Should Have Cashed Out Early

, , , , | Right | August 29, 2017

(It’s a Monday morning, which is typically one of the slowest parts of the week for the mall I work in. Before opening the store, I have gone to the bank to drop off our store’s previous day’s cash and checks, as is the usual procedure. Five minutes after opening at 10:00 am, a woman comes in with a brand-new game console, in the box, in one of our store bags. I figure she wants to do a return, but I prepare for the worst, because the company’s rules are so strict about returning new game consoles that customers almost always get upset about something and yell at me about it.)

Customer: “I need to return this game system.”

Me: “Okay, do you have a receipt with it?”

(I expect her not to have one and to start yelling, but to my surprise she does have one.)

Customer: “Yes, here it is. I just bought it.”

(I expect, like many customers doing returns, that her definition of “just bought it” means three months ago. Again, to my surprise, she is right; she only bought it two days before, well within our return policy.)

Me: *cheerfully* “All right, what is your reason for the return? Was it damaged or missing parts?”

Customer: “No, I just don’t need it.”

Me: “Okay, I understand. Can you set it up here so I can take a look at it?”

(Expecting the worst once more, I am guessing that the box will be ripped open with parts in disarray, but again I am surprised that the box is sealed, and the tamper-resistant sticker on the opening has not been broken. Just to be sure, I verify that the serial number of the game console matches the serial number listed on the receipt [there’s a common scam where people will buy a new game console to replace their broken one, and then try to return the broken one in the new box]. But everything here appears to be in order.)

Me: “Okay, it looks like this hasn’t been opened, and you are within our return policy, so there shouldn’t be any issue. Did you want to exchange it for something else or would you like to get a refund today?”

Customer: “I need a full refund, thank you.”

Me: “Okay, sure.”

(I begin the process of doing the return, but then my heart sinks when I see how she originally paid for it: all in cash. Per store policy, we have to try to give the refund in the same form it was paid for.)

Me: “Oh, I’m very sorry, ma’am. Because you paid for this in cash I would normally refund the amount to you in cash as well. But I actually don’t have that much cash on hand to give you right now, as we just opened and I haven’t done any sales yet today. Would a store credit be acceptable? You could come in and exchange it for cash later if you need it.”

Customer: “What?! No, I need my cash for this!”

Me: “I understand, and I really wish I could help, and I know this is really inconvenient, but really, I don’t have that much cash to give you. I promise, I’m not trying to be difficult. I just really don’t have that much cash available.”

Customer: “You HAVE to! You HAVE to do this return and you HAVE to give me my money!”

Me: “I’m really, really sorry, ma’am. I just don’t have that much cash in the drawer, see?”

(I quickly pop open the drawer to show her, and it’s plainly visible that there’s only an assortment of $1, $5, and $10 bills, not nearly enough to cover the $300+ refund.)

Customer: “Well, go in the back and get some more! I know you have to have a safe with money back there!”

Me: “I’m sorry. Even if I was allowed to take money out of there for a return, there wouldn’t be any point because I just deposited all that money in the bank less than an hour ago.”


Me: “Ma’am, I really am sorry. I just physically don’t have that much cash in the store to give you at all. Like I said, I can give you store credit which can be exchanged for cash later, or if you want, you can come back later today after I’ve done some sales and get enough cash to give you.”

Customer: “Well, how long will that take?!”

Me: “Hard to say, ma’am. It just depends on how busy we are and how many customers use cash to pay.”

Customer: “FINE! I’ll just wait until you have enough money!”

(She gathers up the game console and her receipt and goes to leave. I expect she’s going to go home and come back later in the day, but to my dismay, she goes and sits on a bench located directly in front of the store and just stares at me while mumbling about how, “This is bulls***!” and, “I can’t f****** believe this!” I spend the next few, very uncomfortable, hours running the store and ringing people up, with her watching me the whole time. Every 20-30 minutes she comes in and asks if I have enough cash to give her yet, but unfortunately most of my sales are paid for by check or credit card so I have to tell her that we don’t. I also tell her each time that, based on past experience, we probably won’t have enough money until the late afternoon or early evening, so she doesn’t need to wait around, but she just restates that she needs the money and takes her spot on the bench again. Finally, by around one pm, I have done enough cash sales that I feel I can do her return, while still leaving me enough cash in the drawer for the day, and I call her in to do the return. She doesn’t speak for the entire transaction and leaves in a huff with her cash.)

Customer: *as she leaves* “I’m never shopping here again!”

Me: “…”

(I get that it was a really frustrating situation for her, but sitting on a bench to stare me down over something I didn’t have much control over seemed quite excessive!)

1 Thumbs