Completely Blowing Up

, , , , | Right | August 8, 2017

(A customer is talking about something that she wants me to blow up to poster size, and telling me that it’s from a certain magazine, and as she’s talking I’m just thinking ‘oh man, I don’t even know if I can copy this’ … So when she’s done talking about it, I start to tell her it might be copyrighted.)

Me: “So, since this is from a magazine, and the page has been cut out, I don’t know what their copyright says. Maybe I can Google the magazine and see if it says anything on their website or something.”

Customer: “I’m not selling it or anything, so it’s fine.”

Me: “Depends on the copyright. Some copyrights specify more than others, and since we don’t have the whole magazine here, I can’t see what it says. Some copyrights are quite strict.”

Customer: “But it’s just for a present. I want a poster of it.”

Me: “Yeah, I know, but for example, if someone wanted a poster of a celebrity, they are supposed to find a poster from a company that is licenced to sell a poster of that celebrity. People aren’t supposed to get a picture off the Internet and blow that up to poster size.”

Customer: “People do that all the time.”

Me: “I’m sure they do, but they’re not allowed. Let me just Google the magazine, in case their copyright information is listed. What was the name of the magazine again?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Um, but you just told me the name of it a few minutes ago.”

Customer: “NO, I DIDN’T! YOU WEREN’T LISTENING TO ME!”

Me: *confused at this strange turn* “Um… okay… maybe I can still find it.”

(I begin Googling names I thought I remembered her saying, to see if something comes up.)

Customer: “I don’t understand why can’t you just blow this up!”

Me: “Because I’m not sure what the copyright on it says. It’s just our company copyright policy. It’s protecting the magazine company, just like any other people who have copyrights.”

Customer: “Can I talk to you manager!? Anyone else! I need to talk to your manager!”

Me: “Sure.” *I sigh when I say sure*

Customer: “Well, aren’t you sassy!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say it like that.”

Customer: “You just have horrible customer service, you know that?! I can’t believe you!”

(After my manager comes out, and tries to explain our policy to her, and how I’m correct, she interrupts him to say that I have horrible customer service and that I was “flippant” with her.)

Me: “I apologize. What did I say that upset you? I didn’t mean to be rude and I don’t want to continue to do that, so if you tell me what I did, maybe I can correct it for the future.”

(I’m trying not to cry at this point, and I’m sure you can hear that through my voice.)

Customer: “You were FLIPPANT!”

Me: “How?”

Customer: “Because you have HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE! YOU WERE FLIPPANT!”

Me: “Okay, again, I apologize, but I didn’t mean to be. I know when I said ‘sure,’ it came out a little rude, but what else did I do?”

Customer: “I SAID YOU WERE FLIPPANT! What you should have done, is tell me ‘I’m sorry this isn’t something we can normally do, but let me get my manager so we can work something out’.”

Me: “Yes, but you see, when it comes to copyright, there is no ‘working out’ that we can do. It’s a serious offence, and we can’t just bend the rules for it.”

Customer: “You should just let the customer be right!”

(My manager stepped in to explain how we couldn’t do that, and how I could be fined personally, so it was a chance we can’t take. I ended up booking in an order of plaque mounting for her photo, instead of blowing it up to poster size, and I was afraid the whole time that she would accuse me of being ‘fake’ or something since I was being polite. After the customer left, my manager called me into the office to tell me that the customer spoke to him afterwards, apologizing, and taking back her accusations about me. She said that I was very nice and helpful, and she was just mad at the situation and took it out on me. SERIOUSLY?!)

The Great Zucchini Heist

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 3, 2017

My grandfather is a landscaper and gardener, so my grandparents have a massive vegetable garden in their backyard. It produces way more food than they actually need. My grandmother has a deal with one of her neighbors, who is an amazing cook and baker as well as a good friend to my grandmother, where she can come over at anytime and take as many vegetables as she wants and she’ll bake my grandparents several loaves of chocolate zucchini bread in return. She is the only person they have this deal with, though my grandmother will sometimes give free vegetables to neighbors who ask for them.

One day her friend comes over for some zucchini because she is having a get together and decides to make some bread for the dessert table, only to discover that the plants are completely barren of fruit. There aren’t even any unripened, not quite ready to pick zucchinis on the plant despite the fact that it’s peak season for them. She asks my grandparents about this, wondering if they’re having a bad year with their plants, but my grandmother shows her a zucchini she just picked the previous day and claims there were dozens more at least.

A week later, someone takes most of the tomatoes and digs up almost all of the carrots, which is discovered because the neighbor came over for a couple of onions for a soup she’s making for a dinner party she’s hosting. After the theft is discovered, her husband, who is a retired, disabled Vietnam vet who doesn’t really do much other than stay at home and entertain friends because his disabilities make it difficult for him to walk or travel, sits outside for two days, watching the garden while my grandparents aren’t home, until he catches the thief.

