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Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 11

, , , , | Right | May 14, 2018

(I am a female in my late twenties, and the store manager of a popular home goods store. In my time as a young manager, I have noticed that most of my difficult customers have been elderly ladies. There is a minimally-damaged shelving unit by our checkout that we use for displays, and it has been there so long it’s just a store fixture by now. One of my associates comes to the back to tell me she needs help with a regular customer who wants the shelf at a deeply discounted price.)

Me: “Hello, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “Well, this shelf is badly damaged, but I think I can fix it. How much would you sell it for?”

Me: “We have these units new in boxes in the back; I can ring you up for one of those. We use this shelf for displays, since the unit has a small knick out of the shelf. Would you like me to get a new one?”

Customer: “No, they’re too expensive, but I can repair this one. How much?”

Me: “Well, if you insist, I can give you 10% off, but I really prefer to keep it as a display.”

Customer: “Only 10%? That top shelf would need to be replaced. Do you know what that would cost? To get a piece of wood and cut it to size, sand it, paint it, and fit it with new brackets? It would cost more than the whole unit.”

Me: “Oh, the only damage is this sliver of wood that was chipped off. It could be fixed by gluing a small piece of wood to it and a furniture pen to match the paint. Or it could be sanded down and painted.”

Customer: *gets very condescending* “Oh, no, honey. You don’t know about furniture. That shelf needs to be replaced.”

(I point out that the shelving unit is currently holding items, and I even shake it.)

Me: “It’s structurally sound. The damage is cosmetic. In any case, I’m not interested in selling this one, as we have about five new ones in the back, and this one is used for displays. Can I get you a new one? I’ll even give you 10% off.”

Customer: “No, I wanted this one only if you could discount it to what it’s worth, but it would cost too much to repair.”

Me: “So, you really think it would cost more than the regular purchase price of $99 to repair this two-inch sliver of missing wood?”

Customer: “Are you really the manager?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “That’s too bad. You really don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe you need more training, honey.”

Me: “Wow.”

(I went to the stock room to breathe. My associate came back to tell me the rude lady left but had kept insisting the shelf was beyond repair and complaining about me. We went out to the shelving unit to make sure we weren’t missing any unseen damage and started laughing as we found an old sale tag on it for 50% off that we would have had to honor.)

Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 10
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 9
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 8