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You Catch More Flies With Honey… Or Spilled Salt

, , , , , | Right | September 7, 2021

I like to shop at a certain fashion retailer that started offering non-perishable food products from local producers. I order a cheese-making kit online. The outer box has a white crystalline powder on it when I open it. I open the inner box to find a tear in a baggie of salt. I can easily replace this, but a loose, unknown white powder isn’t great! I phone the store’s toll-free number for feedback.

Customer Service Representative: “Hello, thank you for calling [Company].”

Me: “Hi, I ordered a product online. It’s a bit damaged. I don’t want a return; I just want to give some feedback.”

Customer Service Representative: “We don’t want you to keep a damaged product. You can return or exchange it for free, however.”

Me: “It was a cheese-making kit. I opened the outer box and found a spill that looked like a silica gel packet. When I opened the inner box, I found it was salt. I don’t want to return it just for that, but I did want to pass on that it should be packaged better.”

Customer Service Representative: “Thank you. Did you have the order number?”

Me: “Yes, it was [number].”

Customer Service Representative: “Thank you. We’d like to offer you a $10 gift card for this problem. May I put you on hold while I set that up?”

Me: “Sure!”

Customer Service Representative: *Thirty seconds later* “Thank you for waiting. You’ll receive an email with your gift card right away. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “No, thank you!”

This is what good customer service looks like. Now to go shopping again.

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Technology Makes Everything Easier!

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2021

I go to a fast food chain location I’m not familiar with to wait to meet somebody. There’s a small queue but I see self-ordering machines. I’ve never seen one before, so I go to have a look. All I want is a coffee.

I go through the ordering process, and when it’s time for payment information, I have the choice of credit, debit, or cash. Again, it’s only for a coffee, and I have loose change in my pocket, so I select cash.

The receipt prints out, and as I turn around, I see my order number appearing on the screen.

Then I wait… and wait… and notice that other order numbers, higher than mine, are going over. Mine doesn’t move down. I get in line and wait, and when I finally reach the cashier, I hand her my receipt.

Me: “Silly, but my order isn’t coming down. Is there a problem with the self-ordering machines?”

Cashier: “No, sir. Since you select cash, you have to pay before we make it. All you have to do is take your place in the queue and we’ll make it after you pay.”

Me: “Oh… then what’s the use of the cash option on the self-ordering terminals if we have to make the queue and then wait for our order to be made anyway?”

Cashier: *Blinks a few times* “I… I don’t know, sir. They’ve just been installed. That’s what we were told to do.”

I don’t know if that was really the rule sent by corporate or something misunderstood by the employees and manager, but I’ve never used the self-ordering machines for a cash order since.

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Putting The Pain Into Pain Au Chocolat

, , , , | Right | June 16, 2021

It’s my first day in a bakery. I am given a tour and a quick brush over everything and then the manager teaching me decides I am to try to serve the next customer. Great! Let’s get started, right?

My first-ever customer is the most snobbish and stuck-up man you can imagine; he orders from the tips of his lips with great disdain, looking down his nose, turning his body away. I keep smiling and remain friendly because he’s my first customer — let’s be positive!

I pack his order: one pain au chocolat. I make the receipt and try to escort the customer back to the till, carrying their purchase, which is the routine I have been taught.

The customer is ignoring me.

Me: “Sir, it’s this way; please follow me.”

I am speaking increasingly louder, thinking maybe he’s hard of hearing. I’m fully extending my free open hand in the right direction. I have to repeat myself three times before he finally decides to move, without a word, and he gets ahead of me, leading the way himself.

I drop off his pain au chocolat bag and let the cashier know it’s for this customer. He acknowledges me with a nod and a thumbs-up. All good. I turn back to the customer:

Me: “All right, sir, your purchase is with our cashier right there.”

I extend my arm, with my hand fully open to point the way, two metres away only. The man is now looking at me with eyes wide and mouth slacked, and he still won’t say a word. I don’t know if he’s confused, shocked by something, or just not understanding me, but it’s awkward.

Me: “Whenever you are ready, we are.”

He still won’t move or say a word.

Me: “So, thank you for shopping with [Bakery], and have a nice day!”

