In The Game Of Customers, You Win Or You Buy

, , , , | Right | May 4, 2019

(My store’s return policy is sixty days. We used to be lax about this and accept returns even outside of that timeframe, but because of how many customers abused this policy, corporate decided we were losing too much money and tightened the policy. Now, if someone comes in with a return that is more than sixty days old, the registers physically will not allow us to process the return, and not even the store manager can override this. When I see a customer come in saying she’d like to make a return, and she pulls out a model of purse that I recognize as being several months old, I think I can predict how the conversation is going to go. I’ve been through it many times by now.)

Customer: “I bought this bag as a gift for my mom a few months ago, and she doesn’t like how the zipper works, so I’d like to return it.”

(She demonstrates that the zipper is a little tough to get started, but still zips up just fine after the first half-inch or so.)

Me: “Okay, just so you know our return policy is sixty days, so if you bought it a few months ago, it may be outside of policy. But let me double check on the register.”

(I scan the bag, and sure enough, a screen pops up telling me that it’s been more than sixty days since the bag has been purchased. Sighing internally, I launch into my usual spiel about how I’m so sorry, but unfortunately, since the bag is outside of our return policy, we can’t process the return, there is nothing we can do, blah blah blah…)

Customer: “But I bought this as a gift for my mom and she doesn’t like it. The zipper doesn’t work. Can’t I at least get store credit or something?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no. Again, the register freezes us out; we physically cannot process the return.”

Customer: *sternly now* “Can I talk to a manager?”

(Using all my willpower not to roll my eyes at the customer, I call my manager up to the registers. The manager arrives and the customer explains the situation again, and again demonstrates the zipper which, despite sticking a little at first, still works perfectly. I expect my manager to repeat what I just said, but instead, she hands me the phone.)

Manager: “Can you call internal customer service and see if they’ll process the return, since the zipper is broken?”

(Utterly defeated to see a pushy customer getting her way, but knowing there’s nothing I can do at this point, I make the call. While I’m explaining the situation to the customer service rep, the customer picks up her very young child, who, up until this point has been sitting in her stroller shrieking loudly over our entire conversation. The child, who can’t be more than two or three years old, finally quiets down in her mother’s arms, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to get through the rest of the transaction a little more calmly now. No such luck.)

Customer Service Rep: “Because the product is defective, I can process the return for you. What is the customer’s loyalty program number?”

Me: *gesturing to the customer, who has wandered off at this point* “Ma’am, are you a member of our rewards program?”

Customer: *coming back to my register* “No, I’m not.”

Me: *to the rep* “She doesn’t have a membership. Will that be a problem?”

Customer Service Rep: “No, I just need some info off the receipt.”

(We go through and get the purchase amount, transaction number, and a few other pieces of info so the rep can pull up the transaction from her records. Meanwhile, the customer has decided to stay near my register, still holding her daughter, which is honestly a relief, because I don’t have to flag her down again if I need more info from her.)

Customer Service Rep: “Okay, I can submit the return, but because it is outside our return policy, the customer will need to create a loyalty account so that we can make all the proper notation.”

(I look up to pass this on to the customer and see that her daughter has grabbed a necklace off of a nearby jewelry display and is chewing on it. Assuming it’s a necklace the customer is planning on buying, I choose not to say anything. I explain to the customer that we need to make a loyalty account for her, and ask her for her ID so I can get the needed info for it — full name, address, etc. She hands me her ID, and I pass the info onto the rep, until it comes time to get her phone number and email, which, of course, are not on her ID. Just then, I hear a loud crash and look up to see that her daughter has pulled down a small rack of necklaces off the jewelry display. One necklace shatter, and beads fly everywhere. While two coworkers rush to clean up the mess I, in shock now, do the only thing I can think to do: get the customer’s attention again so I can finish processing the return.)

Customer Service Rep: *after I give her the customer’s phone and email* “Okay, I’ve put the return through. Please let the customer know that we will email her a receipt, and that she should see the refund posted to her account within three to five business days after that. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Me: “No, thank you. That’s all I needed.”

