Customers That Belong In Straight-Jackets

, , , , , , | | Right | May 16, 2019

(My store is currently having a sale where customers get 50% off their highest-priced item as long as their total is over $100. A lady comes up to my register. She’s only buying one jacket, but it costs $140, so she’ll get the discount. I get her phone number so that she can also get her [Store] membership discount of an additional 5%. The membership discount rings up automatically, but in order to get the 50% discount, I have to enter a code. I scan the jacket, turn to put it on the counter behind me to get it out of my way, and then turn back, preparing to type in the discount code. Before I can, however:)

Customer: *squinting suspiciously at the total that’s displayed on the card reader’s screen* “Wait, that’s not quite right, is it? This jacket should be $100. And don’t I get 50% off? I won’t buy it any other way.”

Me: “Yep, it is 50% off. I just have to type in a code and then it’ll show up. And you also get an extra 5% off because you’re a [Store] member!”

(I type in the code, which brings the total down to somewhere above $70 after tax. This is usually the part where the customer says, “Much better!” and possibly even apologizes for their impatience, and pays. Not this lady, though.)

Customer: *still squinting at the card reader’s display* “Okay… Hold on…”

(She actually pulls out her phone and starts typing numbers into the calculator. I just facepalm internally and wait, because no, this is not, in fact, the first time a customer has pulled out their calculator to double-check that our register has done the math correctly — the register that probably uses the exact same software as their phone’s app to do the calculation.)

Customer: “Okay, hang on. I’m getting a different number than what’s displaying here. So, starting with the original price of $140, minus a 6% discount—”

Me: *interrupting, trying to get ahead of a possible angry tirade* “It’s a 5% discount.”

Customer: “Oh, it’s 5%? Okay, that might be it.”

(She then retypes in all the math she has just done, having to start over again multiple times because she keeps typing things in wrong. I try my best to wait patiently, but I have about a million things I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m not even supposed to be putting up with this in the first place; I’m only there to fill in for a coworker who called out sick. At last, she finishes her calculations and I guess she comes up with the same total as the register because she finally agrees to pay.)

Customer: “I mean, 50% just seems like such a big amount, y’know? But I guess not.”

(It’s 50%. It took off half the price of the jacket. What do you want?)  

Customer: *as she’s taking her receipt and the bag with the jacket in it* “I’m not even sure I like this jacket. I might have to return it if I can’t find anything to wear it with. And the buttons are a bit too much, don’t you think? I might have to put smaller buttons on it.”

(And that is the story of how a customer wasted five minutes of my time quibbling over the price of a jacket she didn’t even want in the first place. I will never understand humans.)

Saying, “Heidi Ho!” At Work

, , , , , , | Working | May 11, 2019

(My first job out of college is working as a front desk/helpdesk engineer for a third-party IT company. For some reason, my boss can’t remember my name.)

Boss: “Heidi, can you come in here for a minute?”

(My name is not Heidi or anything close to it. In fact, my name starts with a C. I am the only female who works at the company at the moment, so I get up and walk into his office with a frown.)

Me: “Um, were you looking for me?”

Boss: “Of course. I called for you.”

Me: “Yeah, but, uh… My name isn’t Heidi.”

Boss: *hesitates* “Are you sure?”

Me: “Well, if it is, then the last twenty-some-odd years I’ve been using the wrong one.”

Boss: *laughs* “Right, makes sense. So—“

(He went into what he’d wanted to ask me. Afterward, he still called me Heidi and I corrected him a few times, and then I realized he was doing it on purpose because he thought he was being funny. I’d mostly yell back, “Not Heidi!” while doing whatever he’d asked. It would be funny when we got new techs because they’d always get these really confused looks on their faces as I’d get up, and they’d lean over and ask, “Who the f*** is Heidi?”)

Took A While To Address That Issue

, , , , , , | | Right | May 10, 2019

I was only around for about half of this occurrence, but I later learned the full story from my manager. My manager received a call from a customer asking if we had a certain item. We did, so the customer requested that the manager ship it to her, which is a service we offer. Now here’s where things get tricky: the customer had a loyalty account with us, so we had her address in our system, but she wanted this item sent to a different address. We are located in Washington state; the address she wanted it shipped to was in California.

