Well, if you can sue over hot coffee...

Tuesday~April 7, 2009

My friend Kate and I took the boys to IKEA yesterday to avoid the cold and escape the craziness of cabin fever.

We unloaded the small people and made our way through the sliding doors, and there she was, the scary employee with the most ill-fitting position of greeter. The one that chewed me out the last time we were there.

You see, I had done an awful thing. I had gotten lost at IKEA, turned around and confused about which of the five elevators to take. So I guessed, and with my merchandise in hand I was ejected from an elevator on the opposite side that I had gotten in, and found myself back at the beginning. So I hopped out to grab a stray cart, because that was my mission anyway.

It was then that I came face-to-face with the Welcome Lady, and she started yelling, "YOU CAN'T HAVE MERCHANDISE DOWN HERE!"

So I turned red, smiled a fake smile and said I had gotten confused and was trying to make my way back to the shopping area. To which she responded by yelling the exact same thing again, only this time pointing at me and getting louder.

So I did what any self respecting person would do to stand up for themselves. I simply got back on the elevator and waved and smiled as sarcastically as possible as the doors closed between us, which made her yell, "HEY!" over and over at the top of her lungs.

I felt a little silly about having acted like a child, so this time I tried to ignore Welcome Lady. But that was hard because there were a group of women standing at the lockers near the entrance. They were trying to figure out how to put their things away. And they were being chewed out (royally) for not understanding that they needed to put a quarter in the "free" lockers. Yes, Welcome Lady struck again, and her tone was so rude I almost intervened. Almost. (I did in my head, but just not in real life.)

"IT is WRITTEN right there!!!," she scoffed at the ladies. "You will get your quarter back when you return for your things, do you NOT see THAT?"

The ladies fell silent, staring at each other like wounded children.

The doors opened and we stepped in the elevator, happy to escape. As the doors closed and we started to move, we could still hear her, lecturing on and on about reading signs and I grew...um...really annoyed.

Inappropriate employee behavior doesn't really get to me that much generally. I just assume someone is having a bad day (or life) and I try to let it roll off me. But then other times my stomach starts to churn and I get all sweaty because I just can't wrap my mind around the need to torture everyone you come in contact with at your job, and then get paid to do it.

I started to tell Kate that I planned on complaining, even though I never do, but then it happened...

Sometimes having kids around makes it so you don't have any need or desire to spend your time complaining about employees. Instead of having the satisfaction of knowing I'd informed a manager that Welcome Lady was very scary, I was distracted by the chaos and mayhem caused by my very own angelic children.

Because, as I turned to pick up his discarded boots, Miles tried to stand on the side of the cart that Asher was sitting in. And before I could say "Welcome Lady," the boys were on the floor in a pile, Asher dangling sideways from his buckled prison, and Miles completely hidden under the over-turned cart and his brother.

There was screaming and pulling and lifting and pain. I was actually pretty sure something would be broken, it was one of those twisted limbs kinds of things. We were surrounded by yellow and blue shirts in a flash, so many questions, people on radios asking for help. Heads checked, legs and arms checked. Some swelling, some scrapes, but it looked like everyone was in one piece. Just wailing pieces. But no broken pieces.

Enter the manager. (I would like to say here that this helpful person was Welcome Lady, to redeem her character, but that would be a lie, even though it would make a good story.)

He was a nice looking and friendly man, talking quietly while sitting on the floor with Miles and I, "Can I get you guys lunch and ice cream?"

Huh? What does that have to do with it?....OH.

Dude. I'm not going to sue you over a complete accident caused by my child. You don't have to offer me lunch.

"No, it's fine, it wasn't your fault, it was an accident."

"Really, I insist."

Pause...thinking, thinking, thinking.

I do love me some IKEA meatballs and mashed potatoes. And Welcome Lady is mean...

"Well, if you insist! We'll take it!" (BIG smile.)

And I totally could have threatened him too. I could have said I have a good case...Those carts are too tall, or maybe too tippy... I could have added in stuff about crazy Welcome Lady, but by then I'd completely forgotten her antics. And we really do enjoy free lunch. (hopefully you come here often and understand that I'm joking, sarcastically...you know, making fun of suing for the wrong reasons...)

I would've liked to have thanked the manager in a more proper way than the simple, sheepish "thank you" I gave him. But I think the more appropriate person to thank is that lady that won all the money after suing McDonald's for having hot coffee.

And don't you worry, if I come nose to nose with Welcome Lady again next time, she's totally going down.


