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Ignorant Of Your Ignoring

| Louisville, KY, USA | Bad Behavior

(Part of my job involves greeting customers and touching back with them to make sure they’re able to find what they were looking for. I also have to ask them about opening store charge card which is as awkward for me as it is for them. Most of the customers are polite and good-natured about it.)

Me: “Oh, good afternoon, ma’am! What brings you in today?”

(The customer is already walking in the other direction. This happens sometimes since sometimes my voice can be kind of soft, especially when we have several customers coming in over a short period of time, so I just assume she didn’t hear me and think nothing of it. Later, I find her browsing in my zone while I’m touching back with customers.)

Me: “Hi, ma’am, are you finding everything all right?”

Customer: “Hm.”

Me: “Will you be shopping with our store charge—”

Customer: “I don’t like this kind of service. I thought I made that clear when I ignored you at the door!”

(I’m so stunned that I can’t say anything as she walks out the door. I turn to see one of my coworkers and another customer staring after her in surprise.)

Coworker: “Woah.”

Customer: “But… you were just doing your job, weren’t you?”

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Not Aiming For A Photo Finish

| IN, USA | Crazy Requests, Money

(I am a clerk in a small-town newspaper office.)

Customer: *on phone* “Hello, I’d like to purchase the photos of my daughter [Name] that ran on June 13, 14, and—”

Me: “Sir, I can’t place an order for you over the phone, but I can give you directions to order the photos through our website.”

Customer: “Well, that won’t work for me. I’m computer illiterate. And I can’t come in to your office because I’m in [Town more than an hour away]. Can’t I just give you my credit card and you can do it for me?”

Me: “I apologize, but the only way to order copies of our photos is through a third party on our website. Do you have an email address? I can email you directions for using the website. They’re very simple.”

(The customer grudgingly agrees to this and gives me his email address. He promises to call me back if he can’t understand the directions, and I tell him that as long as he is in front of a computer I will be happy to walk him through the process. Sure enough, a couple hours later, he calls back.)

Customer: “Well, all right, I’m at [University] library in front of a computer.”

Me: “All right. Did you receive the directions I emailed to you?”

Customer: “Yes, but they didn’t make sense. I told you, I’m computer illiterate.”

Me: “Can you open the Internet?”

Customer: “Well, now the computer’s restarting. The screen’s gone black. I’m pressing buttons.”

Me: “It might be best to get a librarian to help you.”

Customer: “There’s no one here! It’s just me!”

(I sit on the phone for almost ten minutes while he gets the computer to restart. Eventually he gets a browser open, and it becomes clear to me that he doesn’t understand how to enter a URL into the address bar, but he does recognize Google and knows how to enter search terms. I get him to google our website and walk him through the photo-ordering process. Everything is actually going smoothly until we hit a dead-end on our search for the pictures.)

Me: “Sir, it’s possible the pictures were submitted photos. We only have the right to sell photos that were taken by our staff photographers.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just make a copy of it for me from your files?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. If you send us a check to cover postage, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspapers.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why you can’t just copy it and blow it up to an 8×10. I know you have the printing capabilities to do that at a newspaper!”

(We actually don’t have the capacity to print anything on photo-quality paper in my office, which is one of the reasons we contract with a third party to print and sell our photos online.)

Me: “Sir, I don’t feel comfortable identifying which photos you want if we aren’t able to look at them together. I would hate to send you the wrong photo or the wrong size. Like I said, I would be happy to send you some copies of the newspaper, and you can take them to Kinko’s and make whatever copy you would like.”

Customer: “Well, I’ll send you an envelope, but I don’t understand why I have so much trouble with your newspaper! I’ve left several messages over the last week trying to order these photos and everyone has been too cowardly to call me back! I don’t understand why I can’t just give you my credit card number and you can do this for me! I run a business, you know! I always pay people to do things for me! I demand retribution for the service I’ve received!”

(Yes, he did say “retribution.” I’ve always wondered how someone who runs a business in this day and age can be quite so computer illiterate. I also wonder why someone who runs a business was so eager to give his credit card information to someone who doesn’t work for the company that sells the photos and therefore isn’t authorized to handle credit card information for them.)

