Now There’s An Idea…

, , , , , | Related | April 5, 2019

A few years ago my wife’s grandmother passed away. After the funeral, the family started getting her things closed out and moved out of her home, etc. One of the things to do was call all the utility companies and have her accounts closed. Upon calling the first one, and being told that she had a sizable — over $2,000 — credit on her account, we started investigating and found out something funny.

Each month she would get a bill for a utility, and let’s say the amount was $132.40. She would round up to the next $10 dollars and pay it, so $140, ending up with a credit. The next month the bill would be — let’s say, for easy storytelling — the same, but the amount owed would be minus the credit from the previous month. So, $132.40 minus $7.60. But she didn’t care about the balance, only the bill, so she rounded it up and paid $140 again.

Apparently, she did this for years and years and years. Going through all her papers — she kept everything — we found utilities dated back as far as seven or eight years with her doing this. We even saw a letter from one of the utilities that she filed that stated, paraphrasing, that her account had a serious credit and could she please stop sending money for a while to work it down.

When she passed on, she didn’t have much in the way of valuable assets. Most of her household goods were old and worn and not of any value. The house she lived in was an old mobile home, so very little value there.

But after we closed all her utility accounts, we ended up having far more money than everything else put together. Of course, that money went into her estate and the people mentioned in her will got a lot more than they had originally thought. And we all got a good memory to remember Grandma by.

Getting Owned By The Rent-To-Own

, , , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(I work at a rent-to-own store where customers can rent furniture, electronics, and appliances for a weekly rate, eventually owning them. A large part of our job is chasing down people who haven’t paid the rent on their merchandise. One customer, in particular, a woman in her mid-20s, is a huge problem, going weeks without paying, not answering her phone, and not working with us at all. Then, she will come in and pay a portion of what she owes and vanish again for a few weeks. This cycle goes on for about three months and we’re fed up, calling all her contacts and visiting her house every evening. One day, an older couple comes in and the man speaks to my manager.)

Man: “Why are you guys harassing my daughter so much?”

Manager: “Who’s your daughter, sir?”

Man: “[Trouble Customer].”

Manager: “Oh. Well, sir, we’re simply trying to get her to pay her rental bill.”

Man: “She signed your papers, didn’t she?”

Manager: “Yes, she did sign the rental agreement.”

Man: “Well, then, she’s going to pay you. You can just leave her alone.”

Manager: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. She signed the agreement that she was going to pay the amount due, in full, by Saturday of each week. She’s never once paid on time and she’s currently two weeks behind.”

Man: “But she’s given you money, so what’s the problem?”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but I’m not completely sure where the disconnect is here. She has an agreement with us that says she will pay every Saturday…”

Man: “She agreed that she’ll pay you, and she will. There’s no problem, so leave her alone.”

(This went on for twenty minutes, getting nowhere. The concept of “must pay by an agreed-upon time an agreed-upon amount” was lost on this guy, and apparently, his daughter. They all figured that they could just get around to paying when they felt like it and that was their prerogative. The story with this customer continued for another few months, with her eventually getting behind by nearly six weeks in payments. We couldn’t do a legal replevin, however, unless she threatened to deface or destroy the goods. So, we made up a story to the cops about her threatening to smash her stuff if we didn’t leave her alone and we were able to get into her house and take it back. She wasn’t happy and cried a lot, but that’s the game you play with a rent-to-own store.)

“Check” The Date

, , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(We have recently been reminded of the importance of following check-cashing rules, as one branch in the next county took a huge loss for cashing a large stolen check. A customer walks in.)

Customer: “Hi. I’d like to cash this.”

(I notice that the check is post-dated for the next week. We are not allowed to cash these until the date written on the check.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir, but this check is dated for next week.”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “[Bank] regulations state that I can’t cash a check that is dated in the future. I would suggest going back to the person who wrote you the check and seeing if they can get you a new one. Or, you can hold onto it until next week.”

Customer: “Why can’t I just change the date? I’ll do that right now!”

Me: “Um, sir, you actually can’t do that. It’s against federal—“

(Before I can stop him, he starts scribbling out the date and writing in a new one. The check is now considered an “altered check,” and cashing it would go against federal bank regulations. I could get fired for cashing it.)

