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Give The Beneficent The Benefit Of The Doubt

, , , , | Right | February 19, 2013

(It’s a few days before Valentine’s Day, so there are a lot of rush orders for flowers. One of our usual customers, Ben, is an elderly man who isn’t mentally healthy, but he’s a sweet man who doesn’t bother anyone. He’s decided to buy 100 roses and stand outside to hand them out to women, young and old alike.)

Female Customer #1: “I want your manager.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am…”

(I call for my manager, who arrives shortly.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

Female Customer #1: “There’s a drunk outside accosting women. I want to know what kind of store lets drunkards stand around like that to bother ladies. He’s standing out there slurring and making sexual comments to everyone.”

(As she explains this, another female customer with her daughter has been standing nearby. After she finishes, the second female customer interjects.)

Female Customer #2: “I hope you don’t mean Ben.”

Female Customer #1: “Who the f*** asked you?”

Female Customer #2: *to my manager* “Ben isn’t doing anything at all. This lady here asked for two flowers and started hitting him with her purse when he only gave her one.”

Female Customer #1: “You f***ing liar! You’re just some godless w****!”

Manager: “Lady, if getting a d*** flower for Valentine’s Day pisses you off this much, I feel sorry for the poor b*****d who gets in a relationship with you. Get out of my store and don’t come back.”

(The manager brought Ben in, who was in tears and confused. However, he cheered up when he received some very nice comments from other customers as well as a free meal from my manager.)

Holding The Line Against Bad Customers

, , , , | Right | February 18, 2013

(There are usually four to six employees behind the counter at the cell phone store, but today there is only one. She appears to be new and flustered, but is doing very well getting to everyone. I have been waiting for about 20 minutes before a woman in her late 20s and dressed in aerobics gear comes in. She immediately turns to a phone sales rep.)

Aerobics Woman: “Do I really needed to wait in the line?”

Employee: “I only really sell new phones, so I am afraid you will have to.”

Aerobics Woman: “OH. MY. GOD.”

(Five minutes go by, and the next customer is up. I’m about fourth in line now, and [Aerobics Woman] is sixth. She is grumbling and muttering things under her breath.)

Aerobics Woman: *shouting* “What is taking so long?! I don’t understand why I have to wait in this line.”

(Finally, it’s my turn. I’m up at the counter, and give the poor overwhelmed employee a warm smile.)

Me: “I’m so sorry you have to put up with this.”

(Relieved, the employee lets out a big sigh and her shoulders relax.)

Employee: “No, I’m sorry that it has been taking so long.”

Me: “No, it’s okay. I understa—”

Aerobics Woman: “Why does it have to take so long!”

(I decide I’ve been patient enough with [Aerobics Woman] and snap back.)

Me: “Are you five f***ing years old?!”

(As soon as I say this, everything in the store grinds to a halt. [Aerobics Woman] is looking at me wide-eyed, as I in turn am now giving her the ugliest glare I’ve ever managed.)

Me: “Are you seriously under the impression that your constant moaning is going to make anything you’re trying to do happen any faster? Do you have any idea how f***ing ridiculous you look right now? What the h*** is so d*** important that you feel that you have to b**** every five minutes for all to hear?”

Aerobics Woman: “I was on the phone to customer service, and they told me that in order to change my account password I needed to come into a store and show proof of ID!I got a new phone because I dropped the old one, and they told me I couldn’t switch it without my password, and I forgot it!”

Me: “Well, of course you’d have to bloody come in! I bet you have credit card info, address info, social security info, and all the rest on your bloody account. What if I called Customer Service, put on a lovely voice, and said I was you? What if I stole your phone, called the phone company, and said to them, ‘could you tell me what social security number you have for me, I want to make sure it’s the right one’? You should be thanking this poor woman here, all alone, having to put up with your childish whining, and trying to keep you from getting robbed. Now, shut up, and just wait your turn.”

(I turn back to the employee, and wink. On the way out of the store, another employee intercepts me on the way out.)

Other Employee: “I was wondering if I could talk to you. Customer Service is our number one priority here, and policy prevents us from being able to defend ourselves in a situation like that. On behalf of everyone here, I wanted to see if I could have your name, and give you next month’s service for free.”

She Crossed The Line

, , , , | Right | February 7, 2013

(I am a customer at my regular hardware supply store, which most local contractors have accounts at. I’m standing in a large queue at the cash register with a few items for a job I’m working on. The customer in front of me seems annoyed and is asking many questions about a special light bulb for her house.)

Cashier: “I’m sorry, but from what you’ve told me, I don’t think that particular bulb will work with your fixture. However, the row of bulbs above where you got it will work!”

Customer #1: *more annoyed* “So, I have to pick out another one? Can you at least show me?”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, I can’t leave the register right now. But [Employee] can help you.”

