Caring Is Also… Not Caring

, , , , , | Right | August 20, 2019

My district manager has pushed “the customer is always right” for years now, so we managers are expected to do everything possible to keep a sale. We match competitor prices, we change the price if a customer argues that it rang up wrong, and we accept coupons even if they don’t apply to the purchase. Recently, the company has resumed its survey features, so a customer can fill out a survey about our store through the link sent to their email. The district manager reminds us again to do everything possible to keep a customer happy so we don’t get bad reviews.

About five minutes before closing one night, while I’m in the middle of shutting down a register, my cashier pages me to override a coupon that isn’t scanning. When I arrive, the customer shows me his phone, where there’s a barcode for $5 off a bag of [Brand] cat food. I recognize the coupon from earlier that day from when someone else tried to use the same coupon for [Slightly Different Brand] cat food. I assume that we have the same problem and start to explain it while I override the coupon, “The reason it’s not working is that it’s for [Slightly Different Brand], but I’ll go ahead and take care of that for you!”

The cashier gives me a funny look and points out that the food the customer is buying actually is the correct brand, and I didn’t look closely enough at the bag. I admit my mistake: “Oh, whoops. In that case, I’m not sure why the coupon isn’t working. But as I said, I went ahead and took care of it.”

Two days later, we get a negative survey from the customer, who is upset that I “didn’t care enough” about his coupon not scanning correctly, even though I overrode it and took $5 off his purchase anyway. I guess you can’t please some people!

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The Couponator: Warning From The Past

, , , , , | Right | August 16, 2019

Customer: “I’d like to return this DVD drive, as it’s broken. And I also want to use this coupon I got for a laptop bag.”

Me: “Of course, that’s no problem. Would you like me to get you a replacement DVD drive?”

Customer: “No, I bought another one a few weeks ago here.”

(I check her receipt; it’s a month old, and she bought the drive and a laptop bag on it.)

Customer: “That’s the bag; I want my 20% off on there. I forgot to use the coupon when I bought it.”

(Technically, we aren’t supposed to retrospectively add coupons to purchases, but as she’s already returning an item, it would be easy for me to do so. She hands me the coupon. It expired two weeks ago.)

Me: “I’ll be unable to use this coupon for you as it’s now out of date.”

Customer: “What? But it was in date when I bought the bag. I had it with me.”

Me: “But you didn’t use it?”

Customer: “No, I was busy buying things, and I left it in my bag and I forgot. And then, when I bought the other DVD drive, I brought it with me again. But I forgot to use it then.”

Me: “I’m sorry you’ve not used it, but it has now expired, so even if I try to use it, the till will reject it.”

Customer: “No one reminded me! I came in here twice and no one said, ‘Do you have any coupons you need to use?’”

Me: “We don’t ask that; it’s the customer’s responsibility to remember to use them.”

Customer: “So, you won’t give me my 20% off?”

Me: “We’re unable to do that.”

Customer: “That’s awful service. And for only £5, as well.”

(She takes her refund on the DVD drive and storms out. My manager comes over, having heard the conversation.)

Manager: “That was… interesting. Why don’t you go and do some merchandising for a bit?”

Me: “Okay, but if I forget what I’m doing, it’s your fault!”

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Photo-Stroppy

, , , | Right | August 6, 2019

(I work in a print shop. We hand out coupons that get you a free color photocopy on heavier-than-usual paper. For what it is the quality isn’t too bad, though, obviously, it can’t beat a proper photo print.)

Customer: *hands me a poster of some kind along with the coupon* “I got one of these coupons, and I’d like a copy of this. My own printer isn’t doing the colors right.”

Me: “All right, I’ll see what I can do.”

(I make the first copy, adjusting the colors according to my experience, so that the final product will be as close to the original as possible. Still, being a photocopy, there’s no way it can reproduce the original exactly.)

Customer: “I don’t like the way the orange looks here. Can you make it more yellow?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll try to adjust it a bit more. These things tend to be a bit tricky, but luckily, we’ve got all evening!”

(I make another copy, and then a third one, and then a fourth one, every time fixing this or that shade, all according to the wishes of the customer. Mind you, this is all for a print that she isn’t going to pay for, but I do take some pride in my work, and there aren’t other customers at the moment. Finally, we end up with two very similar prints.)

Customer: *looking between the two prints, tsking and frowning* “I don’t know. I really don’t know. They’re both still off. Can I take them with me to see which one would work best for what I need it for?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you take both. The coupon gets you one, not two.”

