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A Busy State Of Travel

, , , , , | Working | February 5, 2019

(I’m reviewing a patient’s medical records that are part of a study but were flagged for “inconsistencies.” Usually, this means that the dates of illness or medication don’t make sense, but in this case, I see that the reviewer has highlighted the patient’s travel history, which is blank. I track down the physician who filled out the form.)

Me: “Hi, [Doctor], I’m reviewing the charts for [study] and I saw that—“

Doctor: *laughing* “Travel history, right?”

Me: “Uh… yeah.”

Doctor: “Turns out someone coded in upper limits to the interstate travel portion of the form, because it can’t go over seven times a week.”

Me: “What? How often does this guy travel?”

Doctor: “Well, the form just asks about traveling to another state. He lives in [State], but… legally, half his house is across state lines. So, his answer was, ‘Eight or nine times a day,’ and the computer didn’t like that one.”

Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2019

(The store is known for having very long lines that weave around the perimeter of the store with someone at the front directing people to the registers. I’m at a register helping a customer. As soon as the customer is gone, before I can call my coworker for the next customer, a woman with a full cart pulls up at my register. It seems that she walked right past the entire line.)

Me: “Good afternoon. What register were you sent to?”

(This is usually the most polite way to start the conversation about line etiquette and to tell them they need to wait in line if they wish to purchase their groceries. However, the woman says nothing, just stares at my coworker at the next register. I begin to unload her groceries and scan them.)

Me: “Just so you know, for future, there’s a line and customers wait in the line and then my coworker at the front of the line sends them to a register once a register opens up.”

Customer: “Me, too.”

(She walks away from me, leaving her cart at my register. Not knowing quite what to make of this, I continue to ring up her items. My manager comes over, seeing me ringing up items with no customer. I relay the entire interaction. Moments later, we see the customer approaching the front of the line. It’s a very busy day, easily a twenty-minute line, and she’s been gone less than five. As she gets to the front of the line she doesn’t wait for my coworker, she just walks right up to me and stands to stare, once again not at me but at the person working the register next to me. My manager witnesses this entire next interaction.)

Me: “So, as I was saying, we ask the customers to wait with their shopping in the line before getting to the register. Then once they approach the front of the line the crew member working the front of the line will let them know when a register is available and which one to go to.” *I’m just about finishing up her order and she’s paid with a card, still not looking at me* “Do you understand?”

Customer: *looking at me in the eyes for the first time* “Not. One. Word.”

(She took her groceries and walked away. My manager and I were left, mouths agape. My coworker at the next register, who she’d been staring at the whole time, fell apart laughing. I’m just glad my manager witnessed the whole thing, because I don’t know if he’d have believed me otherwise.)

Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
Not In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
Not In Line And Out Of Line

Why Store Credit Will Always Feel Like A Deficit

, , , , | Right | January 3, 2019

(A gentleman comes in and wanders around. He is muttering to himself about “junk junk junk,” or something to that effect. Finally, he approaches the counter and I meet him there.)

Customer: “I need to return this, please.”

Me: “For sure. Do you have a receipt?”

Customer: “Yeah, right here.”

(I begin processing his return.)

Me: “As per store policy, I will be able to give you $27 in store credit. Is there anything you’d like to purchase with it today?”

Customer: “Wait, what? I want cash.”

Me: “I’m terribly sorry, but store policy is that all returns are for store credit.”

Customer: “Nobody told me that.”

Me: “It’s on a big sign right here.” *points in front of register* “And on the wall by my head here, and on the bottom of the receipt.”

Customer: “Well, I didn’t know. I wish I’d known.”

Me: “We can put the money on your account if there’s nothing you’d like today, and you can use it any time to make a purchase.”

Customer: “Ugh, no. I don’t need any of this junk.”

Me: “Well… perhaps shopping for a gift for someone else, then?”

Customer: “I never give gifts.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I’m not sure what else I can offer.”

Customer: “I just wish I had known. I’ll just take the credit.”

Me: “Very good, sir. Here’s your receipt. I’m sorry this item didn’t work out for you.”

Customer: “Whatever. You should tell people they can’t return anything when they buy your junk. Just a friendly piece of advice.”

Me: “I… Noted?”

