For That Price, We’ll Just Give You The Fermented Grain Mash  

, , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(I work at a higher-end specialty whiskey and beer store. Anything the supermarkets and liquor stores carry, we don’t. It’s simply not exclusive enough anymore. Sadly, I have a conversation along these lines roughly once a month:)

Me: “Hello, can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, you see—” *goes into spiel about how a coworker is retiring, it’s a friend’s or family member’s — usually father’s — birthday, Fathers’ Day is coming up, etc.* “—and so I’m looking for a nice bottle of whiskey as a gift.

Me: “All right, that sounds great. I have all the whiskey right here. Is there a particular style that you’re looking for? 

Customer: “Well, it has to be Scottish, Single Malt, and preferably at least twenty years old.”

Me: *cautiously* “Do you have a budget in mind?”

Customer: “Yes, around €20.”

Me: *head-desk*

(For added information, here in the Netherlands, whiskey usually starts at around €25 a bottle for the cheapest blended stuff, not counting the sample size bottles. Save for some exceptions, a normal, common brand whiskey is about €40 to €80 per bottle, depending on origin and popularity. Scottish Single Malts generally start at €50 a bottle, with better brands going up to €80 to €120 a bottle. A twenty-year-old bottle disregarding the origin and malt status starts at €150 a bottle. Combine all those criteria and you’re looking at a starting price of €300 per bottle. Quality whiskey is hard to come by and some people really need to do more research.)

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Their Number Isn’t Very High

, , , , | Right | January 21, 2020

Customer: “Hi, I have a question about my order.” 

Me: “Great! Do you have your order number?”

Customer: “Yep!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…Can I have it?”

Customer: “Oh? You want it? Hold on, let me go get it.”

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Don’t Bank On Them Coming Back  

, , , , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(My coworker has just finished scanning and bagging a customer’s groceries, which have all been stacked into his trolley. The customer goes to pay, but it doesn’t work. At first, he seems quite nice about it. I am watching from the register opposite.)

Customer: “This is a new card. Maybe it hasn’t been activated yet. I’ll just run down to the bank and check.”

(The bank chain in question has a location in the same shopping centre as my store, and is about a two-minute walk away. It’s not unheard of for cards to not work and for customers to run down to the bank to sort it out. They’re rarely gone longer than 15 or 20 minutes before they come back and pay.)

Coworker: “No worries. I can save your transaction and you can pay when you get back. You are coming back, right?”

Customer: *suddenly very stern and angry* “No!”

(And with that, he marched out of the store, leaving my coworker speechless and with a trolley stacked high with groceries to deal with.)

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Crazy Data Hater

, , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(We sell software at the store I work in — basic stuff like Office, antivirus, OS, and the like. Now, one thing to note is that the boxes don’t contain disks anymore, just a single code that you register on a website. During a normal day, I’m working the register with a coworker. While I’m busy with another customer, I notice a couple entering and coming up to the register that my coworker is manning. This is the conversation that follows:)

Customer: “Hi, I want to buy a copy of [antivirus software]. But can I see the code first?”

Coworker: “Sorry, I can’t show you the code until you buy it.”

Customer: “But I want to compare it to the previous code; I want to make sure it’s a 2018 version and not a 2017.”

(Mind you, the software doesn’t come in a yearly version; as long as you have a subscription it stays up-to-date.)

Coworker: “I can assure you, it’s unique. Barring misprints, they have to be unique to confirm that the customer bought one.”


Coworker: *calmly* “And I said I can’t show you until you buy it. Tell you what; if by some miracle it doesn’t work, I’ll give you a refund.”

Customer: “Fine, I’ll take it.”

Coworker: *cheerful* “Lovely! Can I have your name, please?”

Customer: “It’s [Customer].”

(Like most systems, you can enter a few letters in our system and get a list of all the names that match.)

Coworker: “Right, I got a [Customer] living in [Street #1] and a [Customer] in [Street #2]. Which one were we?”

Customer: *basically smashes her finger in the screen* “WHO’S THAT? WHY IS SHE ON MY SCREEN!” *yes, her exact words*

Coworker: *taken aback* “Uh, that’s someone who just shares the first three letters of your name.”

(At this point, I have to go in the back, so I don’t get the rest. I do hear agitated voices, so I can only imagine what’s happening. An hour or so later, the store phone rings and I pick up.)

