Don’t Get Your Industrial-Hose In A Twist  

, , , | Right | September 2, 2019

(I work in an industrial hose store; we mostly make hydraulic hoses for farm/heavy equipment. We also work on other high-pressure hoses, power steering, pressure washers, et al. One of our customers is a real estate developer — known to have too much money, too much free time, and an attitude — who owns lots of commercial property. A couple of them are “Do-It-Yourself” style car washes.)

Customer: “I can see you’re busy, but I need a solid. This hose failed and my whole car wash is down. I need this thing ASAP.”

Boss: “No problem. [My Name] just finished a job; head on back and he can make that hose for you.”

(The customer approaches me.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you? Fittings or a new hose?”

Customer: “I need this hose replaced. Right now.”

Me: “Sure, no problem.”

(I proceed to identify which hose he will require and what type of connections are needed.)

Me: “Okay, I’ve got plenty of hose. I’ll be right back with the fittings.” 

(We are out of the fitting he needs. It’s a fairly uncommon fitting; we probably sell five or six a year.)

Me: “I’m sorry, [Customer], but we’re out of the fitting that I need to make an exact replica of your hose, but don’t worry, we’re not sunk ye—”

Customer: *interrupting* “I don’t care; I just need the hose right now!”

Me: “No problem. I just have a couple of questions to make sure the replacement hose I give you will be safe, since I can’t make an exact copy. Do you know how much pressure is on the hose? Or how hot the water gets?”

Customer: “WHAT?! NO! OF COURSE NOT! Why aren’t you making my hose? If [Coworker] were here, he’d be done by now and I’d be out the door. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

Me: “I’m really sorry for the delay. However, I need more information to safely make you a—”

Customer: *interrupting* “THIS IS BULLS***! I’VE LOST ENOUGH MONEY FROM THIS THING BEING DOWN ALREADY! I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY!” *storms off in a huff*

Boss: *as the customer approaches door* “Oh, great! You guys figured something out?”

Customer: “NO! YOUR F****** EMPLOYEE IS TOO F****** STUPID TO DO HIS GODD*** JOB!”

(When things quiet down, my boss asks me what happened. I tell him what hose and parts I need. He confirms we are out of them and then gets a stern look on his face. For the next four days, my boss is twenty minutes late for work. I find out later he has been stopping by two of [Customer]’s car washes every morning to see if he is there, as [Customer] likes to watch his property make money for him. Yes, he’s that guy.)

Boss: “So, I finally had a little chat with [Customer]. I tried to explain to him that even if it had been myself or [Coworker], we would have done the exact same things you did. I’ve informed him that he is no longer welcome in our store and that if he needs any hoses in the future, he’s welcome to go to [Competitor] in [Town that’s two hours away]. He wasn’t happy about that, and I don’t care. No one is allowed to treat my employees like that.”

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