Normally, this would be no problem, but when the manager tried to enter the California address, she got an error message saying the address was wrong. She double- and triple-checked her spelling against the note she took when she was on the phone with the customer, but she was still not able to put the address through.

She switched registers, as we’d been having trouble with them on and off for the past week or so and usually any problems could be solved by starting over at a different register. No such luck this time.

She called the customer back, confirmed the address, and tried again. Three times. She spelled out every word in the address, enunciating as clearly as she possibly could, to make sure she’d written it all down correctly. The customer confirmed that it was correct. The register still didn’t take it, saying that it was incorrect. It had now been a good half-hour since my manager had taken the first call.

This is about where I come in, because she asks me for help. She has me watch her while she tries, yet again, to order the item and ship it to this person. She does everything exactly correctly; I have no idea what’s wrong. We try spelling out, “North,” instead of just typing, “N,” and we try spelling out, “Drive,” instead of abbreviating it. Nothing works.

I have to step away for a minute to help another customer, and by the time I’m done, my manager has just gotten off the phone with the customer yet again. In desperation, the customer has given my manager her daughter’s address and asked us to ship it there, instead. It still doesn’t work.

Finally, even though technically we’re not allowed to have our phones out on the sales floor with us, my manager goes and gets her phone and types the address into Google Maps, just to see what happens. That’s when we find the problem. She had written the city down as “Los Alpos,” when it is, in fact, “Los Altos.”

At this point, it has been at least 45 minutes of repeatedly calling the customer back, trying to figure out what was wrong with the address. Not once has the customer corrected the spelling of the city name.

When she finally finishes the transaction, my manager jokes, “That was my last transaction of the day. I’m not doing any more. I refuse.”

In The Game Of Customers, You Win Or You Buy

, , , , | | Right | May 4, 2019

(My store’s return policy is sixty days. We used to be lax about this and accept returns even outside of that timeframe, but because of how many customers abused this policy, corporate decided we were losing too much money and tightened the policy. Now, if someone comes in with a return that is more than sixty days old, the registers physically will not allow us to process the return, and not even the store manager can override this. When I see a customer come in saying she’d like to make a return, and she pulls out a model of purse that I recognize as being several months old, I think I can predict how the conversation is going to go. I’ve been through it many times by now.)

Customer: “I bought this bag as a gift for my mom a few months ago, and she doesn’t like how the zipper works, so I’d like to return it.”

(She demonstrates that the zipper is a little tough to get started, but still zips up just fine after the first half-inch or so.)

Me: “Okay, just so you know our return policy is sixty days, so if you bought it a few months ago, it may be outside of policy. But let me double check on the register.”

(I scan the bag, and sure enough, a screen pops up telling me that it’s been more than sixty days since the bag has been purchased. Sighing internally, I launch into my usual spiel about how I’m so sorry, but unfortunately, since the bag is outside of our return policy, we can’t process the return, there is nothing we can do, blah blah blah…)

Customer: “But I bought this as a gift for my mom and she doesn’t like it. The zipper doesn’t work. Can’t I at least get store credit or something?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no. Again, the register freezes us out; we physically cannot process the return.”

Customer: *sternly now* “Can I talk to a manager?”

(Using all my willpower not to roll my eyes at the customer, I call my manager up to the registers. The manager arrives and the customer explains the situation again, and again demonstrates the zipper which, despite sticking a little at first, still works perfectly. I expect my manager to repeat what I just said, but instead, she hands me the phone.)

Manager: “Can you call internal customer service and see if they’ll process the return, since the zipper is broken?”

(Utterly defeated to see a pushy customer getting her way, but knowing there’s nothing I can do at this point, I make the call. While I’m explaining the situation to the customer service rep, the customer picks up her very young child, who, up until this point has been sitting in her stroller shrieking loudly over our entire conversation. The child, who can’t be more than two or three years old, finally quiets down in her mother’s arms, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to get through the rest of the transaction a little more calmly now. No such luck.)