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] at [Store]. How can I help?”

Customer: *angrily* “Who was that on my screen?”

Me: “I’m sorry, is your screen broken or…?”


Me: “I… wha…. OH! Yeah, I get what you mean. You were in the store about an hour ago, right? Yeah, like my coworker said, it’s just someone who shares the first three letters of your name. Nothing to worr—”

Customer: “Where do they live?!”

Me: “I… I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that due to privacy reasons.”


Me: *getting slightly ticked off at this point* “Again, I can’t do that without their permission. Anything else?”


(Yes, she is going to call a regulation. Not an office, but a rule.)

Me: “No, goodbye.”

(A day or two later:)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] at [Store]. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “I want you to remove my name from the GDPR.”

Me: *recognising the voice* “Oh. Right. You’ll have to call—”

Customer: “Because you guys are from the FBI and are selling the info to the CIA!”

Me: “Okay, look. I’m getting tired of this. If you want to rescind your GDPR approval, contact [Boss’s email]. Unless there is anything else, I’m hanging up.”


Me: “Glad to hear that, ma’am. You have a lovely day!” *hangs up*

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Not In The Zone Of Waiving The Fee

, , , , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(I work in the treasurer and collector’s office for a town. We have a pretty strict payment policy. We have a one-day grace period after the due date, after which we charge interest. State law allows us to waive up to $15.00 of interest and/or fees. Sometimes, if the customer is sincere enough in their excuse why they didn’t pay their bill on time, we will waive the interest and/or late fee, but not more than the legal amount. I do have some authority over these instances, but if I don’t like the customer’s attitude or if I’m unsure if I should do it — we also look into payment history — I ask my manager for approval with the excuse given. Real estate tax bills were due on the first of the month. It is currently the ninth. A woman who doesn’t seem familiar brings in her bill with her check already written out for the original amount. I look up the bill for the current amount with interest.)

Me: “Okay, so, after this payment, the balance will be $4.59, which we can put on the next bill if you’d like.”

Customer: “What? Why?”

Me: “Because it was due last week on the first. It’s now the ninth.”

Customer: “Listen. My husband volunteers for the town.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “He is on the zoning board.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “So, can’t you give us a break?”

(I think, “Did she actually just ask us to waive her interest because her husband is on a board? Isn’t that unethical?”)

Me: “No, sorry.”

Customer: *angrily* “Well, why not? He volunteers for the town.”

Me: “We don’t waive interest for any reason.” *especially name-dropping!*

Customer: “Can you ask your manager?”

Me: “Sure.” *to my manager* “This customer just asked us to waive her interest of about $5 because her husband is on the zoning board.”

Manager:What?! No. Absolutely not. I can’t believe she would even ask that. No, tell her we can’t do that.”

Me: *to the customer* “Sorry, my manager says we can’t do that.”

Customer: “I don’t believe that. My husband volunteers for the town! He doesn’t get paid! And you can’t waive $5 of interest?”

Me: “No, we can’t.”

Customer: “Unbelievable.”

Me: *knowing this isn’t going to go anywhere* “[Manager], can you come here, please?”

Manager: “No, we absolutely cannot waive interest just because your husband is on the zoning board, or any board or committee, for that matter. It’s against the code of ethics.”

Customer: “But I don’t understand why you can’t waive it. It’s just $5. He volunteers for the town. As in, he doesn’t get paid. And you can’t give us a break for $5.”

Manager: “No. It’s unethical, and frankly, I’m surprised you’d even ask. Your husband signed a code of ethics, and this would violate that code. So, no, I’m not going to waive it.”

(The customer then stormed out and tried to slam our self-closing doors on her way out. My manager talked to the town clerk, who would have sworn the husband in to his position and given him the code of ethics. The clerk said the husband may have known not to do it, but the wife may not have known. My manager cooled off a little after that. She told me that if the customer had come in with almost any other excuse, like it got buried in a pile and she just now found it, she may have waived the interest, but because she asked in that manner, it wasn’t going to happen. I also noted that one of the Select Board members makes late payments for almost every bill, and he always pays interest, so why would we waive it for a zoning board member? Update: While typing this out, the customer called back to apologize to my manager. She thought about what she had said regarding ethics violations, and she agreed that wasn’t the best course of action to take. She said her husband had buried the bill in a pile of mail, and she would be talking to him later.)

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