The Customer Is Not Always “Not Right”

, , , | Right | November 9, 2019

A lady comes up to my register with a 16-gig flash-drive. It rings up for about $14, at which she balks, because the display she picked it up from marked it as about $6. Given that I know well that the display marks its items as 40% off, I explain to her that the flash-drive had likely been put there by a customer who couldn’t find its original place, but that I’d be happy to give her the 40% off that the display where she found it promised. At my place of work, we’re encouraged to do so with issues like this, though usually for a 20% discount, so I am already being generous to someone who was acting rather rudely, even at this early stage in the encounter. She seems troubled, but agrees to finish the transaction with minimal fuss and ends up paying about $8 for it. 

Three minutes later, she walks in and says to me, “I’ve been thinking about those two dollars, and, you know, I just don’t think it’s right.” She is dead serious. She emphasizes the word “right” in a way that implies it is some sort of moral issue that she get something for 60% off for no other reason than that she feels entitled to it. It would be sad if it weren’t annoyingly self-righteous and entitled.

At this point, I have another coworker covering the registers and am able to walk her to where the thing originally came from. Lo and behold, it is marked for the price that originally popped up. She just keeps repeating, “It’s not right,” and when I give her a helpless look that says, “There’s nothing else I really feel like doing for you after I already gave you this for a massive discount,” she asks to speak to a manager. 

Eventually, a more senior coworker who was the one to point her to the display in the first place actually returns it for her and lets her re-purchase it at a 60% markdown. She leaves with a grin so smug it should be illegal, with one more adamant statement of, “Thank you. I just didn’t think that this was right.” 

Some people need government-mandated lessons in perspective. I hope she promptly lost the wretched thing and ended up having to buy a new one. Could I have just refunded her transaction and given her the extra 20%? Yes. But I felt as a matter of principle that it… Well, to put it in terms she might understand, it wouldn’t be right.

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Careful, The Customers Can Hear Every Squeak

, , , , | Right | October 27, 2019

(I am helping a customer on the phone. Our store has an informational greeting pre-recorded by one of my coworkers.)

Customer: “Does the girl who did your message work at your store?”

Me: “She does, ma’am.”

Customer: “Her voice is so squeaky! It’s really awful. If they’re going to have a recording, it should be someone with a voice like yours! Yours is much nicer!”

Me: *taken aback* “Er… thank you?”

Customer: “It’s so squeaky!”

(I definitely did not tell my coworker about that!)

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Look Inside To Find The Answers You Seek

, , , , | Right | October 25, 2019

(A woman comes to the registers with an opened wireless mouse. Note that most wireless mice at the time keep the USB attachment inside the mouse’s battery case to prevent loss.)

Customer: “I need to return this.”

Me: “Certainly. Might I ask why?”

(It’s our standard question; we’ll take back almost anything, but I need to know why so I can mark it as saleable or damaged.)

Customer: “It didn’t have the little USB thing.”

(The customer points to the already opened and thoroughly inspected packaging.)

Me: “Woah, really?”

Customer: “Yeah, I looked everywhere.”

Me: “Huh, not even on the inside?”

Customer: “Not even… inside?”

(I open up the mouse’s battery pack and sure enough, there’s the USB.)

Customer: “I don’t need to return this.”

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Peaky Binders

, , , , , | Right | October 10, 2019

Customer: “I have to return these binders my kids didn’t need for school. I don’t have the receipt.”

Me: “Did you maybe get the receipt emailed to you?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Hmm. Normally, we could look up the receipt with the SKU of the item and verify it with your card number, but we have sold so many of these binders in the last few weeks it would take us forever to find it. Without a receipt, the register will only let me give you a store credit for the lowest price it’s been sold at in the last 90 days, and these were buy-one-get-one-free recently, so I know they’re going to come up at a penny. Do you want to try looking for your receipt and coming back?”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just scan them and see?”

Me: “Okay.” *scans them and they all come up at a penny* “No, it won’t let me give you anything for them, unfortunately.”

Customer: “Well, what if I just buy new ones and use that receipt to return them?”

Me: *hesitantly* “That’s… fraud…”

Customer: “How is that fraud?”

Me: “Because you’re using a new receipt to return something old. And they’re not on sale anymore, so if you originally bought them on sale, you would be getting more money back than what you paid for them. Plus, you would still be stuck with binders you don’t want, anyway.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because you would have twice as many binders as you have on your receipt.”

Customer: “Well, I would just go to another store to return the other ones.”

Me: “You can’t do that.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “You can’t return something twice with the same receipt.”

Customer: “It’s not fraud just because I can’t find my receipt!”

Me: “No, but trying to buy new ones and return them all at the new price is fraud. Are you sure you can’t just find your receipt?”

(She leaves and calls the store to talk to a manager — I’m pretty sure she is just calling from the parking lot — and the manager says we can try looking her receipt up. She comes back in immediately and my manager can’t find her receipt.)

Manager: “I can’t find the receipt. And these binders have had different sale prices during the back to school time, and they’re expensive, so I can’t just return them without a receipt.”

Customer: “Can’t you just scan ones from the shelf, then? So they don’t ring up as a penny?”

Manager: “They’re the same binders.”

Customer: “But the ones I’ve brought in ring up as a penny. Can’t you just scan new ones so they scan at full price?”

Manager: “No, they’re the same binders; they will still ring up at a penny. The register does it automatically when there isn’t a receipt.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why can’t just give me what I paid for them!”

Manager: “Because you don’t have a receipt… which tells us what you paid for them…”

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The Grey Wardens

, , , , , | Working | October 2, 2019

(We recently had new signage and accents installed in the store. The associate taking over for me comes in ten minutes before her shift and my supervisor asks her what she thinks of the new looks.)

Associate #1: “It’s nice. I like the grey.”

Supervisor: “Grey? What’s grey?”

Associate #1: “The border around the wall there.”

Supervisor: “That’s black.”

Me: “That’s definitely grey.”

Supervisor: “No, but it’s the same colour as that sign there!”

Me & Associate #1: “Yeah, that’s grey, too.”

Supervisor: “No way! No, there’s no way!”

Me: *pointing to a black frame* “That frame around that sign there, that’s black.”

Supervisor: “They’re the same colour! I think you guys are playing with me! Ask a customer what colour it is!”

(There are no customers at the front of the store so I go onto the headset.)

Me: *on headset* “Hey, what colour is the new border around the front of the store that used to be blue?”

Associate #2: *on headset* “Um, grey? Why?”

Me: *on headset* “[Supervisor] thinks it’s black.”

Associate #3: *on headset* “It’s definitely grey.”

Supervisor: “No way! I can’t believe this! It’s BLACK!” *steps back, farther away from it, and looks at it from a distance* “Okay, I think I see it now. It’s like a light black.”

Me & Associate #1: “So… grey.”

Supervisor: “No! It’s black!”

(A customer comes up to the front.)

Customer: “What are you looking at?”

Me: “We’re just deciding what colour we think that border is.”

Customer: “It’s grey.”

(I tell the story to my boyfriend. The next day, he comes into the store and goes up to my supervisor with an item.)

Boyfriend: “Excuse me. Do you know if you carry this item in light black?”

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