I’m On My Way To Nowhere

, , , | Right | May 10, 2018

(I’m a female who works in a popular game store. As the male manager and I are doing closing duties, a customer rings us, and I foolishly answer.)

Customer: “Hi, what time do you close?”

Me: “Well, truth be told, we’re already closed by about five minutes, but are you in the shopping centre, and do you know what you want? I can get it ready for you if you get here fast.”

Customer: “Yeah! I’m getting there as fast as I can! I’m after [Popular Product].”

Me: “For which console?”

Customer: “[Popular Console]!”

(This is a perfect customer so far; he knows what he wants and everything.)

Me: “Sure, I have one here for you. Which shop are you next to?”

Customer: “I’m just passing [Store that isn’t anywhere near the shopping centre, let alone our store].”

Me: “Um, I’m afraid that’s not in the centre.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I’m about a couple miles away, but I’m heading in now. Can you stay open until then?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, no. Even if I stayed open, I’m afraid the actual shopping centre doors close at 6:10. I’m sorry.”

Customer: “Well, I have the money here; can you meet me halfway?”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t drive—”

Customer: “Well, could you wait outside the shopping centre, I can pull up, you give me the game, and I give you the money?”

Me: “I’m afraid it has to go through the till. I Wouldn’t be able to give you a receipt.”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t care about that. I’m just after the game! So, you’ll do it, yeah? I’m on my way!”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t meet you outside. I can’t leave the store with merchandise that’s not paid for.”

Customer: “Simple, you pay for it, and I’ll give you the money in half an hour when I get there!”

(At this point my manager tells me it’s raining outside, that he definitely doesn’t want me waiting around in the dark and rain alone, an hour after work ended, to sell a complete stranger a game that I would have to pay for first.)

Me: “Sir, I’m afraid I can’t wait in the rain for you. It’s already past closing and I have to go home. I can save you a copy so there’s definitely one here for you tomorrow; don’t worry.”

Customer: “But I can drive you home! Where do you live?”

(My manager makes a “No way, not happening” gesture.)

Me: “My fiancé is picking me up. I’m okay, and your game will be okay, too. We won’t sell it on you! What’s the name? I’ll save you a copy for tomorrow!”

Customer: “But… But I’m on my way! Can’t you— I told you I was on my way!”

Me: “Sir, at the start of this conversation I asked if you were in the shopping centre and you said, ‘Yes.’ I’m afraid we are being asked to leave by security at this point, as we are already past our exit time.”

(This is somewhat true; security hates to be kept waiting.)

Me: “I’m writing a note on the game for you. Just quote, ‘I’m on my way!’ and you’ll get your copy. No worries! Have a nice day!”

(I put the phone down, hurriedly.)

Manager: *incredulously* “Did he just ask where you live?!”

How Not To Be Taken Seriously: Yell

, , , | Right | May 10, 2018

(I work in a supply call center where our customers call in to order more supplies. I get a call from someone we’ve worked with for over eight years and has always been pleasant to deal with. I pull up his information from the phone number.)

Me: “[Supply Company]. This is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you today?”

Customer: *in a whispering voice* “I’m sorry for this; just play along, okay?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: *suddenly yelling loudly* “I’m calling to complain about your prices for supplies! I’ve been a loyal customer for years now, and I demand you give us a discount!”

Me: *thoroughly confused* “I’m sorry, but I think you’re mistaken. You’ve been getting the loyalty discount for the past two years now.”

Customer: “That’s right! You’d better give me that discount! We give you a lot of business! You rip-off artists had better give us a free gift as well!”

(My manager pops his head out of his office. I’m embarrassed, since he is yelling over the phone loud enough for people to hear. I look over his account and see that he does receive a free gift supply due to the bulk of how much his company orders.)

Me: “Sir, you already qualify for the free gift item, and you’ve been receiving it for the past several years.”

Customer: “Look! I know that d*** well, but I don’t care! If you guys don’t do as I say, then we’ll take our business elsewhere! Furthermore, I demand [Product that we sell them] at [discounted price] instead of [price without the loyal customer discount].”

Me: “Sir, I need you to stop yelling at me. What you’re ordering now is what you’ve gotten the past three years. There is no need for this hosti—”

Customer: “Manager, now!”

