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    Formatting Error

    | IN, USA | Musical Mayhem, Technology

    Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

    Customer: “I’d like to return a set of CDs. They don’t work.”

    Me: “Well, I can only offer you an exchange on a defective CD. Tell you what, let me take a look at it and we’ll figure out what’s wrong.”

    (The customer puts a box set of a very popular audiobook on the counter. I have a hard time believing every single CD in the set is defective.)

    Me: “So tell me; what happened when you tried to play the CDs?”

    Customer: “I bought the CDs so I could listen to them on my portable CD player while I jog, but every time I put a CD in and hit play, nothing happens. The CDs are obviously broken.”

    Me: “I don’t suppose you’d happen to have your CD player with you, do you?”

    (The customer pulls out the oldest-looking CD player I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s gigantic, has big chunky buttons, and practically screams ‘late 1990′s.’)

    Me: “Oh, that explains a lot. I think I see the problem. See here on the CD cases? It reads, “Mp3 on CD.” That means that the tracks on this CD are in .mp3 format, like what you’d play on an iPod. Your CD player was probably made before mp3s were around. That’s why you can’t play the CDs on this player.”

    (The customer looks terrified.)

    Customer: “I don’t understand you!”

    Me: “Well, it just means that your CD player is too old to recognize the format that the data on those CDs is in.”

    Customer: “I don’t understand what you’re saying! I’m no good with technical stuff!”

    Me: “Um… it’s just the form that the information on the CDs is in. It’s called an mp3. Your CD player came out before mp3s did, so it doesn’t know how to read the information.”

    Customer: “That’s not what it says on the box, though!”

    Me: “Yes it is. It says so right there in big letters: ‘Mp3 on CD.’”

    Customer: “It says ‘Mp3 OR CD!’”

    Me: That’s an ‘N.’ It says ‘on.’ It means that the information on those CDs is in mp3 format.”

    Customer: *squinting at the box* “Oh, really? Well, then, I’d like a refund, since I can’t play these CDs.”

    Me: “I’m sorry. It’s illegal to return opened CDs in this state. The only thing I can do is exchange it for the exact same item if it’s defective, which it isn’t.”

    Customer: “But how am I supposed to play these CDs?!”

    Me: “Do you have a computer?”

    Customer: “Yeah, but I don’t know how it works! I’m no good with technical stuff!”

    Me: “You could try ripping those CDs to your computer and playing them through iTunes or Windows Media Player.”

    (The customer stares at me as though I’d suddenly started speaking in tongues.)

    Me: “Sorry. I meant, you could put the CD into the disc drive of the computer and listen to it that way.”

    Customer: “I. DON’T. KNOW. WHAT. YOU’RE. SAYING.”

    Me: “Do you have anyone else at home who could help you use the computer?”

    Customer: “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THE COMPUTER! I’M NO GOOD WITH TECHNICAL STUFF!”

    Me: “I just meant that maybe someone else could help you get the information off the CDs so you could listen to them. It’s the best solution, since you can’t return them.”

    Customer: “No, no, no, no! I’m no good with technical stuff! I don’t understand you at all! This is so confusing!”

    Me: “There’s really nothing else I can do for you, then. I’m sorry.”

    Customer: *sighs, scoops up her CDs, and walks to the door muttering* “I don’t understand computers at all. This is so confusing. I don’t understand!”

    Very Closed Minded

    | Bastrop, TX, USA | Extra Stupid, Holidays

    (The store that this takes place in is open 24/7 and is only closed for Christmas Day. One night, around 9:30, a customer calls the store and I answer it.)

    Me: ”[Location] [Store] customer service. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yes, I was calling to ask when you close tonight.”

    Me: “Customer service or the store?”

    Customer: “The store.”

    Me: “The store stays open 24 hours, ma’am.”

    Customer: “No, no, no. When does the store close?”

    Me: “It doesn’t. It stays open 24/7.”

    Customer: *sounding annoyed* “NO! I’m not asking when it is open I want to know when it CLOSES!”

    Me: “Ma’am, the next time we’ll close, excluding things beyond our control, will be 8 pm on Christmas Eve.”

    (After hearing that, the customer starts to yell into the phone.)

    Customer: “I DON’T GIVE A F*** WHEN IT CLOSES CHRISTMAS EVE! I WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT CLOSES TONIGHT!”

