Customers: You Have No Power Here

, , , , , | Right | October 3, 2019

(I’m the manager at a busy gas station with a convenience store. There has been a major power outage in our little town; power has been out for seven hours at this point and nothing is open. Still, people pull in hoping to gas up or buy some snacks, and I spend a good part of my day telling people we are closed as I can’t leave the building. A lady pulls in, gets out of her car, and starts walking to the door, so I open it to talk to her.)

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, power’s out and we’re closed.”

Customer: “I know, but can’t you just sell me one little bag of ice?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t. Not today, anyway.”

Customer: “You can’t even sell me one single bag of ice?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. Sorry.”

Customer: *in an angry, sing-song tone* “Well, how am I supposed to keep my food cold if you won’t sell me any ice?!”

Me: “Ma’am, we can’t even keep our own food cold. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Customer: “What the h*** am I supposed to do, then?!”

Me: “Well, you could cross the bridge in to [Town three minutes away in another province]. I know for a fact that they have power, and they sell ice, as well.”

Customer: “I don’t go to [Town] because I don’t like bridges! So there!”

Me: “Oh, okay, then. I’m sorry. Have a good night.”

(As she walked off, I looked over at our electric ice freezer that had been sitting out in the hot sun for seven hours and wondered how she thought we were keeping our ice frozen. They were basically bags of slush at that point.)

