‘Twas I That Set The Economy Ablaze!

, , , , | Right | October 1, 2020

I’ve recently been promoted to keyholder at a chain clothing and skateboard shop in the mall. This morning, I’m opening alone and taking care of some store-to-store transfers. A woman comes in with a return.

Me: “Hi, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “I’ve got a return from another store, but their computers were down so the receipt was handwritten.”

Me: “Well, let me take a look at it and see what I can do.”

She hands me the handwritten receipt, which has the printed credit card receipt stapled to it, so I can tell it’s an actual transaction and not a fake. I check the totals and they match, and as I check the date, I notice that the purchase was almost three years ago in a store out of state. Our return policy is within ninety days.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry. But you bought this almost three years ago; I’m not sure that I can take this return.”

Customer: “But I paid for it! The tags are still attached and I have the receipt!”

Me: “Yes, I see all of that, but our return policy is thirty days for cash back, ninety days for store credit.”

Customer: “I want to speak to the manager.”

Me: “I’m the current manager on duty. I’m sorry, but I can’t take this return.”

Customer: “Is there anything you can do?”

Me: “Give me one moment.”

I call my store manager, who will be in later on. I ask her if there’s anything I can do. She tells me I can return the item for whatever price it rings up as in the computer, but I can’t do a full return. I explain this to the woman.

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, you bought the item so long ago, it may have gone on sale since then or moved to an outlet store only.”

The purse is marked at $29.95. I scan it into the computer to check it, and it is coming up as $19.99.

Me: “Well, that’s not so bad. Sometimes items can go down below a dollar after this amount of time. Do you still have the credit card you used to purchase it? I can refund you the $19.99 to that.”

Customer: “That’s unacceptable. I want to speak to your boss.”

Me: “Ma’am, I just got off the phone with her; she is the one who is even letting me do this refund.”

Customer: “Then I want to speak to her boss!”

Me: “Umm… all right.”

I call my district manager and leave a message telling her to call me back right away regarding a customer complaint. While we wait for her to call me back, I apologize to another woman and her son who I was helping find shoes before the woman doing the return came in. My district manager calls back, I explain the situation, she tells me the same thing my store manager told me, and I tell her the woman wants to talk to her. I give the woman the phone and she argues with my district manager for about ten minutes.

I turn to the second woman and her son.

Me: “I am so sorry about all of this. If you’d like to leave your items here and come back in a little while, I’ll be able to ring you up.”

Customer #2: “Oh, don’t worry about it, sweetie. Honestly, I don’t want to leave you alone with her in case this gets bad.”

The woman gets off the phone with my district manager and hands the phone back to me.

Customer:You are the reason retail is a failing industry!”

She takes her purse and receipt and storms out of the store.

Customer #2: “If I were you, I’d be pretty proud of being the reason for an entire economic downfall!”

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The Rooster Crows At Midnight… And Other Annoying Times

, , , , , | Working | October 1, 2020

My cell phone’s camera has broken, so I call my cell phone provider to discuss getting a replacement since I have insurance on it. We are currently in month six of a certain health crisis, and a lot of call centers have their employees working from home, as am I, so I totally understand when I call them that there might be some background noise not heard in a regular office setting.

The first person I speak to is polite and helpful but has at least one dog in the background that barks every few minutes. This doesn’t phase me at all; my coworkers also have rowdy dogs that speak up during online meetings. What does catch me off guard is the rooster who decides to chime in halfway through the call. He’s quite insistent, and at times, he’s louder than the nice lady I’m trying to have a conversation with, but she doesn’t acknowledge it, so neither do I, as long as we can understand each other and finish our discussion. 

She has to hand me off to another department and puts me on hold, and there’s a blissful minute or two of a popular song that has no animal accompaniment, before the other department’s representative picks up to help complete my transaction.

All goes well until another rooster starts chiming in from the second rep’s location. No dogs or any other animals this time — just the rooster. Again, this lady, clearly a different person, doesn’t acknowledge it, and we finish our part of the discussion.

The end result is that I have to exchange my phone at my local cell phone provider store. Hopefully, they’re not keeping any livestock in the background.

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The Curious Incident Of The Book With The Wrong Title

, , , , , | Right | September 30, 2020

Many schools use the same books for summer reading. Every summer, bookstores stock up on these titles and place them prominently throughout the store. We booksellers tend to become very familiar with the various titles and covers. 

Me: “Hi. Can I help you find anything today?”

Customer: “Yes, my son is looking for The Upsided Down Dog.”

Me: “I’m not familiar with that book; let me look it up.”

I look in our system and nothing comes up for “The Upsided Down Dog.”

Me: “I’m not finding it. Did he say who it’s by?”

Customer: “I don’t know! It’s summer reading for his school.”

A lightbulb goes off. I go to a nearby table and pick up a book, showing her the cover. 

Me: “Ma’am, could it be The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time?”

Customer: *Sighs* “Yes, I suppose that must be it.”

This particular book is orange, with a small picture on the front of an upside-down dog.

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Digging Their Own Graves

, , , , | Working | September 18, 2020

There has been a Japanese Hibachi restaurant in our area for decades before it was a trend. It is unique for the time — dinner and a spectacle of service. The food is top-notch and — according to the adults — the drinks are phenomenal. It is my go-to birthday dinner growing up.

I don’t go there for some time due to financial problems limiting “special eating out” to “value meals, once in a long while.” Once things get better, I finally convince my now-husband to come with me and give it a shot.

And things turn bad quickly.

Hostess: “Hello, table for two? Hibachi or no?”

Me: “Actually, this is his first time here, and it’s my first time back in a long time. We were wondering if we could see some menus before we sit down so we know what we’re looking for?”

Hostess: *Instantly turning icy* “You can’t take the menus home, sir.”