Customer: *suddenly extremely indignant* “But this quality is terrible! I could have done it better on my home printer!”

Me: “Yes, well, photocopiers usually cannot produce the same quality as most photo printers. They’re two very different things.”

Customer: “You’re a printing company; you should have better quality than this!”

(I’m getting tired. After printing her multiple proofs and trying my best to get her what she’s looking for while she is being difficult and rude, I’m starting to think it isn’t worth it, especially since she’s getting it for free.)

Me: “We do, but we can’t do anything about the quality of a photocopier. Unfortunately, it’s a photocopy, not a photo.”

Customer: *shoves the coupon in my face* “Then what good is this?!”

Me: “It’s good for people who want a photocopy. Really, it’s either take it or leave it.”

(She yelled at me about terrible customer service and threatened to call the CEO. I didn’t feel too bad, because after all, we didn’t lose any business on her.)

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Coupon Sense

, , , , , | Right | July 26, 2019

(I am a customer in a drive-thru. I got a coupon in the mail. I place my order, stating at the beginning that I have a coupon, just as a courtesy. I pull forward to the window and hear this exchange.)

Cashier: “Welcome to [Fast Food Place]. Would you like to try our new combo today?”

(The cashier greets me, takes my card and coupon, and rings me out, still with the window open.)

Cashier: “Okay, so that’s [item]. Do you want that medium or large? And would you like any dessert items with that today? Your total is [total].”

(At this point, I can hear screaming over the cashier’s headset AND from the car behind me in line over ten feet away.)

Cashier: “Ma’am, you didn’t tell me that you had a coupon. Ma’am, the price on the coupon is only for a regular-sized meal, not the large. Ma’am…”

(I can still hear the woman screaming at the poor cashier. She looks extremely exasperated.)

Cashier: “Ma’am, I’m going to have to void out your whole order and start over. We have an older system and can’t just credit the coupon. Additionally, you’re still going to have to pay for the up-sizing. Please pull forward to the window.”

Me: “And this is why I always tell y’all I have a coupon before I order.” 

Cashier: “We appreciate that. You’d think it would be common sense, right?”

Me: “You’d think so, but no. I’ve worked retail for two-and-a-half years; there is no such thing as common sense with customers. I hope your day gets better!”

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Rebate Debate

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2019

(Sometimes distributors will come in and put rebates around the necks of bottles, or we’ll get shipments with rebates already attached.)

Customer: “I have a coupon for this [whiskey].”

Me: *suspicious because we rarely ever have coupons* “Okay, can I see it, please?”

Customer: *pulls out rebate that he could have left around the neck*

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir. That’s a rebate. You have to mail it into the address on the back with proof of purchase and they’ll send you back the amount of the rebate.”

Customer: “What? I’m not doing that. Just give me the money off now.”

Me: “I can’t do that, sir. That rebate is from the manufacturer. It has nothing to do with this store in particular. [Major Grocery Chain] probably has bottles with the exact same rebate on them.”

Customer: “This is outrageous! You can’t put coupons on your products and then not honor them! It’s false advertising!”

Me: “Again, sir, it isn’t a coupon; it’s a rebate. And we didn’t put them on the bottles; the distributors put those out.”

Customer: “Well, I’m not mailing in this stupid thing.”

Me: “That’s your choice, sir. Do you still want this anyway?”

Customer: “Of course I still want it!”

Me: *ringing bottle up* “Do you have our loyalty card?”

Customer: “No. I don’t need another piece of plastic crowding my wallet.”

Me: “Well, we can always look your card up if you don’t like carrying it around. And it’s a free program. Anyway, your total is [price] today, sir.”

Customer: “What?! It’s supposed to be [slightly lower price]!”

Me: “Was there a big tag that had that price on it in red next to a picture of our loyalty card?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “That’s the price with the loyalty card, sir. Without one, it’s full price. As I said, it’s a free card if you want to sign up and get the discount.”

Customer: “No! I don’t want your stupid card! I’m never shopping here again after this!” *continues grumbling, but swipes his credit card*

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, sir. Have a good day.”

Customer: *throws crumpled rebate on the counter and storms out the door*

Me: *looks at rebate to see how much they were offering and turns to the shift manager behind me* “With our discount and this rebate he could have gotten that bottle for better than half price.”

Manager: “You can’t fix stupid, [My Name].”

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