Making No Concessions For Your Stupid

, , , | Right | May 30, 2017

(I’m working the concession stand at our movie theater. We have a display of candy. A man who appears to be in his mid-40s, who has just purchased a ticket, walks up to the display, takes about $30 worth of candy, smiles at me, then simply walks away.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir. Did you pay for those already?”

(The customer turns, dumbfounded, and presents me his ticket receipt. I look at it.)

Me: “Sir, this is a receipt for a ticket.”

Customer: “Yeah. No duh! The guy who sold me this said I could get candy from you.”

Me: “Yes, sir, I can sell you candy here, but you actually have to pay for the candy. It’s not free.”

Customer: *immediately becoming irate* “You’re f****** kidding me, right?! He said you’d give me candy!”

(I turn to my coworker selling tickets nearby and signal him over.)

Me: “Hey, the customer is saying that you implied he could get candy for free?”

Coworker: “No, I didn’t. I told him he could buy candy from you at concession!”

Customer: *screaming* “Yeah, exactly! You didn’t tell me I had to pay! You f****** lied to me!”

Coworker: “I said he could sell you candy. That implies you’d pay for the candy.”

Customer: “No, it doesn’t!”

Coworker: “The word ‘sell’ implies that you’d pay him for the candy.”

Customer: “NO… IT… DOESN’T! I want this for free because you NEVER said I’d have to pay for it!”

Me: “Sir, the candy is all clearly priced. Nowhere is there anything that implies you can have it for free.”

Customer: “Fine!”

(He throws the candy onto the counter in front of me and storms off.)

Me: “I’ve never seen anything quite like that.”

Coworker: “Oh, that happens about once a week here, usually on weekends.”

Me: “You’re kidding?!”


Coworker: “Sadly not.”

The Noisiest Complaint

, , | Right | May 30, 2017

(Our restaurant is a busy one, with many sports teams and large families with children of all ages coming in to dine. On this day, just like any other, the noise level is pretty loud. The hostess has just sat another table down in my section.)

Me: “Hi there! I’m [My Name] and I’ll be your server today. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

Customer: “Can you turn the restaurant down?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “It’s way too loud in here. Can you tell everyone to be quiet? Like, make an announcement or something? I demand that you do this!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I cannot do that. I can get you my manager if you would like to—”

Customer: *yelling* “EVERYONE SHUT UP!”

Me: “Ma’am, I will get you my manager.”

(Two minutes later:)

Manager: “Hi there. Is there a problem?”

Customer: “Yes! The waitress will not turn down the people in here! Tell her to do it or I’m leaving!”

Manager: “I’m sorry. The noise level is sometimes up because we are a sports and family restaurant and it is busy. Can I get you your meal to go?”

Customer: “Ugh!” *storms off*

Not Restoring Confidence In The Sale

, , , , , | Right | May 29, 2017

(I own a custom photo lab/frame shop/studio and do lots of restoration work on photos, something we’re very well known for. A first time client comes in with an old print that has quite a bit of damage and will take a good amount of work to restore. After looking at it I tell him what we can do and the cost.)

Me: “This is going to take a while to repair; there’s lots of damage. We’re going to have to rebuild part of the face on two people and fix the discoloration in several places. The cost for the Photoshop work will be [total].”

Client: “That’s a lot of money; I don’t know if it’s worth it.”

Me: “Well, it’s a lot of work. Only you can decide if getting the image restored is worth it. The memories that go with it are the reason most people want them restored.”

Client: “Tell you what we can do. You restore it and I’ll take a look to see if I’m willing to pay for it and how much.”

Me: “No. If you want it restored you’ll need to pay in advance now.”

Client: “I’m not paying until I see it and then I’ll decide what I’ll pay.”

Me: “Doesn’t work that way. You have no idea the amount of time I will spend and the skill needed to make it look right. This is the price; it’s your choice to pay it or not. But the work only gets done once you pay it.”

Client: “I know it’s all a computer doing it for you. All you do is click the fix button and it’s done in five seconds.”

(This is a bad thing to say to someone like me. My wife will tell you how I yell at TV shows that make it seem that all you have to do is click and the computer not only enhances an image but does all kinds of impossible things automatically.)

Me: “Sorry, that’s not how it works. All the artwork to restore is done by hand; there are no secret plug-ins that do it automatically. If you don’t want to pay the price, then we’re done talking.”

