That’ll Clear That Anxiety Right Up

, , , , , | Right | January 23, 2018

(I work at a large department store, but have just clocked out and am browsing the shoe selection. I see a customer standing near me that has been here for more than thirty minutes without saying anything to any of the employees.)

Customer #1: “H-hello, do you have this in [size]?”

Me: “Oh, sorry. I’m off the clock! But my coworker over there would be more than happy to help you out!”

(The customer turns bright red and starts apologizing profusely. I assure her it’s perfectly fine, and I even walk her over to my coworker and ask for him to help her. Another customer that heard the encounter scoffs and marches up.)

Customer #2: “You little b****, the guy said he was off the clock. You can’t just f****** make him work because you’re a high-maintenance little b****!”

([Customer #1] looks like she’s about to start crying and I try to step in.)

Me: “Hey, please watch your language. She didn’t do anything wrong. She was so nice that I wanted to help her out, anyway. Please mind your own business.”

([Customer #1] has started crying but is clearly trying her hardest to hide it while apologizing to me repeatedly.)

Customer #2: “The b**** wouldn’t be f****** crying if she wasn’t so f****** guilty!”

(By this time, my coworker has called security, and two of our officers arrive and ask what the problem is. [Customer #1] is trying her hardest to hold herself together, and [Customer #2] tries telling them that [Customer #1] was harassing me.)

Me: “Actually, this p**** has been harassing this young lady to the point of tears. Get him out.”

(The man was escorted out practically kicking and screaming, and kept threatening to sue. In the end, [Customer #1] got her shoes in the right size and I stuck around to make sure she was all right. We ended up becoming quick friends, and she shared with me that she had horrible social anxiety and had been trying to work up the courage to ask me for help since she’d arrived! Today, we’re still friends and laugh about the guy who got kicked out for “helping.”)

Out Of The Frying Pan…

, , , , , | Right | January 23, 2018

(It is at the beginning of the financial crisis in an economically struggling department store. I am a trainee, and it says so on my name-tag. I’m at the till and a couple comes up to me, seemingly intending to buy one of the most expensive frying pans we have in stock. I ring them up and the till shows the correct price of 79,99€, which I tell them.)

Customer: “That can’t be right. The price tag on the shelf says 14,99€.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.”

Customer: “How would you know? You’re just a cashier, and a trainee one, at that.”

Me: “I know because I usually work in that department and only cover the regular cashier’s lunch break.”

Customer: “Well, anyway, I’m not going to pay 80€ for a frying pan. I demand you change the price to 14,99€, or I’ll sue this store for false advertising! You have to honour your prices!”

Me: “May I suggest that you show me where you found the pan, and we try to solve the issue, first?”

(I get another colleague to cover the till, and the customer walks me up to the shelf where we display various pans, including the one in question, which happens to be the last one.)

Customer: *points at other empty space* “See? It says 14,99€ right there. That’s where we found the pan, so you have to honour that price.”

Me: “While the pan may very well have stood there when you found it, that’s not where it belongs. Also, while the tag does say 14,99€, it also says [Brand & Model #1] and 20-centimeter diameter. That pan is called [Brand & Model #2] and 28-centimeter diameter and belongs there…” *points at correct space* “…as you can see. Maybe someone picked it up, looked at it, and put it back in the wrong place. It happens.”

Customer: *getting irate* “Are you saying that I’m lying?! Or that I’m trying to trick you?! If it’s your department, it’s your job to make sure everything is in the right place and has the correct price tags on them. Even a lazy trainee like you should have learned that by now. Anyway, honour that price now, will you?”

Me: “No, I’m not saying you’re lying, just that you’re mistaken. I’m sorry if it sounded differently, but that’s no reason for insults. And while it is my job to make sure everything is in the right place, as I said, I had to cover the tills. Even if I didn’t, I can’t have my eyes everywhere all the time. In the end, that pan costs 79,99€, so take it or leave it.”

Customer: “I’m not going to listen to your excuses for being incompetent any longer. Get me your manager!”

