Category: Tourists/Travel

Weathering Demanding Customers

| Bangor, Wales, UK | Crazy Requests, Tourists/Travel

(I work in a large supermarket in a tourist-y area. The last few years there has been almost persistent snow cover on the mountains from November through February. This December, however, has been really mild with temperatures consistently in the high single figures or low double figures. I am approached as I am stacking some shelves.)

Customer: “WHERE’S THE SNOW?!”

Me: “Erm… excuse me, sorry? Snow? I don’t follow.”

Customer: “You know! SNOW! I was promised there’d be snow!”

Me: *thinking he must mean a product* “Can you describe it? I can show you our seasonal aisle if you want to browse for tree decorations and ornaments.”

Customer: “No! I want ACTUAL snow. Like, falling from the sky. They said it would be the coldest winter on record. I booked a holiday here especially!”

Me: “Erm… sorry that the weather’s mild. I don’t know what you want me to do about it, though?”

Customer: “Tell me why there’s no snow!”

Me: “Well, the wind is coming from the south-west, instead of the north. I guess it’s warmer where it came from than where it’s going and keeping our temperatures mild.”

Customer: *walks off* “THERE’S NO SNOW!”

(I was left there standing and wondering what had just happened.)

It’s All Pat-Down From Here

| Seattle, WA, USA | Tourists/Travel

(In our security protocols, if a person alarms our metal detector and cannot remove whatever is alarming, like a too-small bracelet or medical device, we must pat them down in order to clear the alarm. I’m female and walk up to assist a woman who has alarmed because of a knee replacement. We are required to explain all of the pat down and ask legal questions before every pat down. I’ve just finished the legal advisement.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, and finally have you ever had a pat down before?”

Woman: “Yes, but it’s never been this intrusive before!”

Me: “…ma’am, I haven’t even started yet.”

Doesn’t Fit The Bill

| Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Money, Tourists/Travel

(I work in a gift shop at a castle. A puzzled customer comes up to the till.)

Customer: “How much are your postcards?”

Me: “They’re 50 pence.”

Customer: “So 50p means 50 pence?”

Me: “Yep, they’re the same thing.”

Customer: “Okay, so, I have a certificate for 5.”

(We don’t do gift certificates to the best of my knowledge, so…)

Me: “Sorry; when you say certificate, what exactly do you mean?”

Customer: “It’s like a… bill?”

Me: “A five pound note?”

Customer: “A what?”

Me: *baffled* “May I ask where you’re from?”

Customer: “I’m from California.”

Me: “Right, well, basically, our pence are like your cents, and our pounds are like your dollars. It’s 100 pence to a pound.”

Customer: “OH! That makes so much more sense of all of your shops!”

Lounging In The Line

| VA, USA | At The Checkout, Tourists/Travel

(I’m the customer in this story. The weather has been bad this day, resulting in a lot of cancelled and delayed flights, on top of being a holiday that is busy for flying anyway, so the check-in lines are overwhelmed with both people trying to check in and those trying to get re-booked. I notice that no one is moving in the check-in line while the desk agent is dealing with a customer. I walk up to the desk from about 20 spots back.)

Me: “Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but it seems that you’re helping this customer personally while no one is using the check-in screens. Can those of us in line to check in use the check-in screens while you handle this?”

Agent: “Sure! I’m trying to re-book her, so please step up and check in if that’s what you’re in line for.”

(I turn around to the line and speak loudly.)

Me: “If you’re just here to check in, please step up and use the check-in screens.”

(I go back to my original position in line, and it turns out most the people in line were there to be re-booked, so I reach the counter quickly as those waiting for assistance wave those of us just checking in forward. When I reach the screen and put my bag up to be tagged…)

Agent: “Ah, you again. Wait right here for a second.”

(I wait, thinking I upset them with my intrusion and am going to be kicked off my flight.)

Agent: *comes back, takes my ID, tags my bag, and then hands my ID and claim slip back to me along with another slip of paper* “Thank you for that. I’d love to hire you to stand here all evening and keep things moving, but this is the best I can do.”

(She comped me a lounge pass! Turned out that it was a LIFESAVER since MY flight ended up delayed by five hours!)

