A Bad Spell Of Upsell

, , , , , | Working | February 19, 2020

(I work for a store that demands we try to upsell, like asking about pillowcases if the customer has bought pillows. I have been asked by a customer for silver spray paint.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t carry spray paint.”

Customer: “Can you get it in for me?”

Me: “No, it’s not legal for us to sell it; we don’t have a license.”

Customer: “All I want is silver spray paint. You have paints; you have to have it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but perhaps you can try [Hardware Store]. All we have is this silver paint in our non-toxic kid’s range. Would you be able to use this, instead?” *picks up a bottle off the shelf we are standing next to*

(A few days later, our area manager comes into the store and calls me to the office.)

Manager: “I’ve been sent to give you a written warning because you have a customer complaint.”

Me: “What for?”

Manager: “A customer complained that you tried making her buy non-toxic silver paint when she wanted silver spray paint. And she didn’t appreciate that you tried making her feel guilty for not caring about the environment.”

Me: “What? She was demanding spray paint; all I did was show her that we only had the silver in the non-toxic kid’s range and asked if she might be able to use it, instead.”

Manager: “Well, make sure you don’t do this again.” *pulls out warning pad*

Me: “I’m not going to accept a written warning.” 

(She looks at me and realises I am serious and am about to walk out.)

Manager: “Uh, how about I skip the written warning and just class this as a verbal warning?”

(I am not impressed with a verbal warning.)

Me: “So, if a customer asks for a product that we don’t have, but we have one that they might be able to use, what are we supposed to do?”

Manager: “Just don’t make the offer.”

(For the record, customers complain all the time if we don’t offer them a substitute and I spent the rest of my employment wondering when I was going to get written up for not offering substitutes. I quit a couple of months later.)

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You Cannot Appease The Cheese

, , , , | Right | February 18, 2020

(Part of my job is to mark down low-coded stock and remove anything that has passed its use-by date. I usually put anything to be dumped into a crate and remove it from the shop once finished. This particular day, a woman comes up to the reduced bays and starts rifling through the reduced items. She then spots the out-of-date stock in the crate and makes to go through it.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but that stuff is no good; I can’t sell it to you.”

Customer: “But I need some cheese. Can’t you just let me have it?”

Me: “No, sorry. Once a product is out of date, it’s illegal to sell it, so I can’t let you take it.”

Customer: “But you could give it to me, right? I could just take it, right?”

Me: “No, sorry. Same deal. I can’t give it to you or sell it to you.”

Customer: “But I could just take it, right? If I just took some, I could just not say anything, right?”

Me: “No. All it would take is for you to return it and say it was out of date and I would lose my job. They’re pretty strict on this kind of stuff and I’m not risking my job for a few dollars of out-of-date cheese.”

(The customer then tries to reach past me to get at the out-of-date stock; I have to physically block her from taking the stock.)

Customer: “That’s so wasteful. I bet it just goes in the bin. I can’t believe you’d rather throw it out than just give it away.”

Me: “That’s the company’s policy, not mine. In any event, I can’t let you take anything.” 

(I then had to leave the shop floor and take the stock out the back as she would not take the hint that she couldn’t have the out-of date-stock. She later complained to a manager that I wouldn’t give her reduced stock, neglecting to mention the stock was out of date. When questioned, I explained the situation to my manager who said I did the right thing to refuse her as she could have easily tried to return it, claiming it was out of date and costing me my job.)

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They Had You Booked As A Troublemaker

, , , | Working | February 18, 2020

(There is a bookstore right at my university bus stop and if I have a small wait, I go in and browse. As it is on a bus stop, most of the workers know that people usually come in for five to ten minutes. I have classes four days a week, so I’m in there maybe one or two times a week, depending on weather, waits, and crowds. Online purchases of books have just overtaken book sales and one national chain has already closed. I am purchasing something at the counter.)

Shop Attendant: “Oh, you finally found something.”

Me: “Yes, this is a huge store, and I have never had the time to look all the way through. I’m really excited about this book, though.”

Shop Attendant: “Time? Like, do you work or anything? Because I see you all the time.”

Me: *wondering why she isn’t scanning my book* “Yes, I’m often catching the bus to uni, so I have a look around for the ten minutes or so until the bus comes.”

Shop Attendant: “Oh, are you sure you can afford this? If you aren’t working maybe you should rethink non-essential purchases, especially when you are in here so often.”

Me: “What makes you think I can’t afford this? And how dare you comment on a customer’s finances? Not that it is any of your business, but I do work, as well as studying. I actually work in the customer service industry and have treated paying customers who have thrown drinks on me better than you are treating me now. Have a nice day.”

(I go to leave without purchasing anything.)

Shop Attendant: “Wait, what about this? If you can’t pay for it then you need to put it back.”

Me: “Really? Are you kidding me right now? Maybe the news is wrong. Our generation isn’t reading less; we just aren’t buying books from stores with judgmental tools who think their opinions are wanted.”

(I didn’t go into that store again for over a year. When I did, it was to check out their closing-down sales.)

