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Doctor How Much?

, , , | Right | May 16, 2018

(It’s a busy afternoon at our large store, and I’m working on the customer service desk. Opposite our desk is a display with two canvases. One is printed with a retro comic book and priced at £8.99. The other is a Doctor Who canvas priced at £12.99. A middle-aged woman with two children in tow approaches one of the cashiers.)

Customer: “This Doctor Who canvas is labelled as £12.99; is that how much it is?”

Cashier: “That’s right.”

Customer: “The other one is priced as £8.99, though. Check the Doctor Who canvas to make sure!”

(He scans it through the till and confirms it’s £12.99.)

Customer: “Ridiculous! The other one is £8.99!”

(She marches up to the customer service desk.)

Customer: “Why is that man telling me this is £12.99?”

Me: “Because it is £12.99.”

Customer: “But why is that £12.99 when the other is £8.99?”

Me: “Well… they’re two different items. They may be similar, but if you look at the product codes on the labels you’ll see they are different, so one price doesn’t apply to the other.”

Customer: “What?!”

(I notice she’s going red in the face and getting the wild-eyed look, so I try the empathetic approach.)

Me: “I know. I agree it’s pretty silly! They’re similar products, so that difference in price doesn’t make too much sense. Unfortunately, we just have to do what head office tells us!”

Customer: “How ridiculous. Change the price!”

Me: “Er… I can’t, I’m afraid. We don’t control the prices; those are the prices set by our head office.”

Customer: “Just sell me this one for £8.99!” *waves the Doctor Who canvas about*

Me: “I can’t just reduce it for you, I’m afraid. I don’t have any say in the prices. Would you like me to get you the number for the head office? If you want a product’s price changed, you’d need to speak to them about it.”

Customer: *shouting* “This is ridiculous! Why is it so expensive?!”

Me: “I… don’t know. No one in this store decided the price. All I can offer you is the number for the head office. I’m sorry.”

(The customer casts an evil glare at me and strides out, dragging her children behind her.)

Cashier: *laughs* “Wow.”


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