Customer: *proudly* “THERE! Fixed!”

Me: “I still can’t cash it.”

Customer: “Why the h*** not?!”

Me: “As I was trying to explain, you can’t change any information on a check you haven’t written. It’s now an altered check, and per federal regulations, we can’t accept it. Whoever cashes it could get fired. I have to tell you to go get a new check now.”

Customer: “What if I go to another branch and find someone else to do it? HUH? What then?”

Me: “Then you could get another teller in trouble, sir. Please don’t—“

(The customer runs out the door, shouting that he’s going to go to another branch, and I’ll never guess which one. I sigh, pick up the phone, and call the manager at the only other branch in the area.)

Me: “Hey, [Customer] is coming your way with an altered check. I saw him do it. I told him he had to get a new check, but he ran out of here shouting that he was going to go to another branch…”

Manager: “Oh, we know him. I’ll have a chat with him when he gets here. Thanks!”

(They made him go get a new check. He was shocked that they knew what was happening when he showed up.)

Customer, Correct Thyself

, , , , | Right | April 2, 2019

(I work registers at a popular supermarket chain. I’ve just finished with a customer, and have handed her her change and receipt. The customer shuffles off to the side as I get started on the next lot of groceries.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but I think you’ve given me the wrong change.”

Me: “Have I? I’m very sorry. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for a moment. I’ve started scanning through the next customer’s groceries, and I won’t be able to open the till until I’ve finished with them.”

Customer: *in an annoyed tone* “Fine, I’ll wait.”

(As I continue helping the current customer, the other one begins counting her money again.)

Customer: “Wow, you’ve done this really wrong. I don’t know how on Earth you could have possibly done this so wrong.”

Me: “Once again, I’m very sorry. I’ll be happy to fix it in a moment.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous. This change isn’t even close to being correct.”

(I continue putting through my current customer’s groceries, and all the while, this other customer is telling me off. She never says it outright, but by now she seems to be under the impression that I’ve intentionally short-changed her, as it is the only reasonable explanation as to how I could have gotten her change so wrong. Finally, I finish with my current customer, handing her her change and receipt. Now I’m ready to help the other customer out with her change.)

Customer: “Finally.”

(As she says this, she looks down at the change in her hand again.)

Customer: “Oh, hang on. No, this is correct.”

(She walked off without so much as a sorry. The worst part? I was so distracted by her basically accusing me of stealing from her all this time, I actually did miscount the change for the customer I’d been helping out at the time. She understood, though, and was very nice about it. Needless to say, I was very careful counting out change for the rest of my shift.)

Peaches And Scream

, , , , | Right | March 26, 2019

(I work at the largest farm of an orchard chain. This season we have had to start charging a very small field pass to customers interested in picking their own fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, this change has not been the most popular and we have had to deal with several unhappy people as a result. I work in one of the inside portions, so I don’t get a huge amount of nasty people, but this older woman gave me a good laugh.)

Customer: *setting three plants down at my register, looking down and mumbling something I can’t hear*

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you please repeat?”

Customer: *sharply and still not looking at me* “What is your sale on perennials?”

(I happily explain the deal, which not only do her plants qualify for, but she has not reached the per customer limit and can get a few more at the sale price. Normally this would make the customer happy, but not her. She ignores my answer, spending almost the entire transaction refusing to look at me and giving off a generally negative vibe. I shrug it off and finish dealing with the plants.)

Me: “All right, ma’am, I have these three set. Is that all for you?”

Customer: *mumbles again*

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am?”

Customer: *finally looking up and in a tone that only peeved old ladies can conjure up* “You’re charging a field ticket, aren’t you?”

Me: “Uh, yes, ma’am. $1 per person.”

(Her expression twists like she has bitten into a rotten apple. She keeps it that way as I help her navigate our card reader. While she gathers her items I go through my normal “have a good day” song and dance, which is promptly ignored. Slightly fed up with her, I pull out my most polite, customer service voice and smile, and say:)

Me: “I hope you have a GREAT time picking your peaches!”

(Her face made my night!)

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