Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Purchase Order Disorder

, , , , | Right | March 14, 2023

The company I work for was a small mom-and-pop shop running literally out of the owner’s apartment, processing everything manually and individually, and keeping stock in the storage area… about thirty years ago, long before I joined. Nowadays, 99% of our business is through the website and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) for our bigger clients, doing more orders per day than we used to do per month in the early days, but it seems like some customers still think we’re bending over backward for every last dime.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name] spea—”

Customer: “What the h*** is this email?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, is this in regard to a specific order?”


Me: “I’ll need an order number to look this up, then, sir.”

Cue a lot of rambling insults before I finally get an order number to look up.

Me: “I think I see now. You’re referring to the ‘attached PO’ email?”

Customer: “Are you new, or just an idiot? Yes! We have always done business like this, and you have the nerve to try to tell me otherwise?!”

At this point, after the repeated indirect and direct insults, I am allowed to hang up on him, and TECHNICALLY this call should be going through his representative and not straight to the order-management team anyway, but it’s a slow morning and I’ve been practicing my Politeness Judo.

Me: “Sir, it has been our policy to require all order information to be entered correctly on the site since I have been here, and I just recently had my third anniversary. We do not, and have not for a long time, set up orders for you.”

Customer: “That is literally your job!”

Me: “No, sir. My job is to check the orders for errors when they come in, make changes when requested, and invoice them when they go out. We cannot accept orders with notes that say, ‘Set up per my PO.’ We require you to input the information at the time of order entry.”

Customer: “Now, you listen to me. I have been working with your company for a decade, and I have never been treated like this! I’ll have your neck for this!”

Me: “‘Have my neck’? That’s a new variant; I like it! But sir, with the amount of automation in our processes now, this policy is as much for your benefit as ours. If I had not seen your note and flagged the order for review, our warehouse would have picked the—” *double-checks* “—single battery you have listed and shipped it to your default receiving address as entered; the other twenty thousand dollars in product would be lost to the ether, and none would go to the end-user as requested.”

Customer: “Do you have any idea how much time and money you’re costing me?!”

Me: “I do apologize, sir, but if all the information had come through correctly the first time and been able to process fully, this order would have shipped out yesterday morning. Also, due to too many companies sending conflicting information between orders, emails, and POs, we have implemented this policy to ensure that you can 100% confirm your order information before it reaches us, rather than leaving it up to individuals here having to copy and paste everything and cause further errors. As I stated, this policy has been in place for years; we are just now also sending out standardized emails after our most recent round of updates to our software and website to every order that comes in this way.”

Customer: “If you’re not going to work with me, I’m pulling my business from you! Once your boss finds out how much you’re losing the company, you’ll be on the street in no time flat!”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry you feel that way, sir, and I can certainly put you through to your sales rep regarding the status of your account. However, I can also see that you have placed a total of four orders over the past two years, one of which was canceled after entering. While we absolutely value your business, I don’t think we’re going to change our entire model to accommodate that.”

Sadly, I’m not privy to the conversation they had with the sales team; I was told there was an excessive amount of cursing and threats, though. By the end of it, it had gone from the sales rep, to the manager of the sales department, up to the owner of the company, who terminated them as a client. MAN, it’s good working for a place where management has your back against hostile customers!

Question of the Week

What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

I have a story to share!