What The Check Are You Playing At?

, , , , | Right | June 8, 2018

(I’m an assistant manager. We can accept out-of-town checks, but we can’t accept out-of-state ones. This has something to do with the way out-of-state checks are handled when they bounce. Basically, if a check from an out-of-state bank bounces, then it is handed over for a criminal fraud charge, as opposed to a local bank where we just hold the bounced check for several days before trying again, and if it fails then, take the person to civil court for the funds. A lady comes into the store to purchase some items, and is paying by check. Since all checks require manager approval, and I am the only one on duty at that time, I head over. When I get there, I see it’s drawn on a Florida bank.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but store policy is that we can’t accept checks from out of state. Do you have another form of payment?”

Customer: “G**d*** you, I need this for my Christmas! You’re going to accept that g**d*** check, or I’m going to call the police on you! It’s legal tender!”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, a check is just a promise to pay. However, if you write that check, and it bounces, then you would be facing criminal charges and arrest. I’d wager that would ruin your Christmas more than me not accepting it.”

Customer: “Well, [Large Retailer] takes it!”

Me: “Yes, they’re a multi-state company, and they can afford to do it, since they have locations just about everywhere. We, on the other hand, only operate in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, it’s the policy.”

(The woman is beside herself, and storms out the store, pausing only long enough to knock over several racks of clothing, shove one of the other clerks, and several boxes of shoes. Another customer comes up to me.)

Other Customer: “Hi, I’m an off-duty cop and saw everything. Would you like to call it in? I can speak with the lady; I can see that she’s sitting in her car.”

(I do, and he brings her back in with other officers. We head back to the office, where she’s going on and on about how a check is legal tender, until one officer tells her that it’s not true, and spells out the Georgia law that I’m trying to protect her from.)

Officer: “What do you want to do?

Me: “I want her escorted from the store, and barred from shopping here ever again.”

(He agrees, informs her of this, and escorts her out. Fast forward exactly one year. I’m the store manager now, and I notice in reviewing my checks that someone on my day off took a check from Florida that bounced. I call the young clerk into the office and explain what she did wrong. She relates how the woman had noted that she’d had problems in the store the year before, and had only came back after a previous assistant manager had quit — I hadn’t quit, just been promoted. I describe the lady from before.)

Clerk: “Yes, that’s her. And I saw her again today, looking through the jewelry department!”

(Thinking fast, I told the clerk to stall the customer, while I called the police. Once the police arrived, I handed over the check, and noted the previous incident. The officers and I headed up, only to have the lady turn around and see me. The moment our eyes met, she dropped everything and took off running for the front door. Somehow she misjudged where the door was, and instead ran face-first right into the window beside it, knocking herself out. She ended up cuffed for fraud, as well as shoplifting; she had pocketed several bits of jewelry. A couple weeks after Christmas, I got a call from my district manager about the whole thing. Not only was the lady wanted in two states for fraud, she’d bilked the company out of several thousand dollars. She’d go to various stores and pull one of two acts, either playing innocent, or using the “[Large Retailer] does it” ploy and get clerks to accept the checks. The problem was, the checks were forgeries, and the bank they called on didn’t even exist. The lady was facing some SERIOUS jail time as a result of it.)

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A Minor Skirmish

, , , , | Right | June 8, 2018

(My family and I are at a large restaurant chain. There is a man that has been verbally harassing a waitress. She brings him a perfect meal every time, and he keeps refusing to accept it. After about 20 or so minutes of this, I get fed up. Keep in mind that I am 15 years old.)

Rude Customer: “Hey, idiot! Get my burger out here ASAP! I don’t have all day!”

Me: “Hey, why don’t you shut your d*** mouth and eat your food?”

Rude Customer: “Oh, yeah? And who’s going to make me?” *stomps over to my table*

Me: *stands up* “Want to ask again?”

Rude Customer: “You think you’re all big and bad, huh?” *grabs my shirt*

Dad: “Yes.” *pulls the man off of me so hard my shirt rips*

Rude Customer: *shocked silence*

(By this time, a manager has come over to see what is going on.)

Manager: “What’s going on here, folks?”

Rude Customer: *suddenly drops to the ground* “This man assaulted me! I demand that you call the police and have him arrested! Also, he should pay for my meal!”

Manager: “I saw everything from the kitchen. You assaulted this minor. If anyone, you’re going to be arrested. You will also pay for the five perfectly fine orders you sent back to the kitchen.”

(The police arrived and arrested the man. My dad tipped the waitress $30, and she gave us free dessert!)

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Fraud, Sew It Seems

, , , | Legal | June 7, 2018

(A manager from another store has called us to arrange a transfer of some sewing machines. She said the customer needs them urgently and that she would come over to pick them up in the afternoon. We also have a visit from our national manager around the same time. He sees the transfers waiting for collection.)

