All Out Of Sorts

, , , | Right | November 22, 2018

(I work as a merchandiser, so I’m a third-party employee inside various retail stores. While I don’t know where everything is, I do know where a lot of stuff is, especially the obvious stuff, as well as anything related to my company’s clients. I am working down the canned vegetable aisle.)

Customer: “Excuse me. Could you help me?”

Me: *giving my default reply* “I’m a merchandiser, but there’s a chance I can help; what do you need?”

Customer: “Never mind. Tell me where a real employee is — someone who can actually help me. I don’t have time for you to guess.”

(Since I am in no way required to help out customers, and his tone is extremely rude and condescending, I direct him down the next aisle where some new hires are busy stocking shelves, as they are the only “real” employees readily available. I can hear the conversation clearly.)

Customer: “Can you help me? I’m looking for canned pumpkin. I looked up and down the vegetable aisle and it’s not there. It’s a vegetable; why isn’t it there?”

(I laugh, knowing what’s about to happen, and deciding that due to his dismissive attitude, I’m not going to help. I have multiple baking clients, and spend a good portion of my day down that aisle. I know that canned pumpkin is always kept in the four-foot set with the pie crusts. The customer and new hire walk back down the aisle I’m in, pacing in front of the vegetables, unable to find the pumpkin. The entire time the customer keeps wondering why the pumpkin isn’t here, as it’s a vegetable. After about a minute of this, the new hire walks away to find someone else to help. About two minutes later, she returns with the department manager, who then walks the customer down to the baking aisle, two aisles down from me. I can still hear clearly since he’s being rather loud, and it’s early enough that there’s not a lot of people in the store.)

Customer: *after being shown the canned pumpkin with the pie crusts* “That makes no sense. Pumpkin is a vegetable; it should be with the vegetables.

Manager: “Well, canned pumpkin is most often used for pies, so it’s usually kept here, because this is where people come to look for it.”

(As the customer walked towards the registers he walked by me again, and he was still mumbling about how it didn’t make sense. A little less rudeness from him, and I could’ve sent him to the right place easily. However, his dismissive tone cost him an extra five minutes of wasted time with a “real” employee.)

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