Give Them An Inch And They’ll Take A Quarter

| WI, USA | Right | February 19, 2016

(Decorated flip-flops are all the rage at this time. I am trying to help two middle-aged ladies who are shopping with two small children, a roughly three-year-old boy in the cart seat and a roughly six-year-old girl running around. The boy is very bored and keeps grabbing one of the women, grabbing spools of ribbon and shoving them back in the incorrect slots, and screaming. The women just ignore the children and the girl continues to aggravate the boy’s behavior. The entire group acts conceited and entitled.)

Woman #1: “Yeah, I need this ribbon but in one-quarter inch.” *holds up one-half inch by-the-yard black and white zebra print*

Me: “All right, it looks like we only carry half-inch and wider for that print in by-the-yard and only 3/8th inch wide in the by-the-spool section. What are you planning on using it for so I can help figure out the best option?”

Woman #1: *shoves a white flip-flop at me, the size making it obvious it is hers* “The woman at [Competitor] told me I could glue fabric around the edge to decorate it but the silky fabric she cut frayed! I want ribbon or something else that won’t fray!”

Me: “All right. You could get the larger one and fold it over since you will be gluing it anyway. Or you could cut it down and use a fray-check before gluing to prevent it from fraying. That way, you wouldn’t need to buy as much.”

Woman #1: “No! I want quarter-inch ribbon so I don’t have to cut it.”

Me: “I understand but we do not carry black and white zebra print in quarter-inch width. If you prefer, we have other patterns in that size. Or we also carry black and white zebra fabrics you can get cut, but I would, again, recommend using a fray-check since they will be seeing a lot of wear and tear on flip-flops—”

Woman #1: “NO! I WANT RIBBON!”

Me: “Well, since we do not carry it, you might be able to find it at [Competitor #2], [Competitor #3], or possibly at [Competitor #4].”

Woman #1: “I HAVE ALREADY TRIED THERE! DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO GO BACK TO [COMPETITOR] IN [Town one hour away]!”

Me: *really thinking how I can make this person happy or at least offer more suggestions* “Where do you live? [Competitor] actually just opened up a branch in [Town half an hour away], if that is any closer to you.

Woman #1: *she is screaming at this point* “I LIVE IN [Town 45 minutes in opposite direction].”

Me: “Oh. The only other suggestion I can think of, then, is to maybe get some sharpies and draw your own designs.”

(At this point, the boy has moved on to throwing spools of ribbon while the girl tugs at him. The woman finally takes notice when I bend down to scoop up an unraveling spool.)

Woman #1: “WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?! STOP BEING BRATS!” *to the girl* “GET AWAY FROM HIM AND BEHAVE!”

(As she says this she shoves the little girl away while simultaneously ramming her cart into me. She glares at me like she is daring me to say something but I just smile and continue to re-wind the ribbon spool. Woman #2 finally takes notice and starts screaming at the kids that they need to apologize for making a mess. You know, instead of the adults paying attention to them and preventing them from misbehaving.)

Me: “If there is nothing else I can help you with, have a nice day!”

Woman #1: “WHAT?! YOU HAVEN’T HELPED ME AT ALL! THIS IS TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!”

(I just walked away thinking: And you are a terrible parent. I gave you 10 different options and ideas. Short of pulling what you wanted out of the non-existent magic satchel in my a**, there was nothing else I could do. I walked right into the break room where my manager (who I filled in on the situation) told me to stay until those women left the store. Apparently Woman #1 was looking for me…)

An Artistic Response

| Australia | Right | February 16, 2016

(I’m 21 but very short and petite for my age, so I’m used to customers assuming I’m young and inexperienced. I mostly ignore it. Because our job involves cutting fabric for each customer, we’re generally serving them for around five minutes. Most customers tend to strike up a conversation.)

Customer: “So, how long have you been working here?”

Me: “I just passed three years.”

Customer: “Really? I come in here a lot and I’ve never seen you before.”

Me: “Me too. Funny how that happens.”

(She gives me a glare. I decide to start playing along in case she gets angry.)

Me: “I’ve also been studying at university, so I’m not here as often as the other staff.”

Customer: “You’re at university?!”

Me: “Yes. I’ve just finished and will graduate next month.”

Customer: *condescendingly* “Did you enjoy your little arts degree, then?”

(I’m incredibly offended by this.)

Me: “I’ll actually be receiving a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in business information systems. It’s a very interesting field that involves using information technology to streamline business processes, with the end goal being that the added value will allow the business to remain competitive or gain an advantage. It’s the discipline where information technology meets information management in a business context.”

(She shut her trap after that.)

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You Are Sew Lying

| Australia | Right | December 16, 2015

(I’m 19, but I look at lot younger than what I am so people often mistake me for being school-aged when I work on the weekend. On this particular Saturday I’m working at the counter with my middle-aged coworker. I see a couple deliberately letting people past them in the line, clearly making sure I’m the one that serves them.)

Me: “Hello! How can I help you today?”

Man: “I want to return my wife’s sewing machine.”

(He places an open sewing machine box on the counter.)

Me: “Ok, sir; was there a problem with it?”

Man: “No—”

Woman: “Yes—”

(The man glares at his wife before continuing.)

