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When Store Policy Is Damaging To The Store

, , , , , , | Working | April 5, 2021

Our store is well-known for having very lenient return policies, and as a department manager, I am the only one who can authorise refunds and exchanges. We also voluntarily abide by a national code of conduct for supermarkets, which means that if an item scans at an incorrect price, it’s free. Given we are not a supermarket and have many items worth over $1,000, this is problematic.

I get paged to the homewares section and discover one of my associates distraught as a customer is tearing her a new one.

Customer: “Thank God, someone with authority! She just charged me $900 for a crystal glassware set, and as you can see here; it is worth $850! That means I get it for free!”

What the customer doesn’t know is that the $850 variant is slightly different. Our sales staff also earn 20% commission on sales of this item, so I understand why she would be upset. The anger in the customer’s voice indicates to me there has been an argument. 

Me: “Actually, you’re pointing to a slightly different version. The one you have purchased has a crystal serving tray, but this one—” *indicates towards the display* “—doesn’t. Hence the price difference.”

Customer: “You p***ks are all the same; you are just looking out for each other. See this?”

She points towards the trolley full of stock in our bags.

Customer: “I will return every single item here if you don’t give this to me for free.”

The customer hands me her receipt and there is nearly $5,000 worth of items there. I attempt to negotiate and haggle at this point, knowing that if I return $5,000 worth of items under “customer request,” I will be placed on performance review and potentially dismissed.

As I’m mulling it over, my associate begins to apologise profusely for the situation, to both me and the customer. My associate all but admits to putting the stock in the wrong place. We eventually settle on refunding the customer $300 and I write it off as “not as described.” 

I consider the matter dealt with, and I send the associate on her lunch break. About twenty minutes later, the customer appears again and finds me on the shop floor.

Customer: “Look, I feel really bad about the way in which I spoke to the lady earlier. I’ve been trying to find her to apologise; I know she didn’t really do anything wrong. Do you know where she is?”

Me: “Yep. She’s gone. I fired her. That kind of mistake is unacceptable here, and she has already left the building. Thank you for bringing the issue to my attention, because it was clear she was going to prevent us from offering the best customer experience here at [Department Store].”

The customer’s face drained of all colour and she left the store. I told the associate what I had said to the customer and she thought it was hilarious. I, however, resigned the next day and took a $15,000 per year pay-cut to a new role, as that experience showed me just how poorly this store thought of its staff.

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Out Of Line, Out Of Credit  

, , , , , , , | Right | December 31, 2020

I work in an electronics store located right in the city centre, in the middle of the bus interchange, so we’re busy at the best of times.

This particular Christmas is not the best of times. The air-conditioning isn’t working properly, so it is hot. There is a sales promotion, but no store in this national chain gets enough stock, so there are a lot of disappointed (read: angry) customers, and it is busy.

There are only two registers, and both have queues all the way to the back of the store.

I’m doing my best to stop stock walking out the door, as well as helping customers.

Two older ladies near the back of the line stop me.

“Excuse me,” says one of the ladies. “We’ve only got these items; if we pay by credit card can we go to the front of the queue?”

Taken aback for a second, I put on my best retail smile and say, “I’m sorry, madam, as you can see we are very busy, with lots of customers, most of whom are using EFTPOS. We will do our best for you, but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.”

I walk off before I can tell her where I think her credit card is best inserted.

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A Deal So Good, You’ll Say, “WIIIIII!”

, , , , , , | Working | September 24, 2020

After the second edition of the Wii came out — the black version with motion sensors in the remote — my mum took my siblings and me shopping to main retail stores. We were there to get new shoes and socks and really just to waste time.

We went past the electronics section and saw a pile of the black Wiis, and my oldest brother pointed out to us that the price was wrong; they’d put them out at the price the old white Wiis were now worth — almost $200 difference.

My mum, thinking, “What the heck?”, decided to grab four of them — one for each kid — so we all got one when we moved out.

We got to the checkout and the first Wii scanned at the RRP of about $400. My mum immediately pointed out that the sign said $200.

Because that price sign was still up, they had to sell all four Wiis for the $200. We were all polite and the worker serving us thought it was great that we were taking advantage of such a great mistake.

Her manager, on the other hand, not so much. He tried to say they had a limit on how many they could sell, but without the signs and documentation to back that up, he was SOL.

As we were leaving, we saw two workers hurrying to the sign to fix the price before anyone else could notice it.

When we each moved out, between one and four years later, Mum gave us a Wii. I still have mine and used it to play WiiFit during the lockdown.

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A Gentleman In The Making

, , , , , | Right | August 9, 2020

I’m right at the beginning of a six-hour shift on a very busy Saturday. I’ve served a few customers when a woman comes up with her two kids. The eldest is walking but the youngest is standing in the trolley. You can hear him before you see him.

Child: *To me* “This is ours. This is mine and this is mine.”

He continues in this fashion.

Mother: “Shush, she knows.”

Child: *Ignoring her* “Hey, lady, how are you?”

Me: “Good, you?”

Child: “I helped shop; I’m buying things. Mummy, can I go play?”

Mother: “You’re not helping anymore?”

Child: *Thinks about it* “No, I’ll help. I’m a man in the making.”

The mother and I both start laughing. The kid can’t be older than three so he sounds like a mouse.

Child: “Yeah, I’m a man in the making; did you hear that?”

He asked that over and over for the rest of the transaction. It was about the funniest thing I’ve ever had happen at work; I was smiling for the rest of my shift.


This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

Read the next feel-good story here!

Read the feel-good August 2020 roundup!

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Sounds Like This Stud Has You Screwed

, , , , , | Working | August 5, 2020

I needed to get my car inspected for registration, so I went into one tyre store that does rego inspections. I was told the minor things that needed to be fixed — e.g., the number plate light — and that I’d also need new tyres.

Since they were a tyre store, I said that they could replace them.

Later that day, I got a call from one of the workers saying that a wheel stud had been sheared.

“Okay, how long until you get the replacement?” I asked.

“We’ve got some in stock; it’s going to cost you [price],” the worker said.

“Excuse me?” I said incredulously. “You broke the wheel stud; you have to replace it.”

This went back and forth for a while. Eventually, I got the manager to call me back.

This call did not go well.

“We take great care with all of our customers’ cars,” he claimed. Meanwhile, I could hear a rattle gun in the background definitely over-tightening a wheel nut.

The manager ended up yelling at me and hanging up. I came and got my car, and it took a call to the regional manager to get my replacement stud.

I found that they had sheared another stud and stripped one more when I got home.

After having to pay for two more studs, I took my car to the place I normally get my tyres and they replaced the tyres without incident, and for less money.

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