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  • Talking At-At Cross Purposes
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    Category: Home Improvement

    Stupid customers still have to live somewhere. While we applaud them for sometimes wanting to make the place look nice, please don’t assume flat-pack furniture comes ready out of the box, or that power-tools are named as such because they need power! They make Tim The Toolman Taylor look like Frank Gehry!

    Off-Color Customers

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Crazy Requests, Home Improvement, Theme Of The Month

    (A customer comes up to me with several bathmats. I am the only staff member in a large store; my coworker is at lunch.)

    Me: “Hi. Can I help you?”

    Customer #1: “I need to know which of these you think will suit my bathroom.”

    Me: “I have no idea what your bathroom looks like.”

    Customer #1: “Well, it has…” *mutters off strange colour combination I don’t quite understand* “…and black on the floor. Which one suits my bathroom?”

    (This goes back and forth for several minutes. Finally I have had enough.)

    Me: *pointing to one* “That one will suit.”

    Customer #1: “Are you sure? I need one for toilet, one for wash hands and one for…” *struggles to find word*

    Me: “Bathtub?”

    (I go and get him another set, but he is upset that there will be two contour mats for the toilet.)

    Me: “You will need to wash that one more often, so two would be good.”

    Customer #1: “I look for more. You come.”

    Me: “No, you look. I am the only one in the store at the moment and there is another customer waiting.”

    (I turn to the other customer, vainly hoping for an easy sale.)

    Me: “Hi. Can I help you?”

    Customer #2: “I need jersey fabric. Can you show me where it is?”

    Me: “Okay. I can show you quickly. I do need to back to the counter as I am the only one on the floor right now.”

    (I take her to the jersey fabrics and point them out to her.)

    Customer #2: “I need five colours.”

    Me: “Okay. I’ll just leave you to choose them. Bring them to the counter when you are ready.”

    Customer #2: “I need your help choosing them.”

    Me: “Sorry. I really need to be back at the counter, as I’ve already explained.”

    Customer #2: “How long until someone comes back and you can do it?”

    Me: “20 minutes.”

    Customer #2: “I’ll come back.”

    (I go back to the counter to find that Customer #1 is back there.)

    Customer #1: *with other bathmats* “Will these suit my bathroom?”

    (I eventually sell Customer #1 the two sets of mats in the colour I chose. After 20 minutes, my coworker has come back and Customer #2 comes back in.)

    Customer #2: *haughtily* “Can you serve me now?”

    Me: “Yes, I can. Sorry about before. That customer was really doing my head in. Do you need help finding colours?”

    Customer #2: “No. I know exactly what colours I need.”

    (All Customer #2 wanted me for was to hold up fabric while she ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ over the colour, as well as carry the very light rolls to the counter!)

    Needs To Go Back To Square One

    | Rochester, NY, USA | Extra Stupid, Home Improvement, Math & Science

    Customer: “I’m looking for a square tablecloth. I need 52 by 52, but it doesn’t fit.”

    Me: “Hmm, well what’s the size of the table?”

    Customer: “Well, it’s 52 by 104.”

    Me: “So you’re looking for an oblong tablecloth?”

    Customer: “I could have sworn it was a square.”

    His Table Lawsuit Won’t Have A Leg To Stand On

    | Baton Rouge, LA, USA | Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Home Improvement, Theme Of The Month

    (My family is out to dinner at a Chinese buffet. My boss texts me from the furniture store where I work. I’m known for getting the problem customers.)

    Boss: “You’re not allowed to sell to psychos anymore!”

    Me: “But they’re my best business! But, seriously. What happened?”

    (My boss proceeds to tell me about a customer that already harassed me three times the day before, as well as the customer service line several times, and tried to prevent our drivers from leaving his home after his delivery. His complaint was that his table was the wrong shade of brown.)

    Boss: “He sent me an email complaining that he’s talking to highly educated people about suing us.”

    Me: “Ha! His lawyer can call my lawyer! I’ll sue for harassment.”

    (I happen to open my fortune cookie at this point and start laughing. I send my boss a picture. The fortune reads ‘A judgment will rule in your favor.’)

    Me: “Fortune cookie says we can take him!”

    Send You Off The Rails

    | Nashville, TN, USA | Home Improvement, Liars & Scammers

    (I am self-employed in the real estate appraisal business. I have made an FHA appraisal of a home that needs some minor repair. Once the repairs have been made, it will be necessary for me to re-inspect the home to make sure that the repairs have been satisfactorily completed. In this case, I have required that railings be installed around the front porch and stairway because they are several feet above the walkway. Shortly after submitting the appraisal and repair list, I received a call from the seller’s realtor.)

    Realtor: “I want to talk to you about the repairs you required. Why do we have to put up stair and porch railings?”

    Me: “It’s an FHA requirement. When a home sells with FHA financing, it has to meet minimum safety standards set by FHA.”

    Realtor: “Well, I don’t see why they’re necessary. The house already has an FHA loan. Why weren’t the railings required when my client bought the house?”

    Me: “I don’t know. Maybe the other appraiser wasn’t paying attention.”

    Realtor: “Why can’t you just look the other way?”

    Me: “I’m sorry. That’s not the way I do business.”

    Realtor: “We’re not going to put up the railings. And that’s that.”

    Me: “I understand your frustration, but it seems to be a shame that you’re going to allow this sale to be killed over a few hundred dollars.”

    Realtor: *long pause* “Okay, but you can’t charge for the repair inspection.”

    Me: “What do you mean?”

