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And Get Her A Couple Of Quills While You’re At It

, , , , | Right | August 5, 2020

The phone rings and I answer. There’s an older woman on the other end.

Customer: “Hello? I wanna see if y’all carry, uh… ink.”

Me: “Sure! What brand of ink are you looking for?”

Customer: “It’s for my printer.”

Me: “Yes, but what brand?”

Customer: “Oh. It’s [Brand], and the box says [model number].”

Me: “All right, and you said that was ink and not toner, right?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “You’re sure it’s ink and not toner, ma’am?”

Customer: “I said ink!

We don’t carry ink cartridges by that particular brand, but we do carry toner. I put the customer on hold and use our store’s stock search function to determine if we carry the type of toner she needs. Unfortunately, we do not.

Me: “Ma’am, unfortunately, we do not carry that particular cartridge.”

Customer: “Cartridge?! I said ink!

The Prints Came Out With An Unwanted Tone

, , , | Right | May 7, 2020

I am working in the copy center when an older lady approaches me, asking if I can help her with business cards. We keep regular customers’ files in the computer, so I look up her folder and pull up the business card file. Keep in mind that this is the ONLY business card file in her folder.

Me: “Is this the business card you were looking to print?”

Customer: “Yes, but it’s supposed to have [Name] on it. These don’t.”

Me: “I can change it to put that person’s name on it.”

Customer: “No! These aren’t the right ones. It’s supposed to have [Name] on it.”

Me: “Okay. Let me show you the files in your folder. Maybe I didn’t see it.”

I show her the files in her folder, knowing this was the ONLY business card file. Midway through me showing her, she changes her attitude completely and becomes extremely rude.

Customer: “Never mind! I’m just going to wait until [Other Employee] gets back. She’ll find it! You don’t know what you are doing!”

She then shops around the store for a few more minutes with her husband. I am the only person watching the front of the store, so I have to ring up her purchase, as well. Even though she has already made me mad, I stay calm and treat her like I would treat any other customer.

Me: “You total will be [total], ma’am.”

Customer: “Don’t speak to me in that tone. You need a serious attitude adjustment, missy! Where is your manager?!”

She then runs over to my manager and speaks to him about how unhappy she is.

Customer: “That little girl is nasty! She has the worst attitude I’ve ever seen. I will never work with her again! She needs to learn how to respect her elders! She should be fired! What a snotty little girl! FIRE HER NOW!”

My manager loves me and knows what a nice person I am, so I did not get fired. Since this incident, the old lady has come in the store a few times and each time, she looks surprised to see me and gives me death stares. I laugh every time!

It’s Totally A Laughing Matter

, , , , , | Right | April 29, 2020

My siblings hate going to the movies with me because they say I cry or laugh way too easily, and they’re right.

After working in fast food, tutoring, and offices on campus, I get my first retail job in an office supply store at the beginning of summer. Before I begin, they warn me that 1, the Back-To-School Season starts as soon as the school year ends, meaning now, and 2, the Back-To-School Season is their busiest season. They’re obviously worried I’ll find it overwhelming, but I love the fast pace; the busier the day is, the faster it goes, after all.

After I’ve been there for less than a month, I’m checking out a woman with two small kids. Two managers are talking at the print center counter several yards away. The woman’s little girl absolutely cannot keep still. She’s not messing up anything, just jumping all over the place and chatting away, obviously annoying her nice but harried mother.

Finally, she just takes off her shoes, which, for some reason, I find hilarious, but I restrain my laughter. After the mother finishes paying and gathering her bags, I find the way she sighs and says, “Okay, put your shoes back on,” even more hilarious; it’s taking all my willpower not to laugh, but I successfully hold it in, not wanting to offend her.

Fortunately, the entrance is right by my register. As soon as the door closes behind them, I burst out laughing so hard, I double over, clutching my stomach. As I stand up, one of the managers hurries over to me, looking frantic.

Manager: “Are you all right?”

Me: “I’m fine.”

The manager lets out a sigh of relief.

Manager: “Oh, we thought you were crying.”

Me: “What? No, I was laughing, I’m sorry.”

Manager: “Oh, good. That’s all we need: another cashier breaking down. It’s too early in the season for crying.”

I never did break down or cry, although, before I graduated and left, I gasped in horror when I heard how a customer threw a hard drive at my manager’s head.

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.