The Contrarian Vegetarian

, , , , , , , | Right | December 11, 2017

(I work in a sandwich shop. We’re close to closing, so the line’s glass case doors are covering the meats and vegetables. I open both when the customer arrives.)

Me: “Hello, ma’am. What can I get for you today?”

Customer: “Hi there. I’m vegetarian, so I can’t eat meat.”

Me: “That’s absolutely okay, ma’am. We have egg sandwiches, veggie sandwiches, and salads, and we also have a delicious vegetarian patty sandwich to offer you.”

Customer: “I know what I want, but I need you to clean your hands and the surfaces, because I can’t eat meat at all.”

(I rinse the food surfaces and the cutting knives, I clean my gloves, and I lower the glass case back over the meat since she’s made it clear it won’t be needed.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. If that’s satisfactory for you, what kind of bread would you like?”

Customer: “Oh, the flatbread, please, half of one.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, and your sandwich choice?”

Customer: “A ham, thanks.”

(I stop in my tracks and I hear my coworker giggling in the back of the store.)

Me: “Uh… A ham, ma’am? We don’t have any vegetarian substitute ham.”

Customer: “No, I mean a regular ham.”

Me: “Ma’am, ham is pork meat. Are you sure that’s the sandwich you want to order?”

Customer: “Positive, thanks! Actually, can I have double meat on that?”

(I double-checked before ringing her up that she knew ham was a meat and unsuitable for vegetarians, and she was perfectly happy with that, apparently.)

Candy Crushed Your Chances Of Leaving On Time

, , , , , | Right | December 10, 2017

(I work at a “luxury” brand candy store in a mall. We wait until mall security calls the mall closed or our register says it is closing time, whichever happens first. It’s still about five minutes until the store closes. I’m up front cleaning, waiting to shut the doors, while my manager is at the register counting out damaged product for the day; fresh goods need to be thrown out at the end of the day. A woman walks in and I greet her. She walks straight to the bulk candy counter by the register. Only employees can access it, as it opens behind the registers. My manager stops counting to help her.)

Customer: “I’d like a small box.”

Manager: *pulling out the box* “Sure! What would you like?”

(Bulk boxes can be rung up with one of two codes. The first code is a set price, the average price by weight of a box that size. The second code prompts us to weigh the box and put in the specific price. The company has guidelines about when each code should be used. During busy hours, we use the first code, but most of the time we use whichever code will most benefit the customer. The second code price always comes within $0.25 of the first code price.)

Customer: *takes a few minutes, but ultimately points out standard-sized pieces*

Manager: *closes box and walks straight to the register*

Customer: “Aren’t you going to weigh that?”

Manager: “A box this size is almost always $16.00 with the pieces you chose. I can definitely weigh it for you, and give you the price by weight if it’s cheaper.”

Customer: “I’d like that.”

Manager: *weighs box* “The display states it’s $15.75.”

Customer: “See? You would have overcharged me by $0.25.”

Manager: “Yes. I’m sorry, ma’am.”

(They continue the transaction with appropriate upselling, loyalty card, other corporate nonsense, etc. By this point I have heard security announce that the mall is closed. I’m done cleaning, so I straighten the shelves while waiting for the customer to leave so I can shut the doors.)

Manager: “Will that be all?”

Customer: “Now, I came in here last week and bought the same box. I’d like you to take $0.25 off for overcharging me last week, as well.”

Me: *internally* “Oh, dear God, no.”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

Customer: “Why not? You didn’t weigh it last week, and I overpaid. You should refund me the difference.”

Manager: “While each piece is made to be uniform, sometimes they vary by weight. I could make another box like the one you just ordered and it could be $16.25. There’s no way for me to know how much the box you ordered last week might have weighed.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t think that’s very fair. You should always weigh it.”

Manager: “I understand, ma’am, but boxes like these usually weigh out to $16.00. You can always ask us to weigh the box when you come in, though. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Customer: “Aren’t you going to lower the price to $15.50?”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Manager: “Because I don’t have the box you ordered last week to weigh out for you.”

