Faster The Phones The Slower The Service

, | Right | August 24, 2015

(I work in a popular hardware store. The following happens as I’m dealing with a family of five or six. The mother and one of her daughters approach my register, both looking at their cell phones.)

Me: “Good afternoon! Did you find everything you needed today?”

(Both women stare at their phones; 15 seconds go by.)

Woman: “Huh?”

Me: *repeats myself*

(Another 15 seconds go by.)

Woman: “Oh, yeah, just this stuff here.”

(I proceed to ring up their merchandise.)

Me: “Okay! You’re total is [total]; would you like to use [Store] card on your purchase?”

(Neither the woman or her daughter answer me. Another 15 seconds go by.)

Woman: “What?”

Me: *repeats myself*

Woman: “Oh! They aren’t done playing yet. We have some more.”

(We wait for a few minutes while the rest of the woman’s family “plays” with some of the stuff we have set out on display so that people can test out the merchandise before they buy it. The rest of the family finally comes to the register, but no one says anything to me although I have smiled and asked what else I can get for them. They are now all on their phones and I ask repeatedly for the husband to please tell me what they need from a different department. Several more minutes follow of me asking for information, followed by silence, and then a confused “what?” As the rest of their merchandise is relayed to me between riveting bouts of cell phone induced silence, I finally complete the order. By this time I am extremely frustrated, but manage to smile and try to tell them their new total.)

Me: “Okay! Your new total is—”

Woman: “Wait! I have a coupon!”

(She proceeds to scroll frantically on her phone. When she turns it to face me, it is the store’s cell-phone app, but it is on a black screen with only a search bar showing.)

Woman: “What do I do with this? It’s for five dollars off.”

Me: *finally fed up* “Ma’am, I don’t know. Our coupons are actually sent through—”

Woman: “Oh! Never mind. Let’s just finish this up.”

Me: *unable to control my exasperation and sarcasm drips through* “Thank you!”

Woman: “Wow! You sure are in a hurry to get rid of us now, aren’t you?!”

Me: *internally screaming*

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