    Me: *wincing and pulling the headset from my ear as a pair of customers approach the counter* “Ma’am, please don’t yell. I am attempting to tell you that the store does not close.”

    Customer: “NO, YOU ARE JUST F****** TELLING WHEN IT F******* CLOSES ON GODD*** CHRISTMAS EVE, WHEN IT’S JUST APPROACHING EASTER!”

    Me: “Listen, ma’am, the store DOES NOT CLOSE UNTIL THEN!”

    Customer: “BULL-F******-S***! YOU’RE NOT TELLING ME YOU CLOSE BECAUSE YOU WANT ME TO WASTE MY FUCKING GAS GETTING OVER THERE ONLY TO HAVE YOU SHOO ME AWAY!”

    Me: “Listen, if you cannot understand that WE DO NOT, I REPEAT, NOT CLOSE, then I don’t know what to tell you.” *click*

    (I turn to the two customers who’ve been waiting at the counter.)

    Me: “Sorry about that. How can I help you?”

    In-Store Customer: *chuckling* “So, when do you close?”

    The High Point Of My Night

    , | Canada | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Food & Drink

    (I work as a cashier and am finally at the end of a long, frustrating split-shift. About 10 minutes to closing a group of guys in their early 20s come in and head straight for the confection aisle. They seem to be having a hard time deciding, and become panicked when my supervisor makes the closing announcement. They shove their candy, chips, and pop into the arms of one guy, and push him toward the cash. They leave the store, leaving their friend to pay. He places the items very slowly on the counter, blinking with confusion a number of times, swaying a little on his feet. I ring his items through.)

    Me: “That’s $14.59. How will you be paying?”

    Customer: “Uh… debit?”

    (He slowly pulls out his wallet and fumbles for his card. He finally places it in the debit machine, and then stares at it, unmoving. The machine times-out, so I reset it. He manages, with some difficulty to make it through the rest of the transaction. When I place his bag in front of him, he looks confused.)

    Customer: “Is this mine?”

    Me: “Yes, it is.”

    Customer: “These are the things I bought?”

    Me: “Uh… yes. Are you all right?”

    Customer: “Huh? Oh, yeah, don’t mind me, I’m just really fried.”

    (He pulls a 2 dollar coin out of his pocket and puts it on the counter.)

    Customer: “Don’t tell; my parents know the owner.”

    (He left, marveling at the automatic doors as he did. He has been back to the store a number of times, in the same state, and makes my day whenever he shows up.)

    So Closed But So Far

    | UT, USA | Bad Behavior

    (It’s a Sunday, when we close early at 5 pm. A couple walks in at 4:56, but since we can’t lock the doors until exactly 5 pm, there isn’t much we can do. I’ve been hovering near them for a few minutes, and it’s now 5:15.)

    Wife: “Excuse me, where is the toddler section?”

    Me: “Right here. However, we are getting ready to close, so let me know if I can help you find anything.”

    Wife: *absently* “Right, thanks.”

    (Another ten minutes later, and the couple is still shopping.)

    Husband: “Do you guys have any shorts for my daughter?”

    Me: *at this point pretty annoyed* “They are in this aisle here.”

    (The husband and wife wander over near another coworker of mine, and I see an opportunity.)

    Me: “Hey, [Coworker], what time is it?”

    Coworker: “About 5:30.”

    Me: *within earshot* “Guess we aren’t getting out of here anytime soon.”

    Wife: “Oh, are you guys closing soon?”

    Coworker: “We closed at 5:00.”

    Husband: “Ha ha! Guess we better get going, huh?”

    Obama Drama

    | Durham, NC, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Politics

    (I work in a high-end stationery boutique, whose clientele is generally upper middle class and upper class white women in their 40s to 60s – the sort of people whose spending habits didn’t really change when the economy nose dived. This customer appeared to be no different, and the address on the check she paid with confirmed as much.)

    Customer: “Where’s your clearance section?”

    Me: “We actually don’t have clearance sales, outside of our semi-annual sales after Christmas and Father’s Day.”

    Customer: “So everything in here is full-priced?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

    Customer: *sighs loudly* “Fine, I’ll pay full-price. But I really need to be saving every penny, with that black man as president.”

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