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Getting Nowhere Fast

| Athens, GA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I have been working as a cashier for only a couple months now and have been struggling with going as fast as the company wants me to, according to the ‘Items Per Minute’ score tracked by the register. On this particular night, I notice that my score is significantly higher than it has ever been before, so I decide to challenge myself and try to get my score as high as possible. All of my customers seem very enthusiastic when I explain this to them, even complimenting me on how great a job I’m doing. Right before I clock out, only two customers are remaining in my line. I do not mention what is going on to either customer; I just process their groceries as normal.)

Customer #1: *in a very annoyed tone* “You need to calm down!”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer #1: “You’re going way too fast! You need to go home and calm down!”

Me: *stunned and confused* “Well, I’m going home after I finish checking out you and the man behind you.”

Customer #1: “Good! You’re way too fast! You’re rushing people!” *storms off angrily*

Customer #2: *walks up to me as I begin scanning his groceries* “Don’t listen to her, honey. You’re doing a wonderful job. Don’t let her tell you how to do your job.”

Me: “Oh, thank you! Yeah, I don’t know. I’m just confused more than anything. I’ve never heard of anyone complaining that their cashier was too fast before.”

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Got A Chocolate Chip On Their Shoulder

| Minneapolis, MN, USA | Bizarre, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

Me: “Can I get you anything else today?”

Customer: “I’d like this with a meal, but with cookies instead of chips.”

Me: “All right. What kind of cookies?”

Customer: “Chocolate chip.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry; someone just bought the last ones. We have chocolate chip with M&M cookies instead if that’s all right.”

Customer: “Just chocolate chip.”

Me: “We’re out of those at the moment, like I just said, but we have all the other kinds of cookies available right now.”

Customer: “But I got chocolate chip yesterday.”

Me: “Well, we don’t have any right now.”

Customer: “But there were some yesterday. That’s what I got yesterday. Chocolate chip.”

Me: “Well, that was yesterday. TODAY we are out. We have all the other kinds, though.”

Customer: “…But yesterday I got chocolate chip.”

Me: “That’s not what you’re getting today. Not here, anyway.”

(The customer got M&M cookies instead and left looking supremely confused and angry with me for not giving him the chocolate chip cookies we didn’t have.)

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The Wheel Always Comes Back Around

| Charleston, SC, USA | Bad Behavior, Transportation

(I’ve been a bicycle mechanic for over 10 years and have heard my share of JRAs (I was Just Riding Along when my frame broke in two… etc), but this customer stands out for some reason. He enters the service door with a bike he has purchased from us, clearly agitated.)

Me: “Yes, sir, how can we help you?”

Customer: *mumble* “Warranty work…” *mumbles* “…shoddy workmanship…”

(He kind of mumbles this under his breath as he keeps striding up to the service area, and then actually pushes the bike into me, physically. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s pretty aggressive.)

Me: “I’m sorry; you’re having an issue with the bike? What’s going on?”

Customer: *grunts and points toward the rear wheel*

(I kneel down and notice that both the brake arm and the housing for the three-speed hub are disconnected, meaning the bike cannot shift or brake. These are the two things you would need to unfasten to remove the rear wheel, by the way.)

Customer: *scowling and standing over me as I kneel* “You ever hear of Loctite?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I have heard of Loctite.”

Customer: “Well, maybe you should USE some.”

Me: *incredulous* “Sir, I’ve been doing this for 10 years. This is my job. The brake arm already uses a nylock nut. Anyway, it looks like the shift pin’s fallen out, too. Let me see if I have a spare.”

(This gives me a chance to go in the back and look for the part, and for him to get out of my face and cool down. Since I was 99% sure this was a case of him (or someone else) removing the rear wheel and then being unable to reinstall it, I thought I’d offer him some tips.)

Me: *wheeling the bike out of the service area* “Well, I got it all hooked back up. Thank goodness I did have one of those pins.”

Customer: *silent, pensive, already looking a bit sheepish*

Me: “It’s the darndest thing, really, for both that housing bolt and the brake arm to have loosened up at the same time, but they’re both up to proper torque now. I can’t imagine that happening again. If for some crazy reason that housing does loosen up, or if you’re removing the wheel, take care not to lose or bend that shift pin though. Anyway, I’m sorry you had to deal with this, but of course that’s why we offer a warranty on all new bikes for the first year. If there’s anything else you need or if something goes out of adjustment, don’t hesitate to bring it back.”

Customer: *mumbled thanks*

Me: *cheerily* “…and have fun out there!

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