The Ever-Moving Yardsticks Of Customer Service

| LA, USA | Right | July 3, 2017

(It’s about ten minutes to close and there’s only one person left in the store, who has been shopping for a couple of hours. She has a really big stack of fabric that needs to be cut, but I’m a fast worker, so I’m not too worried about it. At least, not at first.)

Customer: “Okay, I’m sorry to be in here so late. I know y’all are trying to close. Um, I think I need about a half yard of this one. No, a quarter yard. No, a half yard.”

(The rest of the cutting process goes on much like this: She apologizes for taking so long while being completely unable to make up her mind, occasionally even grabbing a new bolt from the clearance table next to her, every now and then muttering, “I hope I have enough money for this.” She ends up not leaving the cutting table until twenty minutes past close. My supervisor and I are supposed to be finished cleaning and out of the door at half an hour after close or we get in trouble for going over our hours, so as soon as she leaves the table, I start cleaning, but overhear that the customer did not have enough money for her large amounts of both fabric and notions. She’s standing at the register choosing which fabrics — already cut — to leave behind, and it isn’t easy to find the correct pieces in the register to take off of the rather large transaction. She also won’t stop talking to my supervisor, who isn’t good at multitasking. My supervisor ends up calling me to stand at the register to distract the woman a little so that she can get her out as soon as possible. By that time, it’s a half hour after close.)

Customer: “You really should have scanned the fabric first. I wasn’t sure how much money I had. You should have done the fabric first so I’d know what to take off.”

Supervisor: *clearly irritated but trying to hold it in* “Ma’am, company policy is to scan notions before fabric.”

Customer: “Well, you should do the fabric first. How am I supposed to know how much I’m spending if you don’t do the fabric first?”

(We finally got her out forty five minutes after close and with a large stack of small pieces of fabric we had to remnant out and void the tickets for. Even with very brief cleaning and without counting the registers, my supervisor and I didn’t leave until over an hour after close.)

Cut From The Mouth Of Babes

, , , | Right | June 12, 2017

(I’m quite short and petite, so many customers mistake me for a teenager and patronise me even though I’m actually 20. This isn’t helped by the fact that it’s currently school holidays.)

Customer: “I need three metres of this fabric. But I need you to cut it straight.”

Me: “Of course, ma’am. We make an effort to ensure that every cut has been measured currently and is straight.”

(I measure out the fabric and take normal precautions to ensure it is properly lined up with the ruler so the cut will be straight. The customer apparently doesn’t think I’ve done this correctly, and moves the fabric. I firmly move it back and begin to cut. She starts to move the fabric while I’m cutting.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s impossible for me to cut the fabric straight if you keep moving it.”

Customer: “But it’s not straight!”

(She keeps moving the fabric.)

Me: “I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave the measuring and cutting to me. I’ve been working here for over two years and I can assure you that you will receive three metres of correctly cut fabric. After I’ve finished cutting you’re welcome to measure the piece for yourself. If it’s incorrect I’ll happily cut you a new one.”

(She went red and kept quiet after that. To add icing to the cake, my colleague in her mid-40s approached me while I was processing the transaction and asked me how to place a complicated order. Never assume that someone who looks young is inexperienced.)

Little Piece, Big Problem

, , | Right | June 7, 2017

(A customer approaches the counter with a sewing machine in an open box.)

Customer: “There’s a problem with this machine. I want to claim it under warranty.”

Me: “Okay, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Well, there was a little piece inside the machine that was stopping it from working, so I opened it up and moved some of the parts inside the machine to get the piece out. I put it back together but it still doesn’t work.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but by opening the panel and removing some of the parts you’ve automatically voided your warranty. I can get the repairman to look at it, but you’ll have to pay for it. And from what you’ve told me I think there’s a good chance he won’t be able to fix it.”

Customer: “But I had to get the little piece out! I need to claim it under warranty!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you can’t claim this machine under warranty now.”

Customer: “No! Let me speak to your manager!”

(My manager told her exactly the same thing, and the fight kept going in circles. After a lot of resistance from the customer my manager agreed to give her a new machine and see what she could do with the broken one.)

Manager: “Okay, put the machine on the counter and I’ll give you a new one.”

(The customer pulls out a MASSIVE bag of machine parts. She’s evidently taken the entire thing to bits.)

Manager: “You gave me the impression you’d only moved a few pieces and then put them back. I can’t accept this.”

Customer: “You said you’d give me an exchange!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but a machine in this condition is completely worthless. I can’t exchange it for a new one.”

Customer: “But I had to move all of this to get the little piece! The machine didn’t work. What was I supposed to do?!”

Manager: “When you have that kind of problem you’re supposed to bring it to us right away and claim it under warranty instead of trying to repair it yourself. This situation is the exact reason why machines that have been tampered with are not under warranty.”

(Eventually she got the customer to leave. Apparently the customer came back three days in a row, each time fighting with my manager and other employees about the same thing. In the end my manager reluctantly gave her a new one just to shut her up. She still had the nerve to put in a complaint about the “awful” service she received.)

The Baggage Of Benjamin Button

, , , | Working | June 7, 2017

(My husband and I run into a fabric store to pick up replacement buttons. I grab a card with four buttons and head for the checkout. Along the way he grabs a small, sample size chocolate bar.)

Cashier: “Hi! How are you?”

Me: “Great thanks. You?”

Cashier: “Can’t complain. Just those two?” *grabs for a bag*

Me: “Yes. I don’t need a bag.”

(Until this point, all has seemed normal. Now she stops moving, turns towards me, and stares.)

Cashier: “NO BAG?”

Me: “No. I can just toss the buttons in my pocket and he’s going to eat the chocolate.”

Cashier: “So no bag. At all?”

Me: “No, it’s fine.”

(The cashier now slowly scans the buttons and chocolate. She slides them across the counter towards me, giving me a very confused look.)

Cashier: “That’s $2.77. And no bag.”

Me: “Thanks.” *hands her $3*

(My husband grabs the chocolate and starts eating. I slide the buttons in my pocket. Cashier counts change back to me and hands me the receipt. She is still staring at me like I’ve offended the button gods. As we are walking out the door, I hear her talking to the next customer.)

Cashier: “They bought buttons and she wouldn’t take a bag!”

Chocolate Cures Everything

| Houston, TX, USA | Friendly | May 9, 2017

(I just got diagnosed with a sinus infection and a really bad ear infection that I don’t feel. On top of that my period had started and is rather painful the first two days. Nonetheless, I still come to work but have a ton of medicine in my system. About a half hour into my shift, I suddenly lose all strength in my body and fight to not pass out by leaning against the counter and baskets whenever no one is looking. I see a customer approach and straighten myself and put the best smile on that I can.)

Me: “Hello, how much do you need?”

Customer: *looks really concerned* “Are you all right?”

Me: “I’m fine.”

Customer: “Are you sure? I saw you leaning against the basket and you look pale.”

Me: “I just feel very weak right now. I’m on a ton of antibiotics after seeing the doctor yesterday.”

Customer: “Do you want me to get you something? Like chocolate?”

Me: “That… would be nice.”

(As I cut her material, she runs to the front and returns a few minutes later with a chocolate bar.)

Me: “I…”

Customer: “Don’t worry, chocolate is a good pick me up.”

(I finished cutting her material and thanked her, send her on her way taking a few nibbles of the chocolate. About an hour later and a quick break my strength returned, allowing me to finish my shift with no problems. The customer returned a few days later allowing me to thank her once again for the chocolate and she was glad to hear that I got better and that my infection was almost cleared. Thank you so much, miss.)

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