Wish You Could Liquidate Some Customers

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2017

(A big department store has recently declared bankruptcy and is closing down. All the stores are now in liquidation. The new prices are clearly marked on the labels and any additional discounts are marked in bright posters all over the store. On top of that, this is pretty big news in general which has been covered by many media outlets. I am shopping with a friend because I have an old gift card that I want to use it before the store closes forever. I am next in line and am browsing the “impulse buy” section. I am standing about five feet away from the customer in front of me, who is at the cash ringing her items through.)

Sales Rep: *tells woman what the total is*

Customer: “No. That’s not right. They were on sale in the flyer.”

Sales Rep: “I understand, and I do apologize. The thing is, we’ve gone into liquidation, so we can no longer honor those prices. As you can see on the tag, this is the liquidation price; plus, there’s a 20% discount.”

Customer: *stares at the employee as if he is speaking in a different language* “What?! But it’s in the flyer!

Sales Rep: “I can go check with my supervisor and see if I can put it through for the flyer price.” *leaves*

(I continue to browse a rack of flip flops that are behind the customer, four or five feet away.)

Customer: “CAN YOU PLEASE BACK AWAY, JUST LIKE A FEW FEET?”

(I do not realize she is speaking to me, since I am not very close to her and I am within the area blocked off for lining up, and there’s people behind me, so I don’t really have anywhere to move to. I just ignore her and think maybe she’s talking to someone else.)

Sales Rep: *returns* “Hi, so, I can’t make any changes to the liquidation prices.” *begins to explain to her what a liquidation is and why he can’t make any changes*

Customer: “Well, can you just ring it in at the sale price from the flyer, and then ring it in at the liquidation price so that I can see the difference?”

(The sales rep begins ringing through the items to compare prices. I step back into line, away from the flip-flops. I am now three or four feet away from the customer, but I am by no means “too close,” as I am standing in the marked area for the next customer in line to wait. The customer, who is now arguing about what ends up being about a $1 difference between sale price and liquidation price, suddenly turns to me.)

Customer: “CAN YOU PLEASE BACK AWAY FROM ME A FEW FEET?! I CAN’T FOCUS WITH YOU STANDING SO CLOSE!”

Me: *fed up, as we have been waiting on this woman over ten minutes* “Yeah! Okay!”

(I left the line and went to a different cashier elsewhere in the store. I was next in line there, as well, and was done with my transaction in about two minutes. I had to walk past the original register and noticed the same lady was still there, arguing about her store points, with a line of over ten people behind her. Her purchase was just four pairs of socks. Also, the cashier who checked me out told me that customers have gone crazy with the sale; she witnessed a woman slap a complete stranger across the face when she thought she was trying to step in front of her in line.)

Hat’s Off For The Attempt

, , , , , | Romantic | November 22, 2017

Years ago, my husband’s uncle was shopping for lingerie for his wife. Unfortunately, he really did not know anything about bra sizes, let alone what size his wife wore.

When the saleswoman asked about size, [Uncle] doffed his hat, looked around, and said, “Seven and a half.”

A Lesson in Perspective

, , , , , | Hopeless | November 17, 2017

(I work part-time at a department store. I am in a bad mood about some trivial things when a very nice man comes up to the cash register to buy something. We are having a pleasant, even fun, conversation. After I learn that he is from a foreign country, I ask:)

Me: “Are you here [in Southern California], for business or pleasure?”

Customer: “Pleasure. I am here with my two little kids.”

Me: “Have you been to [Amusement Park #1]?”

Customer: “Yes, and to [Amusement Park #2], [Amusement Park #3]… All over.”

(Then he points to a surgery “bump” on his mostly bald head and says matter-of-factly:)

Customer: “I have a brain tumor, and I won’t be here much longer. I want to leave my kids with as many pleasant memories of me as possible.”

(I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say, so I just continued in silence. Then, he went to buy something in another department, but before he left the store, he came out of his way to shake my hand and thank me. I felt ashamed of myself for being in a bad mood over such trivial things.)

They Put More Than A Few Feet Wrong

, , , , , | Right | November 8, 2017

(I am in a department store, and I overhear this discussion between two 20-somethings.)

Customer #1: “How big did you say the room is?”

Customer #2: “Ten feet by ten feet.”

Customer #1: “Okay! These boxes have ten square feet in them, so we can do the whole room with one box!”

