The Sinister Six

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2019

(I am the only cashier at closing. Half a dozen elderly women are shopping when I announce over the intercom that we are closing in fifteen minutes. None of them come up to the register. I make the next announcement at five minutes until closing. No one comes up to the register. Sighing, I wait, and at nine pm sharp, I make the final announcement that we are now closed. Of course, this is the moment that all six women came up with their items and form a line. This seems too orchestrated to be a coincidence, which confirms in my mind that they are all friends. One of the women further down the line calls up to me.)

Customer: “Is there someone else who could help to check us out?”

(I stare at her in disbelief. I hold her gaze for a long moment. I shake my head slowly.)

Me: “Not at this time of night. It’s just me.”

(It took a beat, but then the whole line shifted and sighed, resigned. I wonder if their logic was that, if they waited until closing to pay, the employees would be motivated to get them out of the store faster by opening lots of registers to speed up the process. Thankfully, as it sank in that their clever ploy to avoid a long line had failed, I heard no more complaints from the customers. All but one of the register drawers had already been closed down, and the managers on duty were in the back room, counting the change. I knew that my two managers, both tired after shifts that are always longer than the cashiers’, would take about fifteen minutes to get new drawers ready. There was no point calling them for backup, so I dealt with the line on my own in fifteen minutes.)

Working Customer Service Can Be Starey

, , , , | Right | January 9, 2019

(I’m the only cashier at the registers. A male customer walks into the store and approaches me.)

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: *mumbles something that I don’t catch*

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, could you say that again?”

Customer: *stares at me*

Me: “I didn’t quite catch what you said. Could you say it again?”

Customer: *just stares*

Me: “Are you looking for something here at the store? I can call someone up to help you.”

(He continues to stare. Other customers are approaching the register.)

Me: *to the first customer* “I’m sorry, sir, it can be hard to hear things up here sometimes. Are you looking for anything particular today?

([Customer] continues to stare. The other customers are watching this all, looking confused. I’m at a loss at what to do next.)

Me: “Okay… I’m going to help these people now, unless I can do something for you?”

(He said nothing. So, I turned to the other customers, greeted each one, and started ringing up their purchases. After another moment or two of staring, [Customer] turned and left the store.)

Millionaires In Need Of $127

, , , , | Right | December 8, 2018

(I’m the head supervisor, and I have literally just finished counting out my register at the end of my shift when a coworker brings a customer over to me with an issue. He speaks in a dull monotone the entire time.)

Customer: “I need a new gift card. The barcode on this one doesn’t work.” *holds up a card*

Me: “It doesn’t work? Give me just one moment.”

(I take the card and see that it’s actually a Refund Card, but scan it into the system to see if I can get a balance on it. It has a balance of $127 on it, which is pretty high for a Refund Card, but not unheard of. It also proves that the card works just fine.)

Me: “It seems to be working fine. You have a balance of $127 on here.”

Customer: “No. It doesn’t work in the kiosk.”

Me: *confused* “Kiosk?”

Customer: “Yeah. There’s a kiosk that gives you cash for gift cards, and this won’t scan.”

Me: “Well, this is a refund card, sir, not a gift card.”

Customer: “Oh. Can you transfer it to another card, anyway?”

Me: “Unfortunately not, sir. I don’t have any way to transfer this onto another card. It’s a system limitation.”

Customer: “Why not? Just transfer it onto another card.”

Me: “I can’t, sir. It’s not physically possible. Besides, it probably didn’t work because this is a refund card, not a gift card.”

Customer: “What’s the difference?”

Me: “The difference is that a gift card is purchased with money, and a refund card is received for returned merchandise and is store-credit only.”

Customer: “What does the gift card look like?”

Me: *grabbing a random gift card* “Like this, for example. You can see that the refund card says, ‘Refund Card,’ right on it.”

Customer: *takes the gift card and looks at it* “Can’t you just transfer it onto this, then?”

Me: “No, sir, I can’t. The system won’t let me. Gift cards can only be purchased with cash, credit, or debit.”

Customer: “How do you know?”

Me: *becoming exasperated and frustrated by this point* “Because I’ve run into something like that before, and it’s part of the register training!”

