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A Warped Sense Of Retail Ethics

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: HistoryGal47 | July 19, 2021

Back in the mid-1980s, I work at a chain record store that sells records, tapes, T-shirts, and other music-related items. One day, I am standing at the front register waiting for customers to check out, and in walks a very angry-looking man.

He tosses two 45 RPM records on the counter.

Customer: “I want to return these.”

I look down at the two 45s and notice that they are warped. And when I say, “warped,” I mean that they have more waves than Farrah Fawcett’s hair. These 45s put Shirley Temple to shame. It is summer, so it is pretty obvious that these records were left in the man’s car all day.

Me: “Sir, we can’t take these back; they’ve obviously been damaged by the sun.”

I kid you not, he looks me square in the eyes and says:

Customer: “I didn’t do a thing to them. They were this way when I bought them! Now I want a refund!”

Me: *Dumbfounded* “You actually bought them like that?”

He has the presence of mind to look embarrassed but recovers quickly and asks to speak to our manager. I call over to the assistant manager on duty and start to explain the issue. The customer interrupts.

Customer: “I want to return these, but your employee here won’t help me.”

The assistant manager is an imposing guy with a no-nonsense attitude. I fully expect him to kick this poor, delusional soul out of the store, but he surprises me.

Assistant Manager: “Okay.”

Honestly, to say I am surprised is an understatement; I am shocked! [Assistant Manager] comes around the counter to the register, processes the return, and throws the 45s in our return box.

Assistant Manager: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Customer: *Smiling smugly* “I don’t know if I’ll be back here anymore if y’all hire people like her.”

Assistant Manager: “That will be fine, sir. We don’t want to deal with any more warped records, either.”

The man just huffs and walks out of the store.

Assistant Manager: *To me* “Better to return $2 worth of merchandise than to lose a good customer, but I think in this case we got the short end of the deal.”

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