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You Shouldn’t Volunteer That Information

, , , , | Right | March 11, 2022

I count myself very lucky to have retired very early in life. I spend a lot of my time with family, in the garden, and volunteering.

I get a lot of odd looks from the other volunteers who are much older than me or otherwise unable to work. No one has ever said anything. I can only assume they think I am either rich — I am not, my house is paid and I have just enough to live modestly — or lazy.

I treat it as a job. I’m the first one there, and I’m always busy or finding something to do. I try to act professionally and courteously to the customers. It’s just who I am and what I am used to.

One of the regulars comes up to me.

Regular: “You know what? We are always so happy to see you serving. You know all the prices and we never have any issue with you.”

Me: “Thank you. I enjoy it here and I like to be good at what I do.”

Regular: “I do wonder why you’re not the manager. Or why you don’t have a real job.”

Me: “Er… I retired, some time ago actually. I had a job, but I don’t need to work as I did back then.”

Regular: “But I’ve seen you up and down those aisles, checking on things, showing the others what to do. You could be put there doing something.”

Me: “I am doing something; the work [Charity] does is important and I enjoy it.”

Regular: “No, no, no. You should have a proper job — a man your age. Not just stood around behind a counter. Do something more like a real job. You don’t even know what work is!”

I was the best worker a few seconds ago, and now my job isn’t even real.

Me: “I did have a real job. I built my company from the ground up and hired dozens of people. I worked late nights, early mornings, and long days. But it was all a success. I sold it, paid my mortgage, and retired. I know what real work is and I’ve been there done that. I’ve already made my money, so that’s why I’m here.”

The regular is silent for some time.

Regular: “So… can I have this for free, as you have all this money?”

I tried to explain that no, my money is not the charity’s money, nor would I buy him anything. And no, my coworker wouldn’t buy it for him, either. He kept coming back and would occasionally say something stupid. Luckily, I could just avoid him, and as a volunteer, I wouldn’t get into any trouble.

It’s Okay To Throw Trash Away

, , , | Right | February 23, 2022

We regularly donate to our local charity shop, and if we take the kids, they can pick out a cheap toy or book while we are there.

My youngest picks out a battery-powered toy car. We think nothing of it and go home. It’s only much later that we realise that the car is actually remote-controlled, but there is no remote.

I head back to the charity shop a few days later.

Me: “Hi, sorry to ask, but we bought this car a few days ago and didn’t realise there was supposed to be a controller.”

Cashier: “I’m sorry about that. Maybe check the shelf?”

Me: “I did. Nothing there.”

Cashier: “Again, I’m so sorry. We keep all remotes or missing items by the desk and nothing is here. Probably someone just donated it like this.”

Me: “Wait, people donate missing items?”

Cashier: “Oh, all the time; it’s a big problem for us. Broken furniture, odd shoes… Some people know they are doing it, too. A woman donated a dozen jigsaws and each one she had counted and labelled how many pieces were missing. We have to throw it away. Their donations actually end up costing us money in rubbish collection and countless hours wasted for our volunteers.”

Me: “Wow, I didn’t know that.”

Cashier: “Do you remember how much you paid? I can refund you.”

Me: “No, it’s okay. He still plays with it. Just checking, really.”

Cashier: “Again, really sorry about this.”

A bit defeated, I left, only to see another woman arguing with a volunteer about why they couldn’t take a damaged electrical item. Honestly, why do people think they can ditch their rubbish in charity shops?

When Closing Time Takes A Pounding

, , , | Right | December 14, 2021

A lady comes into our charity shop shortly before lunch and spends the princely sum of £2 on a battery-powered keyring that locates your keys, which came to the shop in the still-sealed original box.

She returns to the shop literally five minutes before it’s due to close. Staff are not allowed to kick customers out at closing time but are forced to stay open until they decide to leave. She’s back to complain that the keyring didn’t work and that she wants a refund. The only trouble is that she can’t find her receipt.

Knowing what the answer will be, I call my assistant manager down.