Trying To Get Through Her Thick Helmet

| UK | Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Tourists/Travel

(I worked in a chain of high-end ski and mountain sports stores. On this occasion, I was standing at the till whilst my assistant manager was moving some items nearby. A lady in her mid-60s comes storming into the store with a ski helmet in her hand; it’s obvious it’s taken a heavy hit on the back and there’s a big dent in it.)

Me: “Hi there, madam. How can I help?”

Customer: “You sold me a faulty product. I demand to see the manager.”

Me: “Sorry to hear that, madam. Our manager’s just on a conference call with our head office at the moment, but our assistant manager’s over the—”

(She stormed over to my assistant manager before I could finish, and I listened to the rest of the conversation whilst I carried on with my work.)

Customer: “You sold me a faulty product. I bought this [ski helmet] for my grandson last month, and it broke on his first trip. I want a refund and compensation.”

Assistant Manager: “Okay, madam, may I take a look at the helmet and see what’s wrong with it?” *the lady hands over the helmet*

Assistant Manager: “Madam, could I ask if your grandson took a fall at any point during his trip?”

Customer: “What? Yes, of course he did. He was on a school trip and they were learning. He told me they did some off-piste skiing on their last day and he fell and hit his head on one of the chair lift pylons. What’s this got to do with anything, though? The helmet’s clearly failed and is faulty, I want a refund!”

Assistant Manager: “Madam, I understand your frustration considering you only just bought this, but company policy is that we don’t refund damaged helmets in any way. Essentially, the helmet’s done its job by protecting your grandson’s head.”

Customer: “HOW DARE YOU TRY AND BRUSH THIS OFF! YOU WON’T GET AWAY WITH THIS! I DON’T CARE IF YOUR MANAGER’S ON THE PHONE TO THE SULTAN OF BRUNEI, I WANT HIM OUT HERE, WITH MY MONEY, NOW!!!”

(My assistant manager goes to the office where my manager’s just finished the call. She’s a rather petite woman, but has a very strong personality and is not known for backing down easily.)

Manager: “Hello, Madam. My name is [Manager] and I’m the store manager here. What seems to be the issue?

(The customer re-rants her story and the manager stands there looking at the helmet briefly.)

Manager: “So, what you’re saying is, your grandson took a tumble, hit his head on a ski lift pylon, and the helmet suffered damage as a result of this?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Manager: “So your grandson’s still alive then?”

Customer: “I… What?”

Manager: “Madam, if your grandson had gone off piste without the helmet on and hit the pylon, he wouldn’t have come back at all. The helmet did its job in protecting his head from the impact. I appreciate the fact you’ve spent money on a protective device and it has become damaged so quickly, but that’s what it’s for: protection. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.”

Customer: *practically bellowing* “THIS IS DISGUSTING! I’VE SPENT THOUSANDS IN YOUR STORE SINCE IT WAS OPENED AND I’VE NEVER BEEN TREATED LIKE THIS BEFORE! THIS PIECE OF C*** IS BROKEN, AND YOU’RE TELLING ME YOU WON’T REFUND IT?! WHAT THE H** CAN I DO WITH IT NOW, USE IT AS A PAPERWEIGHT?! I’LL TAKE THIS TO HEAD OFFICE AND GET TREATED CORRECTLY AND HAVE YOU FIRED FOR YOUR IDIOCY!”

(My manager doesn’t like being shouted at by anyone, and looks directly at the customer.)

Manager: “Madam, I’m sorry, but your outburst has just cost you a store credit I was considering offering by way of a goodwill gesture. I’ve been manager since this store has been open and I have never seen you here before, let alone on regular occurrences. Please feel free to contact our head office to discuss this further; their details are on our website. But for now I would like you to leave, please.”

(The customer stormed out without another word. Later that week, we heard from head office that she’d managed to get the contact details for the CEO who then proceeded to provide a replacement helmet, free of charge, plus about £100 worth of vouchers to use at any store as compensation “for the utter humiliation” she suffered in our store. Nice to know that despite standing by what you believe is right, the customer can still get what they want if they go high up and moan loudly enough.)

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