    Realtor: “I mean if we’re going to pay for a repair that’s clearly not necessary, then the least you can do is waive your fee for the repair inspection.”

    Me: “Let me call you right back. I’ll have to talk to my supervisor about this. I don’t know what he’ll say.”

    Realtor: “Okay. That will be fine.”

    (The realtor doesn’t know that I’m self employed. I wait ten minutes and call the realtor back.)

    Realtor: “Hello?”

    Me: “Hello. I just spoke to my supervisor and he got mad as h***. I argued on your behalf and he finally agreed to a 50 percent discount on the fee. This is the best I can do. He’s really upset with me.”

    Realtor: “A 50 percent discount? Okay. That will be fine.”

    (The realtor and seller were good to their word and quickly had the railings installed. On the invoice to the mortgage company, I charged full fee, but wrote in blue ink, ‘This fee represents a 50 per cent discount.’ I later did several more appraisals for that realtor. He thought he had gotten the best of me!)

    Trying To Use Yards Is Too Much Of A Feet For Some

    | Gladstone, MO, USA | Crazy Requests, Home Improvement, Math & Science

    (I am picking up some fabric at a large craft store. I am waiting in line to have it cut. A very loud customer cuts in front of everyone to ask about a bolt of fabric she’s carrying.)

    Customer #1: “How much is this fabric?”

    Employee: “It’s $9.99 per yard, ma’am.”

    Customer #1: “I don’t want to know how much per yard. I want to know how much per foot!”

    Employee: “That would be a third of a yard. So, it would be $3.33.”

    Customer #1: “No! Not one third of a yard! ONE FOOT! How much per foot does it cost?!”

    (Another customer in line decides to interject.)

    Customer #2: “One third of a yard is a foot. Three feet make one yard. So it’s $3.33 per foot.”

    Customer #1: “Who asked you!? You don’t even work here! What do you f****** know?!”

    Employee: “Ma’am, please watch your language. Also, [Customer #2] is correct. Now if you’ll please take a number, I’ll help you when it’s your turn.”

    (Customer #1 throws the bolt of fabric on the counter.)

    Customer #1: “I’ll need two five-foot pieces for my curtains. Exactly five foot. I measured twice!”

    Employee: “Ma’am, you need to take a number. All of these people were here before you.”

    (All the other customers agree that the employee should just go ahead and help the customer so that she will leave.)

    Employee: “Okay. You want three and one third yards in two pieces. So, that would be one yard and .65 of a yard.”

    (The employee mumbles to herself as she tries to figure out how much the last .65 would be.)

    Customer #1: “No! I’m not paying for yards! I f****** want two pieces of fabric, five-feet long each! Why is that so hard for you to understand!?”

    Customer #2: “Because, you stupid cow, fabric is sold by the yard, not by the foot! So her measurements are by the yard. That’s how she has to price it. By the way, if your windows are exactly 5 ft tall, how are you going to hem them and run a curtain rod through them?”

    Customer: “I’m not going to sew them. Not that it’s any of your f****** business! I’m going to cut holes in them and run those little plastic rings through the holes.”

    (Sure enough, the customer has two packs of white plastic SHOWER rings in her cart, and a long pressure SHOWER rod.)

    Customer #2: “Those are for a shower curtains! But, sure; you do that. I’m sure it will look freaking spectacular with your ghetto neon purple curtains.”

    (The employee starts unrolling the fabric and measures out the pieces. Then she folds it up and prints the label which she then pins to the fabric.)

    Customer #1: “ARGH! You’ve just f****** ruined it! Now it has a pinhole in it! I’m not paying for that! You cut me two new pieces and don’t put no d*** pins in it!”

    (At this, yet another customer feels the need to interject.)

    Customer #3: “Oh, my god, lady! There won’t be any holes in it! That’s fleece! They always put a pin in the label to hold it on there!”

    (The customer storms off, taking the fabric with her. As I’m as seamstress for a local renaissance festival, I’m in this store quite a lot. I witness the customer in there again three days later. She is complaining to a manager about the width of the fabric for her curtains, which now have holes cut in the top and those little shower rings put through.)

    Customer #1: “This fabric is not wide enough! She cut it the wrong way!”

    Manager: “Ma’am, first off we do not do returns on cut fabric unless it was not cut to your measurements. And second, that fabric was not cut in width, it was cut in length. It comes 45 inches wide on the bolt.”

    Customer #1: “Well, I don’t want it 45 inches wide. I want it wider! So it will hang right on the walls.”

    Manager: “Ma’am, as I’ve said, it only comes in 45 inches wide. I can’t help you with that. It was already cut, AND you’ve cut holes in it.”

    Customer #1: “No, no. The woman cut it sideways! I watched her do it! She just didn’t know what she was doing. She didn’t even know how to do feet, she wanted to do it in yards.”

    Me: *to the manager* “Miss, I saw the whole thing the other day. The employee definitely cut it properly, and exactly how this customer wanted it. And, yes, she measured it in feet after the customer insisted she do so.”

    Customer #1: “No one is f****** talking to you, b****!”

    Manager: “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. Please do not come back to this store. Ever!”

    Customer #1: “You’re f****** right, I’m not coming back! You pieces of s*** don’t know how to cut s*** properly!”

    (Customer #1 throws the fabric in the trash on the way out the door, while mumbling about employees with their head up their a**. The manager pulls the fabric out of the trash.)

    Manager: “Does anyone want three yards of neon purple fleece fabric with shower curtain rings!?”

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