MIKE'S RANT OF THE MONTH - Rude paintball field and store staff
I’m generally a pretty Zen, relaxed guy. But every once in a while, with no warning, I come across something that makes me angry...VERY angry. This conveniently happens around once a month...so why not turn it into a monthly feature on Grey Ops?
The following opinions are mine alone, and don’t necessarily represent the views of Connor or any other writer on the Grey Ops team. Please direct all wrath, angry comments, law suits, and profanity towards myself (Mike), and spare all innocent parties.
The world of paintball is hurting at the moment. Sure we're climbing steadily out of the worldwide recession, but we're not out of the woods yet. Paintball is by no means a budget sport, and a significant amount of money is required to invest in startup equipment (not to mention the additional costs of field fees, field paint, and Big Game tickets). A lot of people just don't have this kind of money to throw around, and it's showing in the marketplace, most notably with the recent bankruptcy of Smart Parts - once a colossus in the paintball industry.
So in this economic climate, paintball field and pro shop owners and employees must be putting the customer first, valuing them and making them feel welcome, right?
I go to quite a variety of paintball fields and stores in eastern Canada, and while most are generally positive and welcoming to customers, I occasionally come across one where the owner and/or staff act like they're doing YOU a favour by doing business with you. Rude treatment and disrespect is a lot more common in this industry than most others.
I think a big part of the problem is that the only qualification that a lot of field owners and employees bring to the table, is that they have experience playing paintball. This doesn't necessarily translate over to knowledge of good customer service, or good business sense. In most other industries the market would weed these types of people out. But in the rough game of paintball, with its welts, bruises, splinters, and mosquito bites, this unpleasantness often gets overlooked in the big picture.
There are certain establishments where you can expect to be treated poorly by the staff, as it comes with the territory. Some such places that come to mind are exclusive nightclubs, Korean nail salons, and prison. Aside from such places though, paying customers should have positive interactions with the staff of any business, and being a paintball field or shop doesn't grant it some magical exemption.
So to all you paintball consumers out there, reclaim your power! Keep an eye out for shitty treatment, refuse to accept it, and "vote with your wallet" so to speak. Use your purchasing power to punish cocky and rude staff of paintball establishments, and when the money stops coming in, they'll realize the value of proper customer service. This applies to online stores too; if you need to send 3 e-mails to a store before someone answers you back, or they sit on your order for 2 weeks before shipping it out, take your business elsewhere.
Throwing down the gauntlet
So to all you field owners out there, consider yourselves officially on notice! Your customers are your bread and butter, and they're doing YOU a favour by patronizing your business, not the other way around. Treat them properly, and impart a philosophy of proper customer service to your staff members as well. Otherwise, that giant sucking sound you'll hear will be the ridiculous amount of money myself and others spend annually on paintball being diverted to your competitors!