Now Listen Here, Sunshine…

, , , | Right | May 7, 2021

The florist is talking to a man that wants to know the price of the lemon trees. For some reason, this makes the woman next to them butt in.

Customer: “Are these lemon trees? Is the fruit gonna turn yellow or are they gonna be green?”

Florist: *Trying to be nice although she is cutting in line* “The fruit is going to turn yellow if you put it outside and if we have enough sun this summer.”

Customer: “So they are gonna turn yellow?”

Florist: “Yes, but they aren’t going to taste nice; they are decorative.”

Customer: “And these orange trees, do they also have to have sun?”

Florist: “Yes, they are just like the lemon trees and have to have sun in order to thrive.”

Customer: “How much do they grow?”

Florist: “Well, not that much; they grow really slowly.”

Customer: “And they have to have sun, both of them?”

Florist: “Yes.”

Customer: “And are the fruit on the orange tree gonna be green, as well, or are they gonna turn yellow like the lemons?”

Florist: “No, those are oranges and they are going to turn orange, if they get enough sunshine.”

Customer: “Sunshine… outside?”

Florist: “Yes.”

Customer: *Mumbling to herself* “Sunshine, they have to have sunshine.”

The woman then walked out of the flower shop and stood for several minutes just staring at the citrus trees, although I somehow doubt that she knew that they were both citrus trees.

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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

, , , , | Right | April 29, 2021

We can only allow one customer at a time into the shop. We have opened another door and set up a one-way system so customers who are leaving do not have to squeeze past those waiting to enter.

The one-person limit is clearly posted at the door, and the one-way system is marked with numerous arrows, and yet I have to explain and remind customers all day long. I am checking out [Customer #1] while keeping an eye on the door.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, could you please wait outside for a moment? We are only allowed to have one customer in here at a time.”

[Customer #2] steps back outside. I finish with [Customer #1], direct them to the exit, and beckon to [Customer #2] to come in.

Customer #2: “I am so sorry, I should have checked! I really should know; I work at the pharmacy and we are constantly reminding people, as well.”

We commiserate a bit as I’m helping her, and I help her carry her items to the exit.

Customer #2: “Thank you so much, and have a nice day, and… I’m trying to think of what exactly to wish you.”

Me: “Pleasant and attentive customers?”

Customer #2: “Yes, may you have many of those!”

Then, I called in [Customer #3], an elderly man, quickly helped him, cashed him out, and finished with, “Have a nice day, and please leave through the other door over there.”

[Customer #3] took a step back and tripped over a display, knocking several vases to the floor and almost falling himself, and then left the shop… through the entrance.

So much for “attentive customers.”

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Flowering Discontent, Part 3

, , , | Right | March 30, 2021

I’m a florist. An individual calls us. He’s a little bit brusque but not what I would call rude. Yet.

Customer: “I want to send flowers to someone at the [Our City] hospital.”

Me: “Sure thing! Are they at [University Hospital] or [Hospital Chain]?”

Customer: “Uh, [University Hospital].”

[University Hospital] is HUGE, and the different sections have numbers and names, along with the specific room numbers. It’s not necessary for us to have the patient’s location information, but it does help.

Me: “Do you know what section of the hospital she’s in? It’s okay if you don’t, but I’ll take it if you do.”

Customer: “I have the room number. It’s [number]. Wait. No. It’s not [University Hospital]. It’s [Hospital Chain].”

Me: “No problem; we’ll send it out.”

Customer: “What was that room number?”

Me: “[Number].”

Customer: “Uh, yeah. Yeah. That’s right. Okay.”

Our delivery driver takes the flowers to [Hospital Chain] and calls us from there shortly after. She says patient information has no patient by that name. No problem. These things happen. My boss calls [University Hospital]. They don’t have her, either. Usually, when we run into this, it’s because the patient has been discharged. I call the customer back.

Me: “We checked at both [Hospital Chain] and [University Hospital] and neither of them have her listed as a patient. Is it possible she was discharged?”

Customer: *Getting irate* “Well, that’s impossible, because I just talked to her daughter, and she’s sitting right there with her.”