(I look over at the manager and he nods for me to transfer the call. I’m a bit unnerved right now, and go I to take my break. When I come back, the manager calls me into the office.)

Manager: “So, I talked to [Customer]. I was about ready to rip into him for treating you like that, when he stopped yelling and started apologizing. Apparently, his company got a new supervisor who is one of those idiots who thinks that by yelling you can get better deals. He told me to tell you he’s sorry he had to yell at you.”

(I was a bit blindsided by that, but put a note on his file for the next person so they would know not to take it personally. A few days later, I got a lovely apology basket from that caller.)

Manager Doesn’t Always Know Guest

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 7, 2018

(I am the front desk manager. The general manager has just covered my shift this morning so I can work the evening shift for an employee whose mother has just died. This manager doesn’t normally work the front desk, but when she does, she has zero patience or tolerance for substance abuse. If you have alcohol on your breath, she will refuse to serve you, even if you are well-dressed and coherent. I come in about twenty minutes before my shift, and she meets me immediately and starts talking before I’ve even taken off my coat.)

General Manager: “I just made a huge mistake; I can’t believe I was so stupid.”

Me: “Oh, no! What’s happened?”

General Manager: “I just rented a room to a drunk. A total drunk. He’s going to destroy our room and disturb the other customers now. I can’t believe I did that.”

Me: “Really? Well, when you say he is a drunk, do you mean he is an alcoholic or that he is intoxicated?”

General Manager: “I don’t know; he’s just a drunk. I didn’t notice when he first came in, because he was normal. He gave me his info, he paid with his debit card, and then he just started getting weird.”

Me: “Weird how?”

General Manager: “He started slurring his speech and staring through me at the wall. When he walked away to go to his room, he seemed very confused and even called me from the room to ask where his room was. I told him it was room 217, and he asked me to come help him find it. When I told him he was already in the room, he seemed surprised. Then, just a few minutes ago, the head housekeeper told me she saw him stumbling in through the side door with a huge bottle of whiskey. He’s a total drunk, but he already paid so I can’t make him leave until he does something. I want you to walk past his room every hour or so and watch him. The moment he starts making trouble, call the police and have him removed from the building.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do my best to keep an eye on him, then. Thanks for the heads-up.”

(We talk a bit, and she eventually leaves me to do my shift. Maybe half an hour later, a well-dressed, clean-looking man approaches the desk. His eyes are wild and he looks right through me at the wall. He puts his debit card on the counter.)

Me: “Good afternoon, sir! What can I help you with?”

Guest: “I, uh… I have to pay for my room.”

Me: “Okay, I can do that for you. Do you have a reservation with us?”

Guest: “Huh? I’m here. I’m here right now.”

Me: “Oh, so, you are already checked in, and you haven’t yet paid for your room?”

Guest: “I need to…” *he trails off*

Me: “Okay… What room number are you in, sir?”

(He proceeds to switch back and forth from English to French, giving me odd room numbers that don’t exist in our building. I finally get his name and determine that he is the “drunk” that my boss was talking about.)

Me: “Okay, sir, you are in room 217, but you already paid for your room. Were you wanting to pay for an extra night?”

Guest: “Huh? Oh, yeah? Hey… I can’t, uh… I can’t find it.”

Me: “You can’t find what, sir?”

Guest: “My room.”

Me: “You can’t find your room? It’s just on the second floor sir. Take that door right there up to the second floor, and turn left when you come off the stairs. You room will be the third one on the right. It’s room 217.”

Guest: “Yeah… Yeah, all right. Well, okay.”

(He wanders off and I turn back to my paperwork. About two minutes later, he is back.)

Guest: “It doesn’t work.”

Me: “What doesn’t work?”

Guest: “It doesn’t work; I can’t get in.”

Me: “You mean your key doesn’t work? Do you need some help?”

(He just nods, the entire time looking around wildly and sweating. I tell him to come with me and that I will help to unlock his door. I begin walking, expecting to follow him to his room, but he seems to be genuinely lost. Even when I point out the room numbers on the wall, he seems unable to locate his room. I have to physically lead him to his room and open his door for him. The room is a mess, but not like it has been trashed. It looks like he had no idea where to put anything: cigarettes have been taken from the pack and laid out on the desk, clothes are piled randomly on the bed and floor, and coats and shirts are hanging from lamps and from the TV. While there is a bottle of whiskey on the desk, it is unopened. He walks into the room and stands there staring at the wall, so I close the door behind him and head back to the desk. At this point, I’m not certain if he is drunk or high, but he is clearly not right. Thirty minutes later, the same guest comes walking in through the front door. He comes straight to me and throws his debit card at me. Again, the following conversation takes place in both French and English, since the customer keeps switching from one to the other.)

