Making A Senior Mistake

, , , | Orchard Park, NY, USA | Right | December 15, 2016

I worked in a Mexican restaurant. We had a senior’s discount but policy states that we have to wait for them to ask for it. We weren’t supposed to just give it to them but sometimes I would just give it to obviously elder folks.

Once, after my standard greeting, I decide I will do so for a grey-haired man. But before he even places his order, he picks up my ‘take-a-penny, leave-a-penny cup’ with one hand, pours it into his palm, and puts all the change in his pocket. He even stares me in the eye the entire time as if to challenge me to do something about it.

To which I decide that he has taken his own senior discount. Too bad, because the one I would have given him would have saved him a lot more.

Tipped Over The Edge

, , | Calgary, AB, Canada | Hopeless | December 7, 2016

(I am ringing up a customer’s purchase, around $30. He pays with a $50 so I hand back a $20 plus some coins.)

Customer: “No, keep the change.” *hands me back the $20, keeps the coins*

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m not actually allowed to take tips.”

(Our store does in fact have a very strict “no tips” policy. Keeping a tip is grounds for termination.)

Customer: “Well, I just got paid and I have a bit of spare cash, so why don’t you just keep this and buy yourself a coffee or something?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I really can’t take this!”

Customer: *looks at me, and then at the other two cashiers with me, who currently don’t have any customers* “Well… I guess $20 is pretty hard to split between three people…” *pulls out wallet and gives me another $20 and $50* “That makes $90, right? You girls treat yourselves!”

(The customer walked out as we tried to tell him that increasing the tip wasn’t what we were trying to get him to do. All three of us cashiers looked at each other blankly. We ended up calling our manager because we had no idea what to do. At first he got a bit upset with us for not giving the customer his money back. But after reviewing the security cameras he changed his tune and told us we looked pretty funny constantly trying to get this man to take the money back and him responding by giving us more instead. The money ended up going to the local charity our store raises money for.)

The TV Generation Isn’t So Bad

, | Orillia, ON, Canada | Hopeless | December 5, 2016

I work in the loyalty/retention department for the largest telecom in Canada. I have been doing this job for over three years now, but I will always remember the one older lady I made cry, in the best possible way, about six months into my tenure.

This lady called in, apologizing, because she was going to have to cancel her TV services. Her husband had passed away and she could no longer afford the bill, which was over $300, but she needed to keep her home phone with Canada/US/international calling, and the Internet because her family was spread out all over the world and she would call or Skype with her children and grandchildren.

Now, this couple had obviously never called in about their services once they were set up, as they were on old, expensive, grandfathered plans that had not been available for over 10 years.

I started talking to her, asking about the kids and grandkids, and what channels/tv shows she liked. Did she watch the European football? (no, it was her late husband; she didn’t watch any sports), What about the American new channels (nope, just the local news at 6). I found out they have had the same phone number for over 40 years and she was quite proud of the fact that they had been the first on their street to have “high speed Internet.” Meanwhile, I am looking at her past bills, long distance charges, Internet usage patterns, etc.

After about 20 minutes of just talking I asked her, “Ma’am, do you WANT to cancel the TV or do you feel you HAVE to in order to save money? Because the plans you are on for home phone and Internet will be approximately $185. But if I change you to new, in market plans, you can keep your TV with [channels], phone with all your features and LD, and an Internet plan with enough usage allowance to more than cover what you normally use, for about $150.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line, long enough that I asked “Are you still there, ma’am?”

Then I hear a hiccup and she is saying, “You can do that for me? I can keep my TV?” as she starts crying and thanking me.

She then asks for my manager and gave me a ‘kudos’ for being such a good employee and helping her out.

There are the customers I love to help. They are truly deserving of “loyalty” discounts and they are the reason I still want to go to work.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

, , | Stoneham, MA, USA | Right | November 22, 2016

A woman comes in with a gift card. I scan it and inform her she has $80 to spend. Thrilled, she goes off to shop. About a half hour later she returns with a large pile of clothes. I scan it, and I inform her that the total is $30 after the gift-card. Thrilled again, she goes off to do more shopping in the sales racks, and I void out her transaction, as I can’t suspend a transaction that’s using a gift card.

A bit later, she comes back with even more clothes. I scan it all again and tell her that her total is now $70 after the gift card. She seems even more thrilled, and I realize that she hasn’t understood that she OWES $70, not that she has $70 left to spend. I attempt to explain it to her, but she runs off, and as there’s a line, I can’t leave the register to chase after her. I void it again, hoping that she’ll understand the next time around. I try to get her attention whenever she comes near the register, but she ignores me.

Finally, she comes back with more clothes and her husband. She tells me to scan her now huge pile. Diligently I do, reminding her that her gift card is only $80. I inform her of her total before I use the gift card, then tell her the new total after, which is over $100.

Once again she’s thrilled and turns around to do more shopping, but her husband catches her by the arm. He asks me to repeat the total, and I do, explaining clearly that this is the price after the gift card. The husband firmly tells her they’re not spending that much on clothes.

Finally, the woman seems to understand that the gift card won’t cover it all, and spends close to 20 minutes picking and choosing which items she is keeping, holding up the line because she refuses to move aside for anyone.

Finally, she leaves with her $80 worth of merchandise, frowning at me like I had been trying to trick her, while the husband shakes his head in exasperation.

Hellish Resources

, , | NM, USA | Working | November 2, 2016

During my career with a major oil company I learned early on that Human Resources does not exist to make my life easier. Here’s one of the most frustrating instances.

In the mid 1980s there was an oil discovery in New Mexico near the Texas border. As it looked to be significant, we and several other companies ramped up personnel in the region. There was only one small town in the area suitable for offices and living so everyone was sent there. Unfortunately, the town had a population under 30,000, so moving several hundred professionals and support staff in all at once caused a significant spike in real estate prices. Even more unfortunately, we were the last company to decide to move in so we were hit with the highest prices and the worst homes.

As it turned out, the discovery was a bust and a few years later everyone pulled out. Again, we were the last company to make the decision, so we were putting our houses, which had been far overpriced to begin with, onto a glutted market. Individuals were looking at losing 50 to 75% of their purchase prices, a significant hit.

As you can imagine there was a tremendous amount of complaining among the affected employees. It reached a point where corporate HR sent representatives out to address the issue. We gathered into an auditorium to hear what we hoped would be a rescue plan.

We were disappointed. Basically, the HR reps were telling us that we were on our own and the company wouldn’t help us. People began to get angry with the message and the questions got testier. Finally, one man asked what he was supposed to do given that the company’s decisions put us at a disadvantage coming and going.

There was a young woman from HR on the panel who responded. I’m not sure how long she had been with the company but she obviously had little real world experience. Her answer, and I quote, was: “You should have bought more responsibly.”

There was no lynching, not even a small riot, but the noise level got to the point the meeting broke up. Luckily for us, the head of the exploration company for which we worked over ruled the HR scrooges and incentives were provided to minimize our losses.

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