Me: “That is very strange. Could I double-check to make sure we have her name spelled correctly?”

He checks. We do.

Customer: “What’s the room number?!”

Me: “[Number], but having a room number, unfortunately, doesn’t help us if they have no record of her being there at all—”

Customer: “I gave you her room number!”

Me: “The issue is that the hospital says she isn’t a patient there. Could you ask her daughter—”

Customer: “She’s there!”

Me: “I’ll do some more digging and let you know when I find out what’s going on.”

I hang up, nonplussed, and see my boss with an odd look on her face.

Boss: “You know… she might be at [Hospital Chain] in [Neighboring Town a half-hour away].”

Me: “No way. How could he not even know what city she’s in?”

Boss: “I bet she is.”

Me: “I’m calling them.”

I call the hospital in [Neighboring Town] and, lo and behold, the lady he’s trying to send to is listed as a patient there. I call him back to tell him this. Of course, he’s extremely grateful to us for going the extra mile and making all these phone calls to make sure his order gets taken care of… right?

Me: “Hey, I called [Hospital Chain] in [Neighboring Town] and it turns out she’s actually down there! We can easily forward your order to one of our other shops in town and they can still deliver it to her today, no extra charge. Should I go ahead and do that?”

Customer: “Well. I was dead sure she was in [Our City]. Are you sure you didn’t just make that up?”

I admit I am struggling to maintain my chipper customer service voice.

Me: “Nope, I called the hospital in [Neighboring Town] and she’s definitely there! We’re going to forward your order unless you’d rather we didn’t.”

Customer: “You do that. But I’ll be calling her daughter.” *Click*

We forwarded his order. He never called back. My consolation prize for being called a liar for no reason was knowing how completely stupid he must have felt when he found out I was right.

Related:
Flowering Discontent, Part 2
Flowering Discontent

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A Ballooning Amount Of Balloons

, , , , , | Right | April 10, 2020

(I work for a florist inside a grocery store. One of our services is blowing up helium balloons. We have over a dozen different colors of latex balloons, as well as about fifty different patterns and sizes of mylar balloons.)

Customer: “I need balloons for a party. Do you do that here?”

Me: *looking at the hundreds of balloons surrounding us* “Yes, we do! What exactly were you looking for?”

Customer: “Balloons. For a party.”

Me: “Okay. I can definitely help with that. How many were you looking for? And what colors?”

Customer: “Baaallooooons.”

Me: “Okay. So, that will be 512 brown latex balloons. Do you want to pay now or at pickup?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “I need to know how many you want and what color. Otherwise I’ll have to pick, and I’ll choose whatever sells the slowest.”

Customer: “Oh. I’m sorry. They’re for a little girl; I’ll take six each of the two shades of pink and a Peppa Pig mylar balloon.”

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Death Swooped In And Stole Her Voice

, , , | Right | December 1, 2019

(I am taking an order over the phone for a client who is sending a sympathy bouquet to a funeral service. The conversation is casual; she doesn’t seem emotional over the death, so I assume it’s for a business relationship or distant relative. The order goes smoothly until I ask her about the card message.)

Me: “And what would you like the enclosure card to read?”

Client: *hesitates* “Um…” 

(As that is a common response for clients unsure of what they want to say, I try to help by giving suggestions.)

Me: “‘With Deepest Sympathy,’ ‘In Loving Memory,’ ‘Thoughts and Prayers are With You’?”

Client: *pause* “What should I say?”

Me: “Most people go with something along the lines of ‘With Deepest Sympathy,’ ‘In Loving Memory,’ or ‘Thoughts and Prayers are With You.'”

Client: “Yeah, that’ll work.”

Me: “Did you have a preference?”

Client: “For what?”

Me: “Most people generally choose just one.”

Client: *no response*

Me: “Which would you prefer? ‘With Deepest Sympathy’? ‘In Loving Memory’? Or ‘Thoughts and Prayers are With You’?”

Client: “Oh! ‘Deepest Sympathy’ will work.”

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