This Customer Is Beyond Explanation

, , , | Right | October 10, 2019

(A woman approaches our cashier to ask if we carry “water things for cats.” Since the cashier is in a transaction with a line of people, she pages for floor help. I come over to see what is going on.)

Me: “Hi there. How can I help you?”

Customer: “You work here? I need a water thing. It’s for my cats.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. Let’s go take a look at what’s on the shelf. Was there something in particular you were looking for?”

Customer: “No. I don’t know what it’s called. I’ll know it when I see it.”

(We go to the aisle and start going through her options. Does she want a regular dish? No, her cat won’t drink from a dish. How about a fountain? No, that requires a filter and cleaning and she doesn’t want to plug it in. Finally, we come to the gravity water dispensers.)

Me: “You fill the bottle with water and put it in like this, and then the water flows out and fills the basin. No electricity, no filters, it’s easy to wash, and you probably won’t have to fill it more than a few times a week.”

Customer: “How does it work? Why doesn’t the water just come out?”

Me: “There’s a trigger at the bottom of the bottle that doesn’t open until it’s pushed—”

Customer: “Pushed by what? I don’t see what you’re doing.”

Me: “See this white piece that moves up when I push on it? That’s the trigger. It’s held shut by gravity to keep the water in until something — like the basin — pushes it up to let the water out.”

Customer: “This sounds too complicated. How will my cats know what to do?”

Me: “Well… the cats just drink from the basin. There’s a water fountain by the bathrooms. We can put some water in it and I can show you what I’m talking about.”

Customer: “No. Oh! What fountains do you have?”

Me: “For animals? The fountains are here but they’re all electric.”

Customer: “Won’t they take batteries? I’m sure you can put some 9V or something in it.”

Me: “No… they’re all plug-in, unfortunately. If you don’t want a regular bowl and you don’t want to use electricity, the gravity basin is your best bet.”

Customer: “Well, you’re not doing a very good job of explaining how it works.”

(I explain it again, taking the whole thing apart and showing her piece by piece.)

Me: “I’m sure there are videos online if you’d like me to look them up. Or I can give you a demonstration.”

Customer: “No. If you can’t explain it, I don’t want to buy it.”

Me: *fed up* “Okay, well, I hope you find what you’re looking for elsewhere. Have a nice night.”

(She later calls the store and complains about my lack of knowledge about products and my attitude. I walk my manager through the interaction.)

Me: “I don’t know what else I could have done to help her, short of taking it home for her and showing her cats how to use it. I can explain it a dozen different ways but that doesn’t change her ability to understand.”

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Peaky Binders

, , , , , | Right | October 10, 2019

Customer: “I have to return these binders my kids didn’t need for school. I don’t have the receipt.”

Me: “Did you maybe get the receipt emailed to you?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Hmm. Normally, we could look up the receipt with the SKU of the item and verify it with your card number, but we have sold so many of these binders in the last few weeks it would take us forever to find it. Without a receipt, the register will only let me give you a store credit for the lowest price it’s been sold at in the last 90 days, and these were buy-one-get-one-free recently, so I know they’re going to come up at a penny. Do you want to try looking for your receipt and coming back?”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just scan them and see?”

Me: “Okay.” *scans them and they all come up at a penny* “No, it won’t let me give you anything for them, unfortunately.”

Customer: “Well, what if I just buy new ones and use that receipt to return them?”

Me: *hesitantly* “That’s… fraud…”

Customer: “How is that fraud?”

Me: “Because you’re using a new receipt to return something old. And they’re not on sale anymore, so if you originally bought them on sale, you would be getting more money back than what you paid for them. Plus, you would still be stuck with binders you don’t want, anyway.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because you would have twice as many binders as you have on your receipt.”

Customer: “Well, I would just go to another store to return the other ones.”

Me: “You can’t do that.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “You can’t return something twice with the same receipt.”

Customer: “It’s not fraud just because I can’t find my receipt!”

Me: “No, but trying to buy new ones and return them all at the new price is fraud. Are you sure you can’t just find your receipt?”