National Manager: “I’m going to [Store location] in the morning. I could take those with me now.”

Me: “[Manager] is on her way to collect them now. She has customers waiting for them this afternoon.”

(Oddly, the manager arrives close to closing time to pick them up. The next morning I get a phone call from the national manager, asking if the machines had been picked up.)

Me: “Yes, late yesterday, just before we closed. I had her sign our copy of the transfer.”

National Manager: “You’re sure about that?”

Me: “Yes.”

National Manager: “Okay, thanks. I’ll have to get back to you.”

(Later I find out that the national manager had noticed that there were no machines at the other store and that none had been sold. He asked the other manager, who denied that she had picked them up. She didn’t know that he had remote access to our CCTV and it clearly showed her collecting the machines. They discovered that she had done this for other transfers at different stores as well. She would wait a few weeks and call to say the items hadn’t arrived and then have the transfer cancelled. And she had swapped the signed copy for her unsigned copy when I was helping her carry the machines out. Thank goodness for cameras; otherwise it might have been me charged with theft.)

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Not What’s Meant By Secondhand Smoke

, , , , | Right | June 5, 2018

(I work at a location of a national chain of gas stations. This particular chain is very strict when it comes to cigarette and beer sales. No matter how old a customer appears, everybody in the party must show ID every time they purchase one of these products.)

Customer #1: “Hey, can I get a pack of [Cigarette Brand]?”

Me: “Sure. Can I see your ID?”

Customer #1: “Dude, I’m 30 years old, and I’m here almost every day. I didn’t bring my wallet.”

(The customer appears to be no older than 17. Currently, both corporate and the local police are running undercover checks to make sure we are verifying proof of age.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir; it’s store policy. We need to ID everybody buying tobacco or alcohol.”

Customer #1: “[Coworker] sells me cigarettes all the time and never asks for my d*** license.”

Me: “[Coworker] doesn’t work here anymore. Do you know why?”

Customer #1: “…”

Me: “He sold without seeing an ID, and it turned out the customer was 15 and was sent here undercover by the cops. Both Binghamton Police as well [Gas Station] corporate are keeping an eye on us regularly, and I’m not risking my job over a pack of cigarettes.”

Customer #1: “So, you’re not going to sell to me?”

Me: “Not without your ID, no.”

(The customer starts rattling off expletives and walks out the door. A minute later, a car drives up to buy gas, and the original customer outside approaches the man before he comes inside. This happens in plain view of the front windows and is also caught on the security cameras.)

Customer #2: “Hi, can I get $20 of regular on pump one, and also a pack of [Same Cigarette Brand]?”

Me: “Sure, can I see your ID, please?”

(The customer shows their ID.)

Me: “Thanks for that. I do apologize, but I’m also going to need to ask your friend to come in and show his ID.”

Customer #2: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “He was in here not even two minutes ago trying to buy the same brand of cigarettes, but didn’t have ID.”

Customer #2: “He’s not with me.”

Me: “Then why did he hand you money before he came in?”

Customer #2: “…”

Me: “Sir, I could see it right from where I was standing behind the register. I also saw it clearly on the CCTV monitor.”

Customer #2: “They’re for me. Can you just sell me the d*** cigarettes?”

Me: “I have to assume you’re buying for him, and I am refusing the sale. I am now asking you to leave the store. If you insist on arguing with me, I’d be more than happy to call the police and let them handle this.”

Customer #2: “F*** you.”

(My boss and I had a good laugh about the story the next day.)

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Social Insecurity Number

, , , , , | Legal | June 5, 2018

(I am a new hire at a popular clothing retailer, but I pick everything up rather quickly. The process for looking up a customer’s [Store] credit card is much like every other store that has a credit card — I require the driver’s license, and the customer inputs their own Social Security number. The following occurs when I am looking up a customer’s account because she forgot her card.)

Customer: “You know, someday they’ll find out this is illegal.”

(I stare at her blankly a moment, not knowing who “they” are or, to be honest, what “this” is. I worry she’s about to accuse me of being a criminal.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Someday they’ll find out it’s illegal for you to ask all this information.”

Me: “Well… I never see your SSN, ma’am, nor do I input any of your info. I just—”

Customer: “Well, someday! It’s totally illegal, asking for such personal info. Someone will end up causing you legal trouble, and it’ll all blow up in your face.”

Me: “Well… this is how every credit card account is looked up, you know. Even [Popular Nationwide Grocer/Retailer] does this, not just us—”

Customer: “Oh, I know! But there’ll be a class-action lawsuit someday! You’ll see!”

(The thing that baffles me the most is that to sign up for the card alone, she would need to give me the ID, the SSN, and additionally her phone number, street address, full name, and yearly income. How she didn’t see the irony is beyond me.)

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