The Biography Of A Cheapskate

, , , | Right | September 19, 2017

(I work at a local bookstore that is part of an independent chain. Because we do not make as much of a profit as our competitors, we cannot heavily discount the prices of our books. I receive a phone call from a customer.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Bookstore]. This is [Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, hi. I was wondering if you had the new biography of Napoleon. I believe it’s called, Napoleon: A Life?

(I find the book on our new biography table, and it is quite the tome. I bring it to the counter and return to the phone.)

Me: “You’re in luck. We do have it. Would you like us to hold it for you?”

Customer: “How much does it cost?”

Me: “Looks to be forty-five dollars, sir.”

Customer: “Wow.”

Me: “I know, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s a big hardcover book, and I’ve heard it’s very good.”

Customer: “…do you happen to do any trade-ins at your store?”

Me: *not initially understanding the question* “Sir, the only trade-in we’ve done is a textbook trade-in, which we stopped doing months ago.”

Customer: “So, I couldn’t just come in and exchange another book for the Napoleon book?”

Me: “…No, sir. We don’t do anything like that.”

Customer: “Aw, man. Not even for a Complete Works of Shakespeare? It’s brand new!”

Me: “…I’m sorry, sir. You’ll just have to buy the book.”

(The customer proceeded to use the common argument that our competitors were selling the book for cheaper, and I reminded him that it was his choice to buy a cheaper book or support a local store. I hung up, shaking my head, wondering just how he thought he could get away with bartering books, especially when we have plenty of Shakespeare. The “Complete Works” book he had was probably nowhere near as expensive as the Napoleon book!)

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You Can’t Massage The Truth

, , , | Right | September 18, 2017

(I work at an airport spa as a receptionist and nail manicurist, and some pretty wacky people come through here. I’m 17, but look a little younger than that. My appearance tends to attract older, creepy men to ask me strange questions. One day, a man enters the spa, and this interaction happens:)

Man: “I was wondering about a massage; what are my options?”

Me: “Of course. These are your options right here.” *I show him the list of massages available.*

Man: “So, if I get a table massage, what will you do?”

(My coworker is the massage therapist and has just exited the massage room, so she hears the rest of this conversation.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir; I’m not the therapist, I just do—”

Man: “I AM THE CUSTOMER, AND I DEMAND THAT YOU MASSAGE ME. I AM PAYING!”

Me: “I’m well aware that you are a paying customer, but I legally cannot provide that service. I am only licensed to do nai—”

Man: “YOU MUST DO THE SERVICE, OR I WILL COMPLAIN!”

Me: “Certainly. Let me give you my supervisor’s number, so that you can complain about a service I legally cannot provide you.”

Man: *his face goes red* “I… WELL, I NEVER!”

Me: “I am a manicurist, though.”

Man: “I WANT A MASSAGE!”

Me: “Of course. Sign in here for me, then.”

Man: “I want you to do it.”

Me: “Please leave; we cannot provide you a service.” *It’s nearly midnight, and my patience has all but evaporated.*

(The man glares at me for a full minute, before literally running out.)

Coworker: “He really wanted that massage.”

Me: “Yeah, I don’t understand why he insisted on me, though.”

Coworker: “You’re too innocent to be working at an airport.”

(She explained later why he really wanted me to do it. I was not flattered.)

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Pop Goes Your Intention

, , , , , , , | Learning | September 16, 2017

(A student walks into the cafeteria. This student’s family owns numerous local pizza restaurants.)

Student: *to cafeteria worker* “I brought this pastry from home. Can you toast it in your toaster?”

Cafeteria Worker: “If I bring a frozen pizza from home into your uncle’s restaurant and ask him to heat it up in the oven, will he do that for me?”

Student: “Well, no.”

Cafeteria Worker: “Then I guess you’re out of luck.”

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Four A Few Dollars More

, , , , , | Right | September 14, 2017

(I am an assistant manager. We are located in a suburb, and our clientele tends to be on the affluent side. It is not common for us to have clients from the city branches come out to our area. A customer approaches the counter and asks to withdraw money. I am standing nearby and overhear the conversation, though I am waiting on the phone and cannot interject.)

Customer: “I want to withdraw money, but I have nothing in the account.”

Teller: “Let me look it up… You are correct. We cannot do a withdrawal, because the balance is currently at zero.”

Customer: “It’s just $4! You can withdraw $4!”

Teller: “I am sorry, ma’am, I cannot do a withdrawal if it will take the account negative.”

Customer: “You don’t understand! I drove all around the city looking for these lamps and [Small Chain Store] has them! I’ve already spent $20 in gas going back and forth from the city! They’ll only hold them for one day! I can’t drive back out! It’s just $4!”

