Getting Your Money Back Requires Good Form

, , , , , | Right | December 19, 2018

(It’s forty years ago and I am working in the men’s department during my senior year in college. A curmudgeonly man drops a load of shirts on the counter and demands a refund. The policy is to collect a great deal of information from the customer, issue a receipt, and have the customer go to the service center to get the actual cash. The shirts are obviously quite old and worn, and the man doesn’t have a receipt. The best I can do is give him $0.99 per shirt. After a bit of a tirade, he decides that is better than nothing.)

Me: *takes out receipt pad* “May I have your name?”

Customer: “I didn’t need to give you my name when I bought these.”

Me: “Yes, sir, but I have to fill out this form to get you your refund.”

Customer: “It’s [Customer].”

Me: “…and your address?”

Customer: “Why do you need to know my address? It doesn’t matter where I live!”

Me: “Yes, sir, but I have to fill out this form to get you your refund.”

Customer: “It’s [Street and number].”

Me: “…and the city?”

Customer: *rolls his eyes as if trying to randomly pick a nearby town* “Fenton.”

Me: “…and the ZIP code?’

Customer: “I don’t know what the ZIP code is! I never mail things to myself!”

Me: “…and your phone number?”

Customer: “Not everyone has a phone.”

(I fill out the form to the best of my ability, and hand it to the customer. He glowers at me for a moment and practically yells:)

Customer: “Well? WHERE’S MY MONEY?”

Me: “If you take this up to the customer service department, they will issue your refund.”

(He storms over to the escalator and begins elbowing people out of the way to get to the top as quickly as he can. I wish I could have followed him, because I knew the customer service department would require that he show a driver’s license or some other official identification to prove who he is and that he lives at his address before they will issue his refund. A few minutes later, as I am about to collect up this guy’s garbage and toss it in our compactor bin, I hear him elbowing his way down the other escalator, with the form I had filled out waving madly in the air. He comes charging over to my counter like some mad bull in a rodeo, snatches up the tattered old shirts that he had obviously been wearing for years, and turns toward the nearest exit. I step directly in front of him.)

Me: “You can have the shirts or the receipt, but you can’t have both.”

(I think that had his hands been free, he may have tried to take a swing at me. As it was, he made a good attempt to crumple up the receipt and throw it at me without dropping his shirts, and stomped out of the store.)

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