An Operatic Failure

, , , | Right | September 15, 2017

(While I usually work in the head office, I have colleagues who travel to fairs and offices of our clients to see how they are doing and push sales. I get an email from my colleague in sales telling me about a client who got a travel package offer from us, which he forwarded to another travel agency in order to get a better price for the package from them. This is considered okay, but impolite in this business, since you normally keep prices and offers between business partners. Although I was using my best prices for his offer, the client tells my colleague that the other agency can offer him an almost 10% cheaper price, and he wants us to match this price for him in a new offer. I call my coworker.)

Me: “Well, I don’t know how [Competitor] did it, as they have the same services as we do, but they beat our price and they can offer it 10% cheaper. I’m sorry, but I absolutely cannot match that without losing money. It seems like this business is gone for us.”

Coworker: “Okay, well, what can you do? I will inform the client. You can release all the reservations for the opera. Thanks a lot!” *click*

(After a few days she calls again.)

Coworker: “I have the client on the phone again. He demands to speak to you, because I can not give him the information he needs.”

Me: “Sure, just put him through!”

Customer: “Hello?”

Me: ” Yes, hello, this is [Name] with [Company]. How can I help you?

Customer: “Your colleague told me that you cannot match the price of [Competitor].”

Me: “That is unfortunately true. Despite trying my best, I am unfortunately not able to match their pricing. I am very sorry that you book via [Competitor] now, and I hope that you give us another chance next time. I already released all pre-bookings for the opera that I made for you, so you do not have to worry about those.”

Customer: “But I want to book with you, can’t you just match the price of [Competitor]? I really want to book with you, and the offer is including the same services, it’s just the price.”

Me: “I am really sorry, but I can’t. And even if I could, the tickets are most probably gone now, since the piece is very popular, and it’s probably sold out by now. “

Customer: “Are you saying that I just lost the opera tickets?! I already booked the flight tickets for my client and cannot cancel any more! The opera was the only reason my clients wanted to go!”

Me: “I am sorry, but didn’t you say you have an offer from [Competitor]? Doesn’t he have tickets reserved for you?”

Customer: “Well, of course I don’t! Don’t you know the concept of a bluff?”

Me: “So, you told us you had another offer, but in reality just wanted to get a cheaper price by tricking us?”

Customer: “Well… yes! That is how business works!”

Me: “Sir, I am sorry, but this is not how it works. At least not if you want to keep on working with us. Good luck getting tickets with [Competitor].” *click*

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Preventing Fraud, One Dollar At A Time

, , , , , | Right | September 14, 2017

(I am working a graveyard shift in the store and am currently alone. As a policy, we are to check IDs for all form of cards: credit, debit, player club cards, etc. I’ve had customers thank me for checking their IDs, and even very few get disgruntled because they had to pull their ID out, but nothing quite beats this transaction. A woman walks in, immediately goes to the food side and picks up a candy bar, then proceeds to give me her card.)

Me: “Can I see your ID please?”

Customer: *she gives me this blank look* “Why?”

Me: *pauses* “To… check your identity, ma’am.”

Customer: “But I wrote my name on the back of the card.”

Me: “Yes… I see, but I have to check a government issued ID to make sure the names match.”

Customer: “But can’t you just look and see my name on the card?”

Me: “Yes, I can, but that doesn’t verify that you’re you.” *She looks at me, still confused.* “Look at it this way: if I don’t see if you’re you, anyone can take your card and spend whatever they want.”

Customer: “But it’s just a dollar!”

Me: “Just a dollar HERE. If someone else did have your card, what’s to stop them from spending $50, $200, or more elsewhere if I didn’t verify identity?”

Customer: “I still don’t understand; it’s just a dollar!”

(She signed her slip and left, and I actually slid into the floor on my knees and popped my forehead against the counter in disbelief.)

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Unequal Ethos

, , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(I have received a request for a pay rise from a relatively new employee. She cites the gender pay gap as a reason for her lower pay in comparison to a male employee [who, for whatever reason, decided to share his wages with her], and demands that we resolve it. I am also a woman.)

Me: “Your request has been denied for the time being. It has been decided that matters of pay inequality are not a contributing factor in your pay being unequal to [Male Employee].”

Employee: “And how did you come to that conclusion? It’s seems pretty obvious that the reason [Male Employee] is paid DOUBLE what I make is because I have a vagina.”

Me: “Firstly, he isn’t paid double; he is being paid 31% above what you earn. And to answer the question, he has worked here for nearly 20 years. The pay increase is proportional to that period of time. You, on the other hand, have only worked here for six weeks.”

Employee: *leaning in* “You don’t believe that do you? They’re pulling your leg.”

Me: “Who?”

Employee: “Your bosses.”

Me: “My bosses have nothing to do with this meeting, or the decision to deny your request.”

Employee: “Then you made the decision?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “BUT YOU’RE A WOMAN, TOO! Do you want to them to treat us like dirt?”

Me: “[Employee], I have no doubt the gender gap exists elsewhere in the world; perhaps even in other areas of this company. In this department, however, it does not. I will not allow you to undermine 20 years of hard work and commitment just because [Male Employee] has a penis.”

Employee: “That’s UNREASONABLE! Are you accusing me of sexism? A woman?”

Me: “I’ll tell you what; let’s make a deal. Demonstrate that you have the same level of competence and commitment as [Male Employee], and I’ll reconsider.”

Employee: “Okay, what do I need to do?”

Me: “[Male Employee] has been working in [Department] long enough that he understands every aspect intimately, and covers for anyone who is on leave, with the exception of myself. I expect you to demonstrate this for one month. It is in no way a contractual obligation, but I expect you to work by his ethos. I will give you a month to get up to speed with the department. Then, the following month, you are expected to cover for anyone and everyone.”

Employee: “Well, there’s only five people in [department]; that doesn’t seem too hard. But that’s two months that I will be stuck at my current pay. I expect it to be backdated.”

Me: “Of course.”

(I wrote up a local agreement and we both signed it. She gave up one week into the two months. Literally during the process of learning what she needed to do, not actually covering, she gave up. I haven’t heard a peep about gender inequality since.)

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Nothing Fun About Minimum Wage

, , , , | Working | September 11, 2017

Boss: “So, [My Name], what do you do for fun?”

Me: “You don’t pay me enough to afford ‘fun’.”

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A Signature Reason Why The Economy Is Failing

, , , , , | Right | September 7, 2017

(Due to issues with credit card fraud, our store has been very strict about checking that customers’ signatures match what’s on their credit card. This type of exchange happens several times a week while ringing up customers using credit cards.)

Me: “Can I look at your credit card please?”

Customer: “Sure, here you go.”

Me: “I’m sorry, this card doesn’t have a signature on it; I can’t accept it.”

Customer: “Oh, I never sign my credit cards. If it got stolen, the thief could just copy my signature and use my card!”

Me: “But if they steal it and it’s blank, they can just sign your name in their own handwriting, making it even easier for them to use it…”

Customer: “But it won’t be my signature!”

Me: “…”

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