Hopefully, These Policies Outlive The Crisis

, , , , , | Right | May 26, 2020

Our management has put three signs up on the store’s front window as a result of the recent health situation. The first one shows our new hours, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, rather than our usual 7:00 am to 12:00 am. The second one says that we are no longer allowing returns, refunds, or exchanges. The third one says not to enter the store if you have symptoms.

One morning, around 7:45 am, an angry-looking older woman starts pounding on the door. The manager tries to tell her we’re not open through the glass door, but she doesn’t go away. Finally, fifteen minutes later, he lets her in.

Customer: “What the h*** is wrong with you?! I’ve been waiting an hour to get in here!”

This is an absolute lie. The manager ignores it.

Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Because of the outbreak, we’re opening at eight now. I couldn’t have let you in until just now.”

Customer: “That’s absurd! What kind of store is this?! If you’re going to change your hours, you should let people know!”

Manager: “We did let people know. There’s a sign right there with our new hours in very large lettering.”

Customer: “That’s just words on a paper; it doesn’t mean anything! Haven’t you ever heard of a teensy, tiny, little thing called, oh, I don’t know, customer service?!

My manager smiles like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.”

Manager: “What can I help you with?”

Customer: “About d*** time!”

She holds up a plastic bag with our store’s logo on it.

Customer: “I bought this roast chicken yesterday and it was bad. I want to return it and get my money back.”

In the same tone, he tells her about our new hours and policies.

Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am. Because of the outbreak, we are no longer doing returns or refunds.”

Customer:What?! How can you not be doing refunds?!”

Manager: “It’s unsafe to allow products that have been removed from the store back into the store in case they’ve been contaminated.”

Customer: “You can’t do that! This chicken was bad and you’re supposed to give me back my money!”

Manager: “We can’t help you with that at this time.”

Customer: “You can’t just say you’re not giving refunds anymore if you don’t tell people!”

Manager: “There’s a sign on the door saying that we’re not doing it anymore.”

Customer: “F*** your signs, f*** your chicken, and f*** you!”

She turns around and stomps out of the store, lifting the chicken over her head and slamming it down onto the pavement in the parking lot on her way out.

Me: “If she didn’t read the first two signs, what are the odds she read the one about not coming in if you’re sick?”

Manager: “We are all going to die.”

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We’re Not Kitten; This Lady Is Great

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 25, 2020

Last week, we received word that the local shelter had been running low on food and supplies to feed the animals there, as many had turned to the shelter for help feeling their pets during quarantine. This takes place in our local grocery store.

Old Lady: “Run me over, why don’t you! My, that’s a lot of pet stuff. I’m guessing you guys have a bunch of pets.”

We have a cart full of bags of food and litter, as well as wet food.

Me: “It’s not for us. The humane society is running low on food, so we’re donating.”

Old Lady: “Oh, well, good for you.”

Her phone rings and she wanders off.

Me: “Huh. Weird.”

A few minutes later, the lady hunts us down in the dog food aisle and shoves a $20 bill into my mom’s hand. She refuses to take it back no matter what.

Old Lady: “I have pets, too, you know.”

We used that extra money to buy kitten formula and food, as it is kitten season. Faith in humanity: restored.


This story was included in our May 2020 Inspirational Roundup.

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Socially Distancing Yourself From The Jerks

, , , , , , , | Right | May 25, 2020

The story with this customer is a bit of a saga. It begins in late fall of 2019 and continues into March 2020.

We have an older semi-regular shopper at my grocery store who is just an a** to all of us. He has never once been polite. I honestly don’t remember what he said to me the first time I had him at my till, but the interaction caused me to dislike him from the start. I think it was just his “cashiers are worthless and your only purpose is to serve me” attitude.

The second time this customer came through my till, I was warned by my supervisor that he would be difficult to deal with, and I received similar treatment from him. I was yelled at for not immediately moving to load his single bag of groceries into his cart. Admittedly, loading carts is something we are required to do by corporate. However, since we are the only store in the area with that policy, most customers load their carts themselves, especially if they have small purchases. They always thank us when we do it for them. But not him.

The third time I saw this customer, I was the supervisor on duty, and he went through a coworker’s till. I went over to her till and bagged for her — even though cashiers at my store are supposed to work without a bagger — because I knew this customer would be disrespectful to her. I was right. He yelled at her for touching his groceries before he had everything out of his cart and then yelled at her again when she took too long to ring him up… which wouldn’t have happened if she could have started when he was loading the belt.