(I do so and explain the situation to him on the way back. I would like to say that he stands up to the customer like I expect him to. Sadly, he has worked here nearly his entire adult life and is part of the original team that opened the store 30+ years ago. Now that the store is bound to go bankrupt, he is all out of f***s to give. He sells them the expensive pan for the cheap price.)

Customer: *with a big, self righteous grin*Finally, someone who knows that the customer is always right.” *to me* “But it’s no surprise that this company is heading for insolvency with such bad customer service like yours. Serves you right.”

Me: “Thanks for shopping at [Store]. And thanks for wishing unemployment on several thousand people over a frying pan.”

Customer: *leaves without another word, or that stupid grin*

An Asymmetrical Service

, , , , , | Working | January 12, 2018

(I am walking out of a department store and I have to go through the cosmetic section. A salesperson notices me.)

Salesperson: “Oh. My. GOD! You are gorgeous!”

Me: “Oh, thank you. I’ve been told I have a very symmetrical face.”

Salesperson: “You do. It’s amazing! Well, almost, except for those freckles.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I actually like my freckles, so—”

Salesperson: “You shouldn’t; they’re horrible. It shows you don’t care about your skin.”

Me: “And you just lost your last chance to make a sale.” *walks away*

Salesperson: *shouting* “Don’t worry. I wouldn’t want to sell anything to such a dermatological nightmare!”

(Who would hire a someone who goes from “gorgeous” to “dermatological nightmare” in one conversation to sell cosmetics?!)

Seeking A Job And Further Seeking A Manager

, , , , | Working | January 10, 2018

(I am a college student and I am searching for a new job for the summer. I ask my best friend if the department store where she works is hiring and they are. I go down the next day to give them my resume with my contact information on it. The next day, my best friend calls me on her cell phone and this exchange occurs.)

Best Friend: “[Boss] just called me and wants to know what hours you are seeking and what your availability is?”

Me: “Oh, does he want me to call him back?”

Best Friend: “No, he wanted me to ask you let him know when I came in for my shift.”

(I find it weird that he can’t call me to ask me and had to call my friend to relay his message to me, but I let it go. Two days later, I am at school and I am taking my final, so I don’t have my phone on. After my final, I see that I have two missed calls and one voicemail, so I listen to my voicemail and it’s my best friend.)

Best Friend: “Hey, [My Name]! [Boss] is blowing up my phone because he called you multiple times and left several voice messages, wanting to schedule you an interview, and you never answered. Please let me know what is going on; he wants to know if you’re still interested or not.”

(I call my best friend back and tell her he only called one time and didn’t leave a voicemail, and that I was in an exam. I call the boss back on his cellphone and explain why I couldn’t answer the first time, apologize, and then tell him I am still interested in an interview. Five minutes later, I get another call from my best friend.)

Best Friend: *sounding really annoyed* “I am so sorry for bothering you about this again but [Boss] called me and wants to know when you can come in for an interview. I really don’t know why he wants me to be the messenger and can’t just talk to you!”

(By this point, I don’t even want to go to the interview because I am also getting annoyed that this boss refuses to talk to me personally. But I need the job badly, so I tell her I am available any day. She hangs up to call back her boss, then texts me the interview details. I go in the next day, and throughout the whole interview he sits there, looking at the cameras, and doesn’t really ask me any questions except when I could start. A couple of days later, my best friend calls me, and I already know what she’s calling about.)

Best Friend: “Please don’t shoot the messenger, but [Boss] is too afraid to call you and tell you didn’t get the job.”

A Holiday From Management Should Be Mandatory

, , , , | Working | January 8, 2018

(I have been taken off the schedule for a particular week. I assume this is because I haven’t taken a holiday in quite a while, and have been given a mandatory holiday [without notice, but such a thing is common at my store]. I am shopping on Friday afternoon with my mum, in said store, when a department manager approaches both of us while we roam around. The store’s week end is Saturdays.)

Manager: “[My Name], you haven’t been put in the rota for this week.”

Me: “I know.”