Man: “No, we just changed our mind.”

Me: “I’m sorry sir, but we only do change-of-mind refunds for sewing machines that haven’t been opened.”

Man: “But it was open when we bought it!”

(I’d been working at this store for a while and knew all the policies; there was no fooling me.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s not possible. All sewing machines are sealed with security tape when they are purchased to prevent theft. You wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the store with an open box like that. I’m afraid I cannot refund you.”

(The man grumbles, and the woman decides to chime in.)

Woman: “I did open it! I tried to use the machine but it was broken! I want a refund!”

(Despite the fact that they just changed their story, I decide to follow company policy and treat the machine as if it was indeed ‘faulty.’ We are encouraged to test all machines that customers claim are broken, mostly because the majority of the time the customers aren’t using it correctly, or there’s a really small problem that we can fix ourselves without having to send it away under warranty.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, I’ll just have to test the machine to see if I can fix the problem myself. Most of the time we don’t have to send it back to the manufacturer.”

(I remove the machine from the packaging and set it up. I’ve been sewing for years so I know exactly what I’m doing, and I can see the woman getting increasingly panicked as I thread up the machine and find some fabric to test it with. I try all of the functions and they work perfectly.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, it seems your machine is fine after all. Are you sure you set it up correctly?”

Woman: “Yes, I did exactly what you did, but it didn’t work! I want a refund!”

(Even though I’m allowed to turn them away, I can see the machine is still brand new so I go and talk to my manager about giving a refund. She says not to give them any money back, instead they can exchange it for a more expensive machine and pay the difference. The couple don’t take this news so well.)

Man: “Bull-s***! You have to refund us! It’s the law!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but Australian consumer law requires we refund you only if the product is faulty, wrongly described or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. We have established that the sewing machine sews perfectly and looks exactly the same as the photo on the box, so I do not have to offer you a refund or exchange at all. I am, however, willing to let you exchange it for another machine of equal or higher value.”

(All of a sudden the couple turns to look each other and starts arguing in a foreign language. They eventually turn back to me.)

Man: “So, which machines can we exchange it for?”

Me: “Well, it depends how much you paid for your original one. May I see your receipt?”

Man: “We don’t have one. Only a credit card statement.”

(I had to go back to my manager and ask if I could still do the transaction without a receipt. It is a good five minutes before I get back to the counter.)

Me: “Okay, sir, the bank statement should be fine, but we’ll need extra time to find the receipt in our system.”

Man: “Actually, we’ve decided to keep our original machine.”

(Before I could stop him, he took the machine off the counter and walked off. I had to run to the front of the store and explain to my coworker at the door that someone was about to leave the store with an open sewing machine box and no receipt. The customers waiting in line were not impressed.)

Eventually Had A Bulb Moment

| Australia | Right | December 12, 2015

(One quiet afternoon a friendly looking lady approaches the counter:)

Customer: “Good afternoon, I’m looking for a new bulb for my sewing machine.”

Me: “Sure, we sell a few different bulbs here. What model is your machine?”

(She states the model, which has been discontinued for several years.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am, but as that is an older machine we don’t stock parts for it.”

(My coworker overhears the conversation and chimes in.)

Coworker: “I was at [Other Location] the other day. I know they have them.”

(Our other store is a lot bigger and around 30 minutes away. The customer’s face suddenly turns dark.)

Customer: “I WOULDN’T DRIVE TO [OTHER LOCATION] WITH A GUN TO MY HEAD.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am—”

Customer: “YOU GUYS SELL POTS AND PANS AND BALLOONS AND OTHER CRAFT S*** BUT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THINGS TO DO BASIC SEWING.”

Me: “With all due respect, ma’am, we are as much a craft, party, and home decorating store as we are a fabric and sewing store. Now if you like I can call [Other Location] and have them send the bulb here, but it may take several weeks.”

Customer: “BULLS***. I’m going to [Competitor] and getting the bulb off them! See if I ever come back to your store again!”

(She dumps her basket on the counter and stomps off.)

Next Customer In Line: “She’d really rather get shot than drive 30 minutes up the road?”

The Mark Of A Bad Customer

| Australia | Right | December 9, 2015

(A customer comes to my counter with a roll of fabric.)

Customer: “Hi, I’d like two metres, please. But there’s a mark on the fabric.”

Me: “Not a problem. Just show me where the mark is and I can sort something out for you.”

(She shows me a really tiny pinhead-sized section of the fabric that is slightly lighter than the rest. You’d practically need a magnifying glass to even notice it.)

Me: “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that. It will come right out in the wash.”

Customer: *horrified* “I’m not washing it!”

Me: “It’s a cotton fabric, ma’am. I highly recommend you pre-wash it. It will shrink a little bit the first time; if you sew it first the seams will pucker.”

Customer: “I am not having that bit with the mark!”

(It’s a cheap fabric, so I decide not to argue with her.)

Me: “Okay, well, I can give you a discount—”

Customer: “CUT THAT BIT WITH THE MARK OFF!”

(I had to cut off over a metre of fabric off just to avoid ‘the mark’, which we then had to put in our half-price box. Normally I’d let the customer keep the extra bit of fabric, but there was no way I was wasting it on her.)

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