Two Things I Learned About Customer Service and Money On A Flight To Florida

19I have to be in Florida for the next few days. I was kinda looking forward to a change of pace, meeting new people, and learning something new.

Well, I learned something new for sure; my flight from NYC to Tampa really showed me a lot about myself as a customer and a lot about what I expect in terms of customer service.

Just for the record, there is no diva-like, ratchet behavior following nor am I endorsing that you “git on bad” with your nearest customer service representative. I am writing this post to remind you of your consumer power and the importance of NOT being okay with the status quo and speaking up when you know you are right.

Ask for a Seat Change Without Apology: So, I was stoked and amped about my 3-day work/pleasure getaway to the South. I found my seat: 30C next to the window. I had bought some breakfast at the gate and was ready to get down. But then I started to smell something not so pleasant. Really not pleasant. It was Mr. 30B, a dude with a scraggly beard and ALL types of body odor. This stench was bad before takeoff but it somehow got worse once we were in the air. He had fallen asleep with his mouth open, so I could smell everything—his morning’s breakfast, last night’s snack, and whatever else.

I tried to focus on what I was reading. (If you are looking to learn more about Dick Gregory as a civil rights activist and his philosophy on why he became a vegetarian, read Callus On My Soul: A Memoir.)

Well, after a while of trying to be a soldier, I started to think, “Why do I have to endure this abuse? I paid my money just like everyone else? This flight is 3 hours and I don’t want to throw off my vibe. “

So instead of sitting there and sulking and cussin’ in my head, I asked for him to let me pass by, found a flight attendant, explained to him that I would not put up with that, and identified where I had already moved. (Yes, I was not asking permission. I had paid my good money for a pleasant flight and had the expectation that my money was just as green as Mr. Smelly 30B, so moved in that spirit.)

When I settled into my new seat, I quickly returned to being at peace and about my business. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Do Not Tolerate Any Foolishness or Tomfoolery At the Concierge Desk: I was back to being in a good space by the time the plane landed—that is, until I got to the hotel with four of my colleagues. We arrived at 1pm to the hotel, checked in and was told that since the official check-in was 4pm, they would text us when our room respective rooms were ready. Now mind you, we all checked-in at the same time. Long story short, everyone in my party had either been notified that their room was ready via text or when they inquired at the desk way before 4pm. I had asked on five different occasions to five different clerks about the status of my room. They told me that since the official check-in was 4pm that I still had to wait even though those that had arrived with me and (apparently) those that were arriving after me where sashaying to their rooms without the delay.

When I went to the desk for a sixth time, I was “greeted” by a trainee who told me that I would have to get back on the line. I had informed that I would not get back on because I had been waiting for a long time and that it did not make sense that I was being skipped over for a room despite the specifics of my check-in.

I also told her that I wanted my room.

She went over to a senior person and he came over and guess what?

Apparently, there was a computer glitch. I had to wait for three hours because not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 people could not see the issue yet were trying to tell me to wait. The last guy apologized for the inconvenience but the trainee said something to the effect that it wasn’t four o’clock as to minimize the oversight and the disrespect.

Well, I was heated and when I get mad, I get quiet and clip, but never rude, with my responses. She asked me, “Do you know how to get to your room from here?” I said, “no.” “Well, is there anything else that I could help you with?” she continued. It took the strength of Samson for me not to fly across that desk.

I just took my bags and walked away. As I walked off, I hear her say loudly, “OKKKAAAAY, then.”

Really? Really? That’s how you act? If I were a different color, gender, or age, would you be saying that? loud enough so I could hear? And you a trainee?

Once I found my room, I called the number on the brochure that stated that if you were not satisfied with my service that I should call.

And call I did. I spoke to the Manager of Customer Satisfaction and told him everything. At the end, I asked, “Now, what are you going to do about it?” He said that he would call me back. In twenty minutes, I had $140.00 credited to my account for the trouble.

Frugal Feministas: Don’t let anyone treat you like your money is not as green as the next person’s. EVER. Don’t worry about being perceived as “an angry black woman.” Angry is a legitimate emotion,(that’s why we have it) especially when angering things are occurring. (Just no #wigsnatching, ok?)

We all have consumer power and a voice. Use both when you feel that you are not being treated well.

I’m off my soapbox. drops mic and exits stage left. ☺

Have you had a similar experience?

If you need deeper work around healing your relationship with money or overcoming your blocks and fears, maybe it’s time for some money therapy.   

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