The Line Is Busy, Both Phone And Checkout

, , , , | Right | March 31, 2020

(Customer service desk cashiers have to answer every incoming phone call to the store. It’s frustrating because we have a constant flow of customers that we have to still ring out or assist while on the phone with another customer.

On this particular day, our tech department is being run by two guys, both with customers, and a line ten-deep of customers waiting to be helped. There is absolutely no point in patching a call through to them at this point, so either I’ve been taking messages or people have decided to call back later. In-store customers always take precedence over people on the phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Store] in [Town]. This is [My Name] speaking; how can I help you?”

Caller: “Can I speak to someone in the tech department?”

Me: “I’m sorry, they’re both tied up right now. May I take a message?”

Caller: “No, I’ll call back.”

(I never recommend this, as the tech department tends to be backed up with customers. Each customer takes several minutes to service even if it’s a simple task, some taking far longer, and they are still expected to somehow help customers shopping on the floor. The setup is pretty stupid, honestly.

About an hour later, my manager on duty is standing on the side of my L-shaped service desk looking at paperwork, about two feet away from me when the phone rings. I answer it, delivering my standard speech.

The same lady from the earlier phone call has called back; however, the tech department is still about ten people deep — different people, but still.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but they’re still very busy over there.”

(The lady starts screaming into the phone.)

Caller: “This is ridiculous! Every time I call here I get the same bulls*** about them being too busy to answer the phone! And then no one ever calls back! I am getting sick and tired of calling and calling and calling and never getting an answer!”

Me: “I’m sorry. They are doing their best to help the customers in the store; they can’t answer the phone while—”

Caller: “That’s the same old story! Why can’t they take the time to answer my call?! I’m a customer, too! I deserve help!”

(My manager glances up at this point, making a face like, “What the h*** is all that yelling about?” I reply to the caller calmly but firmly.)

Me: “You don’t need to scream at me, ma’am. I cannot force them to answer the phone, and as I have stated, they are servicing a long line of customers in the store as fast as they can.”


(After a bit of a pause, suddenly much quieter.)

Caller: “I’ll just come in after work.”

(She hangs up.)

Manager: “What the h*** was her problem? Doesn’t she know what busy means?”

(I could have gotten in a lot of trouble with the general manager for talking to a customer like that, but it took me a few years in retail to develop the attitude that I am not a child and I will not be treated like one by management, and I am not a punching bag for customers. The cashier is literally the last person you should yell at when you’re angry about something they have no control over.)

Should Ink Before You Speak

, , , | Right | March 27, 2020

I used to work for an office supply store a few years ago. This has always been one of the most amusing and confusing things that happened to me there.

I was working the register when a man came in with his young daughter. He was carrying a decently large box full of printer ink and wanted to return it all. Now, printer ink is expensive enough that we are extra cautious with returns — it can’t be open, etc. — but for any kind of returns at this store, we need a receipt. I asked him for one and he said he didn’t have one.

After some back and forth and attempting to explain that I couldn’t make the return without a receipt, I expected the next step to be him angrily demanding to see my manager, who also would have refused to return multiple hundreds of dollars’ worth of ink with no proof of purchase. Instead, he picked up the box and told his daughter they were leaving. 

Over his shoulder, as he went out the door, he told me, “If you won’t let me return this here, I’ll just go return it to [Competitor Store]!”

I’m still confused as to why he thought that was a good final word to have in this.

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Unfiltered Story #190318

, , , | Unfiltered | March 21, 2020

(A customer is in the self serve copy area putting something together, but then she comes up to me in the full serve area)

Customer: Do you have a highlighter I can use that isn’t yellow?

Me: I think so (I go into our copy supplies drawer and pull out a blue one) Here you go. (I continue with my work)

Customer: Excuse me, don’t you have any other colours? Or more than one?

Me: No, sorry, that was the only highlighter in there.

Customer: You don’t have a pink one or anything?

Me: No, sorry, just the blue one. If you need different coloured highlighters though, we do sell them in aisle 5. You can get a package of assorted coloured highlighters.

Customer: No, I don’t want to buy any, I just want to use yours.

Me: Well, then you’ll have to use blue because that’s all we have.

Customer: But don’t you have any others?

Me: No. We just have that one. Again, you can purchase your own package of them, and then you’ll have a bunch of colours.

Customer: Well this isn’t even a highlighter!

Me: … yes it is

Customer: oh

Unfiltered Story #190286

, , | Unfiltered | March 19, 2020

(We usually have at least a few people lined up outside the store a few minutes before we open. this conversation takes place on a Sunday, right after we’ve opened the doors, as I’m checking someone out)

(The customer’s tone is irritated throughout the entire interaction)

Customer: You know it throws a lot of people off that you don’t open til 12:00

Me: Oh. Sorry. We’ve always opened at noon on Sundays.

Customer: No it really pissed a lot of people off. You wouldn’t believe how many people came up to the mall, saw the closed doors, shook their heads, and left.

Me: Well the mall doors have nothing to do with us. The mall owners are the ones who keep them locked right up until opening.

Customer: You should open earlier! In *nearby town* they open at 10 on Sundays!

Me: Maybe it’s busier down there on Sundays. But it’s not here. Plus we’ve always opened at noon.

Customer: You know people left, right!?

Me: Well even if we opened before noon, the mall would still be locked so you wouldn’t be able to get in here to shop in our open store anyway.

Customer: it’s ridiculous. opening at noon.

(I shrug)

Me: I think opening at noon on a Sunday is reasonable. Plus we’ve always opened at noon.

Unfiltered Story #189059

, | Unfiltered | March 12, 2020

It’s mid December and a popular product at this time of year is diaries for the forthcoming year and a middle aged lady comes into the store
Lady: Hi I’m looking for a diary…nothing too big
Staff: no problem what type would you like, a day per page perhaps?
Staff member shows her a day per page diary
Lady: That’s perfect only I’d like one with less pages
Staff member: but there are 365 days in a year I’m afraid that’s not possible.
Lady: no no no I’m sure they exist