Manager: “Without the receipt, we can’t give you a refund, but you can select an item of equal value, instead.”

This lady then stays in the shop for more than FIFTEEN MINUTES, seemingly oblivious to me bringing in the shop sign from outside, closing the door, and calling out when the assistant manager calls down to ask if I could come down and mop the floor:

Me: “No, I’ve still got a customer in here.”

She finally comes up to the counter with a top she has picked up and put back down half a dozen times.

As if this isn’t enough, she then starts rummaging in her bag again.

Customer: “I’m sure I’ve got my receipt here somewhere.”

Visions of murder dancing in my head, I politely fold the top for her and thank her for her support.

Since staff/volunteers can’t cash up the till or mop the floor until all the customers have gone, the assistant manager and I are more than half an hour late leaving, and the assistant manager has clearly been reading my mind, because she looks at me after the customer has finally left and says:

Manager: “Over two pounds? Seriously?”

The customer still left her receipt behind.

Not In Receipt Of Any Empathy

, , , , | Right | June 7, 2021

I work as a volunteer for a charity shop that helps people in other parts of the world. During lockdown due to the health crisis, we had a new till system put into our building. We’re all still trying to get the hang of the receipt printing options and the new till in general. This morning, I’m working on till for a bit while we wait for another volunteer to be available. A woman approaches with a dress.

Customer: “I’d like to return this, please. I just bought it yesterday and it doesn’t fit.”

Me: “Can I see your receipt?”

Customer: “I wasn’t given one. They said I could return it anyway.”

I internally groan.

Me: “Without a receipt, I can only do an exchange, I’m afraid. Sorry that the till didn’t give you one. We’re still getting used to the till.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not my fault. I won’t be accepting an exchange. I want a refund.”

I repeat what I said again and offer the exchange.

Customer: “You’re breaking your promise. I know my rights. I deserve a refund as it was your fault I didn’t have a receipt!”

She is starting to get angrier. I’m not good with confrontation, so I try again to respond nicely.

Me: “Again, I’m sorry that you weren’t given a receipt, but as I’ve explained, we have a new till and are having a few learning difficulties with the first few runs of a day while we figure the printing out.”

The lady begins to tell me off as she believes I am in the wrong. At the end of her rant…

Customer: “I am the customer and the customer is always right. Give me my refund.”

By this point, there was a small queue forming with the other four customers that had been allowed in and a queue growing longer outside to come in. My boss was at the door that morning, so she suggested that we switch places as she could tell I was starting to get a bit worried with the woman yelling at me.

My boss ended up giving her a refund to get her out of the shop, and as she walked past, she smiled at me and was as sweet as possible, as if nothing had just happened!

Not In Receipt Of Nice Customers

, , , | Right | January 25, 2021

I bought two pairs of jeans at a well-known charity shop before discovering that they didn’t actually fit, by which time I’d already removed the tags and chucked the receipt. The next week, I take both pairs back to the shop and find a different pair of trousers and a pair of shoes, both of which I try on before going to pay.

Cashier: “Just these?”

Me: “So, I’m buying the flowery trousers and the shoes, but I also have these two pairs of jeans. I bought them here the other week but they don’t fit and they don’t have the tags. Can I just donate them back?”

Cashier: *Going a bit pale* “Uh, do you still maybe have your receipt?”

Me: “No, sorry.”

Cashier: *Visibly terrified* “Well, um I can’t really return them without one.”

Me: “No, no! I don’t need any money back. I just thought maybe I could re-donate them to you? Since I have no use for them.”

Cashier: “Oh! Of course, you can! Thank you so much!”

She processes my payment for the trousers and shoes and puts the two pairs of jeans under the counter.

Cashier: “There you are. Thank you so much for doing that, and for being so nice!”

Me: “It… it’s really no problem.”

I know some people are d**ks about returns when it’s a decent amount of money, but in a charity shop? For jeans that cost less than £2 each, and to a sweet old lady? I hope she gets more nice customers in future!