I Don’t See Race – Or Receipts

, , , , , | Right | August 22, 2018

(I work in a high-end clothing store. On this day a customer I served a few days earlier walks up to my register with an expensive dress.)

Customer: “Hey, I bought this from you and it didn’t fit me. I’ve got the receipt and spoke with the person who served me, and they said you’d give me a full cash refund?”

Me: “Uh, actually, I’m the one who served you, and no, I didn’t say that.”

Customer: *pauses* “Uh… Really?”

Me: “If you look at the top of your receipt, it says who served you.” *points out where* “See? my name’s right there.”

Customer: “Really? That was you?”

(I tap my name tag.)

Me: “I am, indeed, the one who served you, and I’m afraid that, no, we can’t give you cash back for this, as you purchased the item with a gift card. If you want to return it, we’ll have to give you your money back the same way.”

Customer: “Uh… Well… You know… You guys all look the same to me, so I thought… uh… I mean… D***, guess that’s dead in the water now.”

(She slunk out in defeat. For the record, I have olive skin and black hair from my Italian heritage, and my coworkers include a pale redhead, two Asians, and an African American. Still not sure whether it’s good or bad that a customer apparently deemed us all to be no different from each other.)

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Covers A Fraud Definition

, , , | Right | August 21, 2018

(I work in a call center for a manufacturer that ships products all over the country. If a customer specifies a preferred freight company, we’ll send their products that way. If not, we’ll use one of ours. If we use a customer’s method, they are responsible for any damages that may be incurred.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m calling to let you know that I received my order, but there was damage to one item.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Can I have your invoice number?”

Customer: “Yes, it’s [Number].”

(I look up her invoice.)

Me: “Okay, I see it here. Which item was damaged?”

Customer: “It was one of the [products]. It looks like something was dropped on it.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. If you like, we can have another item sent out, or you can order a replacement on your next purchase order. But it looks like we used your shipping company on this order. You will need to contact them to file a claim for damages. We won’t be able to refund you the cost directly.”

Customer: “I know that. I don’t need a refund from you.”

Me: “Then how can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need a replacement right away, and I don’t have time to wait for you to send me another. I’m going to have to get one from one of my competitors. They have one available, but they will charge me more than you do.”

Me: “That makes sense. They do have to charge you more for their mark-up.”

Customer: “Right, so, I need a letter from your company stating that the one I bought from you was the same price I will have to pay from my competitor so that my shipping company will pay me the replacement cost on my claim.”

Me: “I’m not sure I’m following you. You only paid us [price], so that’s the value of the product. Your shipper will only compensate you for the actual cost of the item they brought to you.”

Customer: “But I have to buy another one from someone else, so I need more money to cover it.”

Me: “So, let me make sure that I understand. You want me to write a letter to you stating that you paid [higher cost], so that your shipping company will give you more money, so that you can re-buy the item from a competitor?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s called fraud, and I can’t help you with that.”

Customer: “What? Why would you say that? That’s not what I’m doing! How dare you say that?! Let me speak to your manager right now! I can’t believe you would accuse me like that.”

(I transferred her to my manager after giving a brief summary of our conversation. My manager called me back later saying that she told the customer that I might have been a little harsh in my use of the word “fraud,” but completely agreed with me, saying I was right. I don’t know what the customer did, but we certainly didn’t write her that letter.)

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Boris Need No Warranty; Boris IS Warranty!

, , , , | Working | August 20, 2018

(I’m on medical leave from work for a while, so I have time to answer all those scam phone calls I usually ignore. Once I get through the recording, unless it sounds like a legitimate business, I like to have a little fun with the scammers.)

Me: *in a fake Russian accent* “Yes, hallo! You are calling me about my car?”

Scammer: “Yes, do you know that your car’s warranty has expired, sir? It is very important to have a good warranty on your car, sir, in case anything breaks.”

Me: “You are saying something is broken in my car?”

Scammer: “Not broken, sir. Expired. Your warranty has expired.”

