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  • Piecing Together An Apology

    | FL, USA | Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

    (I’m the assistant manager currently helping out on the registers, when one of the new hires flags me down for help.)

    Me: “Hello. How can I help?”

    Coworker: “Yeah, she was wondering how much it would cost for us to put together everything.”

    (I glance at the cart and see that the customer, a woman in her early 40s, has a total of 11 furniture pieces, all of which require a lot of time to assemble.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but unfortunately we don’t offer that particular service at this time.”

    Customer: “You’ve got to be kidding me. [Competitor] would put all of this together for me no problem. Main reason I’m coming here is because you all are cheaper.”

    Me: “Yes, and I thank you for choosing to shop with us today. I also know that [competitor] offers an assembly service and that they staff people who do nothing but assemble furniture for their customers. Unfortunately for us, we simply don’t have that kind of manpower or the space to take on that particular service.”

    Customer: “I don’t really care if you have the manpower or not! I have f***ing arthritis in my wrists. You honestly think I’d be asking for help if I could do it myself?”

    Me: “Of course not, ma’am. Before I go and ask the store manager if there is something that can be done, let me ask you something: are you needing these pieces assembled right away?”

    Customer: “Not really. How long would it take you think?”

    Me: “I imagine that we could do all this in a little over a week. Reason being is that we’d have various people working on your furniture in between customers. With 11 pieces here, it will take some time to put everything together.”

    (The customer reluctantly agrees on the wait time and the store manager agrees to have us assemble everything for free. I take her information and promise to call her whenever her furniture pieces are completed. The following day, she calls in and asks if we’re done yet. This repeats every day for the next four days. Finally I end up taking her phone call on the fifth day.)

    Me: “Hello, this is [me], how can I help you?”

    Customer: “You can help me by getting my damn furniture finished already. I bought everything last weekend and I have company coming in two days. What the h*** is taking so long? What do you think I’m paying you all for?”

    Me: “Ma’am, as I explained to you then, it will take some time for us to put everything together for you because we are low on staff and that it could take a little over a week. You said that that was fine. Secondly, we offered to do this for you free of charge, so you aren’t actually paying us to assist you. But on the positive side of things, we currently have more than half of your furniture assembled and I believe that we’ll be able to have everything put together in two more days if you’re willing to remain patient with us.”

    Customer: “You’re all lazy and incompetent! I’m going to have you all fired!”

    (The store manager, who has been sitting next to me the entire time, has heard all of this and immediately grabs the phone.)

    Store Manager: “Hi, this is the store manager. Now listen here, we have been more than patient with you. Just about every single employee I have, including myself, have agreed at one point or another to take time out of their incredibly busy schedules just to help you out because we value all of our customers. Not once from you have I heard a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’, yet we still are willing to help out. However, I will not tolerate you berating my employees who are actually completing this project ahead of schedule. Now, if you still feel that we are not moving fast enough for your liking, you are more than welcome to come to the store, pick up your furniture and assemble the rest yourself. I’ll even help you load your car if you need the help.”

    (After more incoherent yelling, the customer hangs up. The next day she came in and apologized for her behavior, saying that it was uncalled for. She then went around the store and thanked each employee for being so helpful. Can’t say that I was expecting that.)