Customer: “But you overcharged me by $0.25 last week!”

Manager: “Without the box present, I can’t know that.”

Customer: “But it was the exact same thing I ordered tonight!”

Manager: “Two of the same pieces can vary by weight a bit. You might have been undercharged last week.”

Customer: “But that’s not fair! It’s just $0.25! Why can’t you just give me my $0.25?! I shop here all the time! You should give me the difference for last week, as well!”

Manager: “Do you have a receipt from your purchase?”

Customer: “No! I shouldn’t need one! I’m in here all the time! You should give me my money back for last week!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I can’t just lower the price for you.”

Customer: *starts walking out* “I will never come back here! You are going to lose a customer over $0.25!”

(The manager does not respond, and the customer walks out. I pick up my cleaning supplies and turn to close the door, but before I can close it, the customer storms back in and marches up to the counter. The manager and I look at each other.)

Manager: “Did you want to purchase this?” *holds up the box she ordered*

Customer: “I don’t think you’re being very fair! How can you keep overcharging people and not feel bad?! All I want is my $0.25 back from what you overcharged me last week!”

Manager: “I can’t process a refund without a receipt, and I can’t know how much the box you bought last week would have weighed.”

Customer: “This is no way to treat loyal customers! I buy things here all the time! I can’t believe that you’re willing to lose a customer over $0.25! It’s just $0.25!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do for you unless you want to buy this.” *holds up box again*

Customer: “Absolutely unbelievable! You won’t do anything to help me!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but those are company rules.”

Customer: “I can’t believe this! It’s just $0.25! You should be willing to treat a loyal customer with respect. You should give me back the money you overcharged me! You’re just soldiers of the company!” *storms out*

Me: *runs to the front and closes the door* “Did she just call us ‘soldiers of the company’?”

Manager: *starts unpacking the box and putting pieces back* “Yeah.”

Me: “Are you Lieutenant [Manager] now, or what?”

Manager: “I guess so.”

(For the next week, we referred to everyone by military ranks, and made ridiculous weapon titles for the different products. The customer actually worked for a store nearby in the mall and quickly hurried past us every time she had a shift.)

What The Ellie?

, , , , | Working | December 10, 2017

(We have a new contract and have been given a direct contact who will handle all things which are needed across both companies. Her email address is, I assume, her name. It starts with Ellie. I email her a formal introduction, as I will be interacting quite a lot with her in the coming weeks.)

Me: “Dear Ellie, I would just like introduce myself prior to our actual meeting, as there will be many new faces for you to remember. I’m [My Name], and I am the main commercial advisor who will be dealing with your contract.”

Eloise: “Dear [My Name], thank you for your email. I would like to ask, however, that you address me by my full name, Eloise. We have not established a strong enough work relationship to start using nicknames.”

(Her email includes a signature with “Ellie” as her name.)

Me: “Oh, I do apologise. We have only been given your email address, and I have a relative who is named Ellie, so I assumed it was the same situation with you. I am sorry if I caused offence.”

Eloise: “No offence caused. But please try to remember, it is E-L-O-I-S-E. I would also appreciate the exclusion of personal details in future correspondence, thank you.” *same signature*

(I can tell she isn’t interested in anything beyond the most basic and professional relationship, so I decide to stick with that. Everything is going well until I receive an email one morning that is addressed to everyone in the company.)

Eloise: “Could I please request that all future correspondence address me as ‘Eloise,’ as the level of unprofessionalism being conveyed by your company is disturbing and affects productivity. We do not know each other on a personal level, so addressing me with just ‘Ellie’ is extremely inappropriate. Thank you.” *Ellie signature*

(I decide not to respond, as I have followed this request to the letter already. Several more emails come through following a similar theme. This is the first.)

Director: “Eloise, I can understand your frustration; however, as your employer has only graced us with your email address, and this company prides itself on maintaining a friendly environment, we have had little reason to assume your name is anything other than your email suggests. I would advise perhaps updating your signature, as the use of your nickname may be causing confusion.”