Me: “That’s not what I’m asking. We’re just not certain if we do want hibachi-style or not yet. May we please look first, and then sit?”

This goes back and forth a minute before she finally deigns to — GASP — let us look at a menu before sitting and placing a drink order! And I’m glad we did; all their signature dishes are gone, replaced with generic fare you could find at any of the dozen other places that have opened up within a twenty-minute drive, at $10 to $15 more per meal. I know it has been a while, but that is double the price inflation anywhere else. It is the equivalent of seeing a quality steakhouse turn into a Burger King with fancy placemats but charging even more.

Husband: “Ooooh… That’s a little…”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sorry, but this is kind of way out of our price range at the mo—”

The hostess snatches the menu out of my hand.

Hostess: “You should know what you want before you go out!”

Me: “Yeah, we knew what we wanted, but we just wanted to make sure you offered it; you don’t.”

We left, with the hostess still shouting at our back. The place closed down a year later, and it’s now a funeral home of all things!

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They’re In Denial About Getting A Denial

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: themadkingnqueen | September 16, 2020

I work in a home warranty company, in the authorizations department. I determine if a home repair is or isn’t covered. Our call center is in New Jersey and our after-hours call center is in a South American Country, so even though we have customers on the West Coast, in reality, we “close” around 5 pm local for Texas.

 I’m finishing up my shift but am not allowed to leave until the queue is empty, I’ll spare you the office politics but it’s not supposed to be able to receive incoming calls after 9 pm but in reality, it’s about 9:30 pm and the very last call of the night comes in from Texas.

 The caller is actually the customer’s own technician that they have called in to do a repair on a refrigerator, with the customer on speaker. The authorizations department usually only speaks to technicians, and not customers, so this call is already unorthodox.

Customer: “Hurry up and give us the authorization number! This tech has been on hold for way too long and doesn’t have time for questions.”

Me: “Okay, let’s start with the make model and serial of the unit.”

We use “unit” as a catch-all word for whatever needs to be repaired, washing machine, refrigerator, etc.

Tech: “No, it needs a condensing fan motor, and are you gonna cover it or not?”

Me: “So you are refusing to provide the information on the unit?”

Customer: “I said he doesn’t have time for this, are you gonna cover it or not?”

 Frankly, I don’t have time for this either as I got in the office at 7 am that morning.

Me: “Unfortunately, we cannot make a determination of the claim without the basic information on the unit as part of a diagnostic—”

Tech: “It’s a ten-year-old unit and it needs a condensing fan motor; you gonna cover this or not?”

Fine, I’ll humor him.

Me: “Do you have a part number on the fan that you claim this unit requires to have replaced?”

Tech: “No, I have it in my hand, and are you gonna cover this or not?”

Me: “How many horsepower is it?”

Tech: “1/2hp and it needs a new cap, too.”

Me: “And what’s your price on this motor and the cap?”

Tech: “$650 for the part, $200 labor, and I need another $100 for the hour I was on hold.”

Me: “I cannot authorize a repair without a part number or any details on the unit it is needed for. Furthermore, this typical repair costs no more than $375 parts and labor and we do not reimburse for time on hold. I will need to get all the documentation on the unit before we—”

Customer: “Get your boss on the line right now while you still have a job.”

I go over and get my boss, who looks at the diagnosis that is missing 99% of the needed information – at least I put the prices in and the horsepower! My boss enters the call.

Boss: “Hi, I’m the authorizations manager and I’m looking at this diagnosis and I have a few questions about the unit—”

Tech: “I ain’t answering no more questions; are you gonna cover this or not?”

Customer: “We need to know if it’s covered or not right now!”

Boss: “Without the needed information on the un—”

Customer: “Get your boss on the line now while both of you have a job!”

My boss and I exchange looks, and then he goes to find the VP of Operations, who of course left for the day so we get the next best thing and bring in someone who is technically my boss’s boss, but absolutely does not have time for this.

Boss’s Boss: “Hello, I am the head of operations. If you are unwilling to provide the needed information on the unit we will instead require a picture of the failed component to move forward with the claim and determine coverage.”

We get the picture shortly thereafter and wouldn’t you know it, the old motor was dirty. Not THAT dirty but certainly we were not going to pay this tech close to a thousand dollars for so small a job nor were we interested in accommodating or rewarding this customer/tech hybrid which was doing something shady.

I write up the denial and flag it for a level-two tier worker to deliver in the morning. My boss flags the claim with his own task explaining to anyone who looks at it what is really going on and for any over-night call center reps to inform them to call back during normal business hours.

But it is up to me to end the current call. I am giddy and excited to tell them that the gig is up but my boss puts his hand on my shoulder and says I have to play it by the book.

Me: “Hello. We have received the needed information and will be making a determination shortly. The claim is currently under review and the office is now closed for the evening.”

Customer: “NO, NO, NO! That’s not how this works! We got in before the office closed, this line will continue to remain active until we get the determination and I don’t care how long that takes but you will not leave this call!”

Me: “Unfortunately the office is closed. The system is no longer allowing me to input any new information. Our company is not an emergency service and we are contractually obligated to render a decision within 24-48 hours after the diagnosis is received from the technician.”

Customer: “If you hang up this phone I will get you fired and sue you for everything you’re worth you hear me!”

Me: “Thank you for calling [Home Warranty Company], I advise you to have a good day.”


As my boss and I walk out to the parking lot (boss’s boss left once we got the picture in) I ask him if they could actually do that or if it was one of the many empty threats we got all day long.

Boss: “What are they gonna sue you for? Hanging up a phone? Let legal handle that. We did it by the book and wrote it up the way we’re supposed to.”

I looked at the claim the next day and they didn’t even dispute the denial when they got it.

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