Those Who Are Scared Of Change Are Doomed To Repeat Their Mistakes

, , , , , | | Right | May 15, 2019

(I work at a high-end grocery store, where the POS accepts the chip on credit and debit cards. I witness this exchange at the checkout:)

Cashier: “Your total is $35.97.”

(The customer attempts to hand the card to the cashier and the cashier gestures to the machine. The customer slides her card. The machine alerts the customer to please enter the card, but the customer continues to slide her card.)

Cashier: “Does your card have a chip?”

Customer: *annoyed* “Yeah, but it doesn’t work.” *continues to slide*

Me: “Ma’am, even though it may not work, you’re going to have to use the chip three times in order for it to default to the slide.”

Customer: *finally listening, inserts the chip three times, smiles, and says* “Told you so.”

(She then enters the incorrect PIN, and an error shows up on the large computer monitor. This happens three more times, enough that the machine errors out.)

Cashier: “Ma’am, that didn’t go through. It says you used the wrong PIN. You’re going to have to use the card again.”

Customer: “No, it said to remove my card. It always says that when it goes through.”

Cashier: *at a loss for what to say*

(I step in:)

Me: “It didn’t go through; it has to be run again. The computer thinks you used the wrong PIN.”

Customer: *goes back to swiping the card again*

Cashier: “Ma’am, you have to try to use the chip because the machine won’t let you use the slide yet.”

(The customer repeats the same process, including the wrong PIN, and demands that the cashier enter her card manually. I call a manager up front, as only they can do that.)

Customer: “That cashier changed the PIN on my card. That’s why it didn’t work!”

Manager: “Well, let’s see.”

(The manager failed the chip three times, swiped the card, and then the transaction went through. The cashier and I still wonder how she thought we changed the PIN on her card.)

Something Off About That Call

, , | | Right | May 14, 2019

(I work at a call center for a major technology firm. I overhear one of my coworkers’ first calls of the day, early Saturday morning.)

Coworker: “No, sir, if your phone won’t actually turn on, then you don’t have to turn it off, as it’s already off.”

The Customer Is The Defective Blower

, , , , , | | Right | May 14, 2019

Two days ago, an elderly customer came into the farm store I work for. He approached the information desk and explained that he had bought an inexpensive, single-stage snow blower from us the previous fall — it’s September now. By all indications, it had worked well for him last winter, but when he brought it out of summer storage a few days ago, he claimed it wouldn’t start for him. In spite of the fact that it never snows in lower Michigan until at least late November, he seemed stressed to be left without a functional snow blower in early September. He even made reference to the fact that it probably wouldn’t snow for “a couple more weeks” but he wanted to be prepared.

I never make assumptions about anyone’s mechanical ability, so I started with the basics, making sure he knew how to start it. He seemed a bit foggy on how to use the key start. I made a few suggestions, and he thanked me and left to give them a try. A couple of hours later he was back, rolling the blower in question through the store to the information desk. He said he still couldn’t get it started and wanted to have us run it through service.

Our store doesn’t have an in-house service department, but I assured him I’d happily run it over to the local dealer we use for this type of thing the following day. He quizzed me extensively on what I thought the problem might be. People always try to get a down-to-the-dollar quote on repairs before the item goes in for service. I told him I couldn’t be sure until we got an estimate from the service center, but that we would call before going ahead with the repair.

I took down his information and promised I’d be in contact as soon as the unit came back from service. Later that same afternoon, I was in the back room with the blower. Call it being soft, but I really wondered if it wasn’t just a simple starting issue. I got the impression the guy didn’t have a lot of money, and I would have felt bad if he got charged a shop labor rate of $70 an hour for not knowing which switch to flip, knob to turn, or something simple like that. I primed the machine a few times, grabbed the starter rope, and pulled.

To my shock, it fired right up and ran perfectly. I shut it off and repeated the procedure… several times. Each instance, it started on the first tug. Happy for him, I called the man and said his blower was all ready to go. Inexplicably, he wasn’t thrilled. He said it never started for him, and wanted me to still take it to the service center for a “checkup.” I didn’t argue; it was his money. I was just trying to save him a few bucks. I did, however, explain that since the unit was running perfectly, there really wasn’t anything to fix. He still expressed his desire to have it looked at. I told him I would.