Jay's prompt this week for Tuesday's Tribute was a suggestion to make the post about retail peeps (Grandma, peeps are people). What perfect timing for this prompt, Jay. Thanks!

Head on over to Halftime Lessons for more Tuesday's Tributes.

*photo courtesy of flickr

33 clicked right here to comment:

Jenn@A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

So glad that your boys weren't seriously hurt.
I can totally understand the sweating/anxious feeling when it comes to confrontation. I have only done it once and I was shaking by the time it was over! We had a really rude waitress at a restaurant one time. I talked to the manager and he ended up serving us for the rest of the meal.

Stesha said...

You should have started screaming at the top of your lungs. She would have assumed you were some crazy lady and left you alone:)

Hugs and Mocha,

Kristina P. said...

I don't encounter a lot of rude employees, but I would probably complain, depending on the situation. But I completely understand that whole blood boiling thing!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I get it. Sometimes customer service is SO lame, it's counter-productive. (I would like your store better if you DIDN'T have a "friendly" greeter.) But it goes both ways I guess. Today my checker at Cub offered us a partially broken Easter Lily because she'd just been waiting for somebody cute to come through the line (She meant Natalie, by the way, I didn't look cute after the gym). And then when I was bagging my groceries and realized I'd forgot to pay for my kiwis, she said, "It's okay, don't worry about it this time." Nice, huh? So maybe the checker at Cub could give the welcome lady at IKEA a few pointers. And maybe you could consider this comment a guest post. (Geesh, sorry.)

Kimberly said...

My favourite thing about reading this post is knowing I would've done EXACTLY all the same things in your shoes.


sara said...

You would think IDEA would realize that yelling at people is not really "welcoming" Surely other people have noticed! But I do have to say that it was a great story!

Glad your boys are okay! How were the meatballs?

LexiconLuvr said...

I'm glad the kiddos survived and had meatballs to garnish the tale. (Mine do stuff like that ALL the time!)

As for Welcome Lady, I would love to say that I would have just let her have it but I'm a total coward. I'd immortalize her in fiction though. =]

Ron said...

Here is my take .. feel free to disagree .. If we are an employer and an employee completely does not do their job, we fire them .. We employ doctors, mechanics, grocers, retail clerks, and, yes, welcome ladies .. We often fire those people (I'll just never shop there again) and go on our merry way .. not me .. I want them to know I have fired them ..
Case in point: (I'll try to be brief) I was shopping at a grocery store when they were out of an item .. I asked for a replacement of equal value (which they promised via posted sign .. They refused .. I insisted .. they relented .. As I was leaving, the night manager made a snide remark which I did not hear .. my wife told me about it when I got home ..
I sent a letter to corporate firing them ..
2 days later the offending manager was on my doorstep with a 5 quart container of ice cream (the item in question that night) and a fruit basket and an apology and plea for my business ..

(In my best Donald Trump impersonation) You're Fired !

Debbie said...

So many thoughts - so little space!
Kudos to you and Kate for getting out of the house!
Anytime anyone anywhere offers you anything free, repeat after me, "Why yes. That would be lovely." Ask no questions and do not give them time to reconsider.
Thank goodness those boys were OK.
And finally, one time the mean Kroger lady at my store made me cry. Me! Tough "I'll beat you senseless if you look at my kids sideways" sarcastic Debbie. Yes, she did. So I came home and called the manager. She's still there these 50 years later but I have the satisfaction of knowing I tattled on her:)

Sara@i.Sass said...

First I'd like to say:
"DUDE, you can NOT pass up free meatballs!"
And second:
Had I been there I WOULD have said something to Welcome lady, and possible clubbed her with my abnormally large purse, on "accindent" of course.

Muthering Heights said...

I think it's nice that they gave you guys lunch...I'm sure the kids were very happy! :)

As for "Welcome Lady," why don't you just call the store to tell a manager about her? I'm sure that IKEA would like to opportunity to correct her behavior, instead of scaring away customers...that way, no one has to know who you are! :)

Melanie J said...

See, you're nicer than me. I hate bullies. I'd have told her something to her face, told her I was telling her manager, and then told her manager. I have no tolerance for bad service after being in the industry for so long. Bad service is merited as a retaliation for truly awful customers but it should never be the standard.

Mylestones said...

Mmm, I love me some IKEA meatballs too!! And the free ones taste twice as good!
Oh, and sorry to hear that Welcome Lady was so unwelcoming.

Angie said...

