Her “Side” Of The Story Is Very Colorful

, , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(I’m about two weeks into a new job at a well-known chain of opticians when I answer the phone to a customer. The call goes a bit like this.)

Me: “Good morning. Thank you for calling [Opticians]. How can I help?”

Customer: “I am very disappointed with these glasses you made me!”

Me: “I’m very sorry. What seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “My daughter is a hairdresser! She dyed my hair the other day and now there is hair dye on the sides of the glasses and I can’t get it off! I’ve never had it happen with any of my old glasses. There must be something wrong with the material you make them out of!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but unfortunately, there is not a lot we can do about it. We would advise you not to wear your specs when having hair dyed to avoid damaging the frames.”

Customer: “Well, this is stupid! You should have told me that when I bought the glasses! I want a refund!”

Me: “I will just need to check a few things on the system first. Could I take your name, please?”

(I look up the customer on our database and notice that she has had the glasses for over three months. Our store has a no-quibble-no-fuss return policy, but it is only valid for three months after purchase.)

Me: “I’m afraid we are unable to refund you as you have owned the spectacles for over three months. However, if you would like, you can purchase a new frame at half price and we will gladly swap your lenses into it.”

Customer: “I don’t want to pay for a whole new frame! Can’t you just put new sides onto my glasses?”

(We can’t order in spare parts for frames, and I’m not taking apart a brand-new frame, but we do keep a box of spare sides from broken frames where the sides are still functional. We usually use these when people come in with broken glasses.)

Me: “We don’t have any spare parts for your frame, I’m afraid, but we do have a box of temporary sides we keep for people who break their glasses. You’re welcome to come in and we can see if we can find any to fit. There is no guarantee anything will fit, though, and they almost certainly won’t match.”

Customer: “I don’t see why you can’t just refund me! These are obviously not fit for purpose and my daughter is a hairdresser! She dyes people’s hair every day and has never had this problem! There is obviously something wrong with the material they are made out of!”

Me: “Glasses aren’t designed specifically so that hair dye doesn’t stain them! They aren’t advertised as anti-hair-dye-staining, and I’m pretty sure the factory that makes them doesn’t test for ‘stain-ability.’ Put simply, it is not our fault that the hair dye is on them; it is yours for wearing them whilst having your hair dyed.”

Customer: “Fine. Can you just tell me how to get this hair dye out, then?”

(Many of my colleagues are standing across our small store looking at me with bemused expressions. I cover the phone and ask if any of them know how to get hair dye out of plastic. One colleague suggests nail polish remover.)

Me: “Well, you could try nail polish remover, but it would be at your own risk and I can’t guarantee it would work.”

Customer: “Okay, I will try that. Bye.”

(The customer hung up. This was my first time working in such a customer-facing job. It opened my eyes to how weird people can be! I know that she got the hair dye out with nail polish remover because about half a year later she came into the store, recounting the hair dye story and saying that “the girl on the phone” — me — had told her we would put new sides on for her because she didn’t like these ones anymore. We told her we couldn’t change the sides simply because she didn’t like them anymore.)

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