A Surcharge Barrage

, , , | Right | August 3, 2018

(In my country, not all stores accept Amex — American Express. One evening a middle-aged woman and her daughter are shopping, and at the counter she takes out her card.)

Customer: “Can I use Amex?”

Me: “Sure, but there’s a 2% surcharge.”

Customer: “That’s fine.”

(Most customers flinch a bit, or outright say they’ll use another card, but some do still use Amex despite the surcharge. Because of her words and tone, I assume that she means what she said, so I don’t notice her switching her cards as I bag up her items and wish her a good night. Ten minutes later, I find her hovering at the front, face like thunder, holding her receipt. I approach her and ask her if everything’s all right.)

Customer: *coldly shoving her receipt in my face* “Care to tell me why you processed that sale as an Amex when I explicitly told you I was using Visa? I want the surcharge refunded!”

(It’s less than a dollar. I’ve only got about a year’s retail experience under my belt, so I take one look at her expression and decide I am not nearly battle-hardened enough to deal with the fury she clearly wants to unleash upon me.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to refund that to you with our system, but I’ll ask my manager and find out for you.”

(I find my manager. When I explain the situation, and the surcharge amount, the customer starts acting very sheepish.)

Customer: “It’s just the principle of the thing…”

(For the next ten minutes, as my wonderful manager attempts to find a way to refund the surcharge, the customer mutters that line over and over. Eventually my manager finds a way to refund the surcharge, and the customer leaves, still sheepishly muttering her line.)

Manager: “Wow.”

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