Oh you are so entertaining! :)

I do have to say I am completely jealous of your proximity to IKEA... We are 2 hours from the closest one to us, and I have things to get for my re-decorating Audrey's room project, and they don't sell the items online, only in store. Argh. Perhaps I should complain about that.

Another random comment. Have you ever seen those What Would You Do? shows or something like that? Maybe you were being watched on a hidden camera somewhere to see how you'd respond to "Welcome Lady", and we'll see your face on national television.

I am up way too late. :)

Less Toil Traci said...

I love this post. One of my favorites...ever. Because I totally have an issue with weird, mean employee people. AND I have be known to do those sarcastic looks back to them too. Childish like you say, but oh, they feel good for that second. Glad your boys are okay.

Kim said...

Glad to know that the hooligans were ok. That's all they need, broken bones and such.
So, despite the hurt and stuff, this post was hilarious. I wish I could go to IKEA with you. It would be way fun. I'd totally tell off the mean lady too!

Mammatalk said...

So glad they weren't hurt! And, I'd take the free meal, too. :+)

Mike said...

I would have done the same.


Twitter: AboutParenting

Rach@In His Hands said...

Why on earth do people have to act like that??? Grrrr.

Yay for accepting that lunch! Glad the kiddos were ok. d

I've never been to Ikea :-( but if I'm ever at the one in your area and encounter that Welcome Lady, she'd better be nice....or else. ;-)

Sabrina said...

I'm glad that they weren't seriously hurt! WOAH!

That darn Ikea!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

I've never been in IKEA and have some IKEA jealousy, because form what I have heard I think I would LOVE it. :) Well, one in my state any way. NOt one with mean people. For sure mine wouldn't have mean people in it...

I've had nightmares about my kdis falling out of carts. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all - free lunch any way. Certainly I kid. :)

happygeek said...

MMMmm meatballs.
Glad everyone is OK. Ikea is truly one of my favorite escape places with little ones. We don't have mean welcome lady here. Which is good.

Jen said...

Wow that was some adventure. Totally something that would happen to me. Just another reason to add to my list of why I will not go to Ikea.

Halftime Lessons said...

LMAO that was AWESOME!!

Great job to you keeping your cool...I would have lost it the first time that woman spoke to me like that.

Hope you liked the meatballs, that manager did a great job of trying to make the situation better.

Great Tribute!!!


Izzy 'N Emmy said...

OMG, hilarious! I sincerely hope everyone is alright, but what a day! Free lunch is usually a good thing. lol!
And next time, Welcome Lady is due! Honest, don't be afraid, I'm here for you!

Kristen said...

What is up with IKEA and their winding corriders and one-way elevators?? They are so not family friendly. I have been in that exact situation and also been yelled at. So annoying!

Peanut said...

I keep saying I'm going to write letters when I come across mean greeter ladies, or male belly dancers who play up the stripper routine too much, right in front of my kids (true story), or stores that organize their bras by color instead of size... but inevitably life gets in the way.

Glad the boys are okay and yay for the free lunch!!

Brooke said...

I'm glad your boys were okay. That's happened to us before. Nobody cared. I'm glad you got a free lunch out of it! Give welcome lady a piece of your mind next time you go in.

pam at beyondjustmom said...

What an un-IKEA like welcome lady! Can't believe they keep her there. And it's so confusing and chaotic. Glad the kids weren't hurt and the manager showed some kindness.
And I love how you're so funny about it ;-)

Eowyn said...

Glad the boys are ok. I hate the shopping cart tipping fiasco's. My boys do them often!

Although I did laugh.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Loved this story! I still think you should get that gal in trouble somehow. There is no excuse for her behavior. Maybe you can plan some kind of shopping cart escapade and make it look like HER fault. COOL. (okay, I'm not really that evil. And your organic post is making me paranoid about eating apples but I'm going to do it anyway.)

Jessica said...

Heather, my kids did the EXACT same thing yesterday! I am not kidding!! We were at CVS, and I was rummaging for coupons and Sami tipped the cart with An in it! I had never heard of that happening before and I was so embarrassed, but now I know there's two of us! You handled it much more gracefully however! I just ran out of the store and passed out chocolate in the car to get everyone to stop crying!

Betty said...

Since the boys are ok........hahahahahahahahaha. That is a REAL mommy story! My middle son once crawled under the cart to lay on that bottom rack while i was grocery shopping and I ran over his hand. While I was trying to stop his tears my oldest was looking over the edge of the cart to see if his brother was ok and flipped right over the side!
Thanks for sharing that, brings back memories....they are funny NOW!

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