Me: “Oh. Uh… maybe you can help me understand. I am not knowing too much about cars. What is this ‘warranty’ device? Is part of engine, or what?”

Scammer: “No, it’s not part of your car, sir, it’s… It’s a service that protects your car. It can cover damage from breakdowns or bad weather.”

Me: “Ah, yes! Understand! But I am not thinking I need warranty to cover my car. I already have garage. Is good enough, I think, yeah?”

Scammer: *click*

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The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 8

, , , , , | Right | August 17, 2018

(I work as a manager. I am in on a weekend when one of the front desk employees approaches me to help them locate a gift card a customer has lost and is trying to locate prior to booking their service. The gift card is for our most expensive package. When a gift card is sold, it has a unique card number assigned to it and a sales transaction number. A manual log is kept as a backup to the computer log, and it is also used to track the names of who the gift is to and who it is from to assist in locating the gift card in the event it is lost.)

Me: *looking over the gift card register quickly* “I’m not seeing it in here. Get their name and number, as well as as much information as you can: when they think it was purchased, when they received it, and who it was from. Let them know I’ll look into it on Monday and call them back.”

(The employee does and leaves the names of who it was from and to, as well as the note that it was holiday gift and she believed it was purchased with a credit card. She also indicates the customer was rude to her on the phone. I go through all the entries in the physical gift registry, as well as all gift card sales run through the computer, checking the name on the credit card sales looking for either name. All the gift cards for our deluxe package are accounted for under other names in the registry. I call the customer back. After confirming I’ve reached the right person, the conversation is as follows:)

Me: “Hi, [Customer]. This is [My Name] calling from [Spa]. I have a note here that you were attempting to track down a gift card you received this past Christmas. I wanted to let you know I’ve gone through all of our logs and I wasn’t able to locate it. Is it possible that the gift card was for something else?”

Customer: “No, it was for your [deluxe spa package]! Are you going to honor the gift card or not?”

(What I think is, “I can’t honor something that doesn’t look like it was purchased.” But what I say is:)

Me: “We would need the actual gift card number to be able to use it. Is it possible your husband purchased a gift card at a different spa? I’m asking because I even went back to October’s sales, and all of the gift cards we sold for our [deluxe spa package] are accounted for.”

Customer: “No, it was a gift card from there! They’ve gotten me [deluxe spa package] in the past! Look, do whatever you need to do to find it, because I can’t waste my time on the phone with you!”

(At this point I’m silent because I’ve done everything I can do to locate the card, and I’m starting to wonder if the customer is trying to pull something or if an employee really messed something up when ringing up a sale. I decide to check the PREVIOUS year’s records, in case she received it as a gift then and not the most recent holiday.)

Me: “Okay, I’ll look into this for you and give you a call back in an hour.”

(The customer agrees and I hang up. I pull up the sales report, going line by line and checking the written gift line to ensure each one is accounted for. They are. Partway through this, I get another call on my line from the customer.)

Customer: “I just remembered we celebrated Christmas late this year, so it might have been purchased in January.”

(I expand my search to February 14th, just to be safe. Nothing. I call the customer back.)

Me: “I wanted to let you know I’ve pulled all of our gift card sales from December to February 14th of this year and compared them to our gift log, and there is no gift card under your name. I also was unable to find any credit card sales under your husband’s name.” *hesitating as I don’t want to call the customer a liar* “Now, our gift cards don’t expire, so if it happens to turn up, we would be able to honor it then.”

Customer: *angry* “Never mind. Just cancel my appointment!”

Me: “Okay, I’ve taken your name out. You are all set. Again, I’m sorry we weren’t able to locate that for you.”

(I’ve now spent over an hour dealing with this issue, and am glad to be done with it, as the spa is busy. A half-hour later the phone rings again. This time it is the husband.)

Husband: “This is [Husband]. I’m calling to speak to a manager.”

