A Real Mystery Shopper

| IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body, Rude & Risque

(I answer a phone call while working the cash register. The voice on the other end is male.)

Caller: *obviously uncomfortable* “Um… uh… could I ask you to do me a favor?”

Me: “Certainly. What do you need?”

Customer: “Can you grab a box of tampons and hold it at the counter for me?” *he specifies the brand and strength* “I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

Me: “Uh, sure.”

Customer: “Thanks.”

(A little while later, a man comes up in line with several grocery items.)

Customer: *mutters* “I believe you’re holding an item for me?”

(I grab the box and, taking care to hold it lower than counter level so others don’t see, I confirm that the item is correct. When he nods, I scan it as stealthily as possible and slip it into his bag.)

Customer: *looks around nervously* “Thank you so much.”

(Later, I’m telling my boss about the odd incident.)

Boss: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…” *begins to sing the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme*

Working Hard: $100; Holiday Spirit: Priceless

| ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Top

(I am working in the jewelry department of a big retailer. It is December 23, and my coworker has called in sick, so I am working an 8-hour shift by myself. About 5 hours in, I am ridiculously busy and have yet to take a break. Customers are lined up and getting irate.)

Customer #1: “Oh, this is lovely. Do you think my son will like it? He’s about your age.”

Me: “I definitely like it. And since it’s the holiday season, I can print out a gift receipt. He has until January 15 to exchange it if he doesn’t like it.”

Customer #1: “Lovely. I’ll take this, please.”

(I ring her up as quickly as I can, by this point I’m starving, thirsty and really have to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the line is not letting up and customers are starting to yell at me. I call upstairs and request some help from anyone. 10 or 15 minutes go by and no one shows up. By this point I’m desperate.)

Customer #1: “About time! Hurry up and get me that pair of earrings for my wife!”

Me: “No problem, sir. I’m so sorry for the wait, my coworker called in sick and it’s just me today. Now just so you know the earrings are non refundable for hygienic reasons.”

Customer #1: “Fine, fine, just hurry up.”

Customer #2: “Hey! Hurry up!”

Me: “I’ll be right there, sir. Just a moment!”

(I call up again for some help and again no one comes. I’m in serious pain by this point and feel very light headed. I help a few more customers when this little old lady asks for help.)

Little old lady: “Hello, dear. It’s quite busy in here today, isn’t it?”

Me: “Yes, it is! But, then again, that’s the holidays for you!”

(I help this customer, who is quite pleasant and doesn’t seem to mind when customers yell across the counter at me. She even lets me go cash out the simple ones while continuing to help her. This alleviates the line quite a bit. I finish helping this customer and just as she’s about to leave a man comes to my counter visibly upset and slams his fist down on the glass counter angrily.)

Customer #1: “YOU! HELP ME NOW!”

(I am shaken by him slamming his hand on the desk.)

Little old lady: “Hey! Leave her alone. She’s all by herself and trying her best! Have some holiday spirit!”

Customer #1: “Well, I’ve been waiting a while and she’s not trying hard enough! She’s wasting time talking to people instead of helping them!”

Me: *tearing up* “I’m really sorry, sir. I’m trying my best but I’m all alone today and I’ve yet to have a break. I keep calling for help but no one comes,.I’ll be happy to help you now though.”

Little old lady: “I’ll be right back, dear.”

Me: *confused* “Okay, ma’am.”

(I help the angry customer, and he leaves a little less angry than when he got in. I’ve moved on to other customers and have forgotten about the sweet old lady. Suddenly, she comes back with the store manager!)

Little old lady: *to the store manager* “There! Look at her! Look how hard she’s working all by herself! She’s called for help but no one shows up! Now, I think you should take over while this young lady gets a break for all her hard work!”

Manager: “Yes ma’am, of course. I had no idea this was happening.” *to me* “Go take an hour to have your lunch. By the time you come back, I’ll have two other people with you.”

Me: *starts to cry out of relief* “I can’t. I’m the only one who knows where everything is. And you have other things to do.”

Little old lady: “Sweetheart, don’t worry. Go take your break!”

Manager: “Go, I’ll be fine. We can manage an hour without you.”

Me: “Okay.”

Little old lady: *gives me a big hug as I’m leaving* “You have a good rest of your shift!”

Me: “Thank you!”

(I have my hour and come back feeling much better. The store manager is still there with two other workers, one from electronics and another from the general cash.)

Manager: “Ah, you’re back! How was your break?”

Me: “Great!”

Manager: “Come to my office at the end of your shift.”

Me: “Okay.”

(At the end of my shift, I go up to his office and he tells me what I great job I did today. He says he was sorry that I had to go through what I did but he rewards me with a 100$ store gift card. The little old lady came back a few weeks later to give me a thank you card for the great job I did that day. Goes to show that not all holiday shoppers are mean during the holiday season!)

Very Open With His Demands

| NY, USA | Bizarre

(I’m following this customer around the store, as he keeps opening things. Each time I tell him to stop, he insists that it was already open, even though he sees me watching.)

Me: “Sir, please don’t open that. Other customers won’t want to buy it if it’s been tampered with!”

Customer: “Fine! Just give me this stuff!”

(The customer tosses a handful of wrappers and things that he had already opened. I quickly ring him out and when I give him his total he flips out.)

Customer: “Where’s my discount! All of this stuff is opened. I should get a discount!”

Out Of Print, Out Of Mind

| Cambridge, MA, USA | Extra Stupid, Musical Mayhem

(It is 1992. I am working cash register.)

Customer: “Can you guys order a disc if I don’t see it out here?”

Me: “Sure, I can make you a special order.”

Customer: “Great, what do I do?”

(We go through a form with the customer’s name, phone number, the band name and the album name.)

Customer: “They’re called Split Enz, and the album is See You Around.”

Me: “Oh, cool, I’ve heard of that band, but not that album. One minute…”

(I look up the album in our distributor’s catalog.)

Me: “Hmm, they don’t list that album here.”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “So, I can’t place the order without the distributor’s catalog number. Hang on a second.”

(I phone the distributor and find out that the album is out of print.)

Me: “They say it’s actually called See Ya Round, but I’m sorry, I can’t order this for you. The album is out of print.”

Customer: “Of course it is! That’s why I need you to order it for me!”

Me: “If there aren’t any copies out in the bins, I can’t order you something that’s not being made anymore.”

Customer: “No, it’s out of print! Order me a new one!”

Me: “Sorry, it doesn’t actually work that way. If it’s out of print, the record company isn’t making it anymore. They aren’t sending us any more copies. It’s out of print.”

Customer: “Yes, I know it’s out of print. That’s why I have to order it, duh! Why can’t you get it?”

Me: “Because it’s out of print?”

Customer: “I just said that! Order one!”

Me: “Um, have you tried any of the used record stores in town?”

Customer: “Jeez! If it’s out of print, why can’t you just order me one?!” *storms out*

Wasteland Not, Want Not

| Ottawa, Canada | Bizarre

Me: “…and would you like to put a three year warranty on this product? It protects it with us so you don’t have to deal with the manufacturer. ”

Man: “Three years? I only plan on using this until December!”

Me: “Oh, okay. Are you moving or something?”

Man: “Uh, no. Didn’t you hear? The world is going to end in December. Your warranty is useless! You’re just trying to get more money out of me while we still have a system of value! I see what you’re doing!”

Me: *speechless*

Man: “You won’t survive long in the wasteland.”

Me: “Uh huh. You have a nice day, sir.”

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