Smoked Out The Scammers

, , , , , , | Right | October 9, 2017

(There’s a very common scam with EBT cards; a customer will purchase something on EBT, then later return it, while claiming not to have the card, in order to get cash or a gift card to purchase non-EBT items, like cigarettes. It’s technically illegal to refund EBT purchases to anything but the card itself, but in most stores, if it’s a small enough amount, or if the customer makes a big enough scene, people will do it anyway. There’s one scammer in particular at our store who will go off immediately if her return is refused. Everyone becomes a racist or a race traitor, etc. because she knows a big scene means management will probably give her what she wants, to stop her. I won’t refund EBT to gift cards, hissy fit or no, but especially not for her as she made one of my cashiers cry recently, so to avoid putting myself and my nasty temper in that situation, I always say I need manager approval, grab whoever is handy, and clear out while they deal with her. On this particular day, she’s returning an item that rings up just shy of ten dollars. She can’t exchange it for them item she wants because she can’t have any type of that product for health reasons, and her son has her EBT card and he’s out of town. I grab my manager, leave him to it, and go pretend to be busy somewhere else. When I come back, my manager tells me to refund the money onto a gift card, and I think that’s that, but my manager stays behind the desk instead of going back to what he was doing, watching the registers.)

Me: “You know that b**** just scammed you, right?”

Manager: *grinning* “Wait for it.”

(The woman shops for a little while, then gets in [Cashier #1]’s line. [Cashier #1] follows the rules to the letter, and one of our rules is “always ID on cigarette sales,” so when this woman, easily fifty years old, tries to buy a pack, he asks for ID.)

Woman: “Why the h*** do you need my ID? I’m sixty! Do I look like a kid to you?”

Cashier #1: “It’s policy to get ID on all tobacco sales.”

Woman: “I never get carded here! This is ridiculous! I don’t have my ID; I’m obviously old enough, so why would I bring it?”

(I get called away, but according to my manager, this goes on for a while, with the scammer calling him a slur that basically means “race traitor.” My manager tells her to get her ID or there’s no sale, and strongly suggests that she settle down before he throws her out. Eventually she concedes and goes to get her ID from her wallet in her car — the wallet and car her son supposedly went out of town with, surprise, surprise. She comes back in, and I see her get in [Cashier #2]’s line this time, muttering all the while and trying to rile up anyone in earshot. Again, she tries to get cigarettes, and slaps her ID down on the counter. My manager is still at the desk, and still grinning ear to ear. I again get called away, but hear him ask [Cashier #2] a question over the earpiece.)

Manager: “[Cashier #2], is she buying those cigarettes with a gift card?”

Cashier #2: “Yeah.”

(I hear the woman screaming from the other end of the store seconds later. I get back up front and find she is gone, and my manager is putting away the pack of cigarettes.)

Manager: “Just so you know, that woman isn’t allowed back in the store.”

Me: “Awesome! What happened?”

Manager: “When she asked for the refund, I knew I could do one of two things: give it to her, or get in a shouting match. Ten dollars wasn’t worth the effort, so I gave it to her, and explained that this will be the only time I’ll refund EBT to a gift card. I explained that it’s the law, because people take the money and use it for cigarettes and booze, and she promised me that wasn’t what she was going to do, and fed me some bulls*** story about how this was a one time thing.”

Me: “[Other Manager] and I were literally talking about her pulling this the other day when you walked in. You were part of that conversation.”

Manager: “Oh, I know, that’s why I watched her. If she took that card someplace else, then oh well, but she tried to do exactly what I told her not to, right in front of me. I was trying to be nice to her, and she threw it back at me, so now she gets to suffer. I’ll let the other managers know, so if you see her in here again, deny her service and we’ll kick her right back out. She can take that s*** somewhere else.”

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Lost That Game Before It Even Started

, , , | Right | September 28, 2017

(The return policy at the game store where I work is clearly printed on the receipts, but many people don’t bother to read them. A sketchy-looking customer approaches me.)

Customer: *tosses bag down on the counter* “I’d like to return this, man.”

Me: “Not a problem! Just give me one second to process that for you.” *runs through the procedure quickly* “Okay, I’ll just need to swipe the card that you used to purchase [Game].”

Customer: “Nah, I just need the cash back. Don’t have no card.”

Me: *internally sighing* “Okay, let me just check on something with my manager.” *I go back to explain the situation*

Manager: *shakes head* “If he doesn’t have the card he used to purchase, have him use a different one.”

Me: “Sorry, sir. We need a card of some sort in order to process this return.”

Customer: “I already told you that I don’t have a card. I just need the cash! I saw this sitting on a bench. Some dude left it and I figured I’d get money for it.”

