Really, REALLY Needed That Soda To Be On Sale

, , , | Right | October 30, 2019

(I work as a front end supervisor at a chain grocery store where sales are reset Saturday night; sales run Sunday through Saturday. We recently hired a lot of new, young kids working in our grocery department, which handles the sales signs, as their first job. A couple have gotten confused about when to change out the sales signs, which has resulted in a few miscommunications on price at the registers. Normally, customers are really polite about it and if we catch the discrepancy at the register, we honor the sales price for that customer and alert the floor to take down the signs; if not, and they call us to tell us after the fact, we simply give them a refund the next time they’re in. It’s a busy Saturday night, and I answer a phone call from a customer who saw the sales sign for some soda that starts tomorrow but didn’t catch the full price when it rang in. I should note that supervisors carry a cordless phone to take calls while working, and our hold system automatically reverts calls after a few minutes. However, the cordless phones don’t indicate whether it’s a reversion or a new call; they just ring. As such, we always answer calls as if it’s a new call just to be safe and professional.)

Me: “Customer service, this is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: *already sounding frustrated* “You have [Soda] on sale, three for $12, but I’m looking at my receipt and it rang in as full price! This is the second time this has happened, and it’s completely unacceptable! It’s on an endcap on aisle twelve; go look and tell me I’m right!”

(I’m a little taken aback by her attitude and her volume, and also confused because our aisle twelve is the beer cave and liquor, which has no endcap. I immediately suspect that she called the wrong store, as there are two of us in this city and our sister store’s layout is quite different from ours. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I start to walk to aisle twelve.)

Me: “Well, I’m really sorry about that error. May I put you on hold while I confirm the price for you?”

Customer: “Ugh! If you have to.”

(I thank her, put her on hold, and head to aisle twelve. I run into the night manager there.)

Me: “Hey, [Manager], know anything about a sale on [Soda]?”

Manager: “Hm, no, I don’t. Why?”

(I quickly explain the situation with the customer on the phone.)

Manager: “I haven’t seen any endcaps with that sale. Let’s look at the back ends.”

(We do and find nothing. We walk back to the front of the aisle while discussing the possibility that the customer called the wrong store. Once we’re up front again, I notice an endcap on aisle sixteen that has the soda, so my manager and I head over to check it out. As soon as we reach it, my phone rings. I suspect it’s the reversion, but again, to be safe, I answer with the new call greeting.)

Me: “Customer service, this is [My Name].”


Me: “Yes, miss, I’m sorry about that! I just found the endcap, and you are absolutely right; the sign says it is on sale…”

(As I’m speaking, I see my manager point to the bottom of the sign, which lists the sales dates. It says, in small print for crew reference only, the sales date of tomorrow.)

Me: “…and unfortunately, the sale starts tomorrow; our crew put the signs up too early. I’m really sorry about the confusion on that, but since it’s our error, what I can do for you–“


(She continues in this vein for probably fifteen straight seconds. When she pauses to take a breath, I cut in as quickly as I can.)

Me: “As I was saying, miss, I would be more than happy to refund you on all soda you bought for the sale. However, I can’t do anything over the phone, so I’m terribly sorry, but would you be able to come back into the store?”

Customer: *after a ten-second silence* “Get me a manager. I’m done with you.”

Me: “Absolutely. Please hold on just a moment.”

(Before she can say anything else, I put her on transfer and look at my manager, who has been standing next to me the whole time.)

Me: “She wants a manager, and she’s an absolute peach of a person. Good luck.”

(I headed up front again. About half an hour later, the manager came up to me and told me that not only did the customer complain about the sale to him, but she complained about how our baggers bag, our cashiers’ speed in signing in, the appearance of our parking lot, AND that I had her on hold “just to waste her time” because I “knew the answer as soon as I picked up the phone again,” and how rude it was to take her off hold as if she hadn’t been on the phone the entire time. He explained the cordless phone reversion issue, and told her she was more than welcome to come in for a refund and to file a complaint, but that he could not, and would not, do anything else for her. It sucks that she’s still going to get her refund after being so rude, but it’s policy and at least my manager stood up for me! I think it was just a standard case of a miserable person who needed to complain for an hour.)

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