When/how to report someone who's doing a bad job

Have you ever encountered a worker who makes an unusual number of mistakes and just doesn’t seem that good at parts of their job? As a coworker, you can mention it to your boss if it seems applicable, but as a customer, it’s much harder to know whether management knows or how they might respond — how do you decide whether/when/how to report the issues?

We’ve been ordering deliveries from our usual grocery store, which is closest to us (and pleasantly cheapest in delivery fees). They seem to have one, maybe two delivery workers; one woman almost always fields our orders. She’s very nice and friendly, has called me when she’s had questions, and seems like a good person. I’m fine with the occasional strange substitutions when they’re out of something, but some of it is a bit worse. We’ve been trying to get refunded for some items we paid for and never received back in December (about $45 total; once we purchased several of an item and she delivered one, once half-size packages were substituted for several of an item but we were still charged for the full size), and she hasn’t managed to resolve it. I’ve phoned several times, she’s been apologetic and sounds genuine; she mentioned that she was scrolling through all orders they’d received from everybody to find my specific ones from December and that she thinks the system has no way to pull up orders by name or date or order number (?!), and she keeps thinking she’s submitted the refund requests and they keep not having gone through, and it really sounds like she needs more training in their computer system and how to escalate issues when needed. She also doesn’t seem to always check voicemail; I’ve called a few times to get something added to an order, when I’ve reached her later she’s been surprised about it every time, and if I don’t call back I don’t get the item.

Obviously management would want to know about this, but I have no idea how they’ll react, and I’d like her to become more effective, not to be fired. Also, she currently handles all our grocery orders, and the refund issue would surely identify me as the one who reported her and I’ve no idea how she’d react to that. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

It’s been almost four months. I think that definitely justifies calling in her manager. If it takes too much longer, it’s possible that the store won’t be able to help you at all.

In fact, it might be kind to do that. If she likes you and is having trouble with the system, she’s probably frustrated as well that she can’t help you. (It’s also possible that the system really is messed up on her end.) Calling management will get you someone who can better handle the issue than she can. Also, if they only have a limited number of workers, she probably handles a lot of other customers. Some of them might have similar problems. Calling in would benefit them as well.

So yeah, I don’t think you’d be a Karen (or gender-appropriate version) for calling a manager over this. Four months.


Yeah; I don’t disagree at all that they need to know, and I can try to reassure them that the employee has been trying to help me but seems to need more training. I’m a little worried about what repercussions she might face, and a bit about what repercussions I might face (anything from them canceling the delivery service to, if she knows it’s I who made the call, any order weirdness). Has anyone else here ever dealt with worker situations like this as a customer?


I now have my refunds. I started with the parent online ordering company, as I wanted to know whether anything had actually been successfully submitted; the customer-service person who helped me seemed shocked that this had been unresolved for so long, and spoke directly to the store herself to try to get it resolved. Which, hey, now management there knows all about the issues, as well as that the local worker doesn’t always check voicemail. :roll_eyes:

That said, the online-ordering company’s system is apparently very quirky. The CS worker could clearly see the refund requests in their software but there was for some reason at least one other submission step between entering them in the system and actually having completed the request, and someone on the store end had to do complete the process and the CS person couldn’t herself, though she did offer me multiple discount codes to use for future. When she triggered the refunds I got several different automated emails each for non-product-specific amounts; the first four nonetheless tallied to the correct amounts, but the final one (identical to the others) brought the total to over half again what I was due… and she said that’s the way their system was supposed to work and it was actually coming out accurately even though the emails were misleading. I suggested she might want to talk with their programmers about that if she hadn’t yet, because it was confusing indeed and there was no end-user way to know any of that without asking; she said that yep, she was doing so.

So, anyhow. Resolved, finally.

…Or not. I got emails from my credit-card company this morning showing refunds for all of the online-orders company’s misleading emails, so yep, over half again what I was due. I’ve emailed that company again to let them know and ask about paying them back the extra money. :roll_eyes:

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