A Write Up To Bring You Down

, , , , , , | Working | June 29, 2017

(The bakery department in my store closed earlier than usual today. Since I work in the next department over, a customer asks if I know of anyone who can answer a question for her. I know very well that I don’t know the first thing about that department, so I tell her to wait by bakery as I get on the phone and call for the manager.)

Manager: “Well, have you tried helping the customer? How about trying that?”

Me: “Well, I’d be glad to, but the issue is I don’t know anything about bakery, so I’d rather ask for someone who knows the area first.”

(The manager hangs up, so I realize that I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and hope I can produce the answer somehow.)

Me: “All right, looks like I’m the one helping you today! I just ask that you bear with me, because I don’t really know this department very well, but I’ll certainly do my best! How can I help you?”

Customer: “This cake on display here, without a price tag, how much is it?”

(Sure enough, I haven’t the foggiest clue. However, after a moment of thinking, I head into the back room and start flipping through all the books stored back there. Finally, after a fairly large amount of time for so simple a question, I find the order guide and then the page with the picture of the exact cake the customer wants. I walk back out and tell the customer the price. The customer walks away thanking me for my help. The following day, the manager calls me over.)

Manager: “I’m writing you up for yesterday.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Manager: “I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help that customer.”

Me: “Okay, hold on. I had no problem attempting to help that customer, or any customer; I just figured it would be wiser to ask someone who knows the area to help the customer. What I was trying to avoid was me either being completely unable to help her or taking a much longer time to answer her question that it should take, which is what happened. Either one risks leaving an odd impression of our customer service on the customer, so to me, it was just better to try and direct her to someone more knowledgeable. Once I knew that no such person was available, I had no issue trying to help her. I thought quickly and ended up finding the answer she needed, so overall, I think I handled that situation as best as possible without any prior training in that area.”

Manager: “But I shouldn’t have had to tell you to help the customer!”

Me: “If you want me to always first try to help the customer before asking for assistance, that’s fine. However, this is a training issue, not a disciplinary issue. Four write ups in this store and you’re terminated. Do you really think that the act of being uncertain in an area I’ve never worked or trained for is so terrible that it should go on a list of reasons I should be fired?”

Manager: “It doesn’t matter. I’m tired of my side of the store getting the lowest customer service scores, so I’m not playing around anymore! If anyone’s customer service is not TOP notch, you get a write up! That’s it!”

Me: “And I don’t hold that viewpoint against you. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between being incompetent and not having the training. If the employee never had the opportunity to first gain the knowledge, how can you then punish them for not having it?”

Manager: “Look, if you want to challenge this, take it up with the store manager.”

(I did just that. The store manager said that while I didn’t actually do anything wrong, the write up would still stay on my record.)

Racking Up The Problems

, , , , , | Working | June 26, 2017

(I am working at a chain clothing store. A few times a year, a woman comes in and buys several thousand dollars worth of clothing to sell in her own shop in Lebanon. As our company does not sell overseas, and she spends a lot of money, my manager has no problem with this. I am ringing her up, and having dealt with her before, have brought out an empty rack for her to hang the clothes on, which is now completely full from her purchases.)

Me: *taking clothes off the rack as I ring* “So, looks like you’ve got a good haul this time!”

Customer: “Yes, you had a good selection of dresses this trip. My customers will be very happy!”

(At that moment, I look up and see the district manager coming towards me.)

Me: “Morning, [District Manager]!”

(She smiles, then suddenly frowns at me, clearly displeased with something. She passes me to go to her office in the back, saying nothing. The customer and I look at each other.)

Customer: “Who was that?”

Me: “That was the district manager. She’s usually a lot friendlier than that.”

(It suddenly dawns on me that the District Manager never actually gave us permission to sell clothing to people planning to sell it overseas, and I begin to wonder if I’m in trouble. I also realize I’m out of shopping bags, meaning I have to go into the back to get more, which is right next to her office. I excuse myself and go out back. The District Manager is waiting for me.)