Manager: “Well, you need to work, otherwise you won’t fill your quota, and will be written up.”

Me: “But I wasn’t scheduled in to begin with; I thought it was a holiday. Why would I be written up for someone else’s mistake?”

Manager:“Because that’s how it works. You need to work a shift. There’s a note in the office; someone’s contacted you about this today.”

Me: *turning to my mum* “Has anyone called?”

Mum: “No, and I’ve been in the house all day.”

Me: *after checking my phone* “No missed calls. You have both my numbers. No one’s called.”

Manager: “Someone would have called if they haven’t already.”

Me: *checking my phone again* “The store is only open for another hour. You’re saying someone was going to phone me this late? The rota has been up all week. When did you notice the mistake?”

Manager: “It doesn’t matter now. You need to work this week. When can you do it?”

Me: *giving up* “Tomorrow morning, first thing.”

Manager: “First thing?”

Me: “From the second a manager opens those doors.”

Manager: “Tomorrow’s not good. Sunday is better.”

Me: “Sunday is next week. It would defeat the purpose of coming in.”

Manager: “Tomorrow isn’t good.”

Me: “I don’t care. I’m working tomorrow.”

Manager: “Okay.” *walks away, no thanks or goodbye*

(When I get home, I check for any messages. Shocker – there is none. I work the shift, and the following week, we get a lecture from the store manager.)

Store Manager: “Someone decided he would work a shift last week when he had mandatory holidays, meaning he went over his limit for accruing holidays. We’re now being penalised as a store for it.” *looking directly at me* “No one is getting written up for it, but let this be a warning. Do not think you can just come in anytime you feel like it. There will be consequences.”

Me: “I’ll hold my hand up and say it was me who worked last week. But don’t think for a second it that was by choice. [Manager] interrupted me while I was shopping and demanded I work to meet my quota-“

Store Manager: “She said she offered you Sunday-“

Me: “Which would have been a new week, a new quota to meet-“

Store Manager: “She was a bit rushed on Saturday and she didn’t understand the situa-“

Me: “Then what use is she? I assumed it was a holiday, but as no one bothers to tell us or confirm it, I couldn’t have known.”

Store Manager: “All you have to do is knock on the admin office and ask.”

Me: “From who? The only person in there is [Admin Manager] every morning, and she only balances the float and does the payroll. She has no understanding of how the schedule is created.”

Store Manager: “Yes, because it’s my duty to do that.”

Me: “Then leave a note for her or something. If such a little mistake is worthy of a write up, maybe you should put a little more effort into it before we walk or the store goes under.”

Store Manager: “…good point. I’ll look into it. Now everyone sign.”

(He literally did nothing about it, and asking the admin manager was ultimately pointless, as she refused to do anything. I ended up contacting the store manager’s personal number every week to find out about mandatory holidays [until he blocked me]. I got in touch with HR, asking about what could be done, and was told any manager could take on the responsibility, provided they were trained. A senior manager reassigned the responsibilities, and the admin manager was put forward for the schedule, but left beforehand, citing “too much workload.” I stepped forward to replace her and was trained by the senior manager in person. It only took two weeks to understand everything. In protest of my work ethic, two more managers left, who, surprisingly, we didn’t need to replace. The employees working under them did more than the managers ever had, and took a decent pay increase to fulfill the responsibilities, while I took on the rest. Our store ended up being the only store in our cluster to operate with a reduced management [three managers instead of five or six]. I even started taking on the store manager’s duties [or rather the ones he never bothered with]. He eventually claimed praise for improving efficiency, but the senior manager wasn’t impressed with his claim and audit checked us. My name was on everything, and while I should have gotten in trouble for overstepping my authority, the senior manager simply decided to take his place temporarily, demote him and the remaining manager, and promote me to assistant store manager. The employees who were fulfilling the absent manager roles were promoted, and two new managers were brought in. I was finally promoted to store manager, once the senior manager was satisfied with my performance. So, this is how I went from part-time to store manager inside of a year. The old store manager still works here, but he is completely useless. It surprises me how he got to be the manager in the first place.)

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