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The Explanation Flu Over His Head

, , , , | Right | December 12, 2019

(As part of an awareness campaign, there are a few stands at a major public transit hub where people can get a quick, free medical check and advice on whether they are at risk for heart disease and so on. We are also handing out bottled water, hula hoops, and balls for kids to play with and take home while the adults are filling out questions, being measured, or talking with the nurses. All of us are wearing dark blue T-shirts with the company logo on them. Entirely unrelated, there are people handing out flyers about the swine flu vaccine. These people are wearing yellow T-shirts with another company’s logo on them. I am on my way to a break when an elderly man comes up to me, holding the pamphlet the other company is handing out.)

Elderly Man: “Okay, just give me the shot.”

Me: “I’m afraid we don’t give shots here. This is a medical check-up to see if you’re at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and so on.”

Elderly Man: “But you’re handing out these flyers, telling me I need to get a shot.”

Me: “Sir, those people are from a different company and, as you’ll read in the pamphlet, you have to make an appointment with your doctor and he’ll give you the vaccine.”

Elderly Man: “But you’re right here.”

Me: “Yes, but, again, we don’t have any shots here.”

Elderly Man: “But I need to get a shot!” *waving the flyer in my face*

Me: “I understand, sir, but you really need to call your doctor and make an appointment for that. We simply can’t help you here.”

Elderly Man: “You just want me to die!”

The Case Of The Case

, , , , , , | Right | September 7, 2019

(I am working in a cell phone kiosk, within a store well known for its overly-exploitable return policy. All of the phone cases we carry are black, grey, or clear, and are one of three well-known brands. A woman approaches the counter carrying a thin, bright pink case.)

Customer: “Give me my money back! This garbage you sold me is broken!”

Me: “Is there an issue with your phone?”

Customer: “No! This case! Here’s my receipt!”

(She tosses a receipt at me. It does show one of the cases we sell for that phone, but they are completely different styles.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I think there’s a misunderstanding. The case on your receipt is a different case than the one you’re holding. Do you have this case with you?”

Customer: “Excuse me?! This is the case your coworker sold me! I want you to give me my money back!”

(Seeing that this is already going nowhere, I grab the case we sell and open it for her, showing her the differences.)

Me: “This is the case on your receipt. See how the SKU matches up? This case is also [Brand] and so it says the name here on the side. I’m not sure where the case you’re holding came from.”

Customer: “It came from here! It’s been on my phone since day one! Look! It’s on my receipt!”

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but the item on your receipt is this other case. If you can find that, I’d be happy to return it.”

Customer: “Then you need to explain to me why it’s on my receipt!”

Me: “I have explained, ma’am. It’s not. These are different items. We have never sold that case, and so I cannot return it for you.”

Customer: “[Store] returns everything for me!”

Me: “If they were purchased here. This simply was not.”

Customer: “Your [slur] you have working here grabbed it right out from under there and gave it to me!”

Me: “The only way that would be possible is if he took it off of somebody else’s phone. Do you think that would be the case?”

Customer: “Probably! He took it and charged me! That’s what the [slur]s are all like!

Me: “Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to stop insulting my coworkers. You can come back when you find the case you purchased here.”

(She stormed off and went up front, where she complained about me and demanded a refund. I then had to repeat the whole conversation with returns management, who didn’t understand why I didn’t give her money for something we never sold her in the first place.)

The Boy, The Octopus, And The Strawberry

, , , | Right | August 12, 2019

(I work for tips as a balloon artist at a local arts market.)

Boy: “Excuse me. How much is a balloon?”

Me: “I work for tips.”

Boy: *looks confused*

Me: “That means you pay whatever you want.”

Boy: “Okay!” *runs off, returns a few minutes later* “Can you make me an octopus?”

Me: “Sure!” *makes balloon* “Here you go, sweetie.”

Boy: “Thank you! Here’s your tip!” *pulls out a huge, bigger-than-his-hand strawberry* “I don’t have any money, so I chose the biggest, bestest strawberry! Bye!” *runs off with octopus balloon*

Entitled To Moan, Not A Loan

, , , , , | Right | July 31, 2019

(I work at a cell phone kiosk in a local mall. Cell phones are just starting to be something the public is educated about, and are still “hot,” “new” things that are seen as status symbols. This story concerns a customer who is a semi-regular, and usually buys a lot of products at once, though he is also a belligerent blowhard who believes he is entitled to special treatment because he always spends a lot of money.)

Customer: “This stupid phone keeps overheating. I can’t even hold it in my hand for two minutes because the d*** thing gets too hot!”

Me: “Wow. That sounds like a pretty serious problem. Let me see about getting it serviced.”

(After some checking, it turns out he’s had this phone for almost two years and did not opt for any extended warranties.)

Me: “Sorry, sir. I’d love to help you get this repaired, but it turns out this phone is out of warranty. I can still send it in, but it won’t be a free repair.”

Customer: “Naw, naw, naw. Don’t start talking to me like that. Do you know how much money I’ve spent on your products? I own five phones, three pagers—“ *starts to list the components he’s bought for each*

Me: “Sir, I understand you’re a good customer, but warranties are warranties. I can’t make an exception. It’s not even within my power to do so.”