(She points to her coworker twenty feet away in the lighting section. The customer begins heading there, but first asks…)

Customer #1: “Will I have to stand in line again?”

(The cashier and I look at each other and shrug, so we both wait out of courtesy. However, the customer is gone for quite a while although the aisle she went to is very close, so the cashier decides to help me first. However, halfway through my transaction, [Customer #1] comes back and goes straight to the front of the line.)

Customer #1: “Excuse me! I believe I was first!”

Cashier: “Oh! Ma’am. I’m sorry. You were gone for a while, and he only had a few items and I thought–”

Customer #1: “Whatever! Just ring me up!”

(The cashier nervously looks at me and I nod that it’s okay for her to go first. By now, there are at least six people standing in the queue behind me. The cashier begins to ring her up.)

Customer #1: “You know, that was really rude! You should all be more helpful here!”

Me: “Ma’am, she was only doing her job. This is a small business and they are very courteous and helpful here.”

Customer #1: *turns around to me* “I don’t care! They need to be more efficient and shouldn’t be so rude. I’m on my break. I don’t have time for this!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m a contractor; I lose money for every minute I am away from the worksite. Your time is no more valuable than anyone else’s, and [Cashier] works very hard and is very good at her job.”

Customer #1: “W-well… I was only saying that so they know that they are wasting a customer’s time!”

(A customer behind me interrupts her.)

Customer #2: “Hey, lady! We’re all contractors. You are wasting our time and money!”

(Everyone else in line verbally and visibly motioned in agreement. The first customer finished her transaction and quickly left, embarrassed. The cashier was so thankful that she went and told the store manager, who gave everyone in the queue a keychain flashlight for free. I love that store! Remember to support your local businesses!)


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On Vacation From Reason

, , , | Right | January 31, 2013

(I am working at a salon through a Cooperative Education program at my high school, and am still a senior. I answer the phone.)

Me: “[Salon], how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to book an appointment today with [Employee who is on vacation].”

Me: “Sorry, [Employee] is actually on vacation. I could book you with another stylist today or with [Employee] when she returns.”

Customer: “What do you mean, she’s on vacation? I need a haircut!”

Me: “Oh, well, yes, she is on a cruise. But like I said before, I can book you with another stylist or—”

Customer: “No, no, no! This is unacceptable! I want to book an appointment today with [Employee]! How could she go on vacation and do this to me?”

Me: “Well, she had vacation days to use up, so she is gone. Now, would you like to book an appointment for a later date?”

Customer: “No! I want [Employee] to cut my hair today! Gosh, what don’t you understand? Are you stupid?”

(I try to explain several more times that the certain employee she is requesting has gone on vacation and would be back in a few weeks, but she simply won’t listen.)

Customer: “Fine! This is just ridiculous! I guess I will book an appointment with another stylist but this is just silly! [Employee] should not be allowed to go on vacation!”

Shogun The Way To Go Home, Part 2

, , , , | Right | January 29, 2013

(I grew up in Japan and am bilingual, even though I am Australian by birth. I am showing some Australian friends around Tokyo.)

American Customer: *to the station attendant, in English* “Hey, I need to get to Akihabara station. How do I do that?”

Station Attendant: *in Japanese* “Sorry, I do not speak English. Could you point it out?”

(As the station attendant speaks, he has a big map of the subway system and his gestures make it VERY obvious what he wants the customer to do.)

American Customer: *in English* “Are you deaf?! I need to get to Akihabara station!”

Station Attendant: *in Japanese, while gesturing at the map emphatically* “I don’t know English, sorry. Please point where you are going.”

American Customer: *in English* “Stupid Asians. Just tell me how to get there!”

(I intervene at this point as I feel sorry for the poor station worker.)

Me: *in Japanese* “He wants to get to Akihabara station. I know the way; I’ll explain it to him.”

(I explain, in English, how to get to the station, and tell him that the station attendant was trying but he doesn’t speak English.)

American Customer: *to me, in English* “These stupid [slurs] should learn English. Why couldn’t he tell me that?”

Me: “When Asians visit your country, you expect them to speak English, right? So it’s only fair when you come here you try to use their language. Plus, he was trying to help you, if you had just pointed it out on the map.”

American Customer: “Everyone should know English!”

(He storms off without apologizing or thanking me or the station worker.)

Station Attendant: *to me, in Japanese* “Thank you so much for helping. I didn’t know what to do.”

Me: “Don’t worry about it. He was just being rude. I feel like I should be apologizing for his behaviour on behalf of all foreigners.”

Station Attendant: “Oh, don’t worry, we get much worse. Then there are people like you who help convince me you’re not all bad. Thanks again!”


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