When was the last time a retailer told you that you couldn't buy what they advertised? Sound crazy? That is what a customer service person told the customer in front of me recently at a local big box store.

Yes, it was prominently advertised in the current sales flyer he held. Yes, they were priced at that price. But sorry, the store was out. And, no, it wasn't a "quantities" limited item. They were just out. Sorry. But he needed it for work. Can they order from another store? No, he would have to drive to Nashville to get it. Could he order here and come back to get it? Yes, but it would take a while. How long? Maybe weeks; no way to know. He'd like to order it. Really? Are you sure? Yes.

I'm amazed and flabbergasted as the exchange gets worse: The customer gives the service rep his information and asks how he'll know when it arrives. The service rep looks him in the face and says he'll have to call. Frequently. Who does he call? The rep gives him a list of the departments who might receive his item. This poor guy takes the abuse, pays his money, and limps out the door. I wonder if he ever received his purchase.

Bad service is available every where. So is good service. It doesn't matter how large or small the firm - good service is out there, just like bad service. Find people and businesses who take care of you. Then vote with your money! You'll be glad that you did.