Millennium Music Complaint - Millennium Music in Charleston, SC had poor customer service
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the owner of Millennium Music in Charleston, SC:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I would like to file a complaint about the appallingly unprofessional treatment I received at Millennium Music on King St. today. I had brought in a bag of CDs to sell for cash and, like at any retail establishment, expected to be given the civility and decency deserving of any similar customer. Unfortunately, what I experienced instead was disrespect and a complete lack of customer service.
Before I continue, please allow me to briefly explain who I am and my background in retail management. I am currently the Store Manager of HoneyBaked Ham on Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in West Ashley, and have been so for two years. Prior to that, I spent nearly six years as a retail manager or owner of businesses that dealt in the trading of used CDs and other items. From Feb. of 1998 to June of 1999 I served as the Store Manager at a CD Warehouse, part of a nation-wide chain of used CD stores. From June of 1999 to Nov. of 2000, I owned and managed my own used CD store. Most recently, I managed The Trading Zone (in Columbus, OH) for over three years, where we also bought and sold used CDs (as well as DVDs and video games.) Suffice to say, I know how the business works, and (having been in retail management for over 10 years) I know how to treat customers with professionalism and common courtesy.
Today I decided to take some of my used CDs to your store to sell for cash. Before I left my residence, I called your store (at approximately 12:30 pm) to confirm that you did indeed pay cash for CDs. I was informed that "yes" you did pay cash and was given a short description of your purchase process. I was told that the amount paid would depend on the condition of the disc and the resale value of the title. When I listed a few bands that I intended to bring in (such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, etc.), the young man on the phone expressed interest and indicated that those CDs would warrant the maximum payout. I thanked him and told him I would come in to the store this afternoon. So far, everything was going fine and I had no reason to suspect the rudeness that was to come my way.
I arrived at the store at approximately 2:20 pm with a large plastic bag filled with 60-80 discs. At this time, there were three people behind the front counter, and only two customers at the register. There was a young man with dark hair (who I assume was the same one I had talked to on the phone) behind the counter who promptly asked if I needed any help. I showed him the bag of CDs and informed him I wanted to sell them for cash. He gave me a small slip of paper and asked me to fill out my name, phone number and the number of CDs I was selling. I told him I wasn't sure how many CDs I had so I started to count them. The young man attempted to brush me aside before I could even get a start on the count and he gave an estimate of 80-85 CDs. He had no interest in obtaining an accurate count. [STRIKE ONE] He filled out some more information on the slip of paper and said he would get the manager to look at my CDs. I asked him how long it would take and he said he didn't know. I tried to get a more definitive answer by asking for a ball-park figure. "15 minutes? Half an hour? An hour?" Again, the young man was unable (or unwilling) to give me any kind of help on the time-frame I could expect. [STRIKE TWO] He told me that only the manager could perform the assessment of value and she was "very busy." (I remind you, there were three people behind the counter, and now only one customer at the register.) Since I was trying to decide whether to stay in the store and wait, or to go somewhere else and come back, I made one more attempt to get some kind of guess as to how long it would take to look at my CDs. The young man asked the manager (a young woman with long, light brown hair) how long it would be, and together they decided that it would take "at least an hour." I did not understand why it would take that long, since (as I have already indicated) I worked for several years buying CDs and know that it only takes a few seconds to check the condition of a disc and only a few more seconds to assess the value based on the title. However, rather than say that to them, I took them at their word that they were "very busy" and told them I would come back in an hour or two. Before I left, I asked the young man for some kind of receipt to show proof that I had left the CDs at the store without receiving payment. He gave me a duplicate of the small slip of paper which I had filled out with his initials on it (J.K. or maybe J.R.) and I left the store at approximately 2:30 pm.
Now at this point, I must interrupt myself to ask a few questions. First, why would only the manager be authorized to look at my CDs? Wouldn't it make more sense to train all the employees to do this function to avoid making customers wait? Every music store I have managed, I made sure that ALL my employees were competent enough to handle ANY transaction, including the buying of CDs. After all, if you don't buy CDs, you can't sell CDs. Second, why would it take over an hour to look at them? As I indicated before, I know it only takes a few seconds to assess each CD. I am willing to concede that the manager may have had other duties to attend to, but you'd think she could give a more accurate time frame than just "at least an hour." I realize she may have had other customers, but am I not a customer too?
After about an hour, I was returning to the store when I received a call from a young girl who said my CDs were ready. I informed her that I was only half a block away and would see her in a few seconds. When I entered the store (at approximately 3:30 pm), neither "J.K." nor the manager were in view. A different young girl, with medium-length dark hair was behind the counter. She held up the bag of CDs and asked if they were mine, to which I replied that they were. She then handed the bag over the counter to me and informed me that "We can't take any of them." I was shocked, since they were all good titles, in good condition, and was told earlier in the day by phone that your store would be eager to purchase them. When I asked why none of the CDs were acceptable, the young girl proceeded to tell me "You were rude to some people earlier." WHAT???? I was stunned. I asked her to explain in what way I had been rude, but she said she didn't know because she wasn't there. Furthermore, she added, "We already have enough used CDs, and we don't want to have to move any more to Mt. Pleasant." WHAT???? Again, I was stunned. [STRIKE THREE]
Now I have some more questions for you. If your store doesn't need used CDs, then why do you solicit them on your website? If your store doesn't need used CDs, then why was I told to bring them in earlier? If your store doesn't accept used CDs, then how do you expect to sell used CDs? In what part of the world is asking for an estimated wait-time considered rude? If anyone was treated rudely today it was definitely me! Again, as a person with 10+ years of retail management experience, I was shocked and appalled at the sheer gall of your employees today. Just for the sake of argument, let's say that (somehow) my actions could have been construed as "rude" (which they weren't.) Even if I was rude (which I wasn't), how could your employees treat a customer in such a manner? I have to deal with truly rude customers regularly, and would never consider treating them so shabbily. Regardless of the attitude of the customer, your employees should know that customer service is the "Golden Rule" in retail. If I had ever caught any of my employees essentially telling a customer that we don't need their business, I would fire them in a heartbeat. And I wasn't even rude!
I hope this is not the prevailing attitude of your business. If it is, you are sure to drive away as many potential customers as you bring in. I can't believe your employees made me waste most of the afternoon driving into downtown, finding a place to park, paying to park, and waiting for an hour only to be told to go home. I cannot express my disatisfaction strongly enough. This was only the second time I have been in your store and it will certainly be the last. I also intend to inform anyone who will listen about the unprofessional "service" I received. Just remember, there are plenty of other places in Charleston where I can take my business, and the Internet provides me with a world-wide platform from which I can relate this incident.
Although I do not expect a reply, I would love to hear your explanation of these events. If you care enough about your business to make an attempt to rectify this situation, I can be reached via email at XXXXXXX or you can replay via "snail mail" at the return address on the envelope.