When Bad Customer Service Stares You in the Face

When a company does you a disservice, they most often if they are a decent company offer an apology and then try to do something to correct the error. When Elizabeth, Chaim Yosef and I were in Florida recently, we encountered a sort of bad customer service that just kept on compounding itself until I had to stare at the offending party and think to myself, “How is it possible that this person was given a job like this?”

It all started when we checked into our room at the RCI timeshare where my mother graciously allowed us to stay for the week we were in Florida. My wife checked out the room and noticed that it looked virtually identical to the one where we stayed for our honeymoon, other than the counter tops in the kitchen being of a lesser material. She then observed that in the bathroom there were no standard shower toiletries to be found — shampoo, conditioner, etc. When we came for our honeymoon we got a lovely little plastic pouch that contained TSA approved toiletries. No such pouch was to be found — and it was such a high quality pouch that we used it to bring toddler toiletries for Chaim Yosef.

It became an issue when Elizabeth really needed conditioner for her hair and asked me to call the front desk. We had noticed that the people who came to stay in the suite next to ours walked in with one of the toiletry bags in hand and I called to inquire why we hadn’t received it. I was informed that it was an oversight and that one would be left for us at the front desk.

It was too late to get it at that point in time — too close to Shabbos — but I said that I would get it the following evening after Shabbos was over. You can imagine my surprise when I went back the following evening and found that no pouch was left for us, and the guest service desk, where they have the supply of such pouches, was closed for the evening. Moreover, the physical drawers holding the pouches were locked and only the manager, who was not there, had the key to the drawers.

I want you to process this for a moment. I had not gone into Fort Knox looking for doubloons. I was looking for shampoo and conditioner, the kind that even the Motel 6 will provide free of charge.

The following afternoon, I returned during our break from having fun at Walt Disney World and requested the pouch that was left for us. I was then told that no pouch was set aside for us, and that they had run out of toiletry pouches. I stared dumbly at the person who told me this, wondering when he was going to laugh and tell me that it was just a joke. Instead, he gave me directions to the nearest Publix supermarket, where he assured me we could buy shampoo and conditioner.

I shook my head and left, wondering how we have fallen to such a state of poor customer service that this could have happened. In my mind, ten minutes after the first phone call a pouch of toiletries should have showed up at our door with their thanks for being a guest. Again — this is not a twenty-five dollar a night place where we were staying. It easily runs into the hundreds of dollars per night. In the future, should we choose to stay there, we will make sure to bring our own toiletries — clearly they cannot be trusted to ever provide them.

12 comments

  • Such a strange story, Gordon! I wonder if there was some sort of bad mojo on the account that might have been previously prejudiced against you or something? This whole retelling of what happened reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld when Elaine was trying to get help from doctors who all “had notes” on her but wouldn’t share what they were secretly writing about her…

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  • Gordon Davidescu

    Definitely not — my mother and stepfather are the best guests!

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  • Sadly I have heard similar about RCI before. I cannot think how they expect to continue and prosper with such poor service.

    It does soun as though the “System” itself was as broken as the emember of staff – sometimes the system leaves their staff nowhere else to go – like only the manager has they keys etc ect.

    I hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your stay in spite of this stupidity.

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  • What an annoying way to put a damper on your trip. Toiletries are such small things, but so incredibly necessary in everyday life! Maybe they really were made of doubloons- I can’t think of any other reason they would make it so impossible for you to receive them.

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    • Gordon Davidescu

      I like dollar bottles of conditioner as much as the next person but don’t put up plaques boasting your gold star status for a decade and deny a family their toiletries! Ahoy!

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  • Hi Gordon, we found your blog and wanted to offer our apologies and assistance. While we don’t own/operate/manage timeshare properties (rather, we provide the services of timeshare exchange), we take feedback about all aspects of the vacation experience from our members very seriously. We’d like to get some additional information about your experience so that our team can share your feedback with the resort. Please email talktous@rci.com with the details of where you stayed and the RCI account information if you have it available. –Kathleen M., RCI

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  • This is absolutely ridiculous. It really shouldn’t have been that difficult to receive a few toiletries. When you mentioned that they directed you to a nearby store where you could get some of the things you needed, it made me wonder if they had similar problems like this in the past.

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