, , , , | Working | May 16, 2018

(I am a foreign tourist traveling in Sri Lanka. I am perusing the goods of a local spice vendor.)

Me: “How much is your saffron?”

Vendor: “For you, my friend, I’ll sell to you at [price that is similar to what I would normally pay in my home country].”

Me: “Aww, gee, I don’t think that’s going to work for me. And how come your saffron powder is so much cheaper than your saffron threads?”

(I point to a large jar full of orange-colored powder that is clearly marked, “SAFFRON,” with a price that is unrealistically low.)

Vendor: “Uh, well, you see, the reason it’s so cheap is because that’s actually turmeric. I keep the real stuff behind the counter.”

Me: “Thanks for your time.” *walks away*

(I appreciated that he was being honest with me, but that doesn’t make it okay to lie to other people!)

The Drive To Scam

, , , , | Working | May 13, 2018

(We have just had a house built A lot of mistakes were made in the process. Broken bricks were used in the front wall of the house. Windows were scratched, and then the frames damaged while replacing the glass. We get a bill for the laying of pipes along our very long driveway, pipes that were installed and paid for, by us, years before. The only thing that needed to happen was for them to be connected to the water mains across the road. The company is threatening us with legal action if we don’t pay, as they have fulfilled their part of the project by getting the house completed and liveable by the contracted time period. The only thing that needs doing is to turn on the water, gas, and power. It’s now gone over the final payment deadline.)

Company: “But you have to pay; we’ve got a bill here from the contractor for the work.”

Me: “That’s funny, because I have a receipt right here from when we had the work done years ago.”

Company: “The contractors have said that they laid the water pipes themselves, down your whole driveway.”

Me: “I’d like to know how they laid twenty metres of water pipes three feet under the driveway without actually digging up the driveway.”

(After a few weeks, they finally send their inspector out.)

Inspector: “I thought I’d let you know that, as a courtesy, we are taking the laying of pipes off your bill.”

Me: “As a courtesy?”

Inspector: “Yes, for the sake of good customer relations. You don’t need to tell anyone else about this, either.”

(The next day was finally the day when the power, gas, and water were to be turned on. It was then discovered that the grounding wire for the electricity had been attached to the gas pipe instead of the proper pipe. And when the water meter was installed, they found that it wasn’t even connected to the mains. So much for the contractors doing the work in the first place. And yes, we told everyone we knew not to go with this company.)

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Can’t Discount This Crime

, , , , | Working | May 10, 2018

(As a college student, I work in the evenings and on weekends for a jewelry company. The parent company itself owns a range of store brands, ranging from less expensive mall stores to a chain of large stores with higher-end stock. I am employed at one of the large stores. Their computer and checkout system is still in an older DOS format, and requires a lot of keying to dig deeper for certain information. One evening, I’m assisting one of our diamond sales associates with a very nice couple of regulars. The wife has seen a diamond necklace on our website she really wants to try on. It is a multi-stone strand with a large center stone, retailing for around $5,000.00. We don’t have it in our store, but the surrounding stores in the tri-state area could send us exchange stock if we need it. We check the computer system.)

Coworker: *after a few minutes of keying in commands* “Okay! It looks like our store in [Location one state away] has the necklace you’re looking for in stock. I can send in a request for it tonight, with a temporary deposit, and it should be here within five business days.”

Husband: “Hmm… I don’t know. What if she doesn’t like it?”

Coworker: “It’s not a problem. Since it would be considered an interstore transfer, you are under no obligation to purchase the necklace. If [Wife] decides she wants something different, we refund the deposit and either send it back to the other store or add it to our stock here.”

Wife: “I’d really like to try it on.”

Husband: “All right, let’s have it requested in.”

Coworker: “Great!”

(He processes the transfer request through the system, takes the customer’s deposit, and says we’ll call as soon as it arrives. Since it is already after 5:00 pm, we know the request won’t be received by the other store’s stock manager until the next morning. When I come in for my shift the following evening, I call to confirm the transfer.)

Me: “Hi, [Stock Manager]! It’s [My Name] from [Store Location]. I wanted to confirm the item transfer request we sent last night.”

Stock Manager: “Hi, [My Name]! Sure, just a moment.” *I hear her tapping keys over the phone* “Hmm… That’s strange.”

Me: “What?”

Stock Manager: “It looks like that necklace was purchased last night.”

Me: “Oh, no! My customer really wanted to try it on.”

Stock Manager: “I’m so sorry… Huh. According to this, it was purchased after our store had closed for the day.”

Me: “So, it was an employee purchase?”

(I am surprised a store employee would spend that much on a necklace, even with employee discount. Our salaries aren’t fantastic, since a large portion comes from commissions.)

Stock Manager: “It looks that way.” *more tapping* “Why does…” *frantic tapping and a long pause* “I tell you what; let me dig around some more and call you back. You only work evenings, right?”

Me: “Yeah, evenings and weekends. But [Coworker] will be here at opening tomorrow.”

Stock Manager: “Okay, I promise I’ll get back to you by tomorrow.”