Me: *trying desperately to sound friendly* “I’m one of the managers here, actually. How can I help you?”

Husband: “I got my wife a [price that is more than our deluxe spa package] gift card for Christmas, and she isn’t able to find it. She has been trying for the past few days to locate it, but the person she spoke to wasn’t able to help her, so I’m calling now because I spent a lot of money on that gift card!”

Me: “I understand. I’m actually the one your wife was speaking to. Perhaps you’d be able to provide additional information that would help me locate it. Are you sure it was for [deluxe spa package]?”

Husband: “Yes, it was.”

Me: “Okay, because you said you paid [more than the package was].”

Husband: “Yes, I think that was how much it was after taxes.”

Me: *thinking this sounds really fishy* “Our prices are tax-inclusive.”

Husband: “I might be remembering wrong.”

Me: “Okay… Do you remember how you paid for the gift card?”

Husband: “I paid with cash. There was a blonde woman working the desk, and it looked like she was taking down all the information.”

Me: “Do you remember when you purchased the gift card, or even what time of day you would have come in?”

Husband: “I think it was January or early February. It would have been in the early afternoon. I wanted to have time to make up the gift card.”

Me: “Wait. Make up a gift card? They should have given you one.”

Husband: “They did, but it was too formal, so I made one up to give to my wife.”

(So, even if this isn’t a scam, and the wife does have a gift card, then it would have NONE of the unique numbers needed to process the transaction.)

Me: “We really need the unique number that is on each gift card to be able to redeem it. I’ve actually already run a search to February 14th, but let me expand it to the end of that month, just in case.”

(I run the report for a third time, and find an entry in March that is missing the to and from information in the gift registry and was run as a cash sale through the computer. Our records further indicate it wasn’t used. The transaction is in the computer as being processed by one of our male employees, but a quick check of the time clock records indicate the woman who took over just didn’t log him out. The woman is the only blonde on staff.)

Me: “Okay, sir, I’ve got some good news. I was able to locate a gift card that matches the information you provided, except I have a sales date of March. Is it possible you purchased it that late?”

Husband: “Wow, March. Yes, I guess it’s possible, but I didn’t think it was that late.”

(I provided him with the gift card number and ended the call politely as I was able. They were either scammers — I was so ready to wash my hands of them I didn’t care — or the most disorganized people I’ve had to deal with thus far.)

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 7
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 6
The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 5

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Questioning The Validity Of His Professionalism

, , , , | Working | August 16, 2018

(This story takes place when we still use paper train tickets. My mother has gone shopping in the city and is taking the train back to our hometown. The ticket inspector, a young-looking guy, enters the train compartment.)

Inspector: *to my mother* “Ticket, please.”

Mother: *fishes her ticket out of her handbag* “Sure, here you go!”

Inspector: *takes it and inspects it* “Ma’am? This is not a valid ticket.”

Mother: “What?! Oh, sorry, I must have given you an old one. Just a minute, please.”

(My mother proceeds to dig further into her handbag, rummaging through receipts, but finds no ticket. She empties the bag’s contents onto her lap, but still no ticket.)

Inspector: *with a stern voice* “Do you even have a valid ticket, ma’am?”

Mother: *starting to panic at this point* “Oh, I am so sorry. I really bought one! I don’t know where I put it; maybe it fell out of my bag? Oh, no!”

(My mother is thinking, “I am going to get a fine! He probably hears excuses like this every day! What if he doesn’t believe me?”)

Inspector: “Maybe you put it in one of your shopping bags? Or in your wallet?”

(He keeps standing there while my mom goes rummaging through her shopping bags. Other passengers are looking and snickering while my mom still frantically searches for her ticket. Meanwhile, the train enters our hometown station.)

Mother: *desperately* “I can’t find it! And I have to get out at this station!”

(The inspector gives her a suspicious look, and then gives back the ticket he is still holding.)

Inspector: *smiles* “Just kidding. It was a valid ticket.” *walks away*

Mother: *speechless*

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