It’s Always A Problem Area

, , , , , | Right | January 1, 2018

(This happens about once per week. We have a store discount that customers can activate by entering a phone number into the card reader while their purchase is being rung up. The machine’s screen clearly reads, “ENTER PHONE NUMBER ###-###-####,” right above the keyboard. I’m serving an older woman at my register and see her enter a couple numbers into the machine. It then loudly beeps, letting me know that something went wrong.)

Customer: “Did it go through?”

Me: “Sorry, but it looks like you forgot to put your area code in first. You can try it again, now.”

(She again enters only seven digits, rather than the full phone number of ten digits, and the machine again beeps.)

Me: “Ma’am, please make sure that you’re entering your full phone number in. The area code needs to go first.”

Customer: “Oh, okay!”

(I watch her and see that, this time, she enters her zip code into the machine instead. It again beeps when she tries to submit it.)

Customer: “So, did it go through now?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it looks like you tried to enter your zip code. What you need to type in is your phone number. Just make sure that you add the area code first.”

Customer: “The area code?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, enter the area code, and then the rest of your phone number. If you live around here, the area code is [area code], so just type that in first.”

(She again enters in her zip code.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry; the machine needs your phone number.”

Customer: “But you said area code!”

(This goes back and forth even longer. I’m unfortunately not allowed to enter a customer’s information into the system for them, or skip past this step unless they explicitly ask me to, so I have to try walking her through the process. We’re stuck in this loop until the customer finally gives up and allows me to skip past the discount option. As she’s leaving, the customer loudly mutters:)

Customer: “Ugh, this is why I don’t bother with computers. They never work right.”

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