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Not Trained For This Situation

, , , , , | Related | February 18, 2020

(For my grandma’s 80th birthday, her kids all host a big party for her. My youngest uncle has just had a new house built, so that’s where it’s hosted. I’m the oldest grandkid; I am 17, while my uncle’s son is two years old. After spending the morning running around preparing and cleaning up the house, my two-year-old cousin — now very bored — begs me to play trains with him. It will keep him quiet and occupied in the back room until the party begins, so I agree. The next thing I know, I’m suddenly aware that there are four other kids in the back room with us, and there’s music and talking in the rest of the house. I’m about to go join the party when two little girls take over my cousin’s train set.)

Cousin: “No! No, no, no, no, no!” *begins to cry*

Me: “Hey, buddy, it’s all right. Look; they’ve got the red train and the blue train, and you can have the green train! That’s your favourite one!”

Cousin: “No!”

Me: “Okay, which train did you want?”

Cousin:My trains.”

Me: “Yes, they’re your trains. The girls are just borrowing them for a little while. It’s important to share so that you can all play together.”

Cousin: “NOOO!” *throws himself on the ground, about to go full meltdown*

Me: “Right. I’m going to pick you up, and we’ll go find Mummy, okay?”

Cousin: “Nooo… ‘kay.”

(I wander out into the party, my cousin goes to cuddle with his mum until he feels better, and I go on my way to eat cake and talk to people I know.)

Lady: *grabbing my shoulder* “YOU!”

Me: “Uh, hello? I’m sorry, I don’t think I recognise you–”

Lady: “What are you doing outside the playroom?”

Me: “Sorry?”

Lady: “You’re going to be sorry. I went to check on my dears and found you missing.” 

Me: “I don’t understand.”

Lady: “How dare you?! You’re getting paid good money to watch those kids, and you fob it off to steal party food?”

Me: “Paid?”

Lady: “When I checked, there was no one watching the kids. My girls were even about to get into a fight with each other. You’re going to get back there and do your job, and when I find [Aunt], I’ll see that she never hires you again.”

Me: “Can you let go of me now?”

Lady: “You need to learn some responsibility and–”

Dad: “[My Name], there you are. Come here; it’s time for the speeches. Oh, hello, Mrs. [Lady].”

Lady: *suddenly sickeningly pleasant* “Oh, hello, [Dad]. I haven’t seen you in years! How have you been? How’s [Mum] doing?”

Dad: “She’s fine. [My Name], this is [Lady]. She’s a part of Grandma’s congregation. I used to babysit her when I was your age.”

Lady: “You should have said you were related to [Grandma]. I thought you were the hired help.”

(I turn to look at the projector, showing photographs of Grandma through her life, right next to us. The current image is one of Grandma in her wedding dress; I have listened to twelve people today already marvel over how it looks just like me, before I’ve even introduced myself)

Me: “Sure. If you say so.”

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Elton John’s Early Adventures

, , , , , | Friendly | February 15, 2020

(Two friends and I are the tender age of 18 and decide to go out clubbing for the first time. We find a club, we party, we drink… waaaaay too much. We decide to leave but can barely make it down the stairs. I have a vague recollection of someone shouting, “Call an ambulance!”, but us shooing them away saying we are fine. So, there we are, standing at the edge of the main street of the busy clubbing area, dozens of people walking past us, with no idea how to proceed as we are all too trashed to even work out how to get home. After a while, a man dressed in sparkly trousers, crazy yellow glasses, and a white furry coat, carrying a speaker and another couple of large bags, comes to talk to us.)

Man: “Are you guys heading somewhere?”

Us: “Yeah, we just need to get home.”

Man: “You look like you’ve had a big night. Where are you heading?”

Us: “[Suburb].”

Man: “Okay, well, if you don’t mind coming via [Other Suburb 15 minutes from ours], we can share a cab, and then I can drive you home.”

Us: *with, apparently, no idea about personal safety* “Oh, that would be so good. Thank you!”

Man: “It’s all good. I’m a DJ; I’ve just been playing at [Nearby Club]. I see people like you guys all the time; it’s kind of refreshing. I’m happy to help.”

(He gets us a cab, loads his stuff in the back, opens the passenger door for us and gets in the front. We try to be polite and ask about his DJ-ing, but none of us can make much coherent conversation. We get to his place and get out of the cab, which he jumps in to pay for before any of us can offer.)

Man: “If you guys just want to wait on the path, I’ll just get my gear inside and get the car.”

(He returned in five minutes with his car, we piled in the back seat and gave him the address, again trying unsuccessfully to converse, and we were soon at our destination, all of us trying not to fall asleep or vomit. We got out, the man wished us well and drove off, and we all somehow managed to get into the flat and collapse on the floor for the next ten hours. Twenty years later, my friend and I still refer to this man as “the angel.” We couldn’t remember his DJ name so we were never able to track him down and soberly thank him or pay for the cab fare. Our night could have ended horrifically. We were unbelievably lucky to have such a nice, honest, decent bloke come to our aid in our moment of need. He never even said anything to make fun of us for our predicament — which would have been totally warranted. The world needs less drunk teenage idiots and more blokes like this guy.)

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