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For The Umpteenth Time, USE YOUR WORDS

, , | Working | CREDIT: centroid_of_the_mech | September 18, 2021

I work in a locally owned fabric and sewing machine sales/repair shop. Many of our customers are women who bring along their husbands, and some husbands choose to sit in the machine demo section and wait.

I have a lady walk up to my desk and ask where to leave her cart while she uses the restroom. Right behind her is an elderly gentleman. He loiters a few seconds, presumably to wait for his wife to return from the restroom, before I point to the chair at my desk for customers.

Me: “Feel free to sit while you wait.”

I go back to my paperwork. He sits casually, not expectantly, rotating the chair to face the store, not me. A few minutes later, the gentleman announces loudly:

Gentleman: “Just WHAT do I have to do around here to get some service?”

I jump.

Me: “Oh, were you waiting for help? I’m sorry, I thought you were waiting for your wife. What can I do?”

He needed his wife’s sewing machine picked up from service — in fact, no relation to restroom lady at all. He found no amusement at all in the little misunderstanding, just anger that I might make him late to the bus stop.

I sorely wish I could have said, “Asking for help is usually a good way to get service!”

Florida Man Sends Wife Shopping

, , , , | Right | September 14, 2021

I work in a fabric outlet in Seattle; it’s this big warehouse building, very old, made of huge timbers and an uneven wood floor. We have tables of stuff, and we never know all of what we have because we’re an outlet and stock changes and fluctuates on a daily basis. A woman approaches me.

Customer: “What do you have here that I can’t get in Florida?”

Me: “Well, we do have some pretty unique fabrics over on this table.”

I lead her over to where we’ve set aside some pretty nifty leftover designer fabric. She barely glances at it and sniffs.

Customer: “No. I’m asking you to show me fabrics that you don’t have in the Florida stores.”

Me: “Ma’am, we are a local outlet store. We’re not a chain. We get what we get, and we don’t know what other stores may have in stock.”

Customer: “Then I suggest you do your job, get on your computer thingie, and look at their inventory!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t do that. Our outlet store isn’t able to search every other fabric store’s inventories.”

Customer: “So, what you’re telling me is that you’re useless?”

Me: *Coldly* “Goodbye, ma’am. Have a good day.”

I walked away.

Later, she ended up yelling at the manager about how everyone in this store was useless and that we were just too lazy to check “the computer thingies” for the inventories of fabric stores in Florida.

The manager eventually told her in professional tones to either walk through the store and look for herself or to leave. She left in a huff.

Intelligence Dissolving

, , , | Right | April 30, 2021

A customer buys five yards of water-soluble stabilizer, a film-like product used in machine embroidery. You place it under the fabric you are embroidering to keep it in place for better results, then you spray it with water and it dissolves.

It runs about $4 or $5 a yard — a touch on the expensive side. The customer comes to the register and pays for her stabilizer, around $25 all told. I start to put it in a bag and she stops me.

Customer: “Oh, no bag. I don’t want to waste a bag.”

Me: “Are you sure? It’s raining out.”

Customer: “I won’t need it. My car is not far from here. I won’t get that wet.”

She left in a heavy rain. And to keep herself dry? She held the stabilizer over her head. In the rain. Did I mention it’s water-soluble? And not a cheap product?

I guess I’ve worked retail too long. I’m only surprised she didn’t try to get a refund.

Nobody Likes The Old Switcheroo

, , , , | Working | September 23, 2020

I’m looking for an item online for a curbside pickup. It’s an item I’ve been looking for for over three months. Unfortunately, it is out of stock in my local area, and the closest place where it is available is about forty-five miles or an hour’s drive away.

I call [Store #1] and ask if it can be shipped to a home address. They tell me they are unable to do so, but they can transfer it to a closer store, [Store #2]. They say they have set the item aside and tell me to call [Store #2] to initiate the transfer. 

I call [Store #2] next. 

Me: “Hello, I have an unusual request. Is a manager available, please?”

I know this phrase usually causes fear or eye-rolling, but I also know it’s a little more complicated, so I try to be polite.

Employee #1: “I’m the manager on duty. What can I do for you?”

Me: “Great! I was looking to have [item] transferred to your store from [Store #1]. I just got off the phone with them and they are holding it so you can start the transfer.”

Employee #1: “Okay. Do you have the product information?”

Me: “Absolutely!”

I provide the item number, description, and quantity needed.

Employee #1: “Awesome. I’m going to put you on a brief hold.”

A few minutes go by and she comes back on the line. 

Employee #1: “All right, so it looks like we don’t have any in stock, and the warehouse doesn’t have any in stock. [Store #1] has eight in stock so we cannot transfer the item to [Store #1].”

I facepalm; this is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I am trying to do.

Me: “Thank you for checking; however, I was calling to have the item from [Store #1] transferred to your location. I have confirmed inventory and availability with the other store. I just need your store to call [Store #1] to start the transfer.”

Employee #1: “Oh, well, they have to do the paperwork and it needs to be paid for before it’s transferred over.”

Me: “That’s understandable and doable. Which one of you do I pay?”

Employee #1: “Uh, you would pay them… old on a minute.”

I hear the sounds of the phone being passed to another person.

Employee #2: “Hello?”

Me: “Hello, I was just trying to have an item delivered to your…”

Employee #2: “Yes, I got all that. But we can’t send them the item. We don’t have any.”

I facepalm again, annoyed but trying to be polite.

Me: “I got that. But it’s the other way around. I want the item to be sent to you.”

Employee #2: “But they have to do the paperwork. And it has to be paid for. And, shoot, they are out of state and not in our district, which means taxes are different. Can you drive there to pick it up? I mean, gas is cheaper than the shipping would be.”

Me: “It’s forty-five miles one way from my house, so I was trying to avoid a ninety-mile round trip drive. But I really need this item, so I will do that. Thank you.”

I call [Store #1] and speak with the same person I spoke to originally.

Me: “All right, so I called [Store #2] and they were so confused. So I’m going to have to come and get it.”

Employee #1: “I bet! I’ve got it pulled for you. Do a curbside pickup which will reserve the fabric for you! And there’s a 50%-off coupon on our app, if you have it. Otherwise, 20%-off curbside.”

Me: “Oh, you are awesome! I work, so it might be Wednesday before I can get it.”

Employee #1: “Awesome! I’ll put a note on it!”

Defeat Of The Couponator

, , , , , | Right | September 4, 2020

I am checking out customers at the register. We usually keep a stack of sales papers by the front door that have coupons in them for the customers but we have run out of them today.

Customer: “Do you have any coupons here that I can use?”

Me: “No, unfortunately, we are all out of them. But there is an app you can download on your smartphone that has scannable coupons every day. It’s free to download.”

Customer: *Very disgusted* “No! I don’t wanna fool with that. I want the real coupons.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. But the coupons you can get on your phone are the same ones we usually have in the sales paper. We just ran out of them today.”

Customer: “You know, that is very discouraging. You should talk to a manager about that!”

I am already checking the next person out.

Me: “Pardon me?”

Customer: “I said you should talk to a manager about that. It’s very bad practice!”

The manager happens to be standing right next to me.

Manager: “I’m a manager; is there a problem I can help you with?”

Customer: *Shakes head in defeat* “No, no. Never mind.”

She walked away frowning and grumbling. 

The Couponator 19: Fast Food & Furious
The Couponator 18: The Digital Revolution
The Couponator 17: Attack Of The “Programmer”
The Couponator 16: Enter The Entree
The Couponator 15: The Transaction Void