In complete fairness, the Indigo employee was trying to provide exceptional customer service to me; it just happened to come at the expense of customer service to my sister.
My sister and I dropped by Indigo last night on our way to a movie. They had a Buy 3, Get the 4th Free sale on, so after Jess found a couple of books she wanted, we went around looking for a couple more just to get the free book deal. (Note to Indigo: that marketing plan does work.) I went to pay for the books, and when Jess wanted to buy a magazine, she went to another cashier to purchase it.
The Indigo employee was thrilled to find that I had an irewards card (“even better than plum points!” he said), and was processing my sale when Jess comes up to me. “Look,” she says, “I just got a plum points card!” She reads from the receipt: “Ooh, I already have 160 points on it… Next rewards level is 2500 points…”
I ask the bookseller what 2500 points gets you. He tells me $5 off your purchase. I had asked earlier when my irewards was due to expire, so I guess he was worried I was planning to switch to plum points. He started talking up irewards to me: “But you save so much more on irewards!” He looked at my purchase and said, “I bet you read a lot. Do you read a lot of books?” I said yes, and I agreed with his point, which is that with all the books I buy, it’s probably worth renewing the irewards card rather than switching to plum points.
That would have been fine, and I completely agreed with him, except he decided to keep going. “For serious readers like you, irewards is definitely worth it. Plum points are just, you know, for people who buy a magazine every now and then. Then at some point, yay, they get a free magazine.” He glances at my sister with her magazine, turns to me, rolls his eyes and smiles, like, yeah, that’s not us.
At this point, my sister, who’d been standing right there the whole time, was looking glumly at her brand new plum points card and the magazine she’d just bought. “She (the other cashier) recommended plum points,” Jess said. The Indigo employee ignored her, completely focused on me as he kept talking about how since I read so much and I wasn’t just a magazine reader, I would definitely not want the plum points card. It was mostly his dismissive tone of plum points card holders that struck me.
Honestly, I was mostly amused then at the irony. After all, three of the books that had so impressed this employee were my sister’s, and if I were to renew my irewards, it’ll be worth it mostly because of the amount of books my sister buys from them. But I also felt bad for Jess — if I were in her shoes, I’d be feeling pretty insulted that I wasn’t considered enough of a reader to be offered an irewards card instead of “just” a plum points card.
So I appreciate that Indigo employee’s enthusiasm for the irewards program, and I appreciate his eagerness to chat with customers. I also appreciate his desire to explain to me why irewards will be a better option for me than plum points. It’s just that, if someone had just gotten plum points, is obviously excited about it and is standing right there, please don’t dismiss them as a non-serious reader. It may not be true, for one thing, but more importantly, it creates the impression that plum points card holders aren’t as valuable as irewards card holders. Good customer service to one shouldn’t come at the expense of another, and I definitely think that employee could have sold me on irewards without putting down plum points.
EDIT, SEPTEMBER 27TH
Upon Sally’s recommendation (in the comments), I emailed Indigo customer service about this incident. As she pointed out, even though my sister is completely over it by now, it may still be beneficial for Indigo to be made aware of the incident.
Indigo customer service emailed me back fairly quickly, but, more importantly, the store manager sent me an email as well, thanking me for my feedback and addressing my concerns.
So I just wanted to say thanks to that manager, for taking the time to reach out personally and show me and my sister that all Indigo customers are, indeed, valued. Thanks as well to Sally for suggesting I bring this to the manager’s attention.