Wishing You Many Bad Returns  

, , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

(One evening, shortly after Black Friday, I am called to the customer service desk to speak with a customer. I am a woman, 5’6″ and barely 115 pounds. This man is over six feet tall and easily 200 pounds. We make eye contact and I smile at him. He glares.)

Me: “Hello, sir. You—”

Customer: “You the boss?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I am. How can I—”

Customer: “I’ve been waiting half a f****** hour for you.”

Me: *knowing he’s been standing there for maybe five minutes* “I apologize for the inconvenience. How can—”

Customer: “This lady over here disrespected me.” *points to our customer service rep*

Me: “Would you like to tell me what happened?”

Customer: “She disrespectful.”

Me: “Was it something she said or did or was—”

Customer: “She told me I can’t get my money back, said I did it too many times!”

Me: “Oh, I see. When a customer does three non-receipt returns within a rolling six months—”

Customer: “I don’t give a flying f*** what your system says. I want my money back.”

Me: *getting very annoyed* “Sir, I am trying to help you. I can overri—”

Customer: “No, you’re telling me why she’s right! Don’t talk to me like a [disabled slur].”

Me: “The system blocks returns when you do too many in a—”

Customer: “Nah, I didn’t—”

Me: “Six-month period. Now, I can—”

Customer: “Don’t talk over me! You interrupting and I’m trying to talk to you!” *steps in, a few inches from me, and jabs his finger in my chest* “You’re all disrespectful—”

Me: “Actually, I was talking first, so you were interrupting me. Now. I can override the system and force it to do a return.”

Customer: *suddenly a gentleman, stepping back* “Oh. I apologize, ma’am. Please forgive me for—”

Me: “However, you will not be doing anymore returns.” *smiles and gestures toward the exit* “Please leave.”

Customer: “F*** you, b****! What are you gonna do?”

Me: “I’m going to call the police in five seconds. You’ve been rude, tried to intimidate me, and sexually assaulted me when you poked me in the chest.”

Customer: “You don’t—”

Me: “One…”

Customer: “Don’t act like—”

Me: “Two…”

Customer: “F****** c*** can’t tell me s***!”

Me: “Three…” *I pull out my phone*

Customer: “Bulls***.”

Me: “Four…” *I put my phone to my ear*

Customer: “Man, f*** you and your p****-a** store!”

(He stormed out of the store. The customer service associate told me he wanted to return a blender that didn’t work anymore. If he hadn’t been so rude, I would have gladly helped him out.)

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Not In The Zone Of Waiving The Fee

, , , , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(I work in the treasurer and collector’s office for a town. We have a pretty strict payment policy. We have a one-day grace period after the due date, after which we charge interest. State law allows us to waive up to $15.00 of interest and/or fees. Sometimes, if the customer is sincere enough in their excuse why they didn’t pay their bill on time, we will waive the interest and/or late fee, but not more than the legal amount. I do have some authority over these instances, but if I don’t like the customer’s attitude or if I’m unsure if I should do it — we also look into payment history — I ask my manager for approval with the excuse given. Real estate tax bills were due on the first of the month. It is currently the ninth. A woman who doesn’t seem familiar brings in her bill with her check already written out for the original amount. I look up the bill for the current amount with interest.)

Me: “Okay, so, after this payment, the balance will be $4.59, which we can put on the next bill if you’d like.”

Customer: “What? Why?”

Me: “Because it was due last week on the first. It’s now the ninth.”

Customer: “Listen. My husband volunteers for the town.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “He is on the zoning board.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “So, can’t you give us a break?”

(I think, “Did she actually just ask us to waive her interest because her husband is on a board? Isn’t that unethical?”)

Me: “No, sorry.”

Customer: *angrily* “Well, why not? He volunteers for the town.”

Me: “We don’t waive interest for any reason.” *especially name-dropping!*

Customer: “Can you ask your manager?”

Me: “Sure.” *to my manager* “This customer just asked us to waive her interest of about $5 because her husband is on the zoning board.”

Manager:What?! No. Absolutely not. I can’t believe she would even ask that. No, tell her we can’t do that.”

Me: *to the customer* “Sorry, my manager says we can’t do that.”

Customer: “I don’t believe that. My husband volunteers for the town! He doesn’t get paid! And you can’t waive $5 of interest?”

Me: “No, we can’t.”

Customer: “Unbelievable.”

Me: *knowing this isn’t going to go anywhere* “[Manager], can you come here, please?”

Manager: “No, we absolutely cannot waive interest just because your husband is on the zoning board, or any board or committee, for that matter. It’s against the code of ethics.”

Customer: “But I don’t understand why you can’t waive it. It’s just $5. He volunteers for the town. As in, he doesn’t get paid. And you can’t give us a break for $5.”

Manager: “No. It’s unethical, and frankly, I’m surprised you’d even ask. Your husband signed a code of ethics, and this would violate that code. So, no, I’m not going to waive it.”

