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Rudeness Doesn’t Know When To Quit

, , , | Right | January 15, 2020

(I’m talking to a nice customer. A woman approaches, stopping right at the register, next to — and quite close to — the man I’ve been helping, so I assume she’s with him, maybe his wife or something. A few minutes later, while I keep talking to the man, the woman starts pacing around us and eventually stops between us and looks at me.)

Woman Customer: *interrupting us* “I need your help.”

Me: *realizing she doesn’t know the man* “Well, sure, but I need to finish helping this man first.”

Woman Customer: “Well, you helped me yesterday, so you need to help me.”

(My assistant shop manager is the same build as me, and also male, so sometimes unperceptive customers mistake one of us for the other.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t here yesterday.”

Woman Customer: “Well, he looked like you.”

Man Customer: *jokingly* “So, they’re both good-looking men?”

Woman Customer: “Nah, more normal-looking.”

Me: “…”

Even Mother Nature Is Face-Palming  

, , , , , | Right | December 31, 2019

(In the early ’00s, I work in a corporate-owned cell phone store for a now-defunct provider. We often get yelled at for drops in service and billing issues, in addition to our actual merchandise and return policies.)

Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I’ve been trying to make calls all day on my phone and it keeps dropping calls or saying there’s no cell service.”

Me: “Let me do some quick troubleshooting.” *takes a couple of minutes* “Okay, nothing’s wrong with your phone. But earlier this morning, a tornado damaged a major reception tower in Georgia. We’ve been experiencing drops in service throughout the Southeast region because of it. Not much we can do from here, but corporate said they should have the tower repaired by tomorrow morning.”

Customer: “Well, this is unacceptable! I depend on this phone for my business. How are you going to compensate me for being without service all day?”

Me: “You want us to compensate you for a tornado hitting a cell phone tower two states away?”

Customer: “Yes! I’m not getting the service I’m paying for. I should get some of that money back.”

(I sigh internally because all the employees in the store have been having this same conversation all day.)

Me: “There’s nothing we can do here in the store.” *hands her a card with the customer service number* “But you can contact customer service at your convenience and see what they can do for you.”

(The customer leaves but comes back a few days later. She sees me and flags me down.)

Customer: “Hey, [My Name]. I called that number you gave me and they did give me a refund.”

Me: *groaning internally because she’s going to ask for refunds every time her phone hiccups* “Great. Glad it worked out.”

Customer: “But they only credited me a dollar!”

Me: “Oh, sorry to hear that.”

Customer: “You know, I have a friend that’s a lawyer. I should sue.”

Me: “To be honest, I think your friend will tell you that you can’t litigate against Mother Nature.”

(She left shortly after that. Enjoy your hard-won dollar, lady.)

Data And Printers Don’t Make Them App-y

, , , | Right | December 19, 2019

(A customer approaches me in an otherwise empty store. From the very beginning, I see a look on her face that I know means trouble.)

Customer: “Where’s [Coworker]?”

Me: “[Coworker] is actually taking a day off today. Anymway I can be helpful?”

(The customer stares me up and down before scowling at me.)

Customer: “I guess I’ll have to deal with you, then. I just got this phone, and I can’t get pictures from my friends. They just say, ‘download.’”

Me: “Ah. Is your data turned on?”

Customer: “It doesn’t need to be.”

Me: “That’s a common misconception, but with this device it does need to be on. Let’s try that.”

Customer: “It’s never been like that before.”

Me: “Were you on [Brand #1] phone before? Because they are always this way. [Brand #2] doesn’t require it, because it will automatically download the photo.”

Customer: “I was on [Brand #2] before. But I know that this phone can do it without data. You’re just stupid.”

Me: *stunned at the sudden change in language* “I’m sorry, but I’ve been working with phones for three years now, and they have always required data to download photos. I promise if you turn your data on, it will work.”

(The customer rolls her eyes and flips the data on, with a smirk at me. Lo and behold, her photo downloads.)

Customer: “Well! You probably did something to it!”

Me: “I promise I didn’t. I haven’t even touched your phone. It’s just that data has to be on. Is there anything else I can help you with on your device?”

Customer: “Yeah. What button do I press to hook up a printer?”

Me: “Every printer is a bit different. What brand do you have?”

Customer: “It doesn’t matter.”

