A Number Of Things Wrong With This

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2019

(I work for a popular craft retailer. The location where I work is well known for being very understaffed due to our exceptionally high turnover rate. There are two stations in the store: the registers and the cutting counter. Typically, I am working at the registers, but this time they have me on the cutting counter because I am dual-trained. The cutting counter works a lot like a deli; you take a number, wait your turn, and then tell us what you want cut. The cutting counter is a lot to handle while it is very busy; we had one employee quit after the first three days of it. I see customers who have no measurements or no idea how to read a pattern, bring in a whole dining room chair for us to measure, and have orders ranging from 1 to 30 cuts which take from 30 seconds to 30 minutes to get through. I call the next customer in the intercom.)

Me: “Would customer holding [number] please come to the cutting counter?”

Customer #1: “Excuse me, I was being helped by another employee and I missed my number.” *shows me her number that is about five behind*

Me: *looking at her with a brow up, knowing it is company policy to accept a customer past her number* “Oh, okay, how much do you need?”

(A woman steps up to me.)

Customer #2: “Why are you helping her? She missed her number, so she needs to take another.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, it is policy that we take a guest who has missed their number. Besides, she missed it while she was getting help from another associate.”

Customer #2: “She did this last Friday; last Friday she missed it by like ten!”

Customer #1: *looking confused* “I’m sorry, but I wasn’t here last Friday.”

Customer #2: *getting ticked off* “Yes, you were! You said that an employee was helping you before and you missed it! Would you get your manager?”

Me: *amused and reaching for my radio* “Sure. [Manager], could you come to the cutting counter to speak to a guest.”

(I love putting emphasis on “to” when it comes to rude guests I don’t want to deal with.)

Manager: “What’s going on?”

Me: “My customer missed her number, so I had to take her, and this customer got upset at me for taking her.”

Manager: “Well, ma’am, it is company policy for us to take someone next who has missed their number.”

Customer #2: “That’s not fair for the rest of us who have to wait just because she didn’t listen, again.”

Manager: “Again?”

Customer #2: “Yes, again. She was here Friday and cut in line!”

Manager: “Well, regardless, she did miss her number and we need to take care of her next. What number do you have?”

Customer #2: *shows a number four numbers ahead*

Manager: *quietly* “[My Name], please help the next guest. I will take care of this.”

(The confrontation continues to go on for about three minutes.)

Customer #1: “I’m sorry that I caused such a scene.”

Manager: *turning to [Customer #1]* “You’re okay; don’t worry.”

Customer #2: *shocked and repulsed* “You are saying she is okay because she is white! Oh, h*** no! This is ridiculous! This store is so racist!”

([Customer #2 ]is black. My manager is trying to calm her down.)

Customer #2: “Fine! I will wait for my fabric to be cut!”

(After she gets her fabric cut, she storms to the registers.)

Coworker: *over the radio* “[Manager], this customer wants the number of customer service.”

Manager: “We are not allowed to give any company numbers to customers; she will have to look it up herself.” *gets off radio and talks to me* “I will just need to send an email to the district manager with your statement about what really happened before her complaint comes through. There is nothing to worry about; they will dismiss her as a crazy customer.”

(A group of three women comes up to us.)

Three Women: “Can we get his email, too? We saw the whole thing and she was very out of line.”

Manager: “I cannot give the email, but the website would have our customer service number. Just tell the complaint department what really happened.”

Three Women: “Sure thing!”

(That lady never came back!)

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