(He ranted a bit more trying to convince me that he understood my job far better than I do since he saw it on a TV show, and they just clicked a button and it was instantly done. I held my ground on the price and not doing the work unless he paid in advance. I knew if I had done the work he would have pulled the “The work is done, so you might as well get what I offer for it than nothing” stunt. It’s good owning the place. I can tell people to take a hike when needed.)

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Will Not Be Party To Your Demands

, , , | OK, USA | Right | May 8, 2017

(I work at a place that hosts parties, period; nothing else. We have two play areas where the parties start. After 90 minutes the groups move into smaller rooms for food, cake, and gifts. The staff cleans the play rooms quickly and then another party moves in. We can accommodate up to 10 parties per area, per day, so we keep to a very tight and strict schedule. This call occurs too often in some form or another but this lady was probably the worst. It is Thursday.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [Party Place]. How can I help you today?”

Caller: “We’re going to have a party there Saturday at 2:00 or 2:30.”

Me: “Okay, what is the child’s name so I can pull up your party plan?”

Caller: *gives name*

Me: “I’m sorry; I don’t have a party under that name. What’s your name? I can look it up that way, too.”

Caller: *gives name*

Me: “I’m not finding that name either. When did you book the party?”

Caller: “I’m booking it now!”

Me: “Oh, sorry for the confusion. We are completely booked for this Saturday. Would you like to try for another day? Let me look for openings.”

Caller: “What do you mean, you’re booked?”

Me: “We have parties scheduled for every available slot on Saturday. I have one opening on Sunday at seven pm and a few during the upcoming week on weeknights.”

Caller: “No! We’re having the party on Saturday. His birthday is on Saturday! Who would have a party on Sunday night?”

Me: “I’m sorry; we have no openings for Saturday.”

Caller: “Why not?!”

Me: “They have all been booked by others.”

Caller: “When?!”

Me: “We generally book our weekends three to five weeks ahead of time.”

Caller: “Nobody told me that.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. When did you call before?”

Caller: “I’ve never called before. So how do we get a party there for this Saturday?”

Me: “I can’t book a party for you for this Saturday. I have one spot open for next Saturday at eight am. The following Saturday has two openings at—”

Caller: “THIS Saturday!”

Me: “All the time slots for this Saturday are booked.”

Caller: “Who’s having a party at two?”

Me: “We keep our guest list private.”

Caller: “We’ll just share with them.”

Me: “All of our parties are private.”

Caller: “Call them and tell them I want that spot.”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “Give me their number and I’ll call them.”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “I need to talk to your manager.”

Me: “That would be me.”

Caller: “This is stupid! My son wants a party there on Saturday.”

Me: “I understand that. However, there are no time slots available for Saturday.”

Caller: “Well, why the h*** not?”

Me: “It would seem many people wanted parties here this Saturday and 20 people actually booked one.”

Caller: “WHEN?!”

Me: “As I said, our weekends generally fill up three to five weeks in advance.”

Caller: “Well, that is just stupid! You’ve ruined my son’s birthday! We’ve sent out invitations!”

(This line fills me with dread. We have a pretty decent system to get each party group from the lobby, into the proper check in room and then into the play rooms. If a random group begins to show up, they will throw a wrench into the system and we will have to monitor the check in rooms closely to make sure non-party guests do not slip in.)

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t know why you would send out invitations to a party you had not booked. There is no way your guests will be able to attend a party here this weekend. If you’d like to book for another day, I’ll be happy to look at the calendar; if not, we have nothing further to discuss.”


(She hangs up. I think, as I always do when folks use that line, “Hmm, which one of us actually knew your son’s birthday before today?” Although not on the schedule, I come in on Saturday just in case. From 1:30 to 5:00 we have random people come in asking where the party is for a child of the same name the caller had mentioned so I can only assume it is her guests. Since they didn’t come en masse, it was not all that difficult to explain that there is no party and get them out of the building. A few ask if their kids could “just play” and I explain that we book private parties only and have no open play areas for public use. Our parties are only two hours long so the time span has me even more confused about this woman. She clearly had no idea what we offer. Sunday comes. I often stop in on Sunday nights to get the weekend accounts settled. I am in my office reviewing receipts. The last party is winding down and the staff are getting things ready for closing when the shift manager comes in.)

Shift Manager: “Um, there’s a lady in the lobby who says she has a party booked for seven pm. It’s not on the books. The staff for party room A is still here, though.”

Me: “Oh for… I think I know who it is. I’ll handle it. Ask the staff if they can stay. It is unlikely they’ll have to. I’ll cover for anyone who has to go home.

(I go out to the lobby.)

