Transcending A**-Holes, Part 2

| Boulder, CO, USA | Bigotry, Popular

(I am a sales associate in a major department store. I am folding clothes and keeping an eye on the three customers that are in my section. One is a trans woman, who is holding some lacy underwear in her hand while shopping for more items, and the other two are a mother and daughter shopping together. I can hear the mother and daughter snickering.)

Daughter: “Oh, my god, mom, do you see that transvestite?”

Mother: “Where?”

Daughter: “Over there. It’s carrying a bunch of underwear.”

Mother: “Oh! NOW I see it! What a freak! Has it deluded itself into thinking that putting on lacy underwear will make it attractive?”

(At this point it is obvious that the trans customer has overheard and is visibly uncomfortable, but she keeps shopping.)

Daughter: “What I don’t understand is why he thinks any of that will fit him. He’s a MAN. It’s not made for him. Where’s does his d**k go? He should probably just stick to men’s clothing because he’s a MAN.”

Mother: “I just hope he doesn’t plan on using that fitting room. I’ll complain. I don’t trust freaks like that.”

(At this point, I am quite angered by their conversation. I call my manager and ask for permission for what I am about to do. She gives me approval, and I approach them.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ladies, but I am afraid that I have to ask you to pay for your merchandise and leave.”

Mother: “What?! Why?!”

Me: “Here at [Department Store], we want all of our guests to feel comfortable and safe while shopping in our stores. The way you are referring to another guest has clearly hurt her, and, to be honest, it has deeply offended me and made me uncomfortable as well. I have to ask you to pay for your items and leave.”

Mother: “How DARE you. We are paying customers and that tranny is the one who should be kicked out for being a FREAK.”

Me: “Ma’am, please refrain from using offensive or derogatory language in the store. That woman over there is doing absolutely nothing to you. She is shopping. You, on the other hand, are bullying another customer in an attempt to make her feel bad and leave. Out of respect for that customer and our store policy, I have to ask you to leave.”

Mother: “Well, fine! If you don’t want us to buy all of this clothing from you! You’ll lose a really big sale AND a loyal customer!”

Me: “With all due respect, ma’am, we have no interest in having bigots as ‘loyal’ customers.”

(The mother fumes and leaves. The trans woman finishes her shopping, and comes up to me to pay.)

Me: “Hello! Did you find everything you were looking for?”

Customer: “That and more. Thank you for standing up for me. You have no idea how rare that is.”

Me: “It’s no problem. I have many friends who are trans and I could tell she was bothering you. I’m sorry you have to put up with that.”

Customer: “Oh, it’s okay. When there are people out there like you to help, it can make a big difference. Thank you for making my day better.”

Me: “You’re welcome! Please, have a good rest of your day, and don’t let the haters get you down! Keep doing your thing!”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry, I will!”

(That customer came back a few times after that and always asked me for fashion advice and bought her items from me. I was happy to give her a safe place to shop.)

Transcending A**-Holes


Damaging Customer Relations

| NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I’m working in the handbags section of the store. A customer approaches me with two of the same bag, but in different colors. One has blue and green tones while the other is neutral colors, like brown, pale pink, beige.)

Customer: “Could I ask for your opinion?

Me: “Sure! Trying to decide between these two?”

Customer: “Yes. I like the green and blue better but I’m not sure what I’d wear it with.”

Me: “Well, the neutral colors would be easier to match, so you could get more use out of it.”

Customer: “Maybe I’ll get both.”

(The customer looks at the tags, and they are each $30. She doesn’t want to spend much more than that.)

Me: “If they were a little cheaper, I would say buy both.”

Customer:Can they be cheaper?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Can you get me a discount?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we only discount damaged merchandise.”

Customer: “Well, could you damage it?”

(I wait for her to laugh, but she just looks at me, expecting I will help her.)

Me: “No… No, I can not.”


How To Lose A Sale

| IA, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words

(I am managing the jewelry counter at a major retailer and showing a woman a very nice pair of cubic zirconia earrings.)

Me: “I have found that the best thing about CZ is that if you lose them, they’re inexpensive to replace.”

Customer: “What do you mean ‘lose them’?”

Me: “I just meant—”

Customer: “I’m not buying them if I’m going to lose them.”

(I couldn’t help but to stare at the woman as she walked away.)


Always Loyal

| NJ, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Popular

(I used to work at the local store of a chain. I’m now in the same store doing some shopping, and come across someone making a scene in one of the aisles.)

Customer: “Now, you listen to me. I’ve been coming here for ten years. Every time I come here, you people are nothing but rude and unhelpful, you never have what I want, and everything is ALWAYS the wrong price!”

Me: “Hey, miss, can I give you some advice?”

Customer: “Huh? Oh, do YOU know how to deal with these people?!”

Me: “Yep. Leave.”

Customer: “Wh… what?”

Me: “You’ve got a completely full cart there, crammed to the gills. It’s stuff from pretty much every section of the store, so I figure you were probably here for at least an hour. I KNOW you’ve been here for at least twenty minutes, because your voice carries like the screech of a crow. Half the things you’re asking the staff to do, they can’t; the other half you’re asking them to do they probably would, if you hadn’t been making their lives miserable from the moment you walked in. I also saw your husband or boyfriend or brother or whatever; he is over there trying to tell people to leave because you think these guys are crooks. He’s an a**-hole.”

Customer: *stumbling over herself in rage* “How DARE you!?”

Me: “Oh, and by the way, you have thirty days to return items. It’s on the receipt, it’s on the huge sign up at Guest Services, and it’s online. That garbage you’re yelling about them being ‘required’ to return is from last year’s collection, which I know because I have a set at home. It’s good quality stuff, so how you broke yours I can only imagine.”

Customer: “Who do you think you are to talk to me like that!?”

Me: *totally deadpan* “I’m the god-d***ed Batman.”

(I don’t really know what possessed me to say that. At least it got the poor, shell-shocked store employee to laugh his head off. The woman sticks her nose up in the air and storms off.)

Employee: “Oh, my gosh, THANK you. We’re never allowed to tell off the customer unless they’re being offensive or violent, and she hadn’t hit that yet!”

Me: “Semper Fidelis.”

Employee: “What?”

Me: “I was here 2002-2004, worked every section in hardlines, and spent three Christmases in the toy section. I also dealt with that EXACT problem from your end. That was about a decade of steam I just let off my chest!”


A Taxing Customer

| Nashville, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Money

(Tennessee doesn’t have a state income tax, so sales tax is pretty high. Out-of-town visitors are often surprised at this. I witnessed this conversation between my coworker and two customers while I was at the next register.)

Coworker: “Your total is [amount]. You can swipe your card through the pad.”

Customer: “Wait, how much is that? Has it gone up?”

Coworker: “It’s [price]. We did have a little price increase at the beginning of the year.”

Customer’s Husband: “But that’s still not right. If it’s [price], then why is the total [amount]?”

Coworker: “Oh, that’s with tax!”

Customer: “What?! Why is the tax so high?”

Coworker: “Um… that’s the tax in this county in Tennessee.”

Customer’s Husband: “But WHY is the tax so high?”


Coworker: “You can swipe your card through the pad there, sir.”

(They left still muttering about why the tax is so high. I almost told them that a neighboring county’s tax is .25% higher even than here. The kicker: when the customer gave her phone number for the rewards program, her area code indicated that she LIVED in the same town. She must freak out about the tax three times a day!)

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