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Category: Money

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The Gift Of Giving Was Lost On Them

| Greenwood, IN, USA | Money, Non-Dialogue

I worked my way through college waiting tables at an Applebee’s in a mall just south of Indianapolis. The money wasn’t great, but it was enough and I needed a job with really flexible hours.

One evening, I’m given a five-top that’s a couple of parents and their three boys. I come by to introduce myself and the father introduces himself as a local minister there with his family. He mentions they’ve been given a $500 gift card from his congregation. I set about taking care of them and they go for a good sized meal; drinks, a few shared appetizers, main courses and even desserts.

All things considered, they aren’t a terrible table, but I did have to push two tables together which made my section smaller.

At the end the minister asks about using the gift card and I tell him it works just like a credit card. I run it through and return the slip. I hand it to him and he shakes my hand and tells me what an excellent job I did for him and his family and then they’re all out the door. I go back to help bus the table and pick up the credit card slip.

When I find it, I see it’s been signed with a big zero for the tip. I turn and watch them walk to their car out the window in total amazement. I got a hand shake for how well I’d done serving them their free meal and they didn’t give me a cent.

I know it’s not the worst burn — I’d seen people get worse — but it was the first time I was dumbstruck by getting stiffed.

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Credited For Trying

| NC, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Time

(I’ve been working since pre-opening hours and it’s close to closing time. I’m expected to ask customers if they would like to apply for the store credit card.)

Me: “Would you like to apply for the credit card and save 10% off your first purchase with it?”

Customer: *looks at her daughter, who nods* “Yeah, I’ll do it.”

(I proceed to sign her up for the card and finish my end of the process.)

Me: “Ma’am, the system says you weren’t automatically approved for the card tonight, but you’ll be getting a notification in the next few days about it, and once you’re approved, you’ll receive your 10% on your next purchase.”

Customer: “What? You lied to me! You said I’d get 10% off this purchase. I’m a manager at [unintelligible mumbling] and we would never falsely lead a customer into such traps. I want you to give me my 10%! I want a manager.”

Me: “I’m sorry for the confusion, ma’am. You get the 10% when you’re approved, but I can get my manager if you like.”

Customer: “Oh, forget it! I don’t want you to waste anymore of my time here. I only applied for the 10% otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted the time here. Don’t just stand there! Finish ringing everything up.”

(I finished the transaction in silence. She and her daughter stormed off with their $17 purchase. The 10% wouldn’t have saved them $2.)

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Hold For An Hourly Rate

| St. Louis, MO, USA | Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Money, Popular

(I work for a third-party seller/distributor of cellular phone service. It is the late 1990s, when cell phone service is just starting to transition from analog to digital in most states. Because a credit check and a contract is required to activate service, some customers are surprised when the credit check comes back that we require a monthly billing to their credit card, or worse, a $700 deposit. I take a call from a customer. After I run the credit check, I get the alert that he will need to pay a deposit or set up automatic payments.)

Customer: “What do you mean? My credit’s fine! Check it again!”

Me: *calmly* “I could check it again, sir, but it’s going to come back with the same result.”

Customer: *getting angry* “Well, it shouldn’t!”

Me: *still calm* “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir, but that’s what always happens when we get a report like this. In order for me to activate a line for you, I’ll either need to take down a deposit, or set up payments using a credit card.”

Customer: “I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Me: “I am one of the supervisors.”

Customer: “Then let me speak to somebody else!”

Me: “Sir, if I get you on the line with someone, they’re only going to tell you the exact same thing that I am.”

Customer: *yelling* “I DON’T CARE! Get me on the line with your supervisor!”

Me: *still calm* “All right, sir, no problem. Would you mind holding for just a minute?”

(We were always forced to ask permission to put people on hold, never tell them we were putting them on hold.)

Customer: *now irate* “I DON’T WANT TO BE PUT ON HOLD!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but in order for me to get you on the line with someone else, I need to place you on hold.”

Customer: “I’ve been waiting long enough, and I don’t want to wait anymore! I want to talk with someone else RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “I understand, sir. Let me place you on hold—”

Customer: “NO, D*** IT! Don’t you DARE place me on hold! This is a waste of my time! Do you know how much I make an hour?”

Me: *rolling my eyes* “No, sir, I don’t.”

Customer: “$350.00. I charge $350.00 per hour, and in the time I’m talking to you, I could be making money. You’re wasting my time, and I’m losing money!”

Me: *matter-of-factly* “Sir, do you want to know how much I make an hour?”

Customer: “No!”

Me: *taking authority on the line* “Too bad, sir. I make $9.00 an hour. And I’m telling you this to give you some perspective. Between the two of us, the only one that can help you get your service turned on IS ME. Frankly, I don’t care how much you make, and it doesn’t motivate me to give you better service than anyone else. So you can either let me place you on hold so I can get a supervisor, or I’ll be glad to end the call, and you can go to a local [Company] store and do this all over again with them.”

