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A Full Refund Is The Right Thing To Do

, , , , , | Right | March 20, 2023

I work at a popular sandwich shop in a small town. Customers can order and pay online, and then grab the order and leave without even needing to talk to us. Most customers grab and go.

It is an unusually busy day when we get a phone call. The woman on the phone is clearly livid but trying to be polite.

Me: “Hello, [Shop]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi. I’m calling because I received the wrong sandwich. I have the order number right here.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. What was this an online order?”

Customer: “Yes, and I have the order number right here.”

I go to the till and begin looking up her order.

Me: “What was the order name? Was it [Name]?”

I have a suspicion that a new hire got the order wrong, but I can’t check without being rude to the new hire.

Customer: “Yes. Who am I speaking with?”

Me: “My name is [My Name], and I have the order right here. Which sandwich was incorrect?”

Customer: “I ordered a turkey and I got a meatball. I want to take off the turkey and pay for the meatball. Nobody is going to eat it, but it’s the right thing to do, and I live too far away to come all the way back.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. It has been unusually busy… Let me see—”

Customer: *Cutting me off* “The thing is that we’ve ordered here multiple times and there is usually something wrong with our order.”

Me: “I’m sorry about that.”

She continues and repeats that she wants to swap the sandwich she received with the one she ordered. She also repeats multiple times that “It’s the right thing to do.” The way she says, “It’s the right thing to do,” implies that we were morally wrong for giving her the wrong sandwich. I’m not sure how to react to that, so I don’t react at all to “It’s the right thing to do.”

Me: “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience. It looks like I can’t swap out that one sandwich, but I can refund your entire order and It will go back onto your card.”

You’d think this woman would be pleased with a full refund for the entire order, not that one sandwich, right? WRONG! Her voice gets tense with what sounds like barely-contained rage. It sounds like she’s barely holding in a full-on screaming match. I am absolutely positive that if she were in the store, she would throw something at me.

Customer: “I find it very interesting that you haven’t given me the order number yet, and this is not the same person I was talking to.”

I blink in stunned silence for several seconds.

Me: “My name is [My Name], and I’m the only one you’ve been talking to. The order number is [order number]. Unfortunately, I can’t swap out one sandwich for another. What I can do is give you a full refund and recharge you for the order you received.”

Customer: “No, unacceptable. At this point, I don’t trust that I won’t be overcharged. I don’t want you to get in trouble or have the store lose money. I got a sandwich and I need to pay for it. Even though nobody’s going to eat it, it’s the right thing to do.”

Me: “I can give you a full refund.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

Me: “My managers are great; they will understand.”

Customer: “Well, it’s great to have managers who don’t hold people accountable, and this is not the same person who picked up the phone. Customers do know.”

I’m stunned. I’ve never had a talent for voice acting, and I have been the only person on the phone. I’ve also never seen someone so unwilling to take a full refund on one wrong sandwich, and I want to know what she’s talking about when she says, “Customers do know.”

Me: “Ma’am, I am the only person who has been on the phone with you.”

Customer: “DON’T YOU CALL ME ‘MA’AM’!”

Me: “Sorry… Miss… The only thing I can do for you is a full refund.”

We went back and forth for nearly ten more minutes. She did NOT want the refund but eventually conceded and accepted it. The real kicker? The difference in price for the sandwich she got versus the sandwich she ordered was less than a dollar.

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