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Eighty Percent Off Your Order Isn’t Good Enough For You?

, , , | Right | February 5, 2022

I used to work at a pottery place where everything was hand-painted. Sometimes, some of the small details would be slightly different. I had a customer order five dessert plates in a certain pattern, but two different people had painted the plates so there was a small difference in the size of the flowers. She came in to pick them up.

Customer: *Angry* “It’s ridiculous that these aren’t exactly the same! I waited so long to get these! I desperately need them for Thanksgiving tomorrow!”

She really hadn’t waited that long.

Me: “I can offer you three of the plates for free, and you’ll need to pay for the other two. I can also give you our Black Friday sale price, so those two will be 50% off.”

Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say because it just made her even angrier.

Customer: “You can’t do that! How will you track the inventory?”

Me: “I’m the store manager. I have a few ways I can adjust the inventory.”

Customer: “You liar! You’re too young to be a manager!”

She ended up leaving after that without getting her plates.

Turning Entitlement Into An Art Form

, , , , , | Right | December 10, 2021

I run an art gallery which is located in a repurposed shopping mall. One reason why so many galleries advertise their hours as “by appointment” is because most of us can’t get all of our responsibilities done in the day AND keep a front desk open for every yahoo who wants to come in to gawk at the art and complain about how expensive it is. The other reason is this:

Client: “I’d like to make an appointment to see your gallery.”

Me: “That’s not a problem. When would you like to come by?”

Client: “Well, I’m driving through at about 3 am, so I’d like to come by then.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s just not possible. Among other things, the mall in which the gallery is located is locked until 10 am, and it’s not open to the public until then.”

Client:Fine. What about your hotel?”

Me: “Well, there are several hotels in the immediate area where you could stay until we could open. Do you need a list?”

Client: “No, which hotel are you going to put me in until the mall opens?”

Me: “…um, we don’t offer complimentary hotel rooms.”

Client: “Well, you should.” *Click.*

Phoning In This Whole Taking Ownership Thing

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Billiam201 | November 26, 2021

Quite some time ago, my girlfriend and I (now my wife of more than fifteen years) moved in together and had to set up everything: cable, Internet, phone, etc. We got our home phone number, our two cell phones, and we were off to the races.

Almost immediately, we started getting calls for an establishment that does custom framing and various other art-related things. Of course, we had caller ID, and we had friends that would call us, but inevitably, if we didn’t recognize the number, it was someone wanting to find out if their order was complete, or their frame was done, or what their hours were, or any of a thousand other questions.

I’m sure anyone else who has had this happen will recognize this exchange.

Us: “Sorry, that’s no longer their number. This is a residence.”

Us: “Yes, I’m sure.”

Us: “No, I’m not giving you my address.”

Us: “No, I don’t know their new number.”

Us: “Yes, I have a phone book, but so do you.”

After a thousand of these, we changed the message on our answering machine to say, “This is not, I repeat not, [Art Shop]. If you are trying to reach [Art Shop], please hang up, look up their number, and try that, because we aren’t them.”

Eventually, I got my gazillionth call.

Me: “Where do people keep getting this number?”

Caller #1: “It’s printed on my receipt. I guess I’ll just call this other number.”

Me: “Any chance you can give me that number? Thanks!”

I called the other number.

Owner: “Hello, [Art Shop].”

Me: “You guys are still giving out my home phone number on your receipts.”

Owner: “Yeah. So?”

Me: “Well, f****** stop it. It’s been at least a year since you haven’t had that number. At least cross it out or something.”

Owner: “That’s a pain in the a**. I’m not making my employees do that.”

Me: “So, you’re the manager?”

Owner: “I’m the owner.”

Me: “So, let me see if I have this right. You, what was your name again?”

Owner: “[Owner].”

Me: “You, [Owner], have decided that it’s too inconvenient to cross my home phone number off of your receipts, so you’re just going to keep giving it out?”

Owner: “What are you gonna do? Sue me?”

Me: “Maybe.”

Owner: “Whatever. I’ve got s*** to do. Bye.”