Customer: *silence*

Me: “I’m going to place you on hold now, okay?”

Customer: “Fine.”

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America’s Debt Crisis Explained, Part 3

| Waleska, GA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(I work in a store that sells some food items and accepts EBT food stamp cards. A woman comes in with a cart load of groceries and I ring up her items, including one box of baking soda. We sell both the kind you cook with, and the kind strictly for deodorizing/cleaning, and it states clearly on the box it isn’t for cooking (and is located in the cleaning section of the store.)

Me: “Your total is [amount].”

Customer: “I’m using EBT.”

(She slides the card and pays for the transaction. The system automatically charges just the food, leaving the small amount for the box of baking soda.)

Me: “That’ll be [amount], please.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “For the baking soda; it’s [amount].”

Customer: “No, it’s food. I want it on my EBT card.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, you picked up the kind for cleaning. It’s not meant for cooking with. See—” *I show her the label* “—I’d be glad to go and get you the correct one, but unfortunately once the payment process has begun, the only way to complete it is to pay the remaining balance, or cancel the order.”

Customer: “I don’t want it then. Forget it. I just want to go. I paid for my food.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I either need the [amount] owed, or I need to cancel the order and ring it in again. It won’t take but a minute.”

Customer: “Fine.”

(I proceed to cancel the transaction. In order to put her money back on the EBT card she needs to put in her pin again.)

Me: “Okay, just put in your pin to cancel, please.”

Customer: “Why? I don’t want to be charged again; just cancel it.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry but to cancel it the money needs to go back on your EBT card. You need to put in your pin number to authorize that.”

Customer: “I don’t understand! I already put in my pin! I don’t want to be charged twice; just cancel it!”

Me: “I can’t cancel it until you put in your pin. I’m sorry. It won’t charge you twice, but your pin is giving us the authority to put your money back on your card.”

(Finally her daughter, exasperated, puts in the pin for her. I then ring up her items again, this time leaving out the baking soda.)

Me: “Okay, the total is now [amount], please.”

Customer: “What? I already paid. I’m not paying again!”

Me: “Ma’am, you paid once, but then didn’t want the baking soda, so I canceled the transaction and credited the money back into your account for your entire purchase. That’s why I had to ring it all in again.”

Customer: “I already paid! I’m not paying again!”

Me: “Ma’am. I rang up your items, then you slid your card and paid for the food items, but not the baking soda. The only way to fix this was to cancel the entire transaction and credit the money for the entire purchase — all the food — back onto your account. Like doing a refund. You did pay, but I gave the money back, not just for the baking soda, but for the entire thing. So you haven’t yet paid for these groceries.”

(The customer seems to understand and slides her card. When it asks for her pin she flips out again.)

Customer: “I already put my pin in twice! Why do I have to do this again! How many times am I being charged!?”

Me: “The first time you put in your pin was to pay the amount for the groceries. The second time was to authorize us to refund that money back into your account. This third time is to buy the groceries again. You’re only paying once, since we refunded the first purchase.”

(The customer got upset, refusing to “be charged a third time.” Finally her daughter, again frustrated and wanting to leave , put in the pin. The woman continued to question why she had to put her pin in as her daughter tried to shove her out the door. She came back twice to ask again why she had to put her pin in so many times. Finally her daughter succeeded in leading her out, casting me an apologetic look as they left.)

Related:
America’s Debt Crisis, Explained, Part 2
America’s Debt Crisis, Explained

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The Mother Of All Complainers

| Cleveland, OH, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money, Popular

(I work at a restaurant where a server has to pay the bill if a customer walks out. One day a customer arrives with his friends. The group decides to split the bill between them. One young man writes down the name of a friend and leaves the restaurant. After contacting him on Facebook, he agrees to pay. After a full run around that takes four to five days, he ultimately does not. I am having an unpleasant day, and do not feel like losing out, even for a small amount. I contact the police. Afterwards, his mother arrives to tell me off.)

Mother: “Just who the f*** do you think you are calling the police? You made me look like an idiot over eight dollars. You should feel ashamed about making such a problem over this.”

Me: “Your son wrote down the name of his friend and walked out. That isn’t acceptable. In here, we have to pay if someone walks out, and I don’t like losing out. Short of that, what he did was illegal.”

Mother: *screaming* “How DARE you? My child wouldn’t do such a thing, and you harassed him over some imaginary crime and made a big problem out of seven dollars? It’s eight dollars. It means nothing!”

Me: “If it’s nothing, then would you kindly pay? I need to work, and you’re scaring the other patrons.”

Mother: *ear-splitting shrieks* “I will not. Quit making problems for good people. I don’t have the time for this.”

(The manager walks up.)

Manager: “Ma’am, I have to ask you to leave. You are causing a disturbance.”

Mother: “I’ll make as much noise as I want until this b**** stops complaining about her imaginary money!”

(Shortly after the police were contacted, and two officers dragged her out. She tried to come back twice, but she was informed if she showed up again she would be detained.)

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