Checked Out Before They Checked In

, , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I work as a graveyard shift receptionist in a small hotel. Our hotel also has some rooms that feature a jacuzzi. This happens in winter, in which most days are quiet, but occasionally, on special days, we will have all the rooms sold out. It is Valentine’s Day and all of the rooms were occupied before my shift started. Most couples just leave when I tell them we do not have a room, while some scream at me before leaving. Then came this couple.)

Male Customer: “I need one room, with a jacuzzi.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, we are all sold out for today.”

(He pauses and pulls out his phone, then resumes.)

Male Customer: “We have a reservation!”

(All the customers with reservations are checked in, so it is impossible for him to have a reservation today. I ask him for ID to check in our system in case there is a system error; I will  need to call the website if such an error exists. It turns out his reservation was made one minute ago, and the check-in time is clearly stated there: the same day, but 12 hours later. Again I work on the graveyard shift and it is midnight.)

Me: “Sir, your check in time for the reservation is 12 hours from now. It is clearly written on the website where you reserved the room.”

(He checks his phone again.)

Male Customer: “But I need one room.”

Me: “Sorry, sir. It is Valentine’s Day and all the rooms are sold.”

Male Customer: “How much?”

(I tell him the price and repeat that all the rooms are sold.)

Male Customer: “But I need one room!”

(He pulls money out and starts to push it at me.)

Me: “Sir, we have no rooms available. All the rooms are occupied.”

(I push the money back but he pushes back with more money. This pushing game goes on for minutes. I keep telling him in many different ways that we have no rooms, in case he does not know English very well, but they both understand English.)

Male Customer: “You can have all of this! Just give me a room!”

(Suddenly I realize that he thinks I am lying for tips. We have a very strict policy against this. I show him our shelf with all the registration cards to prove that I am not lying and all rooms are occupied. Then the silent female customer joins in for the game.)

Female Customer: “Can you tell somebody to get out and give us the room? We will pay you a large tip.”

Me: “Sorry, miss, I cannot do that. They are our customers.”

Male Customer: “But I want a room with a jacuzzi! Get me the room now!”

Female Customer: “We are customers, too. Now, what are you going to do?”

Me: “Again, I am sorry. We do not have any rooms available right now. Your check in time is 12 hours from now. I can inform my coworkers to allow you check in a few hours earlier, if we have rooms at that time. You are free to call us to check.”

(I hand them our business card, but they do not even look at it.)

Female Customer: “We can check in earlier? GREAT! I will do it. I want to check in now.”

(I start running out of patience, but I still remain as polite as possible. Suddenly, the male customer starts yelling.)

Male Customer: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER!”

(Since I am the only person in the office now, I tell them that I am the manager.)

Male Customer: “THEN GIVE ME A ROOM!”

Me: “Sir, we do not have a room at this moment, and please keep your voice down; people are sleeping.”


(My boss has instructed me to never get him for the customer, nor give out his information. I tell him my boss is not here.)

Female Customer: “CALL HIM!”

(I am tired and I do not know what else I can do to get them to understand the situation. I call my boss. Luckily, he rarely sleeps on my shift.)

Boss: *on the phone* “Kick them out, now.”

Me: “I am sorry. My boss wants you to leave now.”

Male Customer: “Fine…”

(Just as I thought it is finally over, they backed off to the corner of the lobby and started kissing and cuddling. After many requests to leave and then threatening to call to the police, they finally left.)

It’s Literally Elementary, Sir

, , , | Right | August 28, 2017

(A customer is arguing with me over the price of several items he’s purchasing.)

Customer: “Look, it says right here in your flyer that chicken breasts are 20% off with this coupon, so stop being difficult and adjust the price for me.”

Me: “Yes, but that’s for store brand chicken breasts. What you have there are [Brand Name] chicken breasts.”

Customer: “What? It does not say that anywhere!”

Me: *picking up the coupon he’s handed me and reading aloud* “‘Offer applies only to store brand products listed. All brand names exempt unless otherwise stated.’ It’s written right here, quite plainly.”

(I point it out to the customer, who’s now staring at me in slack-jawed amazement.)

Customer: “The f***? I…I didn’t think you guys could read!”

(He paid for his items and left with no further fuss.)