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A Little Extra Goes A Long Way

| Right | February 12, 2015

(Customers are often upset by the turnaround time we quote — up to two weeks during the busiest season. They almost always point out how easy or quick their repair should be. As we are standing within the repair area, it is easy enough to point at all the bikes all over and explain that all these people were here first. On occasion, a customer would drop this one on me:)

Customer: “Well, how about I pay you extra, and you skip me ahead of all those people to the front of the line and you do my repair right now?”

Me: “That sounds great, but first let me call all the people ahead of them and ask if they’d like to pay extra to keep their place in line…”

Customer: “ALL RIGHT, fine.”

Perhaps They Can Offer A Rain Check

| Working | March 17, 2014

Me: “Hi, I’d like to return this raincoat.”

Clerk: “We don’t do returns unless the item is defective.”

Me: “It’s definitely defective. The first time I wore it, when I tried to take it off the entire zipper ripped off.”

(The clerk examines the raincoat.)

Clerk: “Yeah, but it’s all dirty. We can only give refunds if you were using the item as it was intended.”

Me: “I was using it exactly as intended, and the zipper still ripped off.”

Clerk: “I don’t think so. It looks like you’re pretty hard on your gear. I could call my manager out here, but I can tell you right now that he’ll just agree with me. I mean, if it still looked new, then maybe, but how did you get this raincoat so dirty?”

Me: “Well… I wore it in a rainstorm.”

The Argument Has Gone Flat

| Working | February 6, 2014

(A bike tire has two parts, an inflated tube inside a rubber tire. The tube inside my bike tire goes flat, as do the next two tubes I inflate in there. My tire is new, so I assume there must be something sharp sticking out of it. I bring it to the bike shop where I bought it.)

Me: “Excuse me. I bought this tire here, but all of the tubes I’ve used have gone flat. I’d like to exchange it for a different one.”

Employee: “Let me look at it.”

(The employee pulls the tube out and re-inflates it to examine the hole closely.)

Employee: “See? Here’s your problem. This is a pinch-flat. You pinched the tube when you put it inside the tire.”

(I know about pinch-flats, and I’m always very careful to avoid them. I haven’t had one in years, and it seems unlikely that I pinched three tubes in a row.)

Me: “I don’t think it’s a pinch-flat.”

Employee: *very condescending* “Yes, of course it is. See? See the way the holes are? That means that when you were putting the tube back in the tire, you got some of it PINCHED. That’s why it’s called a PINCH-FLAT. The tire itself is fine.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I don’t think that’s very likely, but I guess it’s possible.”

Employee: “Yeah. The tire is fine. Here, I’ll change your tire for you, and I’ll make sure—see what I’m doing?—that I don’t pinch it by mistake.”

Me: “Yes. Fine. I get it.”

(The employee puts the new tube in the tire and inflates it. He holds it up for me at the counter.)

Employee: “See? Nothing pinched, and it holds fine. You just need to learn to—”

(The tube inside the tire suddenly explodes in his hand, scaring half the shop. There is a moment of silence.)

Employee: “…all right. You can have a new tire.”

Maybe They Already Hit Their Head

| Right | November 23, 2013

(It’s roughly an hour before closing time, which is when things start to wind down. However, in pops one middle-aged and very confused-looking customer holding a helmet.)

Me: “Howdy, ma’am! Do you need any help?”

Customer: “Um… well I’m very confused. My sister—she lives in Hawaii, you know—she bought me this helmet, and, I don’t know why this is, but it’s too small.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that ma’am! Would you like to look at some of our helme—”

Customer: “I just don’t understand! Why would my sister buy me a helmet that’s too small? It doesn’t make sense! It should fit me no matter what!”

(This dialogue continues for several minutes, each time with me explaining something partially before the customer returns to going on about how she’s confused. Eventually I do manage to bring her over to the helmet displays.)

Me: “The helmets start at $35, and we do have a model that’s the same as what your sister gave you, but it comes in diff—”

Customer: “There’s so many! Why are there so many different helmets? This is very confusing to me!”

(I take the time to quickly and simply explain differences—or so I think.)

Customer: “That doesn’t make any sense. I’m so confused! Let me try on this one! Is this one going to fit me?”

Me: “I don’t know, ma’am. It should fit. Why don’t you try it on?”

(She does eventually try on the helmet, after much deliberation and stating that she’s confused. This continues for another half hour. Eventually, she’s decided on a helmet, and I think I”m finally out of this ordeal.)

Me: “You made a good choice, ma’am! Now let me just go ahead get this back in the box and ring you up!”

(The customer stares blankly into space for a few moments.)

Customer: “I’m… I don’t know what to think. I’ll have to go home and think about this more. I’m very confused.” *leaves*

(My coworker, who has witnessed the entire lengthy exchange, speaks up.)

Coworker: “Dude, I’m so, so sorry.”

Me: *pained, sheepish grin*

This Conversation Is Stuck In A Cycle

| Right | July 21, 2013

(I work at a small bike shop. During the early spring we get a lot of customers. I have only worked there a few months, and learn a lot from the owner. His son also works there and many customers know him. The owner is helping a customer and I am watching. When the owner goes back to get something for her, we find ourselves alone.)

Customer: “Are you his daughter?”

Me: “No, I’m just an employee.”

Customer: “He has the cutest kids! But you are definitely the prettiest.”

Me: “But I’m not his daughter.”

Customer: “Then why did you say he was?”

Me: “I didn’t. I’m just an employee.”

(The owner comes back.)

Owner: “All right, [My Name], if you would just put her information into the computer, that wo—”

Customer: “See! You called her [My Name]! That’s proof she’s your daughter! You shouldn’t teach her to lie!”

Owner: “So just because I use her first name means I’m her father?”

Me: “[Owner], it’s okay.”

Customer: “You call him father! Do it! NOW!”

Me: “I only call my father, father.”

Customer: “You mean he’s not your father?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Well, why didn’t you say so?”