Saved By Play Time

, , , , | Hopeless | October 22, 2017

(I am shopping in a department store with my five-year-old daughter. It has been a long, stressful day at work, and I have been on edge since picking her up from school. I just want to get my things and get home as soon as possible. I very quickly realize that my daughter is no longer beside me, and I go into Panic-Mom Mode. I call her name and rush around the aisles, until, finally, I see her sitting down on the floor next to a similar-aged boy, talking and playing. She looks up and me and beams a smile.)

Me: “[Daughter], what did I tell you about walking away from Mommy?!”

Daughter: “Mommy, this is [Boy]. He’s five, too!”

Me: “That’s nice, [Daughter], but remember, we don’t have time to play today.”

Daughter: “Okay. Bye, [Boy]!”

Boy: *big flashing smile* “Byyyyye!”

(I take my daughter’s hand and quickly finish up my shopping list.)

Daughter: “Can we get something for [Boy]?”

Me: “No, [Daughter]. We’re just here for a few quick things, remember?”

Daughter: “I know, but he doesn’t have anyone or anything to play with.”

Me: “His mom will take him home soon, so he won’t be bored for too long.”

Daughter: “No, she won’t.”

(This makes me stop, and I realize for the first time, to my shame, that the boy was all alone.)

Me: “What do you mean?”

Daughter: “His mom told him to wait for her, but she’s been gone for aaaaaages.”

(Knowing I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t go back and check, I find the boy in the exact same space that I left him.)

Me: “Hello, [Boy].”

Boy: *big beaming smile again* “Hiiiii!”

Me: “Where’s your mommy?”

Boy: *smile drops* “I don’t know. She went to look at clothes.”

Me: “How long ago did she go to look at clothes?”

Boy: “A while.”

(Knowing he probably didn’t have a good grasp of timing, I don’t know how to gauge this, but I pursue anyway.)

Me: “Do you know what time it was?”

Boy: “Since school.”

(That is a long time, but it wouldn’t be the first time a parent has left a child alone to play in a store for over an hour. I sit with the boy for another ten minutes while he plays a rhyming game with my daughter. I flag down a passing member of staff and let them know this boy has been left alone for almost an hour and a half.)

Employee: “Actually, yes, I do remember them coming in. That was closer to two hours ago.” *suddenly looking shameful* “Let’s bring him up to the customer service desk, and I’ll make an announcement through the store PA.”

(We do just that. The boy says he was told not to go anywhere with strangers, but my daughter takes his hand and convinces him that they’re now friends, so it is okay. The employee makes an announcement to the store, letting the mother know that [Boy] is at the customer service desk, and asking her to please make her way there immediately. After ten minutes, and no appearance of the mother, the employee makes a repeat announcement. Ten minutes after this…)

Me: “What happens now?”

Employee: “I’ve called my manager. They’ll call the police or social services, I guess.”

(A few minutes later, there is a scream from the other side of the floor. There is a scramble of employees to the area. An employee comes back over to me and speaks quietly to me so that the boy doesn’t hear.)

Employee: “We found a woman collapsed in one of the changing rooms. We think it might be his mom.”

(Very quickly, paramedics are on the scene, but I am focusing on keeping the boy occupied, playing with my daughter. He’s not stupid though, and he’s realizing that something is up. Almost three hours after I first met the boy, a woman walks over to us with a concerned look on her face. The manager has told her who I am and how I’ve been looking after the boy. She introduces herself as being from social services.)

Social Services Worker: “We found his mother collapsed in the changing room. The paramedics are about to take her to hospital, and I will be going there, too, with her son.”

(She then explains to the boy what has happened, in an age-appropriate manner. The boy is very upset, and holds my hand through the whole conversation. When the social services worker tries to encourage the boy to go to the hospital, he squeezes my hand even tighter and gives me a desperate look.)

Me: *to the social services worker* “Would I be able to come with [Boy]””

(The woman looks at me, then at the boy, assesses the situation, and smiles.)

Social Services Worker: “Of course. I will need to be present at all times, of course.”

(We all drove to the hospital together, and my daughter kept the boy occupied with some simple back-seat car games. We ended up spending the evening in the hospital, and the boy’s mother made a full recovery. She had been running a fever and collapsed from an infection. Our kids are now good friends and have grown up to become teenage “besties,” all thanks to my daughter’s playful spirit, and a well-behaved boy who wouldn’t stop waiting for his mom.)

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