In Receipt Of Their Ineptitude

, , , , , , | Working | June 24, 2018

(I’ve come to the local chain grocery store to return a non-food item I don’t need. The store has a specifically dedicated customer service desk where they do all returns; the desk is always staffed by a — supposedly — specially trained employee. I go to that desk and present the item and my receipt from a few days ago. The employee there is an officiously-dressed, middle-aged lady.)

Employee: “Okay, your refund is [amount about 25% lower than I paid].” *tries to hand me the money*

Me: “That’s not what I paid for it. I’m supposed to get back the amount I paid.”

Employee: “This is the price of the item this week.”

(I realize she must mean that the item is on sale this week, while it wasn’t last week when I bought it. However, I know the store’s return policy.)

Me: “I paid [original amount] for this when I bought it; I’m supposed to get all my money back.”

Employee: “[Lower amount] is what it costs this week, so that’s the refund you get.”

Me: “My receipt clearly shows what I paid for it: it’s [original amount]. See? It’s right here.”

Employee: *ignores the receipt I’m pointing to* “The price is [lower amount] now; that’s the correct refund. Let’s go to the shelf where it’s at and I’ll show you what the shelf price says.”

(She starts going off from behind the counter.)

Me: “Excuse me; that’s a pointless waste of time. It’s irrelevant what your shelf price is now. I have my receipt that clearly shows what I actually paid. I’m supposed to get back the amount I actually paid.”

Employee: *insistently* “No, let’s go so we can see and I can prove to you what the correct price is.”

(She very determinedly goes off and I seem to have no choice but to follow. The shelf is nearly all the way on the other side of the store. I trail after her in exasperation. We finally get there and she points at the shelf tag.)

Employee: “See; it’s priced at [lower amount], so that’s the refund you get.”

Me: “As I said, that’s completely irrelevant. I have my receipt, and I know your store’s return policy. According to the official return policy, if I have my receipt I’m supposed to get back the exact amount I paid for the item. It doesn’t matter if you have it on sale this week; I purchased it last week and paid more for it.”

Employee: *again disregards what I’m saying and ignores the receipt I’m holding out* “The shelf price this week is [lower amount], so that’s the refund amount you should get.”

(I really felt like head-desking. We walked all the way back to the customer service desk, then the same exchange continued on and on in circles. I should add here that after the first minute or so, she’d been acting increasingly exasperated and “robotic” in that way that employees seem to get when they think the customer is totally unreasonable. No matter how many times I pointed to my receipt and stated the store’s return policy, she acted as if I’d either said nothing at all or spoken completely irrelevant nonsense, and continued repeating her spiel about the current sale price. Finally, after several MORE minutes of this, a manager seemed to notice and came over to see what’s happening. I told him I was making a return but being given the wrong refund amount. The employee repeated her spiel to him, too. He looked over the item and receipt, looked at the employee sideways, and then wordlessly processed my return with — finally — the correct amount and handed it over. He didn’t say anything at all, either to me or to the employee. He didn’t give even a hint of a thought of asking me how much time I had just spent on this frustrating exchange, or offering any sort of apology. Meanwhile, the employee kind of just stood around, staring blankly. So, overall, it was a good fifteen minutes of wasted time on a transaction that should have taken less than one minute.)

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