(We hang up, but I don’t have time to dwell on it because more customers have come into the store. Later that night, after we close, I have some free time while the night supervisor counts the cash drawers. I decide to see if I can find that necklace at another location. The closest store is still the one it was purchased at the night before; however, I soon realize that since it is an employee purchase, I can command the system to pull up that employee number’s entire purchase history. The screen fills up with DOZENS of high-dollar purchases, including earrings, necklaces, rings, and watches. There is nothing under $3000, and the most expensive one I see is a $20,000 luxury brand watch. There is no way this employee can afford all of this stuff, unless they have a secret cash flow and are just working at the store for the heck of it, which seems unlikely. My store’s stock manager also happens to still be there, so I call her over to show her. Her eyes bug out as she starts going through the employee’s purchase records. She tells me to not mention this to any of the other staff members until she speaks with our supervisor and the stock manager of the store in [Other State]. The very next night, I walk into the store and am pulled aside by [Coworker].)

Coworker: “[My Name]! I got a call from [Other Location] today!”

Me: “What happened?”

Coworker: “The employee who bought the necklace we wanted? She was a night supervisor who transferred in recently. Apparently, she was approaching customers in the parking lot who were interested in expensive items but didn’t want to pay the asking price. She’d tell them she could get them the same item for a price just above her own employee rate, and would do the cash transactions with them at other locations!”

Me: “Oh, my God! But there were five years’ worth of transactions there. How’d she get away with it for so long?”

Coworker: “She’d wait until the store was closed to do the transactions, then come back in the next evening and reenter the transactions as if they’d happened on other dates. No one bothered to put in the codes to check.”

Me: “Wow… So, I’m guessing she’s fired?”

Coworker: “Fired, and being taken to court by [Parent Company].”

(As a thank-you, the [Other Location] stock manager worked with my stock manager to get the same necklace transferred over from a farther away location with no additional deposit needed. The store also let us offer it to our regular customers for less than the asking price, since they had to wait two weeks for it to come in. I left that job about six months later, after graduating college, for a job in my field. I always wondered what happened to that supervisor.)

Preorder Disorder

, , , , | Right | May 10, 2018

(At our store, if a customer calls to ask for a product that is in stock, we set it aside for them. If it isn’t in stock, we let them purchase the item to pick up later. A customer comes up claiming he paid for an order by card and is here to pick it up.)

Me: “Okay, I just need to see a photo ID for the order.”

Customer: *shows me ID from inside the wallet*

Me: “Could I just have you pull it out so I can verify the ID?”

Customer: “What do I need to do that for?”

Me: “I just need to check it under a blacklight.”

Customer: “Why can’t you look at it right here?” *getting irritated* “The picture is clearly me.”

(The manager comes over to try to help, and I explain the situation.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, but we need to verify the ID to release the item to you because it was paid for by credit card. If you’d like, I can refund the card, cancel the order, and let you purchase one; we have more in stock.”

Customer: *screaming* “I can’t believe this! I bought this f****** game to pick up when you have it, and now you won’t give me the d*** thing! It’s my ID issued by the state, and you have no f****** right to take it out of my wallet!” *storms out*

(We wrote down the name on the card, since it is highly likely this was a fake ID.)

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Time To Be Short With The Scammer

, , , | Right | May 8, 2018

(I manage an ice cream store. This started happening on a weekend morning when I am the only one in the store, right after we open, before there is any significant amount of change in the till.)

Customer: “I’d like a scoop of [flavor] on a sugar cone.”

Me: “That will be $1.49.”

(The customer hands me a hundred-dollar bill.)

Me: “Do you have anything smaller? I just opened and I don’t have much change yet.”

Customer: “No, I’m sorry. Is there any way you can make this work?”

Me: “Hold on. Let me try.”

(I dig through the till and the change bag in the office until I find enough change, largely in ones, to give her back what I owe her. I then count it back the old-fashioned way: twice to myself, and then once to her.)

Customer: “Thanks!” *goes out to the car, and then came back inside* “I’m short $5.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I don’t think that’s possible. Do you mind if I count it again?”

(She lets me count it, and sure enough, it is $5 short.)

Me: “Oh my, I’m sorry, let me get your $5.”

(She leaves, and I chalk it up to an early morning and too many ones in the pile. The next day she comes back in, orders another single on a cone, and pays with another hundred. I, again, try my best to get her change, count it four or five times, and send her on her way. She, AGAIN, says it is short: $10 this time. I counts it again, and it is… so I give her the $10 and let her go. Two days later, SHE COMES BACK IN.)

Customer: “I’d like another scoop of [flavour] on a sugar cone, please.”

Me: “Sure, but first I need to make sure you have correct payment.”

Customer: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Well, over the past three days, my drawer has come up short twice. Saturday it was $5 short, and Sunday it was $10 short. I’m no longer accepting bills over $20 until after two pm, in an effort to make sure that nobody gets shorted: us or the customer. What will you be paying with today?”

Customer: “Well, all I have is this hundred.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I cannot accept that.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous; I’ve been using them all weekend!”

Me: “I’m sorry.”

(She left. I still can’t imagine why someone who walks around with hundreds in their pockets would need to lift $15, but I do know that she was stealing from me. After she tried it with a few more employees, I had to call the police and have her banned from the store.)

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