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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.

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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.

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Computers Can Be Very Tire-ing

, , , , | Right | June 20, 2021

I work in a small local computer retail store. We sell nothing but computers, monitors, and computer accessories. I watch a man pull into our parking lot, look around a while, and hesitantly come inside the store.

Customer: “Where are your tires?”

Me: “Tires? We sell computers.”

Customer: “You mean to tell me that you’re not [Large National Tire Chain]?

Me: “No, we’re a computer store. We just have home and office electronics here.”

Customer: *Pulls out a business card for the tire shop* “So, you’re not [Large National Tire Chain]?”

Yep, that’s us, we just decided to put up a different store’s sign today.

Me: “No… we are not.”

Customer: “And you don’t have any tires?”

Me: “No.”

The man sighed and walked out, looking very puzzled.

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The Warranty Is Only A Little Expired

, , , , , | Right | May 16, 2021

Back in the early 2000s, I worked for a computer company as Level 2 support. Level 1 support would answer the calls and if they were stumped or had a difficult customer they would get a Level 2, to come and help them. As I was making my way around the office, one of the Level 1 support workers stopped me and asked for help.

Level 1: “[My Name], can you help me, please?”

Me: “Sure, what seems to be the problem?”

Level 1: “The customer is upset because I won’t warranty her computer. Her warranty expired over a year ago.”

Me: “What is the problem with her computer?”

Level 1: “Her CD-ROM isn’t working.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll take over the call from here.”

I looked through her information and verified that her warranty had indeed expired. I also saw that she was calling from a business.

Me: “Hello, ma’am, my name is [My Name]. How are you doing today?”

Customer: “Not so great; the other guy won’t help me out with my problem.”

Me: “[Level 1] was telling me that you are having some issues with your CD-ROM. What is it that he won’t do for you?”

Customer: “He won’t replace the CD-ROM for me. Mine doesn’t work, and I need a new one.”

Me: “Your warranty expired over a year ago so, unfortunately, we cannot send one out for you, but I can put you through to the sales department and they can set you up with a new CD-ROM.”

Customer: “That shouldn’t matter. I need it replaced. It’s not my fault it’s not working.”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am. But without a current warranty in place, we are unable to send out a new CD-ROM. I’d be happy to try some further troubleshooting with you if you are okay with that.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do any more troubleshooting. Just send me a new CD-ROM.”

Me: “Without a warranty, we can’t do that.”

Customer: “That’s stupid! Who cares about the warranty? Your product broke and you have to fix it.”

Me: “Ma’am, if you took your vehicle into the dealership and the warranty was expired, would you expect them to fix your vehicle for free?”

Customer: “No, of course, not. But this isn’t the same thing.”

Me: “This is the same situation, just with a different product.”

Customer: “But my warranty is only a little expired. So, you should honor my warranty.”

Me: “If your warranty was only expired by a month or so, I would send you a new CD-ROM, but yours is expired by over a year. I see that you are calling from your business. Is that correct?”

Customer: *Now getting a little exasperated* “Yeah.”

Me: “Do you offer warranties on your products?”

Customer: “Of course.”

Me: “If I came into your store and bought a product and then came back to get it fixed or replaced due to an issue, but the warranty had expired a year ago, would you honor that warranty?”

Customer: *Quite annoyed* “No, of course, I wouldn’t.”

Me: *Frustrated* “Then if you agree that a vehicle with an expired warranty shouldn’t be repaired for free, and you wouldn’t honor an expired warranty for your store’s products, why then should [Computer Company] honor an expired warranty for you? It doesn’t make any sense that we should honor an expired warranty.”

Customer: “Listen to me. You have to give me a new CD-ROM.”

Me: “No. No, I don’t need to give you a new CD-ROM.”

Customer: “If you don’t give me a new CD-ROM, I will be contacting my lawyers.”

We had been trained that if anyone ever mentioned anything about speaking to lawyers, we were to give them another number to call and let them know that we would be ending the call. Then, we were to tell our senior management.

Me: “Ma’am, here is another number to escalate this matter further. Due to you informing me that you are going to call your lawyers, I can no longer help you, and I will have to end this call.”

I then went to my senior management and told them about the call. They had no issues with it and said that the Level 1 support and I did the right thing. I went into the customer’s file about a month later to check and see if anything else had happened after our call. From other notes on her file, I saw that she had called in a few more times and each call was escalated to a Level 2 support, and each call except for one was ended due to her saying she would call her lawyers. The last note call was to the [Computer Company] sales department, where she ended up buying a new CD-ROM.

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An Explosive Assumption

, , , , , , | Working | November 6, 2020

I’m waiting in line to do a return. It’s early morning, and the store is empty except for the employee behind the counter, a woman in line in front of me, and me. The woman in line is wearing a green jacket with a vaguely military cut, but she’s clearly not in uniform.

Woman: “Hi, I need to return this wireless keyboard. Most of the keys don’t work.”

The employee looks at the keyboard.

Employee: “Unfortunately, your warranty doesn’t cover accidental drops. Can you tell me what happened?”

The woman starts miming the accident.

Woman: “So, I had it sitting on a table, and I was trying to look up… Actually, I’ll just get to the relevant part. It was hit by a mortar a—”

Employee: “A mortar?! Oh, my God, are you okay?!

Woman: “No, it—”

Employee: “Where were you?! I’m amazed this is all that happened!”

Woman: “I wa—”

Employee: “Of course, we’ll get this replaced! You just wait right here!”

He grabs the keyboard and rushes into the back. The woman turns back to me with her mouth open mid-word and her hands still held up miming the action of grinding something.

Woman: “…and pestle. It was hit by a mortar and pestle. That I dropped.”

This story is part of our Best Of November 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of November 2020 roundup!

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