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A Failure In Expectation

, , , , | Right | October 25, 2018

(I am working the busiest day of the back-to-school season. Our line has reached the back of the store and is wrapping along the back. Every register is open.)

Me: “Your total comes to—”

(Suddenly, the whole store goes black before I can finish. We have lost power, including the registers.)

Me: “Looks like we have lost power. Hopefully it will come back on soon. We are going to give it five minutes, but if it is still out after that, we are going to have to close; it’s a safety hazard.”

Customer: “Well, I am not leaving without those dividers; they are the last ones and I need them!”

Me: “Hopefully we can get the registers back soon so we can get them for you.”

(After a few minutes, the power comes back, but our registers are locked out and require additional boot-up time.)

Me: “We are booting this back up. It should just take a few minutes.”

Customer: “Can I just give you the money and get the item?”

(Store alarms are going off and computers are trying to turn on.)

Me: “Once I get the register to work again, then yes.”

Customer: “Why is this taking so long? The customers before us didn’t have to wait this long!”

(They are, of course, referring to customers that left before the power went out. I stand there trying to remain composed as the managers run around trying to appease the growing lines.)

Customer: “Can’t I just give you the money and go?”

Me: “I can’t open the cash drawer, and I don’t know the total for these items.”

Customer: “Why don’t you know the prices of what you sell?”

Me: “We carry over 70,000 items, and they go on different sales every week; I couldn’t possibly know the price for every one.”

Customer: “I just really need these dividers.”

(I don’t know why the dividers were that important, or what the customer expected me to do in a power failure.)

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