Monday, August 28, 2006

Belk is a very Southern department store. In Mississippi, I would equate it to McRae's. You go there to register for your china, crystal, towels, and stainless flatware. Sterling silver was registered at the locally owned Judy Martin's.

I have a Belk card. I love it because they do a nifty 30-60-90 program with no interest so I can do some shopping and pay for it in 3 neat payments and be done. Fabulous. If only I can find something I want to wear. Often times, they have great sales because the stuff I like is usually stuff that has been left behind by the women 20 years older than me who typically shop there. A great Calvin Klein silk skirt marked down to $25 makes my day.

So I called Belk today to change my name and address. It is the second time I have called their customer service line ever, and the second time I got a nice lady on the phone who sounds exactly like your grandmother.

Do they really hire grandmothers to answer the phone for customer service? They are certainly not outsourcing to India. But really, do they hire little old ladies to run their 800 line for customer service?

My theory though is this: no one wants to yell at their grandmother. It takes a seriously disturbed individual to yell at an old lady. The first time I got the grandmother on the phone at Belk, I did in fact have an account problem. They were posting my payments the day after the checks cleared according to my bank, and then charging me a late fee. I was pissed. So I call the 800 number, and found myself trying to be polite and angry at the same time because it was someone's grandmother on the phone. After a very long time and lots of lovely Southern chatting, I was eventually refunded the late fees they tried to suck out of me and Granny told me about 8 times to "Have a lovely day." I just couldn't be angry at them anymore.

I don't know about you, but I think Sprint could take a lesson from Belk.

So I went to post the link to McRae's and just found out that they have been bought by Belk. Interesting. Or maybe it's not.