pointed out that I wasn’t being any such thing, he snapped, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree Madam!” at her. All of this, by the way, is with an increasingly raised voice and a stance that was far more “you’ve spilled my pint” than it was “how can I help you?” Still loving the bit where he snapped at my wife. That makes me tingle.

All I could do at this point was to repeat that I was shocked that he, a manager, found it ok to speak to a customer in that tone. He agreed that I was shocked because “…you’re not used to someone talking back to you, are you?” I mentioned I was going to report this issue in a complaint and was told that I could get the details of customer service “…from the door when you leave.”

Oh, and the raised voice? Still there. When I asked him to please not raise his voice at me, I was told that was how he chose to speak, how he would continue to speak to me and that he would not change it because it was his shop and he was the manager and in charge. He might have gone back to his old favourite of “Take it or leave it” at this point, I don’t know. The sound of a kettle boiling was ringing in my ears like one of those old Sylvester and Tweety cartoons by now. I asked Kenan if he felt I had spoken to him badly, which I do feel bad about – it seems this was Kenan’s first day and in retrospect it probably wasn’t cool to ask him to voice his opinion with his (aggressive, shouting) manager right beside him.

Upshot of it all is, I left. In the parlance so favoured by Mister Themanager I “left it”. I bought the game somewhere else where the staff used words and phrases like “Can I help?”, “Here you go” and “thank you”.You can imagine what I was like. It was like one of those war movies where you see glassy-eyed victims of some terrible battle fetch up in some temporary place of safety. Saving Private Themanager, perhaps.

I resolved to contact your company through email, Twitter and write this letter. I’m even going to go all 21st century and stick it up on my blog. I’m incredibly angry at the treatment I received. This man, this enigma, this Craig Themanager, is in charge of one of your big stores in Sauchiehall Street. That’s a BIG street. Lots of people shop there. I wasn’t being loud, I wasn’t being aggressive, and I wasn’t being abusive. I wasn’t even being pompous or arrogant, though I’m now worried that it’s both pompous and arrogant to say so. I wasn’t happy with the answer I was getting – to be honest I think a lot of shops and businesses get away with variations on “computer says no!” far too much and aren’t prepared for someone to ask questions like “Well, why does it say no?” and not just accept it like The Written Word Of God Almighty. But you know what? Customers are allowed to be unhappy. As long as they’re polite, which I’m pretty sure I was being. My dear wife usually lets me know quickly enough if I’m not, and fairly directly too. Customers are allowed to be unhappy and that’s why companies put managers in to…well…manage.

If Craig Themanager had calmly explained the situation, I would have accepted it. Had he told me that I could bring back the smaller receipt and claim my £5 back within 28 days of release (which one of your store staff confirmed to me tonight on Twitter) then I would have accepted that. Had he said, “Sorry sir, you’ll need to pay full price but if you bring the smaller receipt tomorrow I’ll give you £5 credit to your next purchase” I would have even gone for that. I would have gone for ANYTHING that didn’t involve being aggressive, raising his voice and treating me like something that kids usually stick in a paper bag, set fire to and leave outside someone’s front door while ringing the bell and giggling.

Oh, and one thing – if the customers need to bring along the two slips of paper to get a preorder, you know what you should do? STAPLE THEM TOGETHER. Nowhere on either slip does it say, “You need both of us”. Staples. Seriously. I use them all the time. Go into any shop, you really can’t miss them. End on, they look like really thin space invaders. They’re brilliant for sticking important bits of paper together.

So, here’s what I would like:

 1)    A response to this letter from GAME.

2)    A written apology from GAME head office.

3)    A written apology from Craig Themanager, paragon of GAME customer service.

4)    The £5 refunded – not in store credit. I’m sure you understand.

5)    If possible, a meeting with the member of GAME staff who has overall responsibility for the shops in the Glasgow area. Craig Themanager is, I think, an aggressive, abusive liability who either needs intensive retraining or a move to a non customer-facing role.

Given that Saville has gone and carked it, I’m hoping you’ll fix some or all of the above for me. If you could possibly do it while wearing an inordinate amount of gold, yodeling “now then, now then” and handing out badges, so much the better.

But I’ll settle for some emails or a letter.

Yours sincerely,

Douglas Theaggrievedcustomer