Party City - Clarifications from an employee who dislikes being blamed for things he has no control over.

Party City - No helium available in store

There are problems at almost any retail establishment. Things aren’t going to be perfect every time you walk through the door, but sometimes it’s the customers who make problems worse.

Does that mean that it is always the customer’s fault? Of course not. But sometimes you want to blame the store for poor customer service, but in reality it’s you failing to be a good customer.

Poor Customer Service

In a party supply store there are literally thousands of items. It’s very easy for the customer – you – to get turned around or frustrated. Just where are those yellow party hats?

For burning questions like these, sometimes a quick look around isn’t enough. You need professional help, so you search out one of the employees and ask about the items you seek. A good customer service professional will respond in one of two ways.

First – he may be able to tell you exactly where the items are or lead you to them immediately. Second – he may tell you that he’s with another customer, but that he’ll help you in just a moment to find the item.

Both of those responses are very professional and appropriate. Sadly, however, how we behave next is an indication of just how professional we are as customers. Of course, if your employee ignores you, is rude to you or never answers your question, he’s very much in the wrong, no questions asked.

Poor Customers

If the customer service agent is helping someone else, there is no need to get in a huff. The other customer was there first and he deserves to have his question answered. Sadly, however, sometimes we forget this and get a bit snappy or start sighing dramatically while waiting.

Of course we’d all like to know the answers right away or have a personal shopper snap to attention when we have a request, but party stores don’t work that way. It’s always a mix.

This balancing act between good customer service and good customers seems to happen most with balloons, oddly enough.

The Battle of the Balloons

You order party balloons online so that you can pick them up at the store. When you arrive at the store on the morning of your party, you’re told that there is no helium available to blow up the balloons and there hasn’t been any for over a year. So you now have a handful of balloons and a choice to either ditch the idea or drive around town to find a store with helium to blow them up for you, which ultimately will cost you more.

In this case, it’s clear to see that the store is at fault. The customer service representative – who would have had your contact information from the order – would have done well to let you know as soon as possible about the lack of helium. He didn’t and you now have every right to be frustrated about the experience.

On the flipside, however, you may have skipped the online balloon order process and decided to run up to the store to grab some balloons with just a bit of time to spare before the party actually starts.

When you arrive, you find the customer service representative finishing up another order of balloons. He may even have the audacity to allow another customer to pick up balloons ahead of you – sine his order has been ready for hours.

Now you’re left standing there waiting on your balloons while individuals who prepared ahead of time are able to grab completed orders and go. It’s going to take time to fill two dozen balloons – why would you get frustrated and take it out on the poor kid running the helium? It’s not his fault you waited until the last minute to get started on a time-consuming process.