It turns out another one of the neighbors saw that my grandmother’s friend was going in and out of their garden and just taking vegetables whenever she wanted and decided that meant it was open for anyone to just take whatever they wanted. He was stealing the vegetables and selling them at a local farmer’s market.

When my grandfather confronts him, the guy tells my grandfather that it was his own fault for not telling him that he couldn’t just take all of them for profit. He never asked if it was okay or even indicated that he was doing it in the first place…

He later got arrested after security footage revealed he was the one who was stealing another neighbor’s prized, show-quality lop rabbits from an outdoor hutch and it turned out he was butchering and eating them. He had even cut a lock they had installed to try to prevent the theft. I guess she never told him that he couldn’t just take and eat her pets, either.

The Gift Receipt That Keeps On Giving

, , , | Right | June 30, 2017

(I work in a popular clothing retail store in the UK and deal often with returns. It is around mid- April, so the UK Mother’s Day has passed and we’ve also recently had a sale, so returns are more frequent.)

Customer: “I’d like to return this, please.”

Me: “That’s not a problem. Was there anything faulty at all?”

Customer: “Yes! I got it as a gift on Mother’s Day and I went to wear it and there is a huge tear under the arm.”

(The item is a coat that I know went into the sale. The tear is nowhere near the hem so it is not a manufacturing fault and actually looks like the person has worn the coat and caught it on something, or so I originally believe. The store has a very relaxed returns policy so I proceed.)

Me: “I am sorry about that; do you have the receipt at all?”

Customer: “Why would I have a receipt? It’s a gift.”

Me: “If it was purchased as a gift in store then we do offer gift receipts. Without any proof of purchase I am afraid I can only offer a gift card.”

Customer: “That’s not correct at all. I know my rights. It’s faulty and I want the money back.”

Me: “I’m sorry but a gift card is all I can offer you as it was a gift and you do not have any proof of purchase.”

Customer: “Do you have a manager I could speak to?”

(I agree to get the store manager and she approaches a couple of minutes later. The manager approaches the woman and my manager assesses the coat.)

Manager: “As this tear looks like it has been caused by something catching on the coat, we can’t class this as a faulty purchase.”

Customer: “It’s faulty! I got it like that. I know my rights!”

Manager: “I’m sorry but all I can offer you is the gift card, and I don’t actually have to do that as it is not a fault made by the company. As [My Name] has said, without any proof of purchase I cannot give you any money back.”

(The back and forth arguing between my manager and the customer lasted for around five minutes and eventually the woman realised she wouldn’t be getting anywhere and grudgingly accepted the gift card. My manager stays close by as I proceeded with the transaction. One thing to note about all of our clothes and items is that they all have unique numbers when we scan them and so we can track every purchase made. The coat had all the tags taken off but the actual clothes tag that’s stitched in still had a barcode that I was able to scan. Much to my surprise, the coat was flagged up as never having been purchased at any store and it seemed now it had been stolen. I called over my manager who allowed me to continue despite this, as the gift card would have to be spent in store anyway. Alongside this, without the proof of purchase I was only able to offer the sale price as a return. She did come back to complain about that but I had gone on break by then. We speculated that the coat must have been stolen and they put the tear in to try and claim it faulty so they could essentially get free cash! Chancers.)

Hopefully Not An Ethics Class

, , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(In class we got on the topic of the Northeast Blackout in 2003.)

Professor: “I was working in [Large Retail Store] at the time. We sold generators for way more than they cost, and we pocketed the cash.”

That Return Is A Pipe Dream

, , , , | Right | June 27, 2017

(I am the assistant manager at a head shop in a non-legal state, so everything we sell is “for tobacco use only.” For obvious reasons, we do not accept ANY returns. We have signs all over our store that state this. A customer came in and insists on trying to return a used water-pipe.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but due to the nature of our products we can’t accept any returns.”

Customer: “That’s not fair! I didn’t know that before I bought this. You should have told me!”

Me: “Sir, we do have signs displaying our policy, and it’s printed in the receipt as well. I’m sorry we can’t help you, but taking back items like this could endanger our business. Is the product defective? We might be able to offer a discount on a different item.”

Customer: “No, but I found a better deal at [Different Head Shop] and I want that one instead. You have to take it back!”

(I get the manager, we go back and forth like this for a minute. Then, what is honestly the craziest thing I’ve ever seen at my job happens.)

Customer: “This is against the law; this is against my rights! I’m going to call the cops on you!”

Manager: *in a total state of disbelief, because the water-pipe had clearly been used for something that is illegal in our state* “Sir, I’m sorry you’re so upset, but we really can’t return this. If you feel the need to call the police, I can’t stop you.”

(The customer proceeded to actually call the police, who arrived in about 20 minutes. We saw him outside talking to the cop, gesturing with the water pipe that was used for illegal purposes. He didn’t end up in trouble but I believe the water pipe was confiscated.)

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