Customer Service Rep: “Because the product is defective, I can process the return for you. What is the customer’s loyalty program number?”

Me: *gesturing to the customer, who has wandered off at this point* “Ma’am, are you a member of our rewards program?”

Customer: *coming back to my register* “No, I’m not.”

Me: *to the rep* “She doesn’t have a membership. Will that be a problem?”

Customer Service Rep: “No, I just need some info off the receipt.”

(We go through and get the purchase amount, transaction number, and a few other pieces of info so the rep can pull up the transaction from her records. Meanwhile, the customer has decided to stay near my register, still holding her daughter, which is honestly a relief, because I don’t have to flag her down again if I need more info from her.)

Customer Service Rep: “Okay, I can submit the return, but because it is outside our return policy, the customer will need to create a loyalty account so that we can make all the proper notation.”

(I look up to pass this on to the customer and see that her daughter has grabbed a necklace off of a nearby jewelry display and is chewing on it. Assuming it’s a necklace the customer is planning on buying, I choose not to say anything. I explain to the customer that we need to make a loyalty account for her, and ask her for her ID so I can get the needed info for it — full name, address, etc. She hands me her ID, and I pass the info onto the rep, until it comes time to get her phone number and email, which, of course, are not on her ID. Just then, I hear a loud crash and look up to see that her daughter has pulled down a small rack of necklaces off the jewelry display. One necklace shatter, and beads fly everywhere. While two coworkers rush to clean up the mess I, in shock now, do the only thing I can think to do: get the customer’s attention again so I can finish processing the return.)

Customer Service Rep: *after I give her the customer’s phone and email* “Okay, I’ve put the return through. Please let the customer know that we will email her a receipt, and that she should see the refund posted to her account within three to five business days after that. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Me: “No, thank you. That’s all I needed.”

(I hung up and looked up just in time to see the customer take the necklace that her daughter had been chewing on for the last several minutes and place it, toddler-slobber and all, back in the jewelry display it had come from. Dumbfounded, and honestly just trying to get this lady out of the store as quickly as possible, I explained to her what the rep had told me. She thanked me and left. Once she was gone, we had to damage out the bag, as well as the necklace her daughter broke and the one she slobbered on. And we had to search that whole area of the store for stray beads so that no one would slip on them. All in all, between the return and the two damaged necklaces, she cost us over $150. I hate when the customers win.)

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 10

, , , , | Right | April 5, 2019

(I work at a store in a mall, so every once in a while a customer will come in with a gift card that works at any store within the mall. We have to run these as credit cards.)

Customer: *after paying with one of the aforementioned gift cards* “Can you tell me the remaining balance on my card?”

(I have never been asked this about one of the mall-wide gift cards before.)

Me: “Um, it should say on your receipt. Let’s see.”

(No such luck. After printing the receipt, I find that because it ran as a credit card, it doesn’t list the remaining balance the way it would for a gift card to our store. I inform the customer of this.)

Customer: “Really? There’s no way to check my remaining balance? Because there was $300 on this gift card; I don’t want to go to the next store and find out there’s zero balance left.”

Me: *thinking: “WTF, lady, how would that even happen?”* “Well, it shows here on the receipt that you were only charged [amount well below $100], so there’s no reason you wouldn’t have the rest of the balance left.”

Customer: “But are you sure there’s no way to check? I just want to make sure I still have the rest of my money on there.”

(I see a manager nearby, so I call her over and explain the situation, just in case she knows a trick for checking the balance that I just don’t know about.)

Manager: “Unfortunately, as far as I know, there’s no way of checking the balance if it doesn’t print on the receipt.” *to customer* “But if you go to the mall customer service down on the lower level, they may be able to check for you.”

Customer: *taking her items, preparing to leave* “Okay, but if I go down there and there’s no money left on this card, I’m going to come back up here and you’re going to have problems.”

Me: *a bit flabbergasted at this point, but trying to keep my retail smile intact* “Okay, ma’am, have a nice day.”

(She never came back, so I’m guessing she still had the rest of her money, but seriously, lady, when has a cash register ever charged anything other than the cost of your items?)

Related:
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 9
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 8
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 7

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