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The Couponator 4: Deadly Discounts

, , , , , | Right | March 9, 2018

(I’ve worked part-time at this location of a nation-wide department store for several years, and by now I am the most senior employee in the women’s clothing department. I’m good at customer service, and a lot of our customers know and like me, which has its upsides and downsides. I am serving [Customer #1], a woman in her 60s who talks about all the trips she takes abroad, and the souvenirs she buys for hundreds to thousands of dollars, while she won’t buy anything from us that runs over $15. She is also incredibly picky about her purchases and the way they’re folded and bagged, and she refuses to ring up with anybody but me, since I’m the only one who “does it right.” Standing in line behind her is [Customer #2], a woman in her 40s for whom I once tracked down a $20-off coupon, who has also insisted I be the one to ring her up ever since. She has a habit of coming to me to check prices on everything she finds, walking right past the price scanner, and several times has asked me to wait in the middle of a transaction so she can grab more of a cheap item, even if the item is on the second floor and there are several people in line behind her. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with these two customers one after the other.)

Customer #1: “Hi, my dear. How are you?” *she sets six clearance shirts on the register* “These should all be $9.99.”

(I smile even while dreading this transaction, because that’s the classic line customers give when they KNOW that stuff isn’t the price they think it “should” be. This customer acts like a sweet grandmother when kept happy, but turns instantly mean when she doesn’t get what she wants.)

Me: “Let’s see… Oh, it looks like these two that say $9.99 on the tag are okay, but these four that say, ‘75% off,’ are from the clearance rack next to it.”

Customer #1: *suddenly scowls* “That’s it. Get me your manager. I’ve told them time and time again: I won’t put up with this here. This is ridiculous; nothing is ever in its proper place—”

Me: “I apologize for that; we just had our big sale yesterday, and unfortunately, we haven’t been able to finish putting back everything that was misplaced. Let me go ahead and adjust those for you.”

Customer #1: *smiling again* “Oh, thank you, my dear. You’re always so kind.”

(She talks about her last expensive trip while I ring her up, changing all the clearance items that were already only $10 to $17 to $9.99.)

Me: “All right, ma’am, your total is $58. Do you have your coupons with you?”

Customer #1: “Can I use a $20-off coupon?”

Me: “Sure!”

(I wait for her to hand me the coupon.)

Customer #1: “Don’t you have one with you?”

(We usually don’t, as those are mailed directly to the customer, but I check around the register, anyway.)

Me: “I’m afraid not. I have an extra 20%-off I can use, though.”

Customer #1: *gesturing to the customer being rung up at the register behind me* “Well, does she have one?”

(I pause for a moment, but manage to keep my smile up as I politely ask two other customers waiting in line if they have a coupon I can scan. No one does, and [Customer 1#] decides to put her things on hold until she can get a $20-off coupon. [Customer #2] comes up to the register, rolling her eyes and shaking her head.)

Customer #2: “I’ve done her nails before. She’s always like that. So, do you have a $20-off coupon?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. I just looked for one a minute ago.”

(I start ringing up her items.)

Customer #2: “Wait. All these pants should be $4.99!”

Me: “…”

(I look down at her pants, one of which has a $4.99 tag, while all the rest have 75%-off tags.)

Me: “You know what? I’ll just adjust those for you.”

(I finish ringing her up, and after she leaves, I turn to one of my managers who came to stand by me a few minutes ago, still smiling brightly.)

Me: “Shoot me.”

Manager: “What? Why? They’re both really nice women…”

Me: “…”

Manager: “…most of the time.”

([Customer #1] comes running back to the register, waving a coupon above her head.)

Customer #1: “I got a $20-off one!”

The Couponator 3: Rise Of The Coupons

Phoning In The Personal Information

, , , , , | Right | February 18, 2018

(I’m ringing up an older gentleman who is buying one bottle of wine.)

Me: “Do you have your [Store Rewards] card?”

Customer: “Not on me. My phone number is [number].”

Me: “Thanks. May I have your birthdate for the alcohol?”

Customer: “No. I don’t give out personal information.”


, , , | Working | December 16, 2017

(My family and I just recently moved from Virginia to Hawaii, which means a six hour time difference. Lately I’ve been getting calls from my old area code and they’re never the same number twice. I assume they are telemarketers since they never leave a voicemail. I haven’t been able to answer one because they also call between four and six am. This morning the ringing wakes me up.)

Caller: “Hello! I’m looking for Apollo [Last Name]; is he available?”

Me: “…that’s my dog’s name.”

(I got another call about an hour later but I slept through it again. I looked the numbers up and each one is for a different home realtor office and we do have our house for sale. How they got my dog’s name, I’m not sure.)

Wish This Teacher Was Like An ‘E’ At The End

, , , | Learning | December 14, 2017

(I’m in eighth grade, teaching a kindergartner to read. Usually, when she gets to a word she doesn’t know, it goes like this:)

Me: “Sound it out. What’s the first syllable?”

Student: “P… pee… rate?”

Me: “So this ‘I’ is a little tricky. It makes the ‘eye’ sound. The ‘A’ in this case makes the ‘uh’ sound, and the ‘E’ is at the end, which means it’s…”

Student: “Silent!”

Me: “That’s right! Can you try again?”

Student: “P…pie…rut? Oh! Pirate!”

(Today, however, I am being supervised. When the student gets to a word she doesn’t know, it goes like this:)

Student: “A…arrh…”

Supervisor: *sharply* “Arrow!”

Student: “Oh… sorry…”

(At various points I try to intervene, but it goes like this:)

Student: “Cap… cap…”

Me: “You’ve got the first syllable right! What do you think the next syllable sounds like?”

Supervisor: “Just tell her already! There’s no point in her trying to figure it out for herself!”

(I hate this teacher.)

Some Heart-Warming Explanations

, , | Healthy | December 7, 2017

(I have visited the cardiologist for EKGs and echoes every two years since I was born, and one year I am old enough to ask my doctor why I have to.)

Doctor: “You have a heart murmur. Arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse.”

Me: “What’s that mean?”

Doctor: “Well, most people’s hearts have a steady two-beat. BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, like a drummer. Your heart is like a jazz drummer, who just does whatever: BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP, bump-BUMP, no bump. There’s extra beats and missed beats, with no pattern to it.”

Me: “What’s the other one?”

Doctor: “Imagine the hood of a Japanese convertible. The roof goes up, and when it comes back down, it fits perfectly into its base without problems, and is completely sealed. Now imagine the hood of an American convertible. When the roof comes back down, it doesn’t quite fit into the base; it’s off-center, and the air-conditioning will leak out and rain can get in. Your heart is an American car, and the valve is the convertible roof.”

(Two decades later, and I still love this doctor’s explanations to a confused kid.)