Bugging You About That Refund

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

I am having the morning shift alone. A woman comes in with a bag of rice of a brand we sell that has been opened and is missing about a quarter of its contents.

Customer: “Hi! I bought this rice from you and there are tiny little bugs in it! I’d like to exchange it for a new bag, but I do not have a receipt.”

I am a little floored because the brand she has is very high quality and I never would have thought to hear about bugs inside rice. She is also extremely calm and friendly about it, which strikes me as odd since I am grossed out just thinking about it, especially since there’s so much of the rice missing already and it makes it seem like she ate it.

She has no receipt, which is an issue, and in the six months I’ve worked there I’ve never had to do a return or exchange so I don’t know how to do one.

I check the rice first and, truthfully, there are a few black, small bugs in it. Still alive!

Customer: “I come here very often, you know! I know your boss, too!”

Since we are a small store, we have a lot of regulars so this might actually be true. I’ve never seen her before, but I just nod along.

Customer: “I hoped the younger one would be here; she knows me!”

I am not sure what to do at this point, so I text my boss’s daughter; she’ll be taking over my shift in fifteen minutes anyway.

Me: “Should I just give the customer a new bag of rice? The customer insists you know each other.”

I send her a picture of the bugs. All through that, the woman keeps on talking, overly friendly. I am slightly suspicious but usually, scammers don’t agree with me when I offer to contact one of the bosses because they know it will not help them.

Customer: “Oh, if you want to, you can even take a picture of me and send it to her; she knows me! I shop here so often!”

My texts are answered, with lots of exclamation marks, telling me to NOT give that woman a new bag, that she does NOT know her, and that we cannot do anything without a receipt. The way she’s typing is very unusual, so I figure the woman is a scammer.

Me: *Smiling* “I will need a receipt, but if you wait for fifteen minutes, my colleague will be here and will be able to help you. I am just a part-timer and don’t have that much authority.”

She seemed disappointed but claimed she was in a rush and bought a new bag anyway, opening it and checking if there were bugs inside this one; there weren’t. She left the old bag with me and I made sure to give her the receipt, just in case. I taped the bug bag closed with way too much tape just as the boss’s daughter came in. I then left, thinking not much of it. 

The boss’s daughter told me on my next shift that the woman had come into the store the day before, claiming that her mother had bought that rice and they had found bugs in it. Since nothing could be done without a receipt, she left again. The boss even made sure to open every single bag of rice from that batch we got delivered; all were bug-free. The boss had not been working in the store for two months due to health reasons, and I asked the other part-timer about it, but she also did not sell that to the woman.

Either the boss sold the rice months ago and the bugs appeared because the woman didn’t store it right, or she bought it somewhere else in the first place. Since she changed tactics and adapted her story to be more believable on her second try with me, I wonder if she may have planted the bugs in there on purpose. 

Either way, I am baffled by her attempt to scam us, not because she was the first to try, but because she seemed so confident and insistent enough to try it twice — only to end up buying a new bag without fuss anyway.

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