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The Two-Dollar Punch

, , , , , , | Right | September 9, 2022

In my former life, I was the floor manager of a large computer retailer. We were generally a premium-priced store, but various “buy now, pay later” promotions coupled with aggressive sale pricing with “loss leader” products tended to attract customers who simply couldn’t really afford to otherwise be in our store.

One day, a middle-aged chap pops in. He’s shorter than me but quite agitated. He starts screaming about being ripped off and blabbering whilst waving around a copy of a finance contract.

Trying to calm him down and defuse the scene occurring during our Saturday morning peak time, I take a look at the contract to see if I can work out what was sold to him and by whom (mostly hoping that if they’re about, they’ll disappear for a while).

I notice quickly that the contract isn’t in his name but instead in the name of a woman, who turns out to be his mother. He quickly points out that she is a senior citizen on a pension and cannot afford a monthly surcharge on this contract.

I should point out that this is a $2-per-month surcharge that doesn’t actually need to be paid any time soon; it will accrue until the interest-free period ends and will start to be due then.

Customer: “My mother took out this finance on my behalf because I’m unemployed and my attempts to obtain finance myself failed.”

Oh, dear.

Looking at the contract, I note who the salesperson was: our own franchisee, someone who is a stickler for going through the fine print, and who I know would not have missed details about surcharges on finance contracts.

Me: “Sir, all surcharges were made clear before the contract was signed.

Seriously, we bled this stuff, we did it so often.

At this point, my efforts at calming him down had gone out the window and I saw his arm rise with a fist…

…just in time for him to be pinned from behind by one of the sales guys — one who had recently moved from being a nightclub bouncer to retail, so he was fairly attuned to when things were going down and knew how to react.

This sales guy promptly marched the chap from the store to his car and suggested in no uncertain terms that he think twice about returning.

I worked at one of the most expensive computer retailers in the country, and the first time a customer almost dropped me was over a $2-a-month surcharge on financing the chap couldn’t even afford to compensate his mother for.

Wish You Could CTRL ALT Delete This Convo

, , , , , | Right | July 23, 2022

A customer rushes in with a laptop.

Customer: “If I delete everything on here and restore it to factory settings, does it delete all the files?”

Me: “That’s usually how it works.”

Customer: “And no one can recover them?”

Me: “Unless they’re in the cloud, then usually no.”

Customer: “I need more than ‘usually no’. I need ‘definitely no’!”

Me: “Well, I—”

Customer: “And I need you to make it happen now.”

Me: “But I—”

Customer: “And you can’t tell the police I was here.”

Me: “Why would—”

Customer: *Pointing to our CCTV* “And you need to delete that footage, too!”

Me: “I… don’t think I can help you, sir.”

The title for this story was decided by a competition in the official NAR forums! Check out more titling competitions and much more in the forums!

Like A Good Neighbor, Ask NICELY When You Need Something

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Griffy_42 | March 24, 2022

I live in a small town that’s 95% English-speaking. There are a few French families due to the local industry. I speak enough French (about as well as an eight-year-old native speaker) that I made friends with a neighbour who doesn’t speak English and can’t drive because of seizures. Her husband has been out of town for work for the last few months, so I’ve taken her grocery shopping and to run errands.

Her computer died last week, so I took her to the big box computer store to look at a new one. I work in electronics (as a technician) so I know a thing or two about brands, quality, pricing, and what computer to get based on her needs.

I’m standing at the computer area with her telling her about all the specs, tower versus laptop, etc. I notice someone in my peripheral vision, but I ignore it. Our conversation switches over to school starting soon — our daughters ride the bus together — when the lady behind us pokes me in the shoulder and starts barking at me in French.

Lady: “I need help, too! You need to stop chatting and start helping! Do you know how hard it is to get help in French around here?!”

Employees here wear blue polo shirts and slacks. I’m wearing a hippy maxi dress and Birkenstocks. I start trying to explain that I don’t work here, but I think that’s when she picks up on my obvious Anglo accent. She starts talking to me like I’m a misbehaving toddler.

Lady: “I need you to help me set up my home network. I don’t have time for you to chat about your kids. Have fun finding a job once your manager hears you’re chatting about your kids instead of working!”