I called a lawyer, but I didn’t really have a leg to stand on.

I went to the store and asked for the owner.

Employee: “[Owner]’s not here. He’s hardly ever here, really. You want me to call him?”

Me: “No, I’m fine. I know this is going to sound odd, but is there any chance I can see one of your receipts?”

She picked up a receipt book and showed it to me. Sure enough, it had my phone number at the top, above another one.

Me: “I thought so. I couldn’t get you at the other number, some guy yelled at me, and I didn’t have my old receipt, so I had to come down here.”

Employee: “We’ve been having that happen a lot, ever since [Owner] decided we didn’t need two phone lines. But he had just bought like twenty boxes of these receipt books and business cards, and he’s too cheap to buy more until they run out. I’d hate to be that guy.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s gotta suck.”

I went home and hatched my evil plan. The next time I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize:

Me: “Hello, [Art Shop].”

Caller #2: “Hi, this is [Caller #2]. I dropped off [item] last week to be framed. Is it ready?”

Me: “Let me check. Yup. We finished it this morning. I hope you don’t mind, but we decided to upgrade the matting because of the weight of the piece. It’s the same color, and we won’t be charging you for it, since it was my decision.”

Caller #2: “Oh, thank you. I’ll be down to pick it up later today. What time do you close?”

I look down at the business card, with my number and the hours clearly marked 11:00 to 4:00.

Me: “Take your time; we’ll be here until 7:00.”

Caller #2: “Thank you so much. Can you tell me how much that was?”

Me: “$19.99, ma’am, plus tax, so $21.39.”

Caller #2: “Wow, that’s cheap. Are you sure?”

Me: “Of course. If anyone has a problem, tell them you talked to [Owner].”

Caller #2: “Okay, see you around 6:00.”

Me: “See you then. Thank you for calling [Art Shop].”

For WEEKS I kept giving out completely random information.

“How much is a 36″x48″ matted frame?” “Let’s say $24.99.” “Wow, that’s cheap. How much to have it done custom, how I want it?” “Custom is an extra $10, so $34.99.” “Wow, that’s cheap. I’ll be right down. What was your name?” “[Owner].” “See you in ten, [Owner].”

“How much to have the entire front page of the New York Times from 9/11 mounted and framed?” “$33.99, unless you want our special, proprietary newspaper frame and mat service, only $49.99 and guaranteed for life, only at [Art Shop]. Tell them [Owner] sent you.”

I can only imagine the number of pissed-off people who showed up to pick up orders that weren’t ready, and when they finally were, they were given a price WAAAAY higher than what “[Owner]” had told them over the phone.

Eventually, someone let slip that “they called the number on the receipt, and that’s what [Owner] had told them.” [Owner] was NOT happy.

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [Art Shop]. This is [Owner].”

Owner: “YOU’RE NOT [OWNER]! I’M [OWNER]! ARE YOU TRYING TO PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS?!”

Me: “Why, [Owner], whatever do you mean?”

Owner: “Someone has been giving prices to my customers and telling them their orders are in when they’re not due for weeks.”

Me: “Well, [Owner], who called them?”

Owner: “Nobody called them; they called us.”

Me: “Then what’s the problem? If someone called you and got pricing information, that would seem to be your problem.”

Owner: “They didn’t call me; they called you.”

Me: “Well, how would that happen?”

Owner: “Your number is on my receipts and business cards.”

Me: “My, my. It seems to me there’s a very simple solution here. Take my number off your receipts and business cards.”

Owner: “Do you have any idea how much promotional materials cost?”

Me: “Is it more than it costs to do these jobs for the prices you’re quoting? Is it more than it costs to lose customers, or less than that?”

Owner: “This is extortion!”

Me: “Call it what you want, [Owner]. The choices, and consequences, are entirely up to you.”

A week later:

Me: “Hello, [Art Shop]. This is [Owner].”

Owner: “I’VE ORDERED NEW RECEIPT BOOKS AND CARDS! CAN YOU PLEASE STOP THIS BULLS***!”

Me: “Sure. Bye, [Owner]!”

