Does Not Want To Associate With Us And That’s Totally Fine

, , , | Right | September 12, 2019

(Having recently been promoted, my first task is to contact a list of customers to say hello and let them know I will be taking over the position. While I know why my predecessor is no longer with the company, I am not allowed to tell the customers that I know this, or why she left. Most customers simply accept this and we get on with our conversation. This particular customer is an exception.)

Me: “Hi. My name is [My Name] and I’m calling from [Retailer]. Can I speak to [Customer], please?”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “I’m taking over for [Previous Associate] and I thought I’d reach out to you to—”

Customer: “What happened to her?”

Me: “Oh, uh, unfortunately, she is no longer with the company and I’ve taken over.”

Customer: “Why’d she leave? Was she fired?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t here when she left. I can’t say.” *which isn’t a lie*

Customer: “But you know?”

Me: *fake laugh* “I’m afraid all of that is above my pay grade, sir.”

Customer: “Well, what if I want her?”

Me: “Then I can have my manager contact you to see what we can do. May I ask why you wouldn’t want to continue? I understand some customers are loyal to certain associates but—”

Customer: “How about you tell me where she went, and I won’t call corporate on you for being such an ignorant b**** to me.”

Me: “I’m only working within the rules of our company, sir. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

Customer: “Then you’ve just lost a f****** sale!”

Me: “Okay, then. Have a nice evening.”

(I hang up before he can say anything else and email my manager immediately to let her know she will probably be hearing from him. I am right; the next day I come to work, my supervisor tells me that the “gentleman” — in air quotes — called corporate to say that I was being belligerent and harassing him. He demanded compensation, so corporate left that to my manager. She is passing it on to me to decide what would suffice.)

Me: “So, he gets rewarded for throwing a fit… because I refused to risk my job by talking about the employment status of another associate?”

Manager: “Well, you probably shouldn’t word it that way. But… yes.”

Me: “Okay. He can have a refund, minus the prorated time [Previous Associate] spent working with him.”

(We do the math and ask him to come in for his refund. On his $6,000 project, he receives a refund of about $500. My manager and I walk through each line to be sure he understands. At the end of the conversation:)

Me: “Well, [Company] is sorry to lose your business, sir.”

Customer: “Do you know who called me? I’d like to punch that b**** in the face.”

Manager: “What?!”

Me: “Uh. Because…?”

Customer: “Because I can.”

Manager: “You absolutely cannot.”

Me: “Please leave.”

Customer: *stepping into my personal space* “You gonna take her place?”

Manager: “I don’t think she can take her own place. But I can call the police and tell them you just threatened to assault her.”

(The customer shoves past me toward the front door. I am not really hurt but he does body check me with his shoulder as he passes and I stumble back a few steps.)

Manager: “Want me to call the police?”

Me: “No. He’s not worth it. I’d rather never see him again.”

Manager: “You are such a good grownup.”

Me: *laughing* “Well, by now, I’d hope so.”

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