(She leaves and calls the store to talk to a manager — I’m pretty sure she is just calling from the parking lot — and the manager says we can try looking her receipt up. She comes back in immediately and my manager can’t find her receipt.)

Manager: “I can’t find the receipt. And these binders have had different sale prices during the back to school time, and they’re expensive, so I can’t just return them without a receipt.”

Customer: “Can’t you just scan ones from the shelf, then? So they don’t ring up as a penny?”

Manager: “They’re the same binders.”

Customer: “But the ones I’ve brought in ring up as a penny. Can’t you just scan new ones so they scan at full price?”

Manager: “No, they’re the same binders; they will still ring up at a penny. The register does it automatically when there isn’t a receipt.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why can’t just give me what I paid for them!”

Manager: “Because you don’t have a receipt… which tells us what you paid for them…”

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High-Fiber, High Price

, , , , | Right | October 9, 2019

(It is my first job serving customers at a bakery. A bossy regular customer comes up during a busy time. She has used two rewards cards up to the point where she is entitled to one free loaf from each card.)

Customer: “I want four loaves of bread: two regular and two high-fibre, all sliced thick.”

Me: “Sure, no problem.”

(I slice and bag her loaves and return with them to the counter.)

Customer: “I want to pay for the two high-fibre loaves and get the two regular ones free on my loyalty cards.”

Me: “Actually, you can use the high-fibre loaves as your free loaves and pay for the two regulars. It’s $1 cheaper that way.”

Customer: “No, I want the regular loaves to be free!”

(I have already rung through her order as two regular loaves. She hands me her money and I give her $1 change.)

Customer: “Why do I have change? I gave you the right amount for two high-fibre loaves! You’re not listening to me! I want to pay for the high-fibres and get the regulars free!”

(She has the $1 in her open hand so, losing patience, I literally take it back.)

Me: “I was trying to save you this but never mind, now you’ve paid for two high-fibre loaves. Have a nice day.”

(I could tell in her eyes that what I was trying to do had finally dawned on her but she didn’t say another word as she took her bread and left.)

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Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 39

, , , , | Right | October 9, 2019

(At the phone store where I work, an elderly husband and wife come in with a flip phone. We very rarely sell flip phones these days, let alone see used ones, but interactions with flip phone users tend to boil down to an unwillingness to attempt learning anything new, or a lack of use for smartphone technology. This interaction is firmly in the former category.)

Husband: “There’s a little symbol on the screen! I can’t get it to go away! Can you help us make it go away?”

Me: *looking at the phone* “Sir, this symbol shows that you have a voicemail. Would you like me to teach you how to use your voicemail?”

Husband: “I just want to make the symbol go away!”

(I press the button for voicemail and it plays. The message is from the couple’s son.)

Voicemail: “Hi, Dad, it’s [Son], just wanted to see how the new cell phone is working out! Give me a call back when you get the chance. Love you, bye.”

Me: “The message is from your son.”

Wife: “He should have called the house!”

Husband: “The little symbol is gone!”

Me: “I can show you how to get rid of it yourself next time if you’d like.”

Husband: “No, thanks! If it comes back I’ll just come in again!”

Me: “Okay, sir, have a good day.”

Wife: “So, I guess we’ll see you next week!”

Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 38
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 37
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 36

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Dead Lockets Club

, , , , | Learning | October 9, 2019

(I frequently wear necklaces. When I’m in middle school, my favorite one to wear is a black and silver locket. I’m working on a group project when one of my partners speaks up.)

Girl: “Is that a locket?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Girl: “What did you put in it?”

Me: *opens locket to show that it’s empty* “Nothing yet.”

Girl: “Can you put my picture in there?”

(I’m a little taken aback, because while I know this girl pretty well as a side effect of going to a small school, I don’t particularly enjoy her company and we’ve never been close enough to be considered friends.)

Me: “Uh, I was going to put in a picture of my dog—“

Girl: “Aw, why not me?”

Me: “Well, the dog is dead, so…”

(She left me alone after that.)

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