Customer: “Oh. Then, do you mind if I take this and try it, anyway?”

(He has already ripped the gift card off the packaging as he speaks.)

Me: “What?! No!”

(I realize that now we can’t sell that gift card. Thankfully, they’re generic.)

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “For one, it’s not activated.”

Customer: “Oh. Right. That makes sense. Are you sure you can’t transfer the money?”

Me: *sighing* “I’m sure. If you want, I can call a manager up and you can talk to him, but I can tell you right now that he’s going to tell you the exact same thing I did.”

Customer: “So, you mean I have to spend it on f****** flowers or some s***?” *gestures to our artificial flowers*

Me: “Or something else in the store.”

Customer: *still in his dull monotone* “This is f****** bulls***, you know that?”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I’m a f****** millionaire.” *turns and starts to leave*

Me: “Are you sure you don’t want me to call a manager?”

Customer: “F*** this.”

(We told the store manager about the incident with this “millionaire,” and he actually recognized the total from the refund card as one that had been given out to a different person who came in right before closing last week, and we strong suspected had stolen the merchandise he returned. Seems he sold the “gift card” to this guy at a bargain price, probably knowing full well it wouldn’t work in the kiosk.)

Only Barry Allen May Shop After Closing Time

, , , , , | Right | December 1, 2018

It is closing time. We make the announcement and do our final customer checks. Fabric pages that they have a customer and her daughter at the counter. No problem. It only takes a few minutes to cut fabric.

Five minutes later, she sends the daughter to go find some item elsewhere in the store. It becomes clear that she may take a while. Store policy is that we cannot tell people to leave, so the floor staff politely hovers and tries to be extra helpful to get her out quicker. Fabric lady and daughter politely decline and resume shopping at a pace that makes sloths look like Olympians.

Another customer knocks at the front door. They know we are closed, but they need one thing for a school project, we are the only ones in town who sell it, and they know exactly where it is. I radio my manager and ask if I can let them in. We still have a register open, and fabric lady is deliberating between two shades of blue. I get the okay.

The customer comes in, gets the item they need, pays for it, and leaves before fabric lady even finishes choosing her material. They may have secretly been the Flash. Super grateful, smiles everywhere.

Fabric lady finally makes her way to the register over half an hour after closing and complains that she felt rushed.

There’s Customers Over Here

, , , | Right | September 27, 2018

(I have five minutes left in my shift when a customer approaches me looking for some pens we have on sale. Luckily, I can scan to get directions right to them, so I figure I can show the customer and then finish cleaning up my stock after without risking going over my hours. Unfortunately, when we get there I see we’re sold out.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, but we must have sold the last ones today, and the system hasn’t caught up yet. We’ll get more in this week; do you need them now?”

Customer: “No, I just wanted to grab some fine-line pens for writing.”

Me: “Oh! Well, the sale ones were for drawing, so we actually have writing pens for that same price all the time. You can even test them there.”

(I show the customer the pens in the next aisle. I even walk him through each one, and answer some questions. I’m hitting the end of my shift, so I try to wrap it up.)

Me: “…and there’s pens up at the front that are roughly the same quality, but 50 cents cheaper. I need to head up there so I can show you.”

Customer: “Okay, it’s going to sound like I’m picking on you, but since you’ve been so helpful, I’m going to offer you some advice.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “You know the verb ‘to be’ is dead; people don’t use it anymore. You said, ‘There’s,’ as a contraction, but since it’s a multiple, you should have said, ‘There are.’”

Me: “Oh. Okay?”

Customer: “You wouldn’t say, ‘There’s cars over there,’ right? It’s the same thing.”

(I realize he’s going to keep going, so I decide to just smile and nod.)

Customer: “You’ll notice it’s what they say on the news. It’s the more professional way to speak. My daughter says, ‘There are,’ and she works at the White House. It makes people judge you if they hear that. It’s like the n-word to educated people.”

(At that point my customer service smile becomes strained past believability, but I manage to keep quiet because I just want to go home. By the time he’s done, it’s five minutes after my shift should be over.)

Me: “Okay, thanks. I’ll remember that. Now, let me just show you those pens.”

(While we were walking he made a joke about being the worst customer. I didn’t laugh.)

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