Off-Cutting Remarks

, , , | Right | March 26, 2018

(I am working in the lumber department of a big home improvement store, and there is one other lumber associate helping other customers. A lady that looks to be in her 60s comes in and asks me for items to make shelves. She is really demanding, clueless, cheap, and indecisive. I take her all around the department to explain the difference between using plywood, two-inch and one-inch wood, or pre-cut shelves. I am in the one-inch aisle, trying to get her to understand the difference between pine priced per piece and hardwood priced per foot, when another customer — a man in his 50s who has been waiting patiently for a couple minutes — cuts in.)

Customer #2: “I have a quick question. Where is [type of product for which there is two types]?”

Me: “I can answer quickly, but first which type—”

Customer #1: *rudely to [Customer #2]* “Excuse me, but he was with me first. You’re really rude for interrupting us before we were done.”

Customer #2: “I’m really rude? You’re the one who is rude! I just have a quick question, and then he can go back with you, since you’ve been hogging him.”

(Both customers look at me, basically to see who I side with, and I stand speechless for a minute.)

Customer #1: “Well, where I come from, it is rude to cut in on a customer before they are done with the salesperson.”

Customer #2: *now shouting* “Listen, lady! You’re the one who is rude; any decent person would let him answer a simple question first and then go back to you.”

(At this point, they are both standing tall, and I swear they are about to come to blows. To cut the tension, I speak up:)

Me: *to [Customer #2]* “I was with this this lady first. There is someone on the back saw; he can help you when he is done with his customer, or I will help you when I am done with this customer, whoever is done first.”

Customer #2: *obviously annoyed with the lady not me* “Fine, whatever.” *walks away*

Customer #1: “Thank you. That man was really rude, wouldn’t you agree?”

(I want to say that both of them were rude, but I ignore the question and spend another ten minutes with the lady to help her decide. We finally get some plywood and take it to the panel saw to cut. While cutting, I see [Customer #2] pass by and politely say I will be with him shortly. Both customers eye each other with evil eyes. The lady repeatedly makes snide remarks about the man to me, intentionally loud enough for the man to hear. I finish cutting for the lady and end up with large scraps left over from cutting out the shelves to size.)

Me: “Do you want the leftover pieces?”

Customer #1: “What do you do with scraps if I don’t want them?”

Me: “We usually keep them on a cart and offer them to customers free if they want them. Since you are paying for the whole piece, we can’t resell them, and if there are leftovers at the end of the day, we throw them away.”

Customer #1: “Okay. You can give them away to anyone except that rude man.”

(The lady takes her cart and walks away, but the register is in sight of the saw. The man comes to the saw with some oriented strand board — cheaper than plywood that the lady got — and has apparently answered his own question from earlier.)

Customer #2: “Man, that b**** was crazy. Anyway, I need this cut to [about the same size as the scraps from the lady]. Actually, what are those scraps? Can I have them?”

(I try to figure out how to say this tactfully, and without laughing.)

Me: “Um, actually, they are from that lady, and normally we give the scraps away, but, um… She specifically said not to give them to you. However, I’ll wait until she leaves the store, and then I will give them to you.”

Customer #2: “That’s okay. I wouldn’t even want anything from her, anyway. Just cut this out of the boards I grabbed.”

(I cut for him, and he left his scraps. I ended up with a bunch of scraps that I had to throw out at the end of the day.)

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