Me: “Hello there. Can I get your na—”

Person: *clearly the caller from a few days before* “We. Are. Going. To. Have. A. Party.”

Me: “We don’t have anyone on the calendar. When did you book?”

Person: “I was told there was an opening on Sunday at seven pm. Well, it’s Sunday at seven pm!”

Me: “It is actually 7:20. Our staff for Party Room A has not left so we can accommodate you. How many guests will you have?”

Person: “What does that matter?”

Me: “We charge based on occupancy. If you are expecting fewer than 15 kids, the smaller party package is $175. If you are expecting more, the larger package is $250.”

Person: “WHAT?! That’s outrageous! I’m not paying that!”

Me: “That’s the cost.”

Person: “How much pizza do we get for that?”

Me: “None. Pizza is extra and it has to be ordered in advance. We cannot offer pizza tonight.”

Person: “This is crazy!” *to the two kids standing with her* “Just go play back there. This is crap.”

Me: “Ma’am, they can’t go back there. We’ll need to gather all your guests together for a safety video first and then everyone will go back together.”

Person: “Everyone’s not here yet.”

Me: “We’ll wait for a little while.”

Person: “Some aren’t coming until eight.”

Me: “We can show latecomers the videos when they get here but if they come at 8 they won’t have much time to play. You’ll be going into the party room at 8:30 for cake and gifts.”

Person: “What kind of cake?”

Me: “We don’t supply the cake.”

Person: “What do you supply? This is crap! We are going to play until we 10 if we want to. This is crap.”

Me: “Ma’am, we have a system. Our parties are two hours long. Guests play in the play room for 90 minutes then move into the party room for half an hour. That is all the time the party lasts. Now, how would you like to pay?”

Person: “We aren’t paying until it is over!”

Me: “No. You didn’t book this party. We are willing to accommodate you. Members of my staff are willing to stay longer than they were scheduled. I am willing to assist with this party. But it will be paid for before anyone steps through check in door.”

(The lady storms over to the check in door which is a half door with a door knob. It also has a small latch on the inside, easy to reach but not visible. It is there so no one inadvertently wanders through. She grabs the knob and pushes but does not stop moving so she slams right into it when it did not open.)


Me: “Yes, ma’am, as soon as we take care of payment.”

(She grabbed her kids by the hands and stormed out. The shift manager stepped to the door quickly and locked it. I call mall security and go into the party room for the remaining group whose party is supposed to end in about five minutes. Security got there and the lady was screaming in the parking lot. They got her moved on pretty quickly and by the time the other party kids were leaving, there was nothing to see. We locked the doors, turned off the front lights, and gathered in a party room for sodas. We heard knocks on the door but ignored them. It takes the staff about an hour to get everything cleaned and shut down for the night. During that time, there were many knocks on the door. None were answered.)


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Something Fishy About That Complaint

, , , | FL, USA | Right | November 18, 2016

I work at a major chain pet store as customer service and a pet care specialist. I love animals and enjoy helping customers get set up with new pets, and I have several customers who come in and specifically ask for me. Unfortunately, a big part of the job is handling returns of pets who are deceased. My job is to replace the pet and advise them on anything that they could do to ensure success in keeping the pet.

In our store, customers fill out satisfaction surveys online that have an optional comment field. The managers post the comments each week. One day, I get called in to the manager’s office. She sternly tells me that there was a serious complaint about me in the surveys. She reads it to me and I turn redder and redder as she reads the long description of how a customer came in to return a bunch of fish that had died and I did not express sympathy for her loss. “Her cold, uncaring attitude and clear disregard for my emotional well-being and satisfaction as a customer make me feel too upset and traumatized to return to your store. I hope that you discipline her and perhaps terminate her as she doesn’t exemplify the love of animals that your store claims to represent.”

I was crying by this point. By the list of fish that the customer had described, I remembered the customers and that the interaction with them hadn’t been unusual at all. I had even said I was sorry to hear that their fish died and I spent 20 minutes with them trying to help them sort out why. They had even thanked me.

Despite my great record and all the compliments about me from other customers, my manager penalized me for the complaint, suggesting that I might consider finding another job if I didn’t care for animals. (She knew that I had everything from fish to reptiles to cats myself, so that was BS.) I had my hours cut and had to go through extra training.

Two months later, my manager came to me and apologized, saying that a customer had come in saying that they felt bad because they put in a joke complaint about an employee and were worried that she had gotten fired. Guess who? The reason they gave my manager: “We were drunk or high or something, and were just upset about the fish. Anyway, we’re sorry. She was actually really nice to us.”

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