Unfiltered Story #181205

, , , | Unfiltered | January 2, 2020

(We’re an academic bookstore, so we sell books for courses at a specific university. At the beginning of each semester, we hire a lot of temporary employees to help with the rush of customers. One of our young but fairly competent temps approaches the desk with a customer to ask for my help. I am in the middle of fixing an online order issue that I can’t pause to help elsewhere, but I can answer questions and give instructions.

Note, I am a white female, the customer is a white female, and the employee helping her is a black teenaged guy)

Employee: Um, can we have you help with a register transaction?

Me: Sure! What’s the issue?

Employee: She wants to rent the books, but pay with financial aid and it’s not giving me the option to charge her financial aid.

Customer: I just want to make sure I’m not charged twice!

I explain that she has to put a credit card on file for security, it won’t be charged, and that I’ll be over in just a minute to help with the payment step, just as soon as I’m done with the order. My employee responds confidently that he understands and can do this.

Customer: Oh, sure, but I’ll wait. I’d really prefer *your* help, if you understand.

Me: Yup, I’ll come right over, but I have to finish with this order first. He can set up the securing card. You won’t be charged.

She protests several more times that she wants me to help her and she’ll wait, because this is financial aid and “you clearly know what I am talking about. (wink, wink)” I promise I will be right over and she follows the temp back to the registers.

When I walk over a minute later, she has decided not to get half of the books on the transaction but, it turns out this is after she told him to try to charge her financial aid and it came back as an invalid account. She also oddly refers to my employee as “your gentlemanly colleague”. I remove the stuff she no longer wants and try to run her financial aid myself. It again comes back invalid.

Me: Can I just borrow your school ID for a moment to go look up your account?

Customer: Sure!

I look her up in the system, and as I suspect she doesn’t have an account. I suspect she has a scholarship that was set up as our campus currency instead of as financial aid. I go back and start to ask her about this as it should be easy to fix.

Customer: (interrupting me) I have the money! (Shows me the balance of her campus currency account) I never said financial aid! You did!!

Me: Okay, well there was a misunderstanding but we can help —

Customer: (again interrupting) I never said financial aid!! You really need to work on your customer service!

Me: I’m sorry, but you clearly said it was financial aid. Now do you want me to fix this for you or let [Employee] do it?

She quiets down a bit and lets me walk my employee through what is the second rental transaction he has done, but is clearly angry and answers any questions in a super sugary fake nice tone.

Me: Okay. Here are your books and your receipt, which has the full rental agreement and your books need to be returned by May–

Customer: (snatching receipt from me) Whatever. (Leans around me to read my employee’s name tag, and says very pointedly in the same fake nice voice) Thank you, [Employee Name]! *leaves*

Employee: She definitely said financial aid.

He also later said he felt insulted by the way she’d treated him.