I went to lunch after that, and upon returning a half hour later, I found him standing at the desk waiting for me. He wasn’t very direct with what he was saying, so it took me a minute to figure out that he was having second thoughts about having it taken in for service. I took him in the back room and, to put his mind at ease if he decided to take the unit back home, demonstrated how easy it started.

Again, instead of being happy that his blower was running like the proverbial fine Swiss watch at zero cost to him, he mumbled something about giving us some money back so “it would be worthwhile to us.” I didn’t follow and asked him to elaborate. To put it simply, he now wanted to return the blower and get his money back!

Store policy states that gasoline-powered sales are final. We will stand behind the unit 100% for warranty service, but once a customer has used an item, we can’t take it back. To make matters worse, even if I had the authority to override this, the blower was covered in mud and barn dust and looked as though it’d had a few foreign objects run through it. There was no way this thing was re-saleable.

I explained this, and he threw a fit, telling me what “poor business” it was, and that he wanted to speak to my boss. I told him the policy wasn’t mine; it was mandated by the owners of our chain. After telling me several times that “the other guy who works here” would have given him his money back, he changed tactics. He told me to sell the unit for him and just give him the money. I explained that we’re not a consignment shop. I recommended Craigslist or even our store message board.

He was furious, explaining again what “poor business” we were conducting. I kept trying to steer him around to the fact that there was nothing wrong with the blower, but he avoided the facts and continued to rant about how unjustly he was being treated. Eventually, I was forced to pose a question: What store would allow a customer to return a year-old, dirty, used unit that still functioned perfectly, for full credit?

After getting nowhere with the guy, I gave him the store phone number and told him when the store manager would be in. He walked away, grumbling under his breath. I promptly dialed the store manager’s cell number and explained what had happened. To my relief, he posed the same question I had to the customer and told me there was no way we could take the unit back.

Every time I try to do someone a favor, it ends up like this. Maybe someday I’ll learn!

Gatekeeper Of The Mind Readers

, , , | | Right | May 14, 2019

(I’m working near our service desk when a customer comes over.)

Me: “Hi! How are you today?”

Customer: “How much are your gates?”

Me: “Well, that depends on what kind you’re looking for. We’ve got light-duty, heavy-duty, wire-filled for keeping smaller animals contained, and corral panels, a type of movable fence that comes in ten-foot sections. Which are you interested in?”

Customer: “I don’t know.” *incredulously* “How much are they?”

Me: “Ah… they range in price significantly, depending on which kind you’d like.”

Customer: *incredulously again* “I don’t know.” *just stares at me*

Me: “Well… light- and heavy-duties range in size from four to twenty feet wide…”

Customer: “Yeah, that one. How much is it?”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s a range of nine different sizes. All are different prices.”

(The customer just stares at me. I feel pressured to come up with SOMETHING, even though they’re not giving me any information to go on.)

Me: “Well… for example, a fourteen-footer is $[total]. Would you like something larger? Perhaps smaller?”

Customer: “I don’t know.” *same incredulous tone, stare*

(The customer’s husband comes strolling up.)

Husband: *to Customer* “Hey, I’ve been looking for you. Did you get the info you were after?”

Customer: “Well, I was trying to find out how much one of those sixteen-foot light-duty gates is but he—“ *hooks a thumb in my direction* “—doesn’t know.”

Me: “…”

Easier To Just Do Them By Hand At This Point

, , , , , | | Related | May 14, 2019

(For a few days, I’ve been noticing that our dishwasher hasn’t been washing properly. I put it on in the evening and then in the morning, I find that the tablet is still in the dispenser and the dishes are wet but still dirty. It always washes perfectly the second time around.)

Me: *after the fourth day* “What the h*** is wrong with the dishwasher? It’s not working properly.”

Son: “Yeah, I noticed that, too. I was going to talk to you about it.”

Me: “Have you been running it again, too?”

Son: “No, I keep hearing a noise like something has fallen over in it, and when I take a look, I see that the little plastic door is open and the dishwasher tablet has fallen out. I’ve been putting the tablet back in and closing it up every night.”

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