Keeping Your Number Is Not In The Cards

, , , | Right | September 3, 2020

I work between several departments in a grocery store that has a savings card. If a customer has forgotten their card, they can stop by the service desk to receive a single-use slip with their number on it. On this particular occasion, I’m scheduled as a cashier.

Customer: “I’ve lost my card, but I have this slip until they send me a replacement.”

Me: “That’s fine, ma’am; it won’t take a second.”

I look at the slip. There’s no signature from an office clerk, it’s not dated, and the store’s stamp isn’t on the back. According to the rules, I’m supposed to call and verify that the customer did, in fact, just get her number today. I can see that she isn’t about to pay with a check so I decide to let it slide and just punch the number up, and then I begin to shred the slip.

Customer: “What in the h*** are you doing? That’s my card!”

Me: “I’m sorry for the confusion, ma’am, but this slip can only be used once.”

I begin reading from the pieces.

Me: “’This is a one-time use slip. This slip is intended as a temporary substitute for the customer’s [Store] card. This slip will be disposed of by the cashier after it is used. This slip is only valid on the date written on the slip.’”

Customer: “I don’t give a f*** what it says; that’s my f****** card number!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but it’s corporate policy that these slips are used only once and then destroyed.”

Customer: “But I lost my card!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you lost your card, we can actually replace it for you at the service desk. The whole process takes less than a minute; you’ll have a new card and your perks will all transfer over to the new card in less than a day.”

Customer: “But that card won’t have my number. They’re sending me a new card with my number on it and it hasn’t arrived yet. The regional manager of my usual store gave me that to use until my card arrived.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can understand why you’re upset—” *no, not really* “—but I am bound by our corporate policies, as is the regional manager.”

The customer is clearly inconsolable and begins screaming curses in every direction, cursing at me, passing customers, and anyone else in earshot. It’s obvious to me that the office clerks should be able to hear her but are cowering behind the tinted glass, so I decide to be as painfully pleasant as possible.

I speak pleasantly, but only loud enough for someone nearby to hear clearly.

Me: “Ma’am, again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you, but you are actually in luck. As chance would have it, my personal supervisor, the office manager, the store manager, the regional manager, and the district manager are actually all in the building right now and I could actually page all of them up here right now. You could explain your side of the story to them all at once and we could have this resolved immediately. Shall I press a button and have them paged?”

Customer: “F*** no! I’m going back to talk to my regional manager from the store I normally shop at and I’m going to have your f****** b**** a** reported!”

Me: “If that’s what you want, ma’am, I can actually give you the corporate number to file a complaint directly with our complaint department.”

I’ve finished with her order, bagged it, continued with a constant smile and a stream of lilted “please” and “thank you” while she continues to scream curses. I know the managers must have heard but they are still too busy hiding.

I am now loud enough for everyone to hear me clearly.

Me: “Thank you for shopping with us today, ma’am. And again, I’m sorry that we weren’t able to help with everything. But please, do have a wonderful day!”

Customer: “Oh, GO F*** YOURSELF!”

She storms out with everyone staring at her, perhaps now aware that everyone else has been avoiding her until this point in a clear ten-foot circle.

Coworker: “I am so glad she went through your line and not mine.”

Me: “Yeah, most people won’t mess with a 6’2″, 240-pound guy, but occasionally, I do get a challenger.”

I related the story to my manager later and she seemed completely unfazed by the whole event. I shrugged it off, having told my half of the story and warned her of the possibility of an incoming complaint, and went on break. As far as I know, the woman never actually filed the complaint or the complaint wasn’t given any serious consideration.

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