(We got no response from her, but I heard she complained about the “lack of professionalism” to her bosses. The director asked if she had an additional address with her full name, instead, so that the desire to use her nickname at first contact would be prevented. She didn’t, and seemed thoroughly offended by the suggestion. The contract was put in jeopardy because of it, and required a full week of board meetings to straighten out. In the end, she was moved to another contract to save on future hostilities.)

Off The Clock And Off The Hook

, , , , | Right | December 10, 2017

(I work in a grocery store. I realize that some people will recognize me and ask for help if I’m off the clock or out of uniform. I have already clocked out, and I have my coat on and my purse on my shoulder. A regular has stopped me to say hello and we exchange a few pleasantries. From behind me I hear a SLAM and I turn and see a woman glaring at me as if I have personally offended her. She slams her cart into the register right behind me and throws her stuff onto the belt. I admit, it has been a long day and I am already at the end of my rope, but the way she proceeds has me respond in a less than professional way.)

Customer: “Well?! Are you going to f****** help me or not?”

Me: “Nope. But one of the ladies on one of the three open registers can.”

Customer: “Are you f****** serious? You’re just standing there slacking off. Now, stop being so f****** useless and help me. I’m a customer. You’re working for me. C***.”

Me: “Ma’am, again. I cannot help you. I am off the clock and headed home.”

Customer: *begins shrieking* “Get me a manager right now! This is ridiculous! I DEMAND YOU RING ME OUT! MANAGER! MANAGERRRRRR!”

(The manager who has taken over for the night shift has run over upon hearing the screaming.)

Manager: “Ma’am… She is a manager. And she’s going home. She has her coat on. But if you bring your items to register one, two, or three, one of the ladies there can help you. And please, I do have to ask you to stop cursing, or you will be asked to leave. [My Name], have a good night!”

(I said goodnight to the kind regular I had been talking to, and as I continued to walk out I could hear the woman shrieking again. I got home to a text that she had thrown her eggs at the night manager while screaming a slew of curse words, and had to be escorted out by security.)

It’s A Free “Country”

, , , | Right | December 9, 2017

(I work at a farm store, so naturally the piped-in music is country. I’m not a country fan in the least, but I tolerate it. I am working at the information desk when a female customer, I would guess in her 60s, approaches me.)

Me: “Hi there! How are you doing today? Anything I can help you find?”

Customer: “Hi! You know, I hate to be that person, but I just wanted to let you know I don’t agree with your choice of music for this store.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I’m sorry about that. We actually don’t get to pick the radio station. To be 100% forthcoming, it isn’t a station per se, but a satellite channel. It’s locked-in so we can’t change it.”

Customer: “Mmm… That’s very unfortunate. I wouldn’t think a family-oriented store would want to condone messages of drinking, adultery, drugs, and an anti-Christian lifestyle.”

Me: *rolling eyes internally* “I’m sorry the music offends you, ma’am. I wish there was something I could do about it.”

Customer: “Maybe there is something you can do. I’d like to speak to your manager.”

Me: “Actually, that would be me! I’m not the store manager, but I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: *look of disappointment* “Oh, I see. When will the store manager be in?”

Me: “Here’s the thing, ma’am: the store manager doesn’t get to choose the music type, either. We have 60-plus stores all over the midwest, and all are tuned-in to country. I guess they figure since we’re a farm store, we should always have country music.”

Customer: “Are you serious? You have little children in your stores, and you’re playing songs about getting high on drugs, being drunk, drunk driving, and other reckless behavior!”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, ma’am; there just isn’t anything I can do about it. I understand where you’re coming from, however. This type of music isn’t my favorite, either.”

Customer: *suddenly perking up and smiling* “Oh, really? You seem like a nice, clean-cut young man. What kind of music do you like?”

Me: *coming to the full realization of the corner I’ve painted myself into* “Oh! Me? Um… You see… I… uh… Death metal.”

Customer: “…”

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