Has A Lot Of Baggage

, , , , | Right | October 3, 2018

(I’m sixteen and working in the housewares section of a department store. Part of the housewares section is luggage, with every single type of luggage set out in display units. In order to get the boxes with the luggage in them, you have to scale a two-story set of movable stairs in the warehouse. One night, FIVE minutes before closing, a well-dressed man and his wife come to the luggage department to inquire about luggage. I know just from looking at him he is going to be a delight to work with.)

Man: *quite imperious* “I have a very important meeting tomorrow in New York and I don’t have time for your ineptitude! I need to see this particular set of luggage right now!” *points to a set of blue luggage*

Me: *a little miffed by his attitude, but back then, the customer WAS always right* “Right away, sir.”

(I pull the luggage down from the display. The man actually HISSES at me!)

Man: “What do you think you’re doing? I don’t want to look at THOSE old things! I want to see a new set, right out of the box! Make sure the quality is what I need!”

(Off I go, into the warehouse and up the long moving stair/ladder to retrieve a huge box and come back down the stairs with it. Usually a stock person would do this job, but they all have gone home for the evening. I get the box down and return to the gentleman; at this point the speakers blare out the announcement that the store has indeed closed for the night.)

Man: “It’s about time! Do you know what kind of rush I’m in? It took you an hour to retrieve these!”

(It took me three minutes. I’m now freaking out because I’m not supposed to clock out any later than 9:02. I start ignoring the man’s attitude so I can get rid of him.)

Me: “Here we go. Let me open this for you so you can inspect them and we can get you home.

(I take out the large suitcase, unzip it and take out the smaller suitcases in turn. They, needless to say, look JUST LIKE THE DISPLAY. Nonetheless, he goes over them with a fine-tooth comb. 9:00 turns into 9:07.)

Me: “Now, just let me box this back up for you and…”

Man: “NO! These will not do! You will go at once and fetch me….” *looking at the other displays while pointing out his finger* “THAT set there. The burgundy one! Hop to it! I’m in a hurry.”

Man’s Wife: *quietly* “But dear, the store has already…”

(The man holds his hand up to silence her. The poor lady actually cows to her husband’s gesture! Now really pissed off and wanting to go home, I head back into the warehouse, back up the stairs to fetch the burgundy luggage, just knowing with every passing minute I am getting into serious trouble, trouble I can’t get out of because THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. I allow the box to slide down the banisters rather than try to carry it down each individual step, so at least I’m not in danger of falling with this massive box in hand. I grab the box, head back to the luggage section, and un-box this set of luggage.)

Man’s Wife: “Oh, those are nice! I think you should…”

Man: *again with the hand* “These will never do! They are too feminine! You got these out so I would look like a FOOL, didn’t you? You will now go and fetch me the BLACK set of luggage.”

(I now know this guy is just making this a sick joke and is enjoying bossing me around. I’m so desperate to get out of this but I can’t find any solution because I can’t tell this guy off. Suddenly, as I’m heading back for the THIRD box of luggage, the manager approaches me.)

Manager:: “[My  Name], why are you still here? You should have clocked out fifteen minutes ago!”

(I explain the whole situation to him, nearly breaking down in tears. The more he hears, the angrier he gets, and though I think he’s getting mad at me it becomes apparent that’s not the case. The great thing about this manager is he doesn’t take any crap. So, instead of going back into the warehouse, he makes me take him to this man.)

Man: *mistakenly thinking the manager is there to help him* “Oh, thank goodness there’s a MAN to help me! This girl is completely incompetent! She has repeatedly brought me the wrong luggage and wasted my valuable time! Now, if you would be so kind as to fetch me…”

Manager: *cutting him off* “Sir, why do you think we have displays here?” *the man is now stunned into silence.* “They are here so you can pick out the ONE set of luggage you need so my employee doesn’t have to continuously go into the stockroom to get boxes for you! She is NOT your servant; she is an employee who deserves respect! I am here to inform you the store is now closed! Here is what is going to happen: either you are going to purchase one of the two sets of luggage you forced my employee to retrieve for you OR you are going to exit my store. Immediately. The register closes in one minute. Make your decision now.”

(The manager gave the man a steely glare that, to this day, I’ve only seen this particular manager perfect.  The man and his poor wife immediately left, his rants of “Do you know who I am?” and “I make that man’s yearly salary in a month!” resonating throughout the store. I stared at the two boxes and the luggage the man had strewn in the area and the manager said, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll explain to the stock guys in the morning,” and sent me to clock out. Over twenty years later I still hope that guy finally learned some respect for others, especially women. And I seriously hope his wife got a divorce!)

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