Cent-less Spitefulness

| Sens, France | Right | July 3, 2017

(I get a student job in a store selling tools, decorating, and gardening materials as a cashier. This takes place on Saturday afternoon, the most crowded moment of the week for our store. I’m checking out a couple with their two children and three carts of purchases, filled with big cement bags, big buckets of paint, small ceramic tiles, wheelbarrow, and various items and electric tools of any size such as hammers, screwdrivers, or things of the sort. Store policy forces us to scan items one by one even if they are the same item, making us waste a lot of time when customers want to make big purchases. Six people are queuing behind them. I’m almost done scanning all of their items when this happens.)

Woman: “Wait.” *points at spray gun I just scanned*

Me: “Yes?”

Woman: “This got the wrong price.” *gestures at price shown on my register*

Me: “Oh, sorry, sometimes it happens. What price have you seen for this?”

Woman: *price a few cents cheaper*

Me: “Let me get my coworker.”

(Whether the customer is mistaken or not, when this happens we have to call a coworker working in the department involved to have them come to the registers, check the item, then check the price back in the alley. The phone is still ringing.)

Me: *holding phone on my ear* “I’m sorry, my coworker is currently busy with customers in his department. Can you please wait a few seconds while I check one or two of these customers out while I’m waiting for my coworker to get the phone?” *shows her the customers queuing behind her and her husband*

Woman: *firmly* “No.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Woman: *still firmly* “If I’m not being served, I block everything.”

Me: “Er, okay.”

Woman: *to her husband* “Go check the price to tell him.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but it has to be my coworker, and he has to bring his manager’s code with it, or else my register won’t let me change the price.”

(Her husband ignores me and goes back. My coworker answers the phone.)

Coworker: “[Coworker] here.”

Me: “Sorry, it’s [My Name]. Can you check the price of [spray gun], [code]?”

Coworker: *checks code* “It’s [price the customer told me].”

Me: “Can you fill a discount ticket for me? My customer will need one.”

Coworker: “Sorry, but your customer will have to wait. I’m already busy cutting wires for customers and other customers are waiting for my help after them, and I’m alone in my department right now…”

Me: “Okay, no problem.” *hangs up*

Husband: *coming back* “It’s [cheaper price]!”

Me: “Sorry, madam, but my coworker will need a few minutes to give me the code to sell you this item for [correct price].”

Customer: “This is stupid. We just checked the price for you!”

Me: “I know, but I’m sorry. I really need my coworker and manager’s code so that the register allows me to change the price.”

Customer: “Okay, so I’m blocking everything.”

(She stands there, arms crossed, staring at me, her children remaining quiet. I look back at her for a few seconds.)

Me: *gesturing at other customers* “I’m really sorry, but can you—”

Customer: *firmly* “No.”

(She cuts me every time I try to tell her anything by saying “No.” At some point one of the queuing customers throws his items at her feet and pushes her.)

Queuing Customer: “Pissing everybody off just for a few cents? Seriously?”

(He then storms off. The customer finally agrees to step aside, letting me check other now impatient customers, my queue growing still longer. I see she is fuming but not daring to say anything anymore.)

Me: *to her* “If you want, I can tell you where my coworker is, so that you can wait for him to make your discount ticket. Then you won’t have to wait for him to come here once he’s done with his customers.”

Customer: “What’s his name?”

Me: “[Coworker]. He’s in [section of his department].”

(The customer went back into the store with her husband and children. I was busy checking out every other customer. The couple and children came back a few minutes later with their three carts, dumped them on the alley of my register, making all of their items in a mess on the ground, breaking some of the decoration tiles and opening some of the cement backs and paint buckets, and stormed off with their children and empty carts, without saying anything. I called my manager who sighed and brought back every item that wasn’t broken in the store, while having to throw away everything else. I have no idea what happened while they were gone, and my coworker told me nobody went to see him apart from the customers he was already helping.)

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