Me: *speechless*

Customer: “Just give it back. Never mind…”

(He takes the product and starts walking out of the store. On his way, he bumps into another guy hurrying through the door.)

Customer: “Hey, I recognize you. This is your stuff. I suppose you can have it back.”

Other Guy: “Thank you!” *happily walks out with his stuff*

(I explained the situation to the manager once I’d recovered. He shook his head, muttered about potential fraud, and looked through the security footage. That’s one man who won’t be welcome back in our store!)

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They Lost The Name Game

, , | Working | September 28, 2017

(I get an automated scam call. I stay on the line because they sometimes offer a don’t-call-back option that, in my experience, USUALLY stops the calls from any particular series of scammers. They have the option, so I press it and the call automatically ends. The phone almost immediately rings again, coming from a blocked number.)

Me: “Hello?”

(A live rep immediately goes into the same spiel as the automated one.)

Me: *interrupting* “Sorry, who are you calling for?”

(He starts the spiel again from the beginning.)

Me: “No, no. Who are you calling for?”

Scammer: “We’re calling about your credit card—”

Me: “My credit card? Okay. Who am I, then?”

Scammer: *hesitating* “You qualify for a lower interest—”

Me: “If you know what I qualify for, you know my name. Who are you calling for?”

Scammer: “We’re calling about a credit card—”

Me: “NAME.”

Scammer: *stammering* “We’re offering a lower interest rate on a credit card—”

Me:Name! Give me a name. I know what you’re calling about; I want to know who you’re calling for. Give me a name! No offers, no numbers; name. Just a name!

Scammer: *slams phone*

Me: *cackle*

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Has Your Back In The Backpack Attack

, , , , | Right | September 28, 2017

(I am standing behind the concessions counter with my coworker. I haven’t had a register all day, and have instead been put in charge of “running” to get the popcorn, food, drinks, etc. The day has been slow, so my coworker and I are chatting as we refill the candy drawer. A woman approaches the counter with her ten kids and a large backpack.)

Coworker: *nervous* “Excuse me, ma’am, but you can’t have that in here.”

Customer: “I can’t have what in here?”

Coworker: “The backpack. We have a policy against it, and we can’t allow you to take it into the theater.”

Customer: *visibly infuriated* “What do you mean I can’t have my backpack? What kind of stupid f****** rule is that?”

(The manager on duty hears the customer getting upset and comes over to the two of us. He’s a tall man with a stern face, and my coworker relaxes when he comes to our aid, sure that the woman will take his word for it.)

Manager: “What’s the problem?”

Me: “No problem. We were just informing the customer of our no-backpack policy.”

Manager: “Yeah, you can’t bring those in here.”

Customer: “Why the f*** not?”

Manager: *calmly* “It’s company policy. We can’t take the risk of you bringing recording equipment or firearms into the theater. Did you drive here?”

Customer: “Yes, I drove here. What does that have to do with anything?”

Manager: “I’m going to have to ask you to take the bag back out to your car, then, ma’am.”

Customer: “Then who’s responsible for my stuff?”

Manager: *shoots my coworker and me a questioning glance before responding* “You are.”

(The customer became even more enraged, and snapped at her children to follow her to the car and stormed out, swearing up a storm. My manager looked at us and started laughing, excusing himself to the back room in case anyone noticed. The lady stayed outside for ten minutes and then came back in. All of her kids’ pockets were bulging with candy, and they were waddling uncomfortably past the counter, trying not to be noticed with their outside food. Yes, she really spent ten minutes arguing with us over our policy because she wanted to carry in her dollar store candy.)

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Making A Meal Out Of Having No Money

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2017

(I am a nurse. At my hospital, we can order guest meal trays for patients’ family members, but only under very special circumstances, and with manager approval.)

Family Member: “Excuse me. I was wondering if I could get a dinner tray tonight.”

Me: “We only do that in very special circumstances, when family members are providing extensive care for the patient. I’ll check with my manager, though, and get back with you.”

(I explain the situation to my manager, and we decide that this is not a situation that warrants a guest tray. I return to the patient’s room.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to provide you with dinner tonight. You are more than welcome to visit the cafeteria downstairs.”

Family Member: “I guess I just won’t eat dinner, then.”

Me: “Of course we want you to eat.”

Family Member: *very rudely* “I don’t have any money to buy dinner, so I just won’t eat.”

(Not wanting her to miss dinner, I made several phone calls and was able to obtain meal vouchers to the hospital cafeteria. She didn’t say much when I gave them to her. As I was leaving my shift at the end of the night, I saw a pizza deliver guy walking into the room. No money for food, my a**!)

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