Me: “Without knowing your brand, I wouldn’t know for sure. Unfortunately, every printer works differently.”

Customer: “So, you’re telling me you don’t know how to press a simple button that says, ‘add printer.’”

Me: “There’s no such button on this device. It depends on the printer. For example, I currently own a [Printer Brand #1] which requires an app. But I used to own a [Printer Brand #2] which only required a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.”

Customer: “None of that is important. I need the general answer. How do you add the d*** printer?”

Me: “I’m really sorry, ma’am, but I don’t have a general answer to that question. I would need to know what kind of printer you have to help you. Does it connect via cable, app, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth?”

Customer: “You’re telling me you refuse to help me unless I bring my printer all the way in here?!”

Me: “I didn’t say that. In fact, I can’t plug your printer in anywhere here. I’m actually not even a technician — I’m just a salesperson — but if I knew what brand you had, I might be able to tell you how to add it.”

Customer: “You’re so unhelpful! Just give me the GENERAL. INSTRUCTION. HOW.”

Me: “Ma’am, please. I’m trying to help, but as I have told you, every printer is different. I cannot help you if you refuse to tell me what kind you have.”

Customer: *rolling her eyes* “FINE. Let’s say I have a [Brand #3]! Now, does that make you happy so you’ll just tell me where the f****** button is?”

(It’s obvious to me that this is something the customer is just saying because she thinks it will get her an answer. She distinctly looked at her phone and read the brand of her phone off as an answer.)

Me: “Is that the brand of printer you really have? Because my answer will only be relevant to that brand, which I know needs the [Brand #3] app to work.”

Customer: “I can’t print anything without an app?!”

Me: “If that’s the type of printer you have, yes.”

Customer: “I WANT TO KNOW THE BUTTON. WHAT KIND I HAVE IS IRRELEVANT. How can you be this stupid?!”

Me: “Okay. I clearly can’t help you. I’m sorry, but I’m not a technician. I would suggest going home and looking at the instructions that would have come with your printer.”

Customer: “Where is your manager? You are so rude, nd stupid, and useless. [Coworker] is so much smarter than you. I’m going to get you fired because you refuse to help me.”

Me: “Here’s my manager’s card, but I am not refusing to help you. You are refusing to give me the information I need to help you. If you don’t know what brand you have, you could always check at home and come back. Or you can follow the instructions that come with your printer.”

Customer: “You’re trying to tell me that when people get a printer, they just pull out magical instructions and follow them to set it up to their phones? You don’t set it up here for them? Because I know that can’t be true. Now you’re a liar and a stupid b****.”

Me: “Ma’am, you can’t speak to me that way. That is absolutely what most customers do. Please leave now. I am not going to help you anymore.”

(I called my manager and gave her a heads-up. The next day, the customer came in to complain about me. My manager asked her if she got her printer sorted; she apparently did… by following the instructions. By the way, she didn’t have the brand she claimed. Thankfully, my manager took my side and told her she was not going to fire me for trying to help.)

Their Phones Don’t Have Reception That Far

, , , , , | Working | December 11, 2019

(Sadly, I only hear my mom’s side of this phone call:)

Mom: “Hello, my name is [Mom] and I’m calling about [Her Father]’s account. You see, I’m his daughter, and we sent you a copy of his death certificate when he passed in [time about a year and a half before] but it seems you’re still charging us for his phone.”


Mom: “The account owner is deceased. That’s why I’m calling.” 


Mom: “You can’t speak to him. He’s dead! I faxed you a copy of his death certificate!” 

(Pause. My mom is getting increasingly more frustrated.)

Mom: “I don’t have the PIN. The only person who had the PIN was my father who, once again, has been dead for over a year.”



Making A Senior U-Turn

, , , , , | Working | December 10, 2019

(I’m visiting a cell phone store.)

Me: “I can’t get the location services to work.”

Clerk: “Let’s see… um… no… well… um…”

Me: *joking* “You know that all these devices are cats, right? I mean, they do what they want to do, in their own time, in their own way, and they don’t care if we like it.”

Clerk: *cheerfully* “I prefer to think of them as senior citizens. They do all the stuff you just said, and they’re really, really slow.”

Me: *gently* “You might want to be a little careful of whom you say that to. I’m 72.”

Clerk: *in shock* “Wow… you’re older than my dad!”