Out Of The Frying Pan…

, , , , | Right | January 23, 2018

(It is at the beginning of the financial crisis in an economically struggling department store. I am a trainee, and it says so on my name-tag. I’m at the till and a couple comes up to me, seemingly intending to buy one of the most expensive frying pans we have in stock. I ring them up and the till shows the correct price of 79,99€, which I tell them.)

Customer: “That can’t be right. The price tag on the shelf says 14,99€.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.”

Customer: “How would you know? You’re just a cashier, and a trainee one, at that.”

Me: “I know because I usually work in that department and only cover the regular cashier’s lunch break.”

Customer: “Well, anyway, I’m not going to pay 80€ for a frying pan. I demand you change the price to 14,99€, or I’ll sue this store for false advertising! You have to honour your prices!”

Me: “May I suggest that you show me where you found the pan, and we try to solve the issue, first?”

(I get another colleague to cover the till, and the customer walks me up to the shelf where we display various pans, including the one in question, which happens to be the last one.)

Customer: *points at other empty space* “See? It says 14,99€ right there. That’s where we found the pan, so you have to honour that price.”

Me: “While the pan may very well have stood there when you found it, that’s not where it belongs. Also, while the tag does say 14,99€, it also says [Brand & Model #1] and 20-centimeter diameter. That pan is called [Brand & Model #2] and 28-centimeter diameter and belongs there…” *points at correct space* “…as you can see. Maybe someone picked it up, looked at it, and put it back in the wrong place. It happens.”

Customer: *getting irate* “Are you saying that I’m lying?! Or that I’m trying to trick you?! If it’s your department, it’s your job to make sure everything is in the right place and has the correct price tags on them. Even a lazy trainee like you should have learned that by now. Anyway, honour that price now, will you?”

Me: “No, I’m not saying you’re lying, just that you’re mistaken. I’m sorry if it sounded differently, but that’s no reason for insults. And while it is my job to make sure everything is in the right place, as I said, I had to cover the tills. Even if I didn’t, I can’t have my eyes everywhere all the time. In the end, that pan costs 79,99€, so take it or leave it.”

Customer: “I’m not going to listen to your excuses for being incompetent any longer. Get me your manager!”

(I do so and explain the situation to him on the way back. I would like to say that he stands up to the customer like I expect him to. Sadly, he has worked here nearly his entire adult life and is part of the original team that opened the store 30+ years ago. Now that the store is bound to go bankrupt, he is all out of f***s to give. He sells them the expensive pan for the cheap price.)

Customer: *with a big, self righteous grin*Finally, someone who knows that the customer is always right.” *to me* “But it’s no surprise that this company is heading for insolvency with such bad customer service like yours. Serves you right.”

Me: “Thanks for shopping at [Store]. And thanks for wishing unemployment on several thousand people over a frying pan.”

Customer: *leaves without another word, or that stupid grin*

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