(I hung up and looked up just in time to see the customer take the necklace that her daughter had been chewing on for the last several minutes and place it, toddler-slobber and all, back in the jewelry display it had come from. Dumbfounded, and honestly just trying to get this lady out of the store as quickly as possible, I explained to her what the rep had told me. She thanked me and left. Once she was gone, we had to damage out the bag, as well as the necklace her daughter broke and the one she slobbered on. And we had to search that whole area of the store for stray beads so that no one would slip on them. All in all, between the return and the two damaged necklaces, she cost us over $150. I hate when the customers win.)

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Give Them No Quarter

, , , , | Right | April 27, 2019

(I work in a fast food joint in a mall food court. We only have a partial menu due to the fact that the store has limited freezer space. This guy comes up to my register and is staring for a good solid minute before placing his order.)

Customer: “Yeah, I want a quarter-pound burger with cheese meal.” *nodding at the menu as if looking at said meal*

Me: “I apologize, sir, but we do not carry that meal at this location. We have a limited menu, as we do not have the freezer space to carry both the regular-sized patties and the quarter-pound ones.”

Customer: “So, you don’t have the quarter-pound burger meal?”

Me: “No, I am sorry. We do not.”

Customer: “Oh, okay! I will have a double quarter-pound burger meal, then!”

Me: “…”

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A Lunchtime In-Vase-ion

, , , , | Right | April 26, 2019

(I’m on my lunch break at a shopping centre. As per my company’s uniform policy, I am wearing a jacket over my work shirt so it isn’t visible at all. Occasionally, a regular customer at my shop will see me elsewhere in the centre and ask for help, usually directions or recommendations. Then sometimes, this happens:)

Customer: “Where are the shopping carts?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Well? Aren’t you going to get me one?”

Me: “A… What?”

Customer: “I need a shopping cart! I can’t carry it by myself.”

Me: “Well, you’d have to look in the shop you’re buying from. They have their own.”

Customer: “But aren’t you going to get me one?”

(I try to walk away, thinking that I have more than enough on my plate as it is. The customer then attempts to grab my arm; fortunately, I move away fast enough.)

Customer: “This is outrageous! I am going to report you to [My Company].”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not at work right now. We don’t have shopping carts in our shop, and I don’t know where you are going or what you want to carry.”

Customer: “The vase. I said I wanted the vase!

Me: “And where is this vase?”

Customer: “[Shop a few feet away], obviously! Can’t you see the vase?

(I had noticed a window display featuring a collection of ornamental pots, so again I suggest that she asks an employee of that shop to help her. Then, I speedily make my way into the staff-only part of my own shop. Later that day…)

Manager: “[My Name], I had a rather weird complaint about you earlier.”

Me: “Was is a lady who wanted me to get a shopping cart so she could buy a vase at some other shop?”

Manager: “Uh… Maybe. A lady came in screeching that one of our employees refused to help her carry her purchase to the car. She insisted that it was you and waved this bag from [Other Shop], and I just said that our policy wasn’t to carry things for people unless they had particular needs. Then she screamed and asked why we didn’t have any carts.”

Me: “I was on my lunch break. I think she might have seen me working at some point but I wasn’t in uniform.”

Manager: “We got security in the end. She wouldn’t stop shouting that we needed carts and better staff. But I think one of the big security lads did manage to carry her vase for her.”

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Making A Return You Can’t Refuse

, , , , , | Hopeless | April 25, 2019

(This happens around Christmas back in late 2001 when DVDs are just starting to overtake VHS tapes. I am with my younger sister doing Christmas shopping in the mall. I have only been to one store so far to get items for my family. I walk into a now-defunct video store that is connected to a music store. My dad is upgrading his VHS tapes to DVDs and wants me to buy a number of movies. One movie that he wants me to get is “The Godfather” DVD set that recently came out. The price is over 100 dollars, but he also wants me to get a number of other DVDs that are on his list. I get most of everything he wants except “The Godfather” and one other DVD set as it is behind the counter due to the high price. Since it’s Christmas, the mall is a zoo and this store is no different; people are walking all over the place, the security alarm is going off non-stop when people walk by it, and the checkout line is long. I get in line behind seven other people. I get to the front and meet the cashier, a girl who is around the same age as me — I am 19. I can tell she is trying her best to be happy but she’s clearly tired.)