(I should not have said this.)

Customer: “Then get your manager on the phone.”

Me: “He’ll tell you the same thing I’m telling you.”

Customer: “We’ll see about that. Get [Boss] on the phone right now!”

(As I said, he’s a regular customer and big spender; he knows my manager’s name.)

Me: “Okay.”

(I dial our manager, who speaks with the customer for a short bit and decides that a guy who spends that kind of money is too valuable to lose, and offers to foot him the repair costs. This is fine with me, because now I know that I won’t get in trouble for processing a warranty repair for an out-of-warranty product. I fill out all the paperwork and set him up with a “loaner” phone that he can use in lieu of the one we’re sending in for repair. The VERY NEXT DAY, who should show up?)

Customer: “This f****** loaner phone is a cheap piece of s***!”

(The customer hands me the loaner I gave him, one that many customers before him have used, and it looks like it’s been thrown ten feet into a solid brick wall. The screen is cracked in half, and the casing is cracked in numerous places and partially coming off, so that the battery won’t even fit back on.)

Me: “Wow, what happened?”

Customer: “Well, the dang phone is so slippery that I was just talkin’ on it and it slipped right out of my hand! You guys didn’t give me a case with it or a clip or anything, and it’s as slippery as soap!”

(Again, this is the same phone I’ve given many customers before him; not to mention, how would a clip have helped in this case? It didn’t fall off his belt.)

Me: “Okay, well, this is pretty severe physical damage. As it’s our property, I’m afraid you’re going to have to pay for this phone to be replaced. We don’t have that many loaners.”

Customer: “Naw, naw, don’t start that again. I mean, the phone is slippery, and you didn’t give me a case. It could’ve happened to anybody!”

Me: “Yes, and anybody would have had to pay the cost of replacement. It’s part of the loaner agreement you signed.”

Customer: “Get your boss on the phone!”

(This customer has gotten to the point where he feels like all he has to do is demand to speak to my boss and he’ll get whatever he wants. I call the boss. Again. This time, I inform my boss of what’s going on, and he asks to speak to the customer. I’m able to hear him word for word; he’s that loud.)

Boss: “Are you serious?! We made a deal for you that we wouldn’t make for anyone else, and we’re taking a serious hit for it, and now you destroy one of our phones and act like it’s our fault? There is no way you’re not paying to replace that loaner, and if you refuse, you will be sued! You’re lucky I don’t rescind the offer to pay your out-of-warranty fees!

(Eventually, the guy agreed to pay, and later, he did come and collect the repaired phone, but we never saw him again. The boss didn’t mind at that point; if we’d kept his business he would have ended up costing us more than he was spending. The boss later saw the totaled loaner and said there was no way that happened just by being dropped. God knows what he did to demolish it like that.)

Backpack Pushback

, , , , | Working | July 30, 2019

(Our state fair offers booth space to businesses to advertise products and services. The non-profit office I work for participates every year and gives out thousands of small promotional items for free. Our giveaway items range from stickers, to pencils, to chip clips, to drawstring canvas backpacks. Naturally, the larger items like the backpacks are the most popular. We’re told to push the giveaways, but to allow each person only one of each item. While I’m volunteering at the booth, a woman runs up the table:)

Woman: “Hi! I work at that booth right over there, and that gentleman just bought some things from me, and I’m all out of bags! Could I have one of these to give him?” *grabs a backpack from the table*

Me: “Well, I’m not sure…”

Woman: “Oh, please? Please? He really needs it to carry his things. Please? Can I just take this one bag for him?”

(I think about it for a moment and don’t see any harm in letting her have one bag. It’s still free advertising for us, after all, so I agree.)

Me: “Sure, I suppose that’s all right. You can take that one.”

Woman: “Oh, thank you so much! Thank you!”

(She holds it up and runs back over to the man.)

Woman: “I have a bag for you! Here you go! Here’s a bag!”

(All is well, and I turn back to our own customers… but several minutes later the woman reappears. She immediately lays her hands on the stack of canvas bags.)

Woman: “Hello again! I’ve got more customers and they really need bags for their things. Can I have a couple more? Please, for my customers?”

Me: *repeating my instructions for the giveaway items* “I’m sorry, we’re really only supposed to give away one per person.”

Woman: “But I’m not keeping them! They’re for my customers! They need bags! And I’m all out! Can I just take a couple more, for my customers?”

(I know if I don’t put my foot down, she’ll be asking for bags every time she makes a sale, so I offer a workaround.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry. But they’re welcome to come and visit our booth, and if they’d like to choose some of our giveaway items, including the bags, that would be okay.”

Woman: *disappointedly* “Oh. So, I can’t have even one more bag?”

Me: “No. But your customers are welcome to come and get one from us themselves.”

Woman: “Oh. All right.”

(I watched her ask a couple more nearby booths for bags and then walk back to her customers empty-handed. The customers took their things and left, and didn’t even pass by our booth. Thankfully, that ended other sellers trying to put their own products in our free backpacks!)