Final Sale But Not The Final Word

, , , | Right | January 1, 2021

I’m working as a volunteer at a summer stock theater this summer. We don’t have high-quality, Broadway-level performances, but we’re far from community theater.

Some people are paid staff, but most of us are volunteers — students looking to boost college applications, like me, or retirees looking to keep busy.

Occasionally, the management will have sales to boost attendance at performances that, for whatever reason, aren’t selling well — just after a long weekend or a big event in the area, for example.

I show up for my time answering phone calls. Yesterday, we had a big sale offering tickets for 50% off.

First caller of the day:

Me: “Good morning, my name is [My Name] at [Theater]. How may I assist you?”

Caller: “I need to cancel my tickets.”

All sales are final. Sometimes we can exchange tickets for a different day under specific circumstances. The recent sale was final, no exceptions.

Me: “Do you have your confirmation number?”

Caller: *Loud sigh* “I have to get that.”

Me: “Okay. I’ll wait.”

The computer automatically searches by caller’s number for any active orders, so I’m already looking at her order. I want to verify to be certain. The numbers match.

Me: “I’m sorry, but those tickets were bought with yesterday’s 50% offer—”

Caller: *Interrupts* “Yes, I know.”

Me: “That offer is final sale. No returns. No exceptions.”

Caller: “But I don’t want them. The website didn’t say anything about them being final sale! You are holding my money hostage!”

The website reminds buyers four times that it’s a final sale offer, including a screen you have to agree to to move forward.

Me: “I’m sorry. But the website and all emails said final sale. Sometimes management might let people move to another day. I could go ask…”

My manager is sitting next to me shaking her head no.

Caller: “Just give me my money! I don’t want any tickets! It was such a good price, but this morning my neighbor said the lead actress is very whiny. I don’t want to see that!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but the tickets are final sale.”

Caller: “This is terrible customer service! I can’t believe they pay you to be so rude!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m a volunteer.”

Caller: “I can’t believe you won’t give me my money back! This is larceny! I’m going to the police!” *Hangs up*

I wrote an incident report and attached it to the order file.

Later that day, her husband came in and tried to return the tickets. She had told him that we said we could only give money back in person. He was very embarrassed and upset (at her), when my manager explained what had happened on the phone and showed him the multiple places it said “Final Sale” on the website. He left… with the tickets.

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