Me: “Sir? Can I help you with something?”

Guest: “Yeah.”

Me: “What can I help you with, sir?”

Guest: “Well… that.” *he motions towards his debit card*

Me: “Sir, why did you give me your debit card?”

Guest: “Well, why not?”

Me: “Um, you already paid for your room, sir. We had this discussion less than an hour ago. Is there something else I can help you with?”

Guest: “I just… Well, I’ve got to pay. I’m staying here.”

(I have a feeling that this guest is having some kind of medical problem and that this has little to do with alcohol.)

Me: “Are you all right, sir?”

Guest: “Yeah… Of course. Yeah…”

(He is looking around wildly and shifting from one foot to the other rapidly.)

Me: “Well, I’m worried about you, sir. You seem very confused. This is the second time you’ve tried to pay me for your room, but it was paid when you checked in. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Guest: “Yeah, no, yeah. Well…”

(He then stands there staring quietly at the floor. He is deathly still. After a solid minute, I speak.)

Me: “Sir, is there anything I can help you with? Did you lose your room key?”

Guest: “No, I have it.”

(Another minute goes by. He hasn’t moved.)

Me: “Sir, did you forget what room number you are in?”

Guest: “Huh? No, I got it. It’s that. I got it. I don’t need anything.”

(I try to finish my work, but he is just standing there, staring quietly at the floor, not moving a muscle.)

Me: “Okay, sir, are you sure you don’t need some help? Do you want me to call someone for you? A relative or friend? Maybe an ambulance?”

Guest: “Well, I don’t have a boat.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Guest: “Well, I have to stay here because I don’t have a boat. I DON’T HAVE A BOAT!”

Me: “Okay, sir. If there’s nothing I can help you with, I’m going to have to ask you to go back to your room. You can’t just stand at the front desk; other customer’s need to come here for service, and I have a lot of work to do.”

Guest: “Yeah… Yeah, okay.”

(He walks straight into an empty conference room, sets his lunch bag on the table, and stands there in the darkness, staring at the wall. I decide to call my boss, because something isn’t right. He is clearly in distress, and I want to get him some help.)

Me: “Hey, [General Manager]? Yeah I’m calling about the guy in 217, the one you said was drunk? I’m really worried about him. He’s very confused, he tried twice to pay for his room, and now he’s telling me he can’t leave because he doesn’t have a boat. I told him to go to his room, and he’s just standing in the pitch-black conference room, staring at the wall. Should I call his family first, or do you want me to call for an ambulance?”

General Manager: “Forget that! We’re not wasting any more time on some useless drunk. Call the police, and have him taken out of the building. I’ll check the room tomorrow morning and decide if he gets his deposit back. Has he bothered any other customers?”

Me: “No, he’s been very quiet, but I don’t think he’s drunk. I think he’s sick—”

General Manager: “Sick from the drink! Those kinds of people are all the same. Call the cops; never mind an ambulance.”

(I hung up and went to tell him that I was calling the police, and I was shocked to find him passed out cold. He was breathing but I couldn’t wake him up. I called for an ambulance. The police arrived first, followed by the ambulance. After some time, they determined that he was indeed having a medical emergency, and he was rushed to the hospital. The lead officer at the scene told me it was probably an issue related to his diabetes, and that if I hadn’t called and had left him alone, he might never have woken up. The next morning, housekeeping found a suicide letter in his room, along with four empty pill bottles. We never did find out the whole story, and he never came back for his deposit or his property. I still think about him from time to time, but at least I can say that my boss learned a lesson from all of this: she no longer assumes that all people who are a little off are drunk, and she no longer refuses people based solely on their choices to drink or use drugs. This experience scared her and made her realize that she shouldn’t judge people without getting all the information.)

Hats Off To His Persistence

, , , , | Right | May 6, 2018

(I work at a very popular convenience store in the northeast, and this has been a particularly odd Saturday. It’s been very busy, but also full of people acting strangely. I haven’t even been on the clock an hour yet, and I’m still getting into gear.)