I didn’t let him off the hook until the calls stopped, but it was only a week or so after he called me back. He must have paid for expedited shipping.


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Paint-Ing-Yourself In A Bad Light

, , , , | Working | November 2, 2021

A paint-it-yourself ceramic studio near us frequently has deals throughout the week. My husband and I go in on a day that has a BOGO deal for studio fees if you paint with a friend. We walk in and are greeted by an employee. She asks us a few questions, like if we’ve painted there before, and sets us up before walking to the back. I am forty weeks pregnant and am not wearing my rings since my fingers are swollen.

Employee #1: “By the way, in case you weren’t aware, we have a BOGO deal for the studio fees today. Enjoy!”

We paint our pieces and go to pay for everything once we’re done. There’s now a new employee at the register. The total comes up and it’s about $10 more than we calculated.  

Husband: “Is that with the BOGO deal?”

Employee #2: “The BOGOs for friends. Not couples.”

Husband: “That’s not what the other employee told us. When we came in, she mentioned the deal to us.”

Employee #2: *Shrugs* “I don’t know what to tell you. It’s friends’ night, not date night.”

I grab my husband’s left hand and raise mine to show that he has rings on and I don’t.

Me: “Who says we’re a couple? Maybe we’re just friends who came in to paint tonight. “

The employee glares at me but waives the additional studio fee.

Employee #2: “I’ll do it this once, but don’t expect me to do this again in the future.”

Turning Entitlement Into An Artform

, , , | Right | August 31, 2021

The art gallery that I work for has some seriously upscale stuff. When looking for a nice painting for your living room, office, or whatever, know that if you want an original piece of art, and if that art is from us, you’re going to be paying a LOT for it.

Me: “Good afternoon, ma’am, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “Yes, I was wondering about the price of this piece over here.”

She leads me to a moderately-sized, original piece in a redwood frame.

Me: “This one is priced at $1,200, with taxes, of course.”

Customer: “Hmm…”

She takes a moment to study it.

Customer: “No, no, I think you can do it for $200.”

Me: “Uh, no, sorry, the lowest I could possibly go is $1,100, and that’s even a bit of a stretch, considering the artist is so well known around here.”

Customer: “No, no, no, that won’t do. I’ll take it for $200.”

From the tone of her voice, she isn’t asking or suggesting; she’s straight-up TELLING me that I WILL sell it to her for the price she quoted.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I could never possibly take $1,000 off a painting for you. Usually, when someone offers a price $100 less than the asking price, I have to call the artist and ask them directly.”

Customer: “No, you don’t need to call them. I’ll just take it for $200.”

Me: “No, ma’am, you won’t. You need to pay the full $1,200 if you want this painting.”

Customer: “Listen here. I want that painting, but I’ll only pay $200 for it. So, what you’re going to do is walk your happy little butt over there, take it off the wall, carry it to the registers, and sell it to me for the price I am willing to pay.”

She crosses her arms and gives me a “so there” huff of breath and decisive nod.

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but that’s not how this works. I’m afraid you’re going to have to pay the $1,200 or you don’t get the Upscale Stuff.”

The customer spent a good twenty minutes arguing with me before she finally stormed out. Whoever told her that SHE could set the prices for an art piece was an idiot and a liar, and I was powerfully tempted to say so. I’m honestly amazed that I kept myself as professional and polite as I did, as I was desperately trying NOT to burst into scornful laughter.

I told my manager, truthfully, what happened and — behind closed doors with me — he didn’t bother to hold back his laughter. He shook his head and told me that I had done a very good job and that I wasn’t going to get into trouble. He promised that he would handle any complaints.

I found out that she DID call to complain and was politely and professionally read the riot act about her behavior and unrealistic expectations about our business. She was informed, in polite, pompous speech, that we did not allow customers to set the price, and that if she wanted a piece, she was obligated to pay the asking price for it. Then, she was — just as politely and pompously — hung up on.

Oh, and I sold that very same piece of art for $1,200 later that same week to a gentleman who planned to make it a talking piece in his gallery.