Always Sending Them Back From The Back

, , , , , , | Right | May 31, 2020

Some of the customers at our store have the misconception that they can exit or enter through the back door, which leads directly into our parking lot. Since the back of the store contains our work area, the manager’s office and safe, and hundreds of dollars of merchandise waiting to be stocked, and is sometimes cluttered with boxes of donations, we have a strict policy about not letting customers walk through there unless they are making a donation or transporting heavy furniture, in which case we would clear the pathway.

An elderly couple who have been in declining health for the last year have made repeated attempts to use that door, despite our persistent reminders not to do so. 

The husband knocks on the back door, while the wife makes a quick trip to the grocery store next door.

Me: “Hi, sir, the entrance is at the front door. We can’t let customers through here for insurance and safety reasons.”

He happily obliges and uses the front entrance. About ten minutes later, the wife walks in and they spend the next half hour shopping. After making their purchase, they get ready to leave.

The wife tells her husband:

Wife: “Let’s use the back door.”

The husband, who has difficulty speaking due to radiation for throat cancer, lightly tugs his wife’s shirt towards the front door. He strains to reply to his wife.

Husband: “We have to use the front.”

After having a brief, indistinct argument with her husband, the wife begins walking toward the back of the store. At this point, I step in.

Me: “I’m sorry, but we had an incident last week and we cannot allow customers to use the back door. Please use the front door to exit.”

We really did have an incident last week, which prompted me to print a sign near the back of the sales floor noting, “This is not an exit! Please use the front door.” On top of that, we have a lot of boxes in the back. Given their fragile health, letting them use the back would be a bigger risk than usual.

Wife: “You don’t understand; this is a man who belongs in the hospital. Now let us through the back!”

Me: “Ma’am, I understand your situation, but this has been our store’s policy for eighteen years. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but you will need to use the front door.”

At this point, she flipped the middle finger with about half the store watching and, as fast as she could, walked out of the store with her seemingly unphased husband in tow. We have not seen them in the store since.

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