I took a few steps back, turned around, and left, not knowing what else I should have done. From the corner of my eyes, I saw the customer go, “Hmmpft!” and stomp out. I figured he’d bought his things and just could not suffer us any longer and had to make a show of going. 

I didn’t think about this anymore until a good thirty minutes later. I was in the back, about to leave, when a coworker brought back a bag asking, “What’s this?!” acting all confused. I recognized it; it was the pain au chocolat of my first customer!

He had no idea whose it was or who’d made the bag — despite the receipt on it having my name — nor how long it had been there. All other employees were gathering and going, “I don’t know.” I tried to interject to say it was me and ask what happened but, again, no one seemed to see or hear me.  

I went home, seriously questioning if I had suddenly become invisible.

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, , , , | Right | June 15, 2021

It is the 1990s. A customer walks up to me to ask about a small CRT tube TV table on wheels.

Customer: “Do you have this in black?”

Me: “Usually, but we’re out of stock in black, we should have some next week or so.”

Customer: “What about this box?”

Me: “It’s not black, it’s brown.”

The box says, “Oak,” but it is a cheap imitation of oak.

Customer: “Okay.” *Walks away*

Five minutes later, he reappears with hate in his eyes, telling me that I lied to him. I really don’t understand what he is talking about. So, he goes to the clean, pristine, factory-sealed box of the “oak” version of the table, opens it, pulls out a plank, and shows it to me.

With an open box, there are going to be about forty customers asking for a discount on that piece of already inexpensive furniture right after this idiot, so I’m not happy.

Customer: *Angrily* “You said this was brown. It’s oak!”

Me: “Didn’t you want black?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Then what does it matter that I wasn’t precise?”

Customer: “You lied! It isn’t brown, it’s oak.”

Me: “What is oak?”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, oak is wood, right?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Generally speaking, what color is wood?”

Customer: “Brown!”

Me: “Well, if oak is wood and wood is brown, and you want black…”

Customer: “It’s not brown, it’s oak!”

This particularly idiotic customer left with a profoundly bewildered look on his face.

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Blue Potatoes For The Blue Blood

, , , , , | Related | April 27, 2021

I was a teenager and a pretty creative weirdo. My family was poor, yet we had enough food to feed us all — not always what we wanted but enough — and of course, any guests would be filled, too. 

One night, I decided the mashed potatoes were boring, so I grabbed the food coloring and managed to sneak over my father’s shoulder as he prepared it to let a couple of drops fall in. I thought he would be annoyed by me playing with food, but he found it hilarious and there we were, laughing like crazy, dyeing the mashed potatoes blue. 

Unbeknownst to us, my brother had invited a friend over for dinner. When the guy saw the blue mashed potatoes, he was so shocked it was as if we’d popped a dragon head on the table.

Despite thinking I was super funny with my dye, I took pity on him.

Me: “Don’t worry. Those are very ordinary mashed potatoes. It’s just cake dye.

But he never got over it. He ate his salad, barely touched the meatloaf, and kept making disdainful faces over the potatoes, which would trigger a round of “it’s just dye” again. After a painfully long dinner, the guy scurried away with my brother and didn’t show his face again until he left. 

My brother came back to us once his friend was gone and started to lecture us.

Brother: “How dare you serve this joke to my friend?! I’m always welcomed with filet mignon and lobsters when I have meals with his family!”

And on and on he went.

Father: “[Brother], we aren’t financially equal and there’s no way we could afford this cost of a meal like that.” 

Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were having a guest. It was bad timing to play around, but ultimately, the dye was tasteless and harmless. In fact, there’s even a type of potato that is blue purely from nature! I think your friend was being a little close-minded to stop at the color, despite the very normal taste.”

It turned out that the real offender was the meatloaf, and the dyed potatoes were just adding insult to injury. To my brother’s friend, to be given anything other than expensive steaks or other delicacies was unbelievable. 

My parents were furious and hurt, rightfully. They always pride themselves on being good hosts, not letting anyone be thirsty or hungry, and feeding them fairly good and nutritious food. Menus would be set with guests beforehand, normally, but what can you do on no notice?

Since what we provided was not good enough, that friend never stayed over again for meals.

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