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Unfiltered Story #163309

, , | Unfiltered | September 18, 2019

I am the front desk manager at a hotel and we frequently have people calling to reserve blocks of rooms for large events such as hockey tournaments or weddings. In mid August a gentlemen calls to reserve 15 rooms for his wedding in October. We discuss the prices and all the details and finalize the arrangement. I inform him that in order for us to honor the arrangement, he had to ensure that at least half of the rooms in the block were reserved by a specific date otherwise the block and the negotiated rate would be cancelled. We gave him the option to either provide us with a rooming list so that we could reserve the rooms ourselves, or to have his guest call us individually to reserve their rooms; he chose the second option. We faxed him a contract which he signed and returned agreeing to these terms.
A week before the October 1st cut off date, I called him to inform him that we had not yet received any reservations for his block and asked him to please remind his guests that they need to call us to book their rooms. He told me no problem, he would email everyone right away to remind them. 2 days before the cut off date, we call him again for the same reason, we got o answer and so we emailed him. He responded the next day saying “push the cut off date back a few days for me please? I will have the rooms booked in a couple days.” His original cut off date was for 10 days before the wedding, I push it back to 5 days before. The day before the new cut off date, I call again, get no answer and so I email him again telling him that I cannot push the date back any further and that his arrangement would be cancelled if the rooms were not reserved by the end of the night. He responded simply, “Fine, just keep 1 or 2 rooms for me just in case. Thanks.” And so, the block was cancelled and with it, the negotiated rate. As a courtesy, I did reserve 2 rooms under his name at the original block, just incase, and informed my night audit clerk to go ahead and charge him a no show fee on the 2 rooms if he didn’t show up. On the day of the wedding, right round 1pm, a bus pulls up out front. A lot of people get out and start lighting cigarettes while a young lady (customer #1) and her mother (customer #2) come in and walk up to the front desk to speak to my employee.
Customer 1: Hi! My name is Karen (same last name as wedding guy) and we have a block of rooms booked here for tonight and tomorrow. Can we just get the keys and the rooming list so that we can get everyone settled before we sign all the registration cards and everything?
Employee: Oh…I don’t seem to…let me just get my manager.
I have heard the entire exchange so I’ve already come out of my office at this point to try to lessen the blow the lady is about to receive.
Me: Hello! My name is (name) and I am the front desk manager here at (hotel name). Now if I hear correct, you are here for the block of rooms reserved under the name (wedding guy)?
Customer #1: Yes, he’s my fiancé. Does he need to be here for us to pick up the keys?
Customer #2: He’s at his uncles house preparing for his bachelor party. We can have him down here in maybe 20 minutes if this is an issue…
Me: No no! That’s not an issue at all. However, we do have a little issue here. When your fiancé booked the block of rooms, we had his sign a contract stating that the rooms in the block would be reserved by the 1st of October and he advised us that he would be having the guests call to make their own reservations rather than providing us with a rooming list. We contacted him several times since then to remind him of his obligation to get these rooms reserved and we even pushed the cut off date to October 5th to accommodate your needs. Ultimately, the rooms were never reserved and your fiancé told us in an email to go ahead and release the rooms into our inventory and to just reserve 2 rooms for him just in case.
Customer #1…so what are you saying? You gave my rooms away?
Me: Well, they were released into the inventory to be sold…
Customer #1 That’s bull shit! (wedding guy) is a smart, responsible man and he has kept me up to date on everything. There is no way he screwed this up so badly. I don’t believe it, you’re covering up for your own mistake aren’t you? You sold my rooms and now your blaming my fiancé.
Customer#2 Honey please, you’re getting all worked up…
Me: I have the emails here that we exchanged after I had already pushed back the cut off date.
I grab the front desk monthly binder in which we keep any and all printed or written correspondence regarding reservations. I open it to the current day and pull out the sheets with our emails. She grabs the papers from my hands and her face starts to grow red. I can see she is holing back tears. Her mother is reading over her shoulder and but has this look as though she knew something like this would happen.
Customer #2 Look, obviously he shouldn’t have been in charge of making these arrangements, he’s a construction foremen, not a wedding planner. This was nothing more than a misunderstanding. Can we just remake the booking? We’ve travelled 8 hours already on that bus, we don’t mind waiting a few more minutes while you do a little magic in that computer of yours.
Me: Well, normally I would have no problem honoring the original arrangement under these circumstances but unfortunately we no longer have 15 rooms available. There’s a major fall festival going on right now and…
Customer#1 I know there’s a damn festival! Why do you think we came all this way to get married?! We’re getting married in the heart of (local provincial park) and we’re doing the wedding shoot down by the fair grounds in the pumpkin patch. I’ve had this all planned out for months and the weather is perfect, you’re not going to tell me that this is all ruined!!!
Customer:#2 Honey calm down, go sit in the lobby and let me handle this. You need to stay calm for tomorrow. (to me) Isn’t there anything you can do for us?
Me: Well, I did reserve 2 rooms for you as per his request but aside from that I’ve only got4 rooms available to rent. Every other hotel in the area is booked solid tonight except for (very fancy hotel that charges double what we do) Last I checked they still had 2 rooms left. The rooms I have are all singles though, we have a lot of families in town for the festival so the double were snapped up pretty quickly over the past few days.
By this point the bride is sobbing uncontrollably in the lobby. Her mother goes to her and comforts her as some of the guests from outside start to come in to see what has happened. We end up having somewhat of an angry mob once the guests all find out what happened. We finally manage to make everybody understand that the rooms were never reserved and that the fiancé is to blame for it. I give them a total of 6 rooms, the 2 I had reserved and the remaining 4, at the original discounted price. I also make arrangements to send a few people to the fancy hotel and they agreed to honors our price due to the circumstances. People end up sharing rooms and sleeping on mattresses. We set up a few people in an empty conference room and mattresses as well and a few more people head out of town to stay at little truck stop motels. In the end, everyone had a place to sleep. Strangely, I never did see or hear from wedding guy. The next morning a tearful bride was sitting in our breakfast room, sobbing over a bowl of cereal.
Me: What’s the matter? Aren’t you excited for your big day? Don’t let this whole experience get you down, in 30 years you and your husband will be laughing about this with your grandchildren!
This sets her off crying hysterically. Her mother is sitting with her, calmly rubbing her shoulder.
Customer #2 There is no big day today unfortunately. There was no bachelor party at his uncle’s, that bruit never even came in to town.
Me: Oh my…
Customer #2 Yes well, do you want to know what he told us last night? He is already married! He has 3 children! He didn’t mean to let is get this far he says, so he deliberately screwed up the hotel arrangements in the hopes that my daughter here would call off the wedding herself. He had no intentions of marrying her and we just wasted a whole lot of time and money.
Me: That…wow, that is terrible. I’m so sorry.
Customer #2, oh no, don’t you be sorry. You did what you could for us. The way I figure it, at least this ended before they got married and had children and invested in a home. Now she knows who he really was, I could have told you a long time ago but (pat’s her daughter on the back) the young ones here are blinded by love.
Me: Well, I really hope she’s going to be ok.
Customer # 2 Oh, she’ll be fine. It might take a while but someday she and her future husband will be laughing about this horrible experience. Now that she’s not engaged she’s free to go out and find him, right dear?
Customer #1 I want to find him, tie him down and have my period on his face.
Customer #2 That’s the spirit! (to me again) See? she’ll be fine!
I never saw those people again after that day but I will never forget that experience.

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Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 4

, , , , , | Right | September 11, 2019

(I’ve just returned from a business trip and I stop at my local dollar store for some snacks. I’m in a terrible mood from being on the road all day but I have been here many times with nothing but friendly service and I am determined not to take it out on the staff. As I’m walking in, there is a woman at the cash complaining to the cashier, but I don’t pay attention. I hear him call for a manager and I see the manager on duty quickly come from the back. I grab some snacks and get to the counter only to have to wait behind this angry customer who is getting a refund, something not normally offered at this store and a process that takes a while. I suddenly tune in to what’s happening and realize this woman is getting a 30-cent refund on her 5-cent plastic bags. Most stores in our province have been charging for bags for a while as per governments regulations. The store gets none of the profits from these bags and has no say over the price.)

