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Knows Zip About Phone Numbers

| NY, USA | At The Checkout, Technology

(This happens once per week: We have a store discount that customers can activate by entering a phone number into the card reader while their purchase is being rung up. The machine’s screen clearly reads ‘ENTER PHONE NUMBER ###-###-####’ right above the keyboard. I’m serving an older woman at my register and see her enter a couple numbers into the machine. It then loudly beeps, letting me know that something went wrong.)

Customer: “Did it go through?”

Me: “Sorry, but it looks like you forgot to put your area code in first. You can try it again now.”

(She again enters only seven digits, rather than the full phone number of ten digits, and the machine again beeps.)

Me: “Ma’am, please make sure that you’re entering your full phone number in. The area code needs to go first.”

Customer: “Oh, okay!”

(I watch her and see that, this time, she enters her zip code into the machine instead. It again beeps when she tries to submit it.)

Customer: “So did it go through now?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it looks like you tried to enter your zip code. What you need to type in is your phone number. Just make sure that you add the area code first.”

Customer: “The area code?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, enter the area code and then the rest of your phone number. If you live around here, the area code is ‘555,’ so just type that in first.”

(She again enters in her zip code.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry, the machine needs your phone number.”

Customer: “But you said area code!”

(This goes back and forth even longer. I’m unfortunately not allowed to enter a customer’s information into the system for them, so we’re stuck in this loop until the customer finally gives up and allows me to skip past the discount option. As she’s leaving, the customer loudly mutters:)

Customer: “Ugh, this is why I don’t bother with computers. They never work right.”

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Something Fishy About That Complaint

| FL, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Non-Dialogue, Pets & Animals

I work at a major chain pet store as customer service and a pet care specialist. I love animals and enjoy helping customers get set up with new pets, and I have several customers who come in and specifically ask for me. Unfortunately, a big part of the job is handling returns of pets who are deceased. My job is to replace the pet and advise them on anything that they could do to ensure success in keeping the pet.

In our store, customers fill out satisfaction surveys online that have an optional comment field. The managers post the comments each week. One day, I get called in to the manager’s office. She sternly tells me that there was a serious complaint about me in the surveys. She reads it to me and I turn redder and redder as she reads the long description of how a customer came in to return a bunch of fish that had died and I did not express sympathy for her loss. “Her cold, uncaring attitude and clear disregard for my emotional well-being and satisfaction as a customer make me feel too upset and traumatized to return to your store. I hope that you discipline her and perhaps terminate her as she doesn’t exemplify the love of animals that your store claims to represent.”

I was crying by this point. By the list of fish that the customer had described, I remembered the customers and that the interaction with them hadn’t been unusual at all. I had even said I was sorry to hear that their fish died and I spent 20 minutes with them trying to help them sort out why. They had even thanked me.

Despite my great record and all the compliments about me from other customers, my manager penalized me for the complaint, suggesting that I might consider finding another job if I didn’t care for animals. (She knew that I had everything from fish to reptiles to cats myself, so that was BS.) I had my hours cut and had to go through extra training.

Two months later, my manager came to me and apologized, saying that a customer had come in saying that they felt bad because they put in a joke complaint about an employee and were worried that she had gotten fired. Guess who? The reason they gave my manager: “We were drunk or high or something, and were just upset about the fish. Anyway, we’re sorry. She was actually really nice to us.”

Dog-Darned Language

| Nanuet, NY, USA | Bizarre, Pets & Animals

(I’m working back in the aquatics department when the phone rings. The cashier is taking a call on another line already, so I answer:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Pet Store], where we offer professional grooming and positive dog training services. This is [My Name] speaking. How may I help you today?”

Caller: “YOU NEED TO CALL THIS MOTHER-F***ING NUMBER AND GET MY DOG’S VACCINATIONS. I KNOW I GOT THEM AT YOUR STORE!”

Me: “Sir, please—”

Caller: “DO IT NOW! I KNOW I GOT THEM AT [Store]! THEY GAVE ME THE F***ING WRONG NUMBER!”

Me: “Sir, please calm down. If you continue to use that kind of language, I will be forced to hang up.”

Caller: “GOOD! JUST F***ING DO IT-”

(I hang up. I tell the story to my employee.)

Me: “Can you believe that? It was bizarre.”

Cashier: “Yeah, I can. He called just a little while ago and screamed at me that his dog got arrested, until I hung up.”

Me: “Wow… I don’t know what to say to that.”

Cashier: “Neither did I.”

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A Little Bird Told Her To Shop Online

| MA, USA | Money

(I answer the phone and the man on the other line hardly responds to my greeting before just throwing out the names of several brands of bird food.)

Me: “I’m sorry; did you want me to send these bags of food to you?”

Customer: “No, I just want to see if you have them.”

Me: “Oh, all right.”

(I proceed to walk around the store and find the brands he is listing off. He asks for the price of one and I tell him.)

Customer: “Oh, well, here on Amazon it’s [almost half the price we sell it for].”

Me: “Yes, Amazon can sell it for less money, but unfortunately this is the price we need to sell it at.”

Customer: “How about [Another Brand of bird food]?”

Me: “[Our price].”

Customer: “Yeah, that’s cheaper on Amazon, too. How about [ten pound bag of Particular Brand]?”

Me: “[Our price].”

Customer: “No, the TEN pound bag.”

Me: “Yes, this is the ten pound bag. Were you looking for the 44 oz. bag?”

Customer: “No, ten pound. On Amazon it’s [almost half of what our price is]. Why is yours so expensive?”

Me: “The price you just gave me is only a little more than what WE buy the product at. In order to cover the expense and make a profit, we have to sell it at what we have it at.”

Customer: “Well, that’s silly.”

Me: “Yes, it is silly that small businesses like ours are going out of business because people are buying their products online.”

Customer: “Well, you’ve got good bird toys, but I’m going to have to pass on your food. Bye.”

(I am sympathetic to people needing to save money, but I was rather peeved to have spent time walking around the store listing off the prices of food he wasn’t going to buy and then have him tell me our prices were “silly.”)

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Recoup The Coupon

| CA, USA | At The Checkout

(I work at a pet store and all coupons must be printed to be used in store. There is even a little note taped to the checkout table.)

Customer: “Hi, I have a bunch of coupons on my phone I would like to use.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I can’t accept any coupons unless they are printed.”

Customer: “What? But I’ve always done this. They let me do it at the other pet store!”

Me: “Uh, let me get my manger.”

Manager: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”

Customer: “Since when can’t I use coupons from my phone?! This is ridiculous.”

Manager: “Sorry, sir, it’s our store policy; we can’t accept them.”

(The customer begins cursing at my manager and eventually says:)

Customer: “BY LAW YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT THESE COUPONS! THEY HAVE YOUR LOGO ON THEM!”

Me: “By law we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. So you can either buy the dog food or leave.*

(He eventually left but not without yelling a few choice words.)

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