(The customer then stormed out and tried to slam our self-closing doors on her way out. My manager talked to the town clerk, who would have sworn the husband in to his position and given him the code of ethics. The clerk said the husband may have known not to do it, but the wife may not have known. My manager cooled off a little after that. She told me that if the customer had come in with almost any other excuse, like it got buried in a pile and she just now found it, she may have waived the interest, but because she asked in that manner, it wasn’t going to happen. I also noted that one of the Select Board members makes late payments for almost every bill, and he always pays interest, so why would we waive it for a zoning board member? Update: While typing this out, the customer called back to apologize to my manager. She thought about what she had said regarding ethics violations, and she agreed that wasn’t the best course of action to take. She said her husband had buried the bill in a pile of mail, and she would be talking to him later.)

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Karen Sounding Like Scratching Plates

, , , | Right | January 20, 2020

(I am talking to a customer on the phone when I pause beside a register to read the ingredients on an item. Apparently, this means that I am opening the register, so two customers — a man and a woman — come over.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not on the register.”

Male Customer: “Then why are you standing here?”

Me: “I’m on the phone with another customer.” *gestures to the phone still in my hand* “You can check out at the registers with the lit numbers.”

Male Customer: “Oh. Sorry.”

Female Customer: “I’m not leaving.”

Me: *gives her a questioning look*

Female Customer: “You heard me. Do your job.”

Me: *points to the phone* “I am.”

(I turn away and leave her standing at the register. A few minutes later, my name is called over the loudspeaker with a request to go back to the same register. I do so and see a manager standing beside the woman, who looks quite pleased with herself.)

Manager: “[My Name], please ring out this woman.”

Female Customer: “If you don’t, I’ll call corporate and tell them what you did.”

Me: “[Manager], can I talk to you for a minute?”

Manager: “After you’re done with her, you can come to see me in the office.”

(The woman unloads her purchases as I sign on the register.)

Female Customer: “You deserve this. Aww. Poor little girl. Someone made you do your job.”

(There are two small ceramic plates, generally used under potted plants, with a piece of tissue paper between them.)

Me: “Do you want the paper between these plates?”

Female Customer: “If you had just done what I told you to do in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Me: “Ma’am, the paper?”

Female Customer: “No. You could have just checked me out and– What are you doing?!”

Me: “You said no.”

Female Customer: “You’re going to scratch them!”

Me: “I asked if you wanted the papers; you said no.”

Female Customer: “I did not! I’ll be sure you’re fired. You’ve been horrible this entire time.”

Me: “Your total is [total].”

Female Customer: “And now you’re trying to push me out the door!

Me: “Just doing my job, ma’am.”

Female Customer: “Your generation is so disrespectful!”

Me: “Cash or card, ma’am?”

Female Customer: *swipes her card* “Everywhere I go, terrible service!”

Me: *handing her the receipt* “Maybe it’s not the associates.”

(I walked away, once again leaving the women at the register. I did have a talk with my manager. She sided with the customer at first, saying I should have opened the register. When I told her what the woman said when I was checking her out, she changed her mind.)

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They’re Not Entitled To Any YOLO

, , , , , | Friendly | January 20, 2020

I am an engineer for a German car manufacturer. I fly to northern Sweden several times each year for car testing — we drive on a frozen lake to test in cold and slippery conditions. The airport there is very small and it would be pretty complicated to get there with normal scheduled flights, so there is a company that charters several flights each week directly from Germany to this airport.

Up there in Sweden, there is almost nothing. There is an igloo hotel and a biathlon track, most major European car manufacturers have testing tracks there, and then there are some “driving experience” hotels which provide drifting courses on frozen lakes for very rich people. So, our chartered planes are usually filled with 85% grumpy engineers, 10% normal tourists who want to ski or hike, and 5% rich, entitled a**holes.

Since the planes only fly once every two or three days and the airport is so small, they will usually wait for late passengers. We are sitting in the plane after two hard weeks of work — we usually work almost twice as many hours up there — and they announce that they are waiting for three passengers. Over one hour later, they finally arrive. We see them through the window approaching the plane. There are three 18-year-old guys with sunglasses and Gucci swag. Then, they stop and take selfies in front of the plane for about five minutes.

They enter the plane and an engineer says to them, “What the f*** was that? You come one hour late and make 200 people wait, and then you take your time for some f****** selfies?!” 

Their response is, “YOLO!”

Further down the floor, one of them suddenly screams, “Why did you do that, you a**hole??” Apparently, someone tossed some water or soda over their Gucci swag. Several people in the plane answer with, “YOLO!” They complained to the stewardess and she says, “Sorry, I didn’t see anything. Please don’t curse at other passengers,” and walks away.

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Clean Water, Not Dirty Bombs

, , , , , , | Right | January 19, 2020

Some classmates and I were on a month-long expedition through northern Argentina. Prior to our journey, we were equipped with iodine to purify our drinking water from taps and streams, which came in dropper bottles. We were in the Buenos Aires airport ready to go back home to see our families.

After successfully going through airport security, we filled our Nalgenes with water from the restroom tap, gathered in the boarding area, and began passing around the iodine to drop into our bottles.

Not ten minutes later, airport security evacuated everyone from the gate to go through the checkpoint they had just set up again. We had to dump out our freshly-purified water.

After going through the checkpoint again, we realized why they might have set up additional security. Thirteen foreigners suspiciously putting unknown chemicals into water bottles doesn’t look good. We brought the iodine into the bathroom for the next round of purification, which still looked odd to the bystander, but was a little more discreet.

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