No Right To A Cashier When You Have No Cash

, , , , | Right | February 14, 2018

(I’m walking the store floor when a part-time employee flags me down. She’s on a cash register, with one customer in front of her who is having an angry conversation on her phone. A large number of bagged clothes are across the counter.)

Employee: “Her store card was over the limit, and her credit card was declined. She’s been on her phone with her credit card. My shift ended fifteen minutes ago. I have to get to the bus stop, or I’ll miss class! I can’t suspend the order; I don’t know what to do!”

Me: “Just go clock out and get to class. I’ll handle this for you.”

(The employee dashes off. I check the order, which has been active for a total of 45 minutes, and do a re-ring so the employee’s check out time isn’t poorly affected, then wait for the customer. After a few more angry minutes, she finally turns to me.)

Customer: “This is such bulls***. They can’t just cut me off. Try my other card. I’m going to sue them. I’m going to… Wait. You’re different.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. The previous employee’s shift ended while you were on the phone.”

Customer: “Shift ended? In what, two minutes? Get her back here.”

Me: “She’s already left.”

Customer: “You can’t do this, changing people behind someone’s back! I was on the phone for two minutes. Get her back here.”

Me: “It was longer than two minutes, and she left.”

Customer: “I am spending hundreds of dollars today. You will get her back here!”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t, ma’am… and your third card was declined.”

Customer: “None of you know how to do this! It can’t be declined. Get your manager!”

Me: “I am the manager. Do you have a fourth method of payment you would like to try?”

Customer: “Forget this!”

(She left the store, abandoning her heaps of clothes.)

Has Some Ill Willing

, , , , , | Right | February 8, 2018

(I am ringing up a man and his family. He is probably in his 50s and his wife is a little younger, and they have a quiet teen daughter.)

Me: “Do you have any coupons?”

(He hands me one for 20% off of juniors’, which would apply to the $150 of the daughter’s clothes. I scan the coupon and the computer kicks it back.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir.” *now reading the coupon* “This one starts next week; it won’t take it now.”

Male Customer: “What? Well, I need this stuff now; we don’t want to come back next week. Why would I have the coupon now if I can’t use it?”

Me: “We send the coupons out a couple days early so that you can have them ready, and they have the dates printed right on the front” *I show him*

Female Customer: *very nicely* “Oh, okay. Sorry, we didn’t read that part.”

Male Customer: “WELL, I DON’T CARE! It creates ill will with the customer when you send us coupons we can’t use and don’t honor them! I’m spending $150 dollars here, and I want to use it!”

Me: “I’m sorry I can’t apply it right now. We have other—”

Male Customer: *repeating* “No! It creates ill will with the customer and makes me not want to shop here. I want to see the manager; he just DOESN’T understand!”

(I called for the manager, who came and manually gave the customer the discount, to my disapproval.)

It’s Not Policy To Keep Our Workers Alive

, , , , , , , | Working | January 31, 2018

(A major highway leads to the mall where I am store manager. I’m driving to the store in the morning during a freezing cold and icy day, when all local schools have been cancelled. Normally, I plan to be at the store a half-hour before my employees. This day, my GPS tells me that the entire highway is blocked off ahead of me due to an accident. I quickly reroute to go around the blocked highway, but spy thousands of cars stuck in standstill traffic across four lanes. I then find myself navigating slippery back roads, passing cars that have slid off onto the shoulder. Traffic is slow or stopped along the back roads, too, as commuters avoiding the highway overwhelm the smaller streets. Finally, I get to the store, a half-hour later than anticipated, and find that two employees have arrived before me out of my opening staff of 19. I send one of my employees a few doors down to a doughnut shop for two dozen doughnuts and a large box of hot chocolate. Then, as employees arrive, I assure each of them that I will be overriding their late clock-in, and I sweeten the deal with coffee and donuts to calm frayed nerves. We manage to get the store open ten minutes before our first customer arrives, and all my employees are in great moods despite the miserable morning. It seems fine… until corporate calls.)

Corporate: “You had a seventeen people come in late, and you overrode every single one. Explain yourself!”

Me: “We had dangerous driving conditions.”

Corporate: “And?”

Me: “And I was later than I anticipated, as well.”

Corporate: “And?”

Me: “And I bought them all breakfast.”

Corporate: “What?!”

Me: “Look: I want my people to know that they should be safe. Their lives are more important than being on time.”

Corporate: “Well, that’s not corporate policy!”

Spanks Are Found On The Third Floor

, , , , , , | Related | January 29, 2018

(I am about to get in line to buy a few items. A lady with a cart and a small child walks near me, also heading to the line to check out. The little one is playing with something, but I’m not paying much attention to find out what.)

Mom: “Keep that up and you’ll get a spanking.”

Small Child: “But you said Daddy likes getting spankings!”

(I had to walk away so the mom couldn’t hear me giggle.)


Didn’t Land With Their Feet On The Ground

, , , , , | Working | January 29, 2018

(An employee is moving from another state and looking to transfer to my store. I am supposed to do an interview even though she is already employed by the company. Usually it’s just a formality, but this time is different! The employee is so late to the interview that I have figured her as a no show and started a different task. When I am paged she has arrived, I make my way over to the office, where our customer service head informs me the employee has been complaining loudly about having to do the interview. I approach, smiling, with my hand out to shake hers.)

Employee: “Oh, I don’t touch people’s hands.”

(I quickly review her employee file with her, where it says she has been working in the shoe department of the other store for four years. We head to our shoe department, and on the way down the escalator, she pulls her cell phone out and starts texting. At the shoe department, I tell her we are going to do a quick customer and employee role play to show she has finished training.)

Me: “Okay, so, I’m the customer and I want my shoe size confirmed, so I need you to measure my feet.”

Employee: “I don’t touch feet.”

Me: “That’s a major part of your job here, and you’ll be assisting people all the time.”

Employee: “It’s the customer’s fault if they can’t put shoes on.”

Me: “Okay… Well, for the next scenario, pretend you are helping a customer. I come up and need assistance right away. Show me how you would respond.”

Employee: “I’d say, ‘Listen. Learn some patience; you aren’t three years old! Sit down and I’ll get to you when I get to you.’”

(She smiled like she did well. At the conclusion of the interview, I contacted corporate and said I would only take her on if she went through full customer service training again. She quit three days into training and submitted a report that my store was too harsh on its employees. I noted that her old store had the lowest customer service rating in the country; it’s no wonder why!)

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