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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.

Thoughtful Customer. Does Not Compute.

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: AmenusUK | July 14, 2021

I have been working at my first part-time job in a store for about two months. I work in the dedicated section that sells home computers. A customer comes in and wants to purchase a computer and other bits. I go through it with him, and he needs a modem, printer, and comms software. All we have in stock is the computer. Without prompting, I get on the phone and call the other shops up and down the street to see what they have in stock. I then draw a map and show him where to get stuff, and off he goes. At this point, I have not sold anything and my customer has left the shop.

An hour later, the customer comes back.

Customer: “I purchased all the accessories, so now I’ve come for the computer.”

Me: “Did they not have the computer?”

Customer: “Yes, they did, but as you were the most helpful, I think you deserve the sale.”

So, I sold him the computer and will always remember that customer.

This story is part of our end-of-year Feel Good roundup for 2021!

Read the next Feel Good 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good 2021 roundup!

Certifiably, Positively Unintelligent

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: McFlubberpants | June 29, 2021

I work at a computer store at the returns desk. It often functions as a customer service desk, but technically there is no customer service desk as the members of staff are expected to be able to help with every aspect of their respective department; everyone’s customer service. I HATE working the returns desk, but I am allowed to be very flexible with our return policy within reason.

An hour before my shift ends, a teenager comes up to my desk hoping to return some computer parts, including RAM, a motherboard, and a CPU. He doesn’t have the receipts; however, receipts are not required as long as I can find the transactions in my Point Of Sales system. Thankfully, he has an account, and I am able to find the RAM and motherboard. I am able to give him a refund on the RAM with no issue. However, the motherboard is about fifty days old. Our return policy is thirty days, but I am feeling nice. He’s a kid, after all, and I remember how confusing I found the world when I was his age.

Me: “I can’t give you your money back, but you can exchange the motherboard for a new one or get a gift card.”

Teen: “Well, I can’t have a gift card. My dad will get mad.”

Me: “Okay, but I can’t give your money back. You are well over the return period, so it’s either a gift card or an exchange.”

Teen: “I guess I’ll get a new motherboard, then.”

Me: “Which one do you want?”

Teen: “The same one, I guess.”

At this point, I realize that I have forgotten why he wanted to return it. It isn’t required anymore, as any open product returned is sent back to the distributor for inspection, anyway. Turns out his computer wasn’t working after he put it all together, so he needs new stuff.

Teen: “Yeah, I don’t know why it’s not working.”

Me: “Okay, did you want to go look around for other stuff, or did you want me to call a salesman over to grab you another motherboard?”

Teen: “Just give me a new one. Now, are you going to refund me for the CPU?”

I haven’t gotten to the CPU yet, as I am still pretty new to returns and I am doing them one at a time to make sure I don’t mess up. Of course, I have to be careful about returns, making sure the item is the correct one and all that, but I have to be EXTRA careful with CPU returns. So, I open up the package to do my checks and I instantly realize why this customer’s computer isn’t working.

For those not in the know, the CPU is a small square chip that essentially acts as a computer’s brain. It’s a super important and extremely fragile piece of equipment. Depending on the brand of CPU, there may or may not be pins on the bottom that are essential for the functionality of both the CPU and the rest of the computer. They are extremely easy to bend and break. However, it’s also extremely easy to NOT bend or break them, so there really isn’t a good reason for someone to damage a CPU. This kid’s CPU looks like he took a hammer to it.

Me: “Well, this is why your computer isn’t working.”

Teen: “What?”

Me: “The pins are smashed. Nothing in the computer can work with damage like this.”

Teen: “Oh. Well, can I return it?”

I don’t want to say anything yet because I feel bad for the kid, but we are unlikely to take it back due to the damage and because he clearly bought it over thirty days ago as I have yet to find the receipt for the CPU. It is a pretty expensive CPU, so I am hoping that management will make an exception and let him exchange it.

Me: “I’m not finding the CPU under your account. Is there another name it could be under?”

Teen: “We could try my dad’s; his name is [Dad].”

I look up his name and no account shows up.

Me: “Uh, there’s no account under your father’s name.”

Teen: “Oh, he doesn’t have an account. I’m the only one who shops here.”

I realize that I’m dealing with a teenager who is slightly stupider than your average teenager. However, I keep my composure and keep moving forward. In a last-ditch effort, I check the transactions based on the CPU’s serial number. We have to manually attach transactions to accounts, and sometimes the cashiers neglect to do that for any number of reasons.

However, when I scan the serial number, nothing pops up. That is weird.

Me: “Did you buy this at this location or a different location?”

Teen: “Different location.”

I admit I should have asked that sooner so I could’ve pulled up the remote search window from the get-go. However, when I pull it up, it shows that he has never made any purchase at any of our other locations. He has only ever shopped at my store’s location.

Me: “Which [Computer Store] location did you buy this from?”

Teen: “Oh, I didn’t buy this from [Computer Store]. I bought this from [Massive Online Retailer].”

I just look at him silently. I don’t know how I got to this point. Why did he think we would take his CPU that he bought from [Retailer]?

Me: “Why are you trying to get a refund for a product you didn’t even buy from here?”

Teen: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You didn’t give us the money for this. You gave it to [Retailer]. Therefore, we don’t have money to give back to you. That’s at [Retailer].”

Teen: “So? I want my money back.”

Me: “Your money isn’t here. Your money is at [Retailer]. If you want your money, you need go to [Retailer].”

Teen: “So, you can’t take care of it?”

Me: “No. You did not give us money for that CPU. That CPU has no monetary value here that I can give back to you.”

Teen: “Can I exchange it?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. We don’t do trade-ins.”

Teen: “No, I want to exchange it.”

Internally, I’m banging my head against a wall. How could a teenager not understand the concept that a return can only go back to where he originally bought it from?

Me: “In order to do an exchange, you would’ve needed to buy this product here or at one of our other locations, but you didn’t. You bought it at [Retailer]. There is nothing more I can do for you. You need to send this back to [Retailer].”

Teen: “So you’re not going to help me?”

Me: “No.”

He leaves, and I am relieved that he eventually understood. Or so I thought, because not even a minute later, he comes back with my manager.

Teen: “He wouldn’t let me return this and was mean to me! I want a refund!”

Manager: “I’m sorry about that, sir. Do you have your receipt?”

Teen: “No, but I bought last month from [Retailer].”

Manager: “Why would I give you money for something that you didn’t even buy from us?”

Teen: “Are you saying you won’t give me a refund?”

Manager: “There is no refund to give, and there’s nothing I can do for you.”

The teen then storms off to a salesman.

Teen: “They were mean to me, called me names, and won’t give me a refund for my item!”

Salesman: “That’s not my department. It’s their decision when it comes to refunds.”

The teen then storms off and tries this routine over and over again, each time getting more and more upset over the next twenty minutes, until he is quite literally ugly crying to the store’s general manager about how horrible everyone was to him and how we won’t give him a refund for his CPU. The general manager then asks him to wait and comes to me.

General Manager: “Why won’t you give him a refund for his CPU? At this point, I don’t really care how old it is.”

Me: “He didn’t buy from here. He bought from [Retailer]. Ask him.”

The general manager did just that. Eventually, the teen left, tears in his eyes and without a refund. He later left me a survey review saying that I made fun of him, threw his items on the floor, and refused to give him a refund. We have cameras. My general manager had that review dismissed.