Whilst I often experience poor customer service I seldom experience truly appalling service, but I did on a recent trip to New York, and quite frankly, I still can’t believe what happened.

I was waiting to pay for some items at the register of a D’Agostino’s, a local supermarket. A store employee was moving about near one of the registers; there was no one ahead of me and I wasn’t sure if the aisle was even open, so I stood there waiting for a cue from the staff member. After a few seconds I heard her mumble something. She wasn’t facing me and she certainly wasn’t making eye contact, so I figured she was simply talking to somebody else.

New York Grocery Store
I was about four metres from her, so I asked, “Is this lane open?” Again the woman spoke, although I could not make out exactly what she said and again she failed to face me or make an effort to engage me in any way.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked quizzically.

“Do you have a DAG Card?” she replied sharply. At least that is what I thought she said. What the hell was a DAG Card? I wasn’t sure if that was even the word she uttered while looking in a different direction and becoming increasingly more aggressive.

“Are you addressing me?” I responded.

This time, she made the effort to finally turn towards me and bark, “Do you have a DAG Card?”

Figuring this was not going to end happily, I simply turned and walked to another checkout where the service was only marginally better.

Now, I don’t know if customers in New York simply have to put up with this sort of service all the time or whether this was something out of the ordinary, but I can’t remember the last time I came across such rudeness and insolence. I certainly can’t imagine a business owner advocating that sort of behaviour from staff members, as it can only cost the owner money.

I went back two days later to get a photo of that snarly woman for this story, but she wasn’t there. However, I did notice that during the couple of minutes I stood watching, not one of the check-out staff made eye to eye contact when greeting a customer and no one could raise a smile. Clearly this business has a big problem and it will take a lot of work from management to get on top of the problem. If you’re in New York, drop by and see if things have changed.