Cashier: *smiling* “Hi. How are you doing today?”

Me: “I’m doing just fine.” *places about ten DVDs on the counter* “I would also like to get The Godfather and [Other DVD Set] that are behind you.”

Cashier: “No problem.”

(She turns around and grabs the two DVD sets.)

Me: “Thanks. My dad is upgrading his VHS tapes and wants these for Christmas.”

Cashier: “That is getting pretty common nowadays.”

(She is ringing me up fast as there is still a long line. Another employee comes over and asks her for something. Due to the number of DVDs she has to scan into the computer, putting them into the bag as fast as she can, and how busy it is, she appears to be swamped.)

Cashier: “Your total comes up to $389.45.”

(I knew it would be a lot of money. My dad gave me a lot of cash that day to pay for everything. I give her the money, say thanks, and walk out of the store. About an hour later, my sister and I are sitting in the food court eating lunch. I go over everything we bought while I’m eating and notice that “The Godfather” is missing from the receipt.)

Me: “Hey, sis, can you look this over while I dig through the bag? I think a movie is missing.”

Sister: “Let me see.”

(I give her the receipt and tell her what movie it is. She reads it over while I’m digging through our seven bags.)

Sister: “Do you have anything else? I don’t see it here.”

Me: “Yeah, I don’t see it, either.”

Sister: “Well, you got it for free, then.”

(My sister laughs, but I just don’t feel right about it. I decide to go back to the video store. The line isn’t as long this time; there are only two people. I get the same cashier. I know she won’t remember me, as it has been so busy.)

Cashier: “Hi. Can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I came in earlier for a number of DVDs and this here earlier.” *pulls out “The Godfather”* “It appears that you forgot to scan it in.”

Cashier: “Oh, my God.” *her eyes start to water and her attitude changes a bit* “Thank you so much for coming back. You don’t know what this means to me. Here, let me get that for you. I’ll let you use my employee discount.”

Me: *taken aback a bit* “No, no, that’s okay. You don’t have to do that. It’s okay. It was just a mistake.”

Cashier: “Well, I’ll let you use this coupon I have for 5% off.” *also puts a few other coupons in the bag* “I really thank you for coming back. A high-price item that big would have gotten me in a lot of trouble.”

(I didn’t get much else about the trouble from her until I saw her about a week later when she was off duty at the mall. She remembered me and told me that she had been working there for less than a month and that her boss was a very hard-nosed guy who blames everyone for everything and would have gotten her in serious trouble for letting a high-ticket item walk out of the store like that. The store closed down in the mall years later when the parent company downsized, but I kept in contact with her throughout the years. I still have the original receipt as a joke nowadays whenever we see each other.)

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You Can Tell From My Face That I’m Not Interested

, , , , , , | Working | April 19, 2019

(Our mall is full of kiosks with people trying to sell random makeup brands, cell phone accessories, etc. I don’t begrudge anyone doing their job, and I understand a lot of them are under pressure to make sales. However, some of them REALLY need to work on their pitch. One day, I’m walking past a kiosk where a woman is trying to sell expensive skin cream.)

Saleswoman: “Here you go, ma’am! Sit down right here.” *pointing to her chair arranged in front of her mirrors*

Me: *smiling and shaking my head* “No, thanks. I’m not interested.”

Saleswoman: *pulls a concerned, comically disgusted face and speaks in a tone of voice as if I were on my deathbed* “Oh, ma’am, I have to ask… What do you use for your facial cream?”

(Maybe I should have been offended or something, which is what my husband told me, but it was just SUCH an incredibly bad attempt to, I don’t know, neg me into a sale or whatever that I just burst into disbelieving laughter at her and kept walking. She turned bright red and glared at me. Hey, maybe I COULD use a fancy skincare regimen, but with a sales pitch like that, there was no way I was going to buy it from her.)

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