The fourth time I saw this customer, I was again the supervisor on shift, but I couldn’t get to my (other) coworker’s till in time to help her. He berated her for similar “mistakes.” He first yelled at her because she offered to put his receipt in a bag. Then, the customer yelled at her again when she asked if he would prefer to hold on to his receipt or have her toss it.

I’m sure you get the idea; this guy is a piece of work. None of us like dealing with him, but you know how it is when you work in customer service. No matter how big of a jerk someone is being, you still have to smile and be polite.

The most recent time I see this customer is in March 2020, during the crisis. A lot has changed in my store in order to keep it running. Now, there are plexiglass screens in front of the tills, sliding doors behind them, and markers every six feet so customers know where to stand in line. We’ve also had to hire a lot of new people, both to cope with panic buying and because we need to have more tills open to reduce the number of people in close proximity to each other. Also, corporate has suspended our cart-loading policy for the moment, since it would mean getting within six feet of customers.

This time, my supervisor notices this customer first, as he gets into line at a till manned by one of the new hires. At her suggestion, I let the new hire out on break so she doesn’t have to deal with him on her third day after training.

He is just as rude to me as he has been in the past. I complete the sale with a smile on my face in spite of this. When I finish ringing him up, he demands I move his groceries to his cart. I take great pleasure in telling him he will have to load his three bags himself, as I am no longer required to do so by corporate, due to the current crisis.

It’s not much, but boy, did that feel good.

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Finding Pawsitivity

, , , , , | Related | May 24, 2020

My mom has two dogs who are both spoiled absolutely rotten and too smart for their own good sometimes. They both particularly love Frosty Paws, a dog ice cream which seems to alternate between being very easy to find at local supermarkets and notoriously exclusive to certain big box stores, instead.

Usually, my mother is willing to try different shops to find the elusive treats, but with the current outbreak and family health concerns, it’s been near impossible. We can’t even mention the name in front of the dogs unless we want to deal with several minutes of dramatic doggie whining and begging.

Being a grocer and thus essential, it becomes my mission to find said ice cream. I am lucky enough to discover one box at a store near my work. The delivery, however, goes down like a covert operation as I place the treats in a lunch box so the dogs don’t see the packaging.

Stepdad: “What are you doing here?”

I hold up the lunch box while trying to keep it as far as possible from the dogs, who are very excited to see me.

Me: “I got them.”

Sister: “Them?”

I look between the dogs and the bag.

Me: “THEM.”

Stepdad: *Lightbulb moment* “You got FPs?”

Me: “It took three stores, but I got one box.”

Stepdad: “Oh, you are a f****** hero.”

We make our way into the kitchen where my mother joins in asking why I’ve shown up. The dogs, meanwhile, have mostly calmed down but are circling.

Stepdad: “She found FPs.”

Mom: “Seriously?! Oh, we’re gonna have happy puppies.”

She takes the lunchbox and attempts to stealthily unload the contents into the freezer as it took me some time to get to the house and they must refreeze.

Sister: “Wait, did you get the PB flavor?”

Me: “Beggars can’t be choosers, but yeah.”

Sister: “Oh, very happy puppies.”

Of course, then the dogs started losing their minds all over again because they caught sight of what Mom was unloading, and they proceeded to park their butts in front of the freezer and start up their Frosty Paws crying.

Happy ending: they were over the moon when they finally received their icy treats.

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A Panic (Buying) Attack

, , , , , , , | Right | May 24, 2020

I am doing our weekly grocery shopping at a certain large box store. I hate grocery shopping, especially there, and have started experiencing mild anxiety attacks because of it. No problem; I usually bring my daughter and have her do most of the work, and if I need to sit down she can finish.

Not today. In keeping with the social distancing recommendations, I go alone. For two hours. The attack hits halfway through the checkout process, and I nearly pass out.

No less than four staff come to help me out. One finishes checking me out — I am on the self-checkout lane — another stays with me while I sit long enough to make it out to the car, and a third walks me out and loads my groceries so I can sit in the air conditioning.

It is nice, in the middle of all this panic, to see retail employees taking the time to take care of a customer like that.


This story was included in our May 2020 Inspirational Roundup.

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