Customer: “Look, it’s not that I can’t afford it. It’s the principle of it. You people are always trying to trick us into spending more money and I won’t have it. You don’t even have a sign or anything!”

(She is actually standing next to a five-foot sign about the bags. As she is talking she is aggressively dumping her things out of the plastic bags onto the counter. The clerk looks like he wants to cry and the manager is trying hard to keep it together.)

Me: “Seriously?” *to the manager* “You guys don’t actually keep any of the money from those bags, right? I mean, it’s a government policy. Isn’t it? Most stores in this town alone have been charging for bags for at least a year, if not more.”

Manager: “Yeah, it has to do with the new eco-tax.”

Me: “Right, so it has nothing to do with you guys.”

Manager: *sigh* “No, it doesn’t.”

(The customer can clearly hear me, and I see her face get red before she turns away from me. She finally gets her 30 cents, drops it right back on the counter, and points at the reusable cloth bags the store is selling for a quarter each.)

Customer: “Give me one of those, now.”

Me: *to the cashier after she has paid him and is repacking her now one big bag* “You guys do get the profits off those cloth bags, though, right?”

Cashier: “Yup.” *flashes me a smile*

Customer: “Look, I would rather just pay for a bag.”

Me: “I thought that was the problem in the first place.”

(She finally moves away from the counter to let me check out, but now has to slowly repack her five bags of product into the one cloth bag to carry it out without spilling anything, so she can still hear me.)

Me: *to the cashier* “So, rough night?”

(He smiles and nods. His face still flushed.)

Me: “I’ve been there and believe me, it’s a pain. I used to work here and had to deal with idiots all the time. I had an old guy once fight for fifteen minutes, calling my cashier incompetent, because he misread the price on something and my cashier didn’t read his mind to know he thought it was a different price. You’re going to get those people all the time; they have never worked retail or have never worked, period, so they have no idea how to behave.”

(The customer is now seething while the cashier is finally smiling. The manager is close by watching with a smile. The cashier finishes ringing up my snacks.)

Cashier: “Would you like a bag, ma’am?”

Me: “No, thank you, dear; I brought one in. I’m capable of reading the signs you’ve had posted for the past two months.”

(The lady stormed off carrying her overflowing bag in her arms. For some reason, I felt so much better than when I had come in.)

Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 3
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage, Part 2
Has Some Serious Bag Baggage

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Stairway To The Past!

, , , | Right | August 22, 2019

(I am the front desk manager at an old hotel that has been around since at least twenty years before I was born. I’m in my early thirties. I’m training a new employee who is only twenty and it is his first shift. A customer comes in to check in. I walk my new hire through the process and all is fine until we give him his key.)

New Hire: “You are in room 207 on the second floor. The stairs to go up are just on your left.”

Customer: “Well, where is the elevator?”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, we don’t have one. We only have the stairs.”

(He stares at us for a moment, then yells:)

Customer: “No elevator? You’re crazy. You’re all crazy!”

(He then stomps away. I turn to my new hire.)

Me: “Right, because we went back in time 20 to 30 years before our birth and decided not to put in an elevator. Welcome to customer service, [New Hire]!”

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Forever Searching

, , , | Right | August 8, 2019

(I am the front desk manager at a hotel. A guest comes in stating he has just made a reservation online and wants to check in. I check for his reservation and find nothing.)

Me: “Are you sure you made the reservation at this hotel?”

Customer: “Yes, I’m sure it was here. This is [our address], right?”

Me: “Yes, it is. Is it possible the reservation might be under a different name?”

Customer: “Nope, just mine.”

Me: “So, you have the confirmation number?”

Customer: “No, but I have my reservation right here.”

(He shows me his cell phone. It is open to our hotel’s website and is showing a search for rooms on today’s date.)

Me: “Sir, this is just a search result, not a reservation.”

Customer: “No, this is my reservation. See? It says right here, one double room for [today’s date] for [price].”

Me: “If you scroll down, it also shows other rooms and prices. You need to select one and then fill in your info along with your credit card number.”

Customer: “But, this is my reservation…”

Me: “No, sir, this is a search result. I’m happy to make a reservation for you right now, though.”

Customer: “So, you’re telling me—” *does something on his phone and shows me another search result* “—that this is not a reservation?”

Me: *sighs* “Let me make you that reservation.”

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