It is with deepest regret this morning that I write to you all with a story not of excellent customer service but rather unfortunately, one of the worst customer service experiences I have ever had. My apologies, this is a tad long but I appreciate you taking the time to hear my story.
To understand why my experience was so terrible, you need to know a little bit about me. 2016 was not an easy year for me. 2016 is the year I experienced 3 failed intrauterine inseminations and 2 failed rounds of In Vitro Fertilization. I lost not one, but two babies in 2016. I endured countless injections with needles bigger than the average person’s thumb and around 5 surgeries, in the hopes that I would be able to obtain results that most people don’t even have to think about- a tiny little human growing inside of me. But that was not to be in 2016. Just this past Thursday, I started yet another set of injections in preparation for another surgery and my third round of IVF. As a loss mom, and an infertile woman, it is sometimes very painful for me to watch others experience the joy and wonder that a pregnancy brings and that I am losing hope that I will ever have. And yet, life goes on. And I must be supportive of the women around me who have what I want more than anything else in this world.
It took WEEKS for me to muster up the courage to step into your Chicago location, which I did last night. I have two friends, the first of my friends to have babies, who are due in March and have back to back baby showers that I have to attend in the next 2 weeks. They are both due within a few days of when I would have been if my first round of IVF had successfully resulted in a take home baby. I had never been to your store and when I finally decided last night would be the night I would go shopping for their gifts, I was even beginning to get a little excited that perhaps I could even buy something for myself in an act of good faith that maybe THIS round of IVF would work.
But it took me a few minutes to even get past the sliding doors, past the first wall of floor to ceiling baby gear. I was more overwhelmed with emotion than I had anticipated. With my husband’s guiding hand, I somehow made my way to the bottles and the young woman who was stocking the shelves assisted me in locating the ones I had managed to pull up on my friends’ registries. I was in your store for probably less than 10 minutes before we made our way to the cash registers, eyes cast down, on the verge of tears and afraid that I would meet eyes with one of your other shoppers and that they would see.
It is when I got to the cash registers that I experienced the EXTREMELY poor customer service. I was struggling with being able to contain the pain that was welling up inside of me, having been reminded that I still do not have what I have worked so hard for for the past 2 years. My husband loaded the 6 things that we had in our basket on to the counter and I stepped up to pay.
“What’s the number of the registry you’re buying these for?”, asked the woman checking us out.
“I um, I’m not sure, there’s actually two gifts here for two different people and one of them isn’t registered here. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now can we skip that part?”- I answered.
“You don’t KNOW the number of the registry? What’s the name?”, she retorted.
“Um, Mahnaz Dass, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, can we skip that part? I can do that later.” I answered again, huge tears now welling up in my eyes and heat rushing to my face.
“I need to know the name of the registry so that I can make sure that she doesn’t get double things!!! What’s the name of the registry?!” Your cashier yelled at me as she rolled her eyes.
“I, um, I’m overwhelmed right now, I can do that…”
It is at this point that I informed my husband that I would need to leave the store because a sob had escaped. I spent ten minutes crying uncontrollably in the car afterwards.
Your cashier could not have POSSIBLY known what I have experienced in the last year. However, having said that I was overwhelmed THREE times and clearly about to cry, I would have hoped that she would have dropped the subject of the registry. Instead, she pushed and pushed, ignoring the signals and verbal queues I was giving her and made an already difficult shopping experience even harder. Infertility and loss is an incredibly isolating process and your cashier made me feel incredibly alone and lost in that moment.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. 1 in 8 people in the US experience infertility. With these statistics, it is likely that your cashier comes into contact with someone who has had a loss or who has had to endure what I have endured EVERY. DAY. I share my story with you in the hopes that you will provide sensitivity training to your staff so that the next time someone states that they are “overwhelmed” with their shopping experience they may realize that it may not be just by the floor to floor choices that are put in front of them.
I thank you for your time and hope you have a great day,