District Manager: “[My Name], I didn’t want to say anything since you were with a customer, but you’ve been here for almost two years. You should really know better.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I thought it was fine. [Manager] has never had a problem with it, and she spends so much money—”

District Manager: “Wait, what?”

Me: “I mean, we don’t have an overseas market, so I figured it wasn’t an issue if she sold them at her own store in Lebanon, since we wouldn’t be competing.”

District Manager: “[My Name], I’m talking about the rack. You know I don’t want you bringing out racks of clothing to put out if there are customers.”

Me: *realizing* “Oh! No, those are my customer’s purchases! I brought out an empty rack for her to put her stuff on, since the first time she came here we ended up with a pile on the counter so big it spilled onto the floor.”

District Manager: *surprised* “She’s buying all that?”

Me: “Yeah. She buys a ton of clothes here to sell at her own shop overseas. I’ve got a few other customers that do the same thing.”

District Manager: “I didn’t know people did that.”

(I go back out and finish ringing up my customer, both of us relieved. After I help take her dozen or so bags to her car, I bring the empty rack into the back and knock on the office door.)

Me: “Finished ringing her up.”

District Manager: “How much did it all come to?”

Me: “With the coupons she had, roughly $2,700.”

District Manager: “Yeah, you’re getting a commendation for that sale. And if corporate has a problem with it, it’s their own fault leaving an untapped market. Just don’t bring any more clothing racks out.”

Awkward For A Period

, , , , | Learning | June 26, 2017

(I’m a male but people often mistake me for a girl. It’s about fourth period and I’m feeling ill and ask to go to the nurse’s office. When I get there, this exchange happens.)

Nurse: “Hello! What’s the problem?”

Me: “I feel like throwing up and I’m kind of dizzy.”

Nurse: *without even checking my temperature or anything* “Are you on your period?”

Me: *open jawed in disbelief* “Um… I’m a boy…”

(About a minute of awkward silence passes.)

Nurse: “Oh! Well, you can lie down back here, then.”

(The nurse ended up letting me go home without even checking if I had a fever and my mother later received a very apologetic call from the school nurse.)

Ensuring That They Can’t Be Insured

, , , | Right | June 21, 2017

(I work in an eye doctor’s office, selling eyeglasses. This happens entirely too often.)

Customer: “Do you take my insurance?”

Me: ” Well, what’s your insurance?”

Customer:” I don’t know…”

Me: “Well, do you have your card on you?”

Customer: ” No, why would I need that?”

Burn Your Return

, , , , , | Right | June 18, 2017

Customer: “I would like to return these pants.”

Me: “Okay, do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “Yes, I do.” *hands the receipt to me* “I’m returning them because the girl blew her nose and picked up a receipt off the floor and didn’t wash her hands. I think they are contaminated.  They are dirty now. You need to train your employees to be sanitary.”

Me: “Aren’t you the woman who used to come in the dry cleaners I used to work at and always complain and try to get a free order? Then I went to working at [Local Drug Store] and you had issues there, too. Let me tell you something. We are sales associates who try to do our jobs and make other people happy. But you are one customer who I know well, and nothing satisfies you.”

Customer: “I want to see a manager.”

(Manager comes up to the register.)

Manager: “How may I help you?”

Customer: “This employee is back-talking me.”

Manager: *holding up the pants* “What is your reason for returning this now? Let me tell you something, miss. Every week, you are in here returning something, sometimes more than once a week.”

Customer: “Well, your sales associates are disrespectful and this item was touched by someone who didn’t wash their hands after they rang me up and they blew their nose. They also picked up a slip off the floor. I can’t shop in a store so dirty.”

Manager: “I can return the pants, but honestly, I don’t like to lose customers. In your case, however, your returns are far outweighing your purchases and we feel you are abusing our return policy. This is the last return we are processing for you. I am asking you to not come back in this store, as you’ve had a history of harassing associates.”

(The customer took the completed return and left, clearly in shock. That’s the last time I saw the Watertown Retail Bully ever around my area.)

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