Resting Gift Face

, , , , , | Hopeless | September 27, 2019

(I am a fairly anxious teenager, working the till at a charity shop as a volunteer. The charity in question is a very big, well-known one. A man enters the shop and comes straight towards the counter. He’s got a very stern expression, and I’m concerned he’s here to make a complaint while my manager has stepped out.)

Customer: *sharply* “What do you do?”

Me: “Uh, the charity or me personally?”

Customer: “The charity.”

(I’m a little taken aback by his abruptness, and not sure how best to explain the work we do, because it has quite a broad scope, but I do my best:)

Me: “Well, we work with impoverished communities overseas to provide aid, like building wells and schools and, um, also medical care and education. We cover quite a lot of areas, really, but the aim is, I suppose, to help those communities become able to help themselves…”

(I go on in this vein for a while; I’m aware that I’m rambling, but the guy keeps frowning at me expectantly, so I keep talking. Eventually, I run out of ways to explain what we do.)

Me: “Did you have any other questions, sir?”

(Without another word, he pulls out a chequebook and writes a £50 cheque!)

Customer: “What name do I make this out to? Just [Charity]?”

Me: “Yes, sir! Thank you so much!”

(I guess he just had an angry face; he very patiently filled out a form so we could claim back gift aid for his donation, and then he walked out of the shop without another word. Despite his abrupt behaviour, he ended up making my day!)

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Mixed Feelings On Mixed Marriages

, , , , | Right | September 19, 2019

(I work at the till at a charity shop in England. It is the day of Harry and Meghan’s wedding, and as I’m ringing up this lady, the news talks about the wedding. The lady shakes her hands and sighs before looking up at me.)

Customer: *giving me a horrified look* “You know, it’s the first mixed marriage in the royal family!”

(My mind stops. Mixed? What does she mean? I’m caught so off-guard that my first thought is “mixed because it’s a man and a woman?” My next thought is “mixed because they’re from different countries?” and, I know it’s wrong, but nothing else seems to make any sense, so I go with that.)

Me: “Oh, well… I guess… Back in the day, it would have been… good for the countries’ alliance?”

Customer: *shaking her head again* “No! It’s awful!”

Me: *still dumbfounded* “That’s [price]. Would you like a bag?”

(The lady paid, grabbed her stuff, and stormed out, still grumbling. It took me a full ten minutes to release exactly what she was talking about.)

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When You’re Happy To Be The Messenger

, , , , | Working | September 14, 2019

(While working as a volunteer at a charity store, I happen to overhear a coworker speaking on the phone to a customer.)

Coworker: *obviously pleased with what’s she’s hearing* “Yes… Yes, I see. All right, I’ll be sure to tell him. Thank you. Goodbye.”

(She’s grinning hugely as she puts down the phone.)

Other Coworker: “What was all that about?”

Coworker: “The customer just told me to tell [Manager] he’s an idiot. At last, I have official permission to say what I’ve been wanting to tell him all along.”

Other Coworker: “Just goes to show: sometimes the customer really is right!”

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Using Some Scottish Tender Language

, , , , | Right | July 21, 2019

(The customer is over six feet tall, Glaswegian, in his mid-50s, and looks ex-military. I am a fifteen-year-old girl, only 5’2”, working as a volunteer at a charity shop.)

Me: “That’ll be £24, please.”

Customer: *hands over a £50 Scottish note*

(I know exactly what’s coming.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t accept that.”

(At this point, I’d like to reiterate that I’m a volunteer shop assistant. I’m not being paid.)

Customer: “I beg your pardon?”

Me: “I said I’m really sorry, but I’m not allowed to accept that.”

Customer: “What d’you mean you’re—“ *he puts on an insulting Cockney, “little girl” voice, as if he’s imitating me* “—’not allowed to f****** accept that’?”

Me: *calmly* “I mean that I can’t accept that note. I’m really sorry, but my manag—“

Customer: “Oh, your manager says so?! You’re f****** kidding me! This is f****** legal currency! I cannae believe you English f***s will not let me pay for my own f****** clothes! This is a f****** disgrace!”

(He’s essentially shouting, and I’m in that space between being really angry and being close to tears.)

Me: “Sir, I’m really sor—“

Customer: “’SIR’?! Oh, you’re calling me ‘SIR’, now? How f****** dare you?! You think tryna plaster f****** manners over this is going to make it okay?! Take it!”

(He slams the money on the counter.)

Me: “Let me just get my manager…”

(I grab the phone behind me to call my manager down. My manager is a sweet, lady in her late 50s who loves the world but does not take attitude. She can hear that I’m upset, so when she comes downstairs she’s already fuming.)

Manager: “What’s the problem here?”

Customer: “I’ll tell you the f****** problem. This little b**** won’t let me pay for my f****** clothes.”

Manager: *visibly balks at the insult and turns to me* “Why not, love?”

Me: *terrified, points to the note on the counter*

Manager: *passes it back to him* “We accept neither £50 notes nor Scottish tender; this is both. You can pay by card if you don’t have other money.”

Customer: “This is f****** unacceptable!”

Manager: “You can pay by card or you can leave.”

Customer: “I’m going to be ringing your head office; this is a f****** disgrace!”

Manager: “And I will be ringing the police if you don’t leave right now. You’re harassing my staff. Get out.”

(The customer pushed the clothes off the counter, called me a b**** one last time, and stomped out. My manager bought me a strong cup of tea and a plate of biscuits, and gave me a hug.)

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In Receipt Of A Crazy Request

, , , | Right | July 10, 2019

(In our charity shop, if a customer wants to return something, we offer an exchange or a credit note, as long as they have their receipt. We always offer a receipt, but usually, for smaller purchases, customers don’t want one. A customer has bought something for £4.95 — about $6.50 — and declined the receipt, so I crumple it and throw it in the bin. Later that day, they return.)

Customer: “I bought this earlier.” *shows me the item in their bag*

Me: “Yes, I remember.”

Customer: “I want my receipt.”

Me: “Did you want to return it?”

Customer: “No, but I didn’t take my receipt. I need it.”

Me: “I threw it away because you didn’t want it.”

Customer: “Can you print another one?”

Me: “Sorry, no, we can only reprint the last receipt, and I’ve had other customers since you were here.”

Customer: “What did you do with my receipt, then?”

(I point at the bin, now full of receipts, price tags, dirt from when I swept behind the counter, sweet wrappers, sticky tape, and several used teabags.)

Me: “It’s in there, sorry.”

Customer: “Okay, I’ll wait. I want it.”

Me: “You seriously want it?”

Customer: “Yes.”

(I picked through that filthy bin, unfolding bits of paper, for ten minutes before I finally found her receipt. It was wet from a teabag and had tape stuck to it covered in dirt. I offered it to her. She declined.)

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