Me: “Hello! How are you today, dear?”

Customer: “Well, I just wanted you to know you’re almost out of coffee over there, and the milk is all gone as well.”

(In order to speak to me, he edges over in front of my register, cutting in front of a lady who has been waiting for me to finish with the previous customer.)

Me: “I’m so sorry about that! I will get right over there as soon as I’ve taken care of this line. But, this lady was waiting first, so can I take her first, please? Then I’ll be right with you!”

(I’m always incredibly polite to our guests. Most of them are impatient and quick to jump over each other to check out, so I always try to prevent this when I can.)

Customer: “Well, I don’t know who was next in line! It doesn’t look like there’s an actual line.”

(He moves over, anyway, and I quickly take care of the woman, who has a quick and easy transaction. I thank her and ask the man to come back over.)

Me: “Come on over, sir! I’ll get you rung out, and then go take care of the coffee and milk.”

(I start to ring him up while I talk, in order to finish as quickly as I can.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can get you with your coffee and paper today?”

Customer: “Yeah. I really like your hat. Would you sell it to me?”

(I find myself taken aback at such an odd and sudden request, but I regain my composure before answering.)

Me: “Thank you! I’m unfortunately not able to sell you my hat. It’s a part of our uniform, and therefore company property, so I’m sure I would get into trouble. Not to mention, we absolutely have to wear our hats or else we will get sent home for not being in uniform. I can’t have that happen to my coworkers.”

Customer: “I don’t see why not! You’re just pushing me! Come on! You can sell it to me! I’ll give you $10, and you can buy another one.”

Me: “Sir, it’s nice of you to offer, but I really can’t. Here’s your change! Let me go check out the coffee situation.”

(I start running around brewing coffee and looking for milk. I establish we are truly out of it.)

Customer: “You guys really ran out of milk? How does that even happen?”

Me: “Well, sir, it does happen occasionally, despite our best efforts against it. Sometimes it’s an error from the warehouse, and other times we just get much busier than we anticipated. You were right, though; we were almost out of coffee.”

(I’m on hyperspeed at this point, trying very hard to concentrate on getting more coffee made, as well as ensuring we are well-stocked in the coffee area. The customer proceeds to follow me around as I do this, which has me feeling frazzled.)

Customer: “I am just crazy about [Store Brand] of coffee! I really need that hat! I know you can sell it to me. I told you I’d pay you, and you can just buy another one!”

Me: “Sir, I really cannot do that. Though I’m very glad to hear you enjoy [Store Brand] of coffee.”

Customer: “All right, let me be honest with you. I have the hots for someone who works at [Other Location of our store], and I really want to get her a hat for Christmas. But I can’t find them for sale anywhere! I want to do this for her pretty badly, so can’t you just help me out? It’ll be a nice thing to do during the holiday season!”

(At this point, I’m getting pretty creeped out, as well as thoroughly confused. Who on earth would want a uniform hat from their work for Christmas? I proceed to very quickly finish my work so that I can slip away into the back until he leaves. It’s not easy working around him.)

Me: “Sir, I am very sorry, but I just can’t help you out. I hope you can understand. I just cannot sell you company property that is a required part of my uniform in order for me to be on the clock and working. I apologize for the trouble, but it just isn’t something I can do.”

Customer: “There you go again! Pushing me to try harder! I just really want your hat!”

(I finally broke away and hid in the back for a few minutes until he left. When I brought this up to my coworkers, they were just as confused as I am. We get strange customers and requests fairly often, but that takes the cake!)

Pokémon Go For It!

, , , | Right | May 6, 2018

(A man in his early 20s has come into the shop shortly before closing. He is clearly drunk, but he avoids the alcohol aisle and grabs a frozen pizza, some crisps, and a few bottles of pop. I check him out.)

Me: “That’s [total], please.”

Man: “D***. I only have £10.”

Me: “Sorry, but you’ll need to put something back.”

Man: “Um… I’ve got a tiny Pikachu in my pocket. If I give it to you, can I get everything for £10, instead?”

(The owner, who has been behind me the entire time, speaks up.)

Owner: “How tiny?”

(The man dug around in his pocket and produced the tiniest Pikachu I had ever seen in my life. The owner agreed to the deal, and that Pikachu now sits on the top of our register.)

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