Some Employees Have Faded Away

, , , , , | Working | August 16, 2018

(I receive a book for my birthday, and I’m really excited to read it, so I start right away. Unfortunately, about halfway through, I discover that something must have gone wrong with the printing press, as the ink starts to fade until it’s completely unreadable, and the last three quarters of the book are blank. Since it was purchased from a major chain bookshop, I take the book and my gift receipt to the closest location. I wait in line, and when it’s my turn, I am waited on by a man whose name tag indicates he’s a manager.)

Me: “I’d like to exchange this book, please. This one is defective, and I’d like to be able to finish reading it.”

Manager: *annoyed* “I can’t give you cash, only store credit.”

Me: “I don’t want a refund; I want to exchange the book so I can finish reading it.”

(He gives me a blank stare, so I open it and show him where the ink starts to fade out.)

Me: “See? I can’t read the last half of the book. I want to exchange it for a copy that isn’t like this.”

Manager: *still staring like he doesn’t believe me* “I can check and see if we have it in stock.”

Me: “Great, thank you.”

(He stands there staring at me for another moment like he thinks I’m going to change my mind. Finally, he radios someone and they bring the book up to the front. In the meantime, no other customers have come up, but he spends the whole time looking for someone else to wait on. When the other employee arrives with the new copy, the whole exchange process takes less than two minutes, since I have the defective copy and a gift receipt. The manager still seems extremely annoyed, and the employee looks just as confused as I am. She looks at the defective copy while the manager processes the exchange.)

Employee: “Oh, yeah, that’s terrible. You can’t possibly read this. We’ll have to damage it out.”

Manager: *sliding the new book across the counter at me so fast I barely catch it before it falls off* “There.”

(I open the book and flip through it really quickly to make sure it isn’t defective, too, and he looks offended.)

Me: *smiling as politely as I can* “Much better! Thank you so much.”

(The employee smiled and wished me happy reading, but the manager continued to look offended and stared at me all the way out the door. I still have no idea why he was so annoyed and confused about me wanting a copy of the same book that was actually readable.)

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