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The Never Ending Christmas Tree

, , , | Right | December 22, 2017

(It’s Christmas time in New England. I am a short, scrawny, 17-year-old sales associate at a home and garden center that sells Christmas trees. It’s eight pm. I have been outside in the snow selling trees all day since I got to work at eight am. We have already turned off the lights to the tree area and have shut off our illuminated sign.)

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], go pull the chain!”

(We pull a chain across the parking lot entrance every night to prevent more people from coming in. I run out across the parking lot, grab the chain, and start pulling it across the entrance when a minivan pulls in going rather fast and runs over the chain, nearly ripping my arms off in the process. A small family gets out. I finish hooking the chain and walk over to them to tell them we are closed.)

Father: “Hi, you guys still open?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we’re closed.”

(My manager comes outside.)

Manager: “Hello, what can I help you with?”

Father: “We did come here to get a tree but if you guys are closed, we can come back tomorrow.”

Manager: “No, it’s fine. We are closed but if you are just getting a tree, then feel free to pick one out.”

Father: “Thank you so much.”

Manager: “[My Name], help this fine family pick out a tree.”

(I proceed to do the standard sales pitch to help them figure out what kind of tree they want. I ask the price range, full or skinny, tall or short, basically all the questions I normally ask to figure out which tree would be best. I start pointing them at some trees I think they would like but they keep disagreeing or pointing out every small thing about the trees. This goes on for another 45 minutes. They eventually find a set of four trees in our expensive section that they like and decide to choose between one of the four. This starts a debate among the family.)

Me: “Okay, while you decide, I’ll be inside. Come get me when you decide on a tree.”

(I scurry away because I can barely feel my fingers at this point.)

Manager: *obviously frustrated* “What’s taking so long?”

Me: “They won’t pick a d*** tree. They are currently in a debate between four trees. Don’t get mad at me. They are being stubborn and didn’t like any of the trees.”

(They debate for another ten minutes. In this time, my coworkers have left, leaving just me and the manager. Eventually, the father walks in.)

Father: “We have decided on a tree.”

Me: “Okay, show me which one you picked.”

(I follow the father outside and he points at a tree.)

Father: “We have decided on this one.” *he points to a rather large tree that comes out to around $85*

Me: “Nice choice. I’ve been waiting for someone to take this beauty home.”

Father: “Why has no one wanted it?”

Me: “It costs $85.”

Father: “WHAT?!” *turns to his children who have sad looks on their faces* “Okay, I guess we’ll get this one.”

Me: “Would you like for me to wrap it?” *I remove the tree from the stand*

Father: “No, just bring it to the van. [Wife], go pay for the tree.”

(I bring the tree up to the front door of the store which is next to the parking lot and grab some rope that we use to tie trees to roofs. I hand the tag to the wife so she can go pay. I put the tree on the roof of their van and as I’m about to tie it down, the father grabs the rope from me.)

Father: “I’ll do it.” *he begins to tie the tree down*

Me: “You sure? I mean, it is part of my job to tie trees down.”

Father: “No, you probably don’t know how to do it properly.”

Me: *taken back by this comment, because I’ve tied down around 400 trees by this point* “Okay. Have a nice night, and Merry Christmas.”

(I walk inside and get a cup of hot chocolate because I’m freezing. I drink it, shut off the store and warehouse lights, lock up all the doors, and go get my stuff from the office and punch out. This whole process takes about 10-15 minutes. The father is still trying to tie the tree down.)

Me: “Do you want me to go help him?”

Manager: “No, I’ve already tried. You can go home. It’s been a long day. I’m sorry; I won’t let anyone in when the chain is being pulled ever again. This was a mistake.”

(I leave. The man was there for another five minutes but eventually tied his tree down and left.)

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