(The customer continues to ramble on over how she thought she enough money, but only needs $4 to get the set, and she really needs both lamps.)

Customer: “Well, ask someone else! Get your supervisor! My social security check comes in every month to this bank, you’ll have the money tonight!”

(I have returned to my desk to resume my phone call, but I am directly in front of the teller line. The teller approaches the closest supervisor, and he confirms that they cannot do the transaction, and returns to the customer he is helping.)

Customer: “This is why I hate this bank! You’re awful, horrible people! You have no customer service!”

(The customer has interrupted the supervisor and his customer, making the second customer step away from the window and cover her information and money.)

Supervisor: “Ma’am, we can’t take an account negative. If the money isn’t in the account, there is nothing we can give you.”

Customer: “I see the money there in your drawer! You have it! You just won’t give it to me!”

Supervisor: “So, what you’re saying is you want me to either steal from the bank or give you the money from my own wallet.”

Customer: “Yes! It’s just $4! You can take it from my social security deposit. It comes tonight!”

Supervisor: “We can’t help you until it is in your account. Come back tomorrow.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I want to see the manager!”

(I have finished up my phone call at this point, and I know it will inevitably fall upon me to handle the customer, as the branch manager had his own customer. The customer storms into my office and reiterates her lamp story. I look up the account.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, unless you would like to apply for a loan or get a credit card…”

Customer: “Fine! Give me a loan for f******* $4!”

Me: “Unfortunately, neither the loan nor the Visa would be approved today. Additionally, for loans originating in the branch, it’s a $99 fee, so you’ll probably want to reconsider coming back tomorrow.”

Customer: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! YOU ARE AN AWFUL PERSON! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF EVERYDAY?! IT’S PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND PLACES LIKE THIS BANK THAT’RE RUINING OUR SOCIETY! ALL I F******* WANT IS FOUR F******* DOLLARS AND YOU WON’T GIVE IT TO ME!”

(Customer #2, the one who was interrupted earlier, runs up, slams down a $5 bill, then runs to her car.)

Customer: *looking surprised, tries to catch the other woman before running back and jabbing her finger in my face* “You see THAT?! That’s a good person! Not like YOU!

(The customer leaves and I am left in utter shock at the entire situation. My coworker walks over to me.)

Coworker: “You know, you’re going to turn on the TV next week and find yourself on that show ‘What Would You Do’ or whatever it is.”

Me: “Yeah, maybe…”

Supervisor: “It’s Friday. Her social security won’t be in until Sunday night, at the earliest.”

(And that was when I knew I needed to get out of retail banking.)

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The Bill Of Wrongs

, , , , , , | Right | September 13, 2017

(We’re a small 60 seat cafe with extremely high turnover; from eight am until midday we can seat and serve 300 guests.)

Customer: “Hi, I’ve got a booking for [Name].”

Me: “Right, your party of 17 is right over here.”

Customer: “Oh, what about the kids?”

Me: “Kids?”

Customer: “Yes, we booked for 17 adults, but we’ve got our kids. You’re going to need to find some seats.”

Me: “How many?”

Customer: “There will be 42 of us.”

Me: “Dude, that’s half the restaurant. We have bookings all day; if there are 42 of you, we can’t accommodate you.”

Customer: “That’s okay, the kids can just play and sit on their parents laps.”

Me: “Sure, fine, your table is right here.”

(This party trashes the cafe; the bathroom looks like a rugby team has been practicing in there. There is food from one end of the place to the other. The kids have drawn on the walls behind their parents’ table. Disaster. We lose 200 customers on this day, and we’re looking at a five-figure black hole of turnover, plus the repair bill. The worst part happens after they’ve finished.)

Customer: “Okay, so I had two poached eggs, toast, bacon, and two flat whites. Can you split that out of the bill please?”

(At this stage the bill is in four-digit territory, and I want these people out.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, we don’t split bills; here’s a calculator and a copy of your receipt.”

(The bill is 1.5 meters long.)

Customer: “Oh, no, we’re all going to pay separately. Otherwise, we’ll just leave; this is terrible service.”

Me: “You’re welcome to leave, sir. I’ll call the police now, and have them come down and arrest your party for theft of service, and vandalism for what your kids have done to my venue.”

Customer: “Maybe we’ll just pay.”

Me: “Thank you, sir.”

(It took this mob another 20 minutes of yelling and fighting with each other to sort out the bill. They tried to give it to me four times; each time it was short and got sent back. No tip. No apology.)

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