At this point, my neighbour pushes me out of the way. She’s about twice as big as the lady yelling at me. She walks up to the lady and just shouts at her for two minutes. I can’t catch most of it because I only know school French, but I’m picking out a lot of F-bombs. Later, she tells me she said something like this:

Neighbour: “Who do you think you are, bugging my friend? What about her says she works here? You are being very rude to my friend who is being very nice. If you had asked nicely, I’m sure she would have helped you.”

One of the staff members came up and tried to ask what was going on, but they weren’t paying him any attention. When he realizes they were not speaking English, he walked away. I guess he didn’t think he could help.

The lady stormed off in a huff. My neighbour is awesome.

Sometimes You Have To Go Way, Way Back To The Basics

, , , | Right | CREDIT: norgeek | December 20, 2021

Back in the mid-2000s, I was technically an intern building PCs at a small computer shop, but in reality, I did everything from picking up parts from our supplier to shipping and dealing with customers and troubleshooting, and I even did the weekly garbage run.

It was around the time when many businesses here in Norway started to move their stuff from physical locations to online services — everything from banks to government functions — and lots of people were starting to pick up their first PCs out of necessity rather than interest.

I got to work and found that I had a build order for one of our basic PCs. I built it, tested it, packed it up, and called the customers as they wanted to pick it up at the store.

I happened to be at the front desk when they came to pick it up, and it turned out to be an elderly couple, so I offered to put everything in their car for them. Those cheap steel boxes were heavy back then! Apparently, they would get help to set it up at home.

Just as I was about to leave work for the day, I was called to the office and told there was a problem with the computer I built earlier that day. The elderly couple was on the phone, and I took the call.

Me: “Hi. I heard you were having a problem with your new computer?”

Them: “Yes, you forgot to include the antenna!”

Me: “I… Um, I am pretty sure there wasn’t supposed to be an antenna? It didn’t have Wi-Fi.”

Them: “There has to be; the computer says it isn’t getting a signal!”

Me: “Did you connect everything? Are all the lights on? Did you figure out all the cables?”

Them: “Yes, everything is connected. It’s just not getting the signal!”

I’m not a phone support guy, and this elderly couple did not appear to be sufficiently comfortable with this new contraption to go through troubleshooting by phone, anyway. I also knew it’d be a hassle for them to pack everything back up and return to the store, which is normal store procedure. I asked them where they lived, and it was not a terrible detour for my drive home, so I offered to drop by and take a look.

When I got there, everything looked fine at first glance… until I realized that the tower wasn’t anywhere to be found. Huh. The monitor was saying, “No signal,” because there was nothing —other than the mouse and keyboard plugged into the integrated USB hub — connected to it.

Me: “Hey, uh, where’s the PC?”

They stared blankly at me.

Me: “The big black box?”

Them: “Oh, so there is something missing?!”

I then remembered that I’d carried everything to their car, put the monitor and accessories in the back seat, and put the PC itself in the trunk. I went out to their car, found the PC where I’d left it, and brought it inside. A couple of minutes later, it was running, and I got it connected to their Internet service.

I realized that they’d need a bit of a crash course to get started, and I offered to show them how the basics work. They gladly accepted but insist on serving me dinner first. I got home pretty late that day, but I never charged them anything for it. The food was good, they were nice, and for years afterward, they’d send their friends and family to our shop to buy computers.

Shattered Screens And Faulty Listening Skills

, , , , | Right | November 7, 2021

I used to work at a store that sold computers, and we had a very strict refund policy. Our biggest thing was that we wouldn’t refund a laptop with a broken screen, no exceptions. On every sale, we’d have the tech associate and cashier open the box and check the machine.

One time, we had some parents buying a very expensive model for their young son. We told them there was no refund for a broken screen, double-checked the laptop, and even offered the basic extended warranty that covered screen damage.

The next day, they came back with the laptop and the screen was shattered. The tech was certain it was stepped on. The parents had the audacity to claim we’d sold the laptop to them in that condition.

They went through two supervisors and one manager swearing we had never checked the computer and never offered the warranty.

They did not get a refund, but they sure tried.