This Party Is Just Getting Started

, , , , , | Right | February 20, 2021

To book a kid’s party room in our indoor soft play venue, a customer has to pay a non-refundable deposit. We have a kind of script memorised — since we take face and phone bookings — which mentions it being non-refundable on three occasions, and the customers have to sign a place on the paperwork to say they acknowledge it.

The law is on our side, too, since non-refundable deposits are legal as long as our policies are clear and the amount is reasonable to cover our costs. In our case, it is set in place to secure a room in a time slot, a character costume, equipment, and so on. If a customer cancels, there is no guarantee that the time slot will be filled, etc. We aren’t totally unfair to the customers, though, as the customers can spend the deposit amounts in other ways in the playland.

A couple comes in on a Sunday morning and cancels their party. They’ve booked the biggest package, invited all their guests, and only a few kids can make it. They then demand a refund.

I politely explain the policy and tell them that they can transfer the balance to a card they can use for other services in the playland — entry tickets, food and drinks, a different type of party more suitable for the number of guests they have, a character visit, and so on.

I spend a good five minutes outlining all the options. Apparently, all they hear is, “We’re keeping your money.”

Customer: “That’s not legal! We come all the time!”

I work five-day weeks on rotating days and have never seen them before.

Customer: “We want to speak to the manager!”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: “The owner, then!”

Me: “The owner isn’t here on Sundays.”

Customer: “What’s their phone number?!”

Obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I know the owner won’t answer anyway because she is away with her family for a large birthday weekend camping, so she has no reception.

It really escalates quickly, with me repeating our policies and their options and the two of them ignoring me.

Customer: “We’re going to stand in the foyer until the owner comes!”

I do explain the days that the owners will be there and suggest that they can call or visit at any of those times, but they just ignore everything I say. While they are cranky and ignoring me, they are mostly just annoying. They aren’t otherwise aggressive or abusive. I don’t want to escalate it by calling the police or creating additional drama for other customers unless necessary, and they are separated from the children playing by security walls, so I try another tactic.

I remind them of their options and that they are only hearing what they want to hear, so there is no more I can do. I cheerfully offer them each a chair, I tell them our closing time, and I walk away to do my other duties.

They sit for a bit, arms folded.

Then, they sit for a bit, arms in their laps.

They pace a bit.

They leave. 

On Monday, I am scheduled off. On Tuesday, I speak to the owner.

Owner: “They came in and asked for a refund. I explained their options. They said you never told them they could spend the money on other things here.”

They happily booked in a smaller party that I had tried to suggest. Any time I saw them in the future, they looked at me cautiously for half a second and then were super nice.

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The Returner Versus The Couponator II: This Time It’s Personal

, , , , , , , | Right | February 7, 2021

A customer is doing a return.

Customer: “My wife used a 30%-off coupon when she purchased this. Is it possible to get that back when I do the return?”

Me: “No, sorry, sir, we can’t return coupons.”

Customer: “What if I do this return without a receipt? Could she then use the coupon for something else?”

Me: “No, sir, the coupon has already been used.”

Customer: “Well, if I return it without a receipt, can I get the full amount back?”

Me: “Not only am I currently holding your receipt, sir, but we cannot give you back more than you spent. Doing a return without a receipt doesn’t give you the full amount back; it gives you the lowest price the item has been in the last sixty days.”

Customer: “But like, come on. It couldn’t have been less than 30% off…”

Me: “Well, sir, that is certainly a risk you can take, but I will tell you that your odds of finding the only items in the store that haven’t been on sale recently are extremely low. I’ve seen items go as low as $1 each. Trust me, you won’t be getting paid more than your purchase amount.” 

He finally took the original amount he’d paid as a refund and left with his three children. He had announced that they were homeschooled prior to this interaction. I feel less than encouraged about their upbringing.

The Returner Versus The Couponator

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Returner Burner: Outside Attack

, , , , , , | Right | February 2, 2021

I work IT for a big retail company, but we’re internal support only. We don’t support customers at all. One night, I get a call from a woman. Based on what she’s saying, it sounds like the register isn’t allowing her to process the return.

Me: “Okay, before I can look into that, I need your employee number.”

The caller then EXPLODES at me.

Caller: *Yelling* “Why do I have to give you my employee number? I don’t have an employee number! Do you have an employee number?”

I’m confused, since I still think she works here.

Me: “Um, yes, I do.”

Caller: “Oh, now you’re going to get sassy with me? Why do you have an employee number?”

Me: “Because I work for [Company]?”

Caller: *Seems to get even madder* “Don’t you take that tone with me! You know what you need to do? You need to stop talking, sit down, open your ears, and pretend you’re happily employed, and you need to help me, now!”

Me: “I’m going to have to put you on hold for a moment.”

Caller: “Don’t you put me on hold! You need to help me, right now!”

I put the phone on hold in the middle of her speech and turned to a coworker for help. He told me to call our on-call manager and conference them in/transfer the call. Before I could reach out, she ended the call. I immediately sent a message to my manager explaining what had happened. I also looked through my call logs and found that the call seemed to have come from our customer care team.

A couple of days later, my manager pulled me aside and told me what was going on. Apparently, that woman was a serial returner; she always has issues with something. She’d apparently purchased something on an account that was tied to her daughter’s name, and because of this, there were issues.

She’d apparently started dialing random numbers and had eventually gotten to an admin for the CEO.

Luckily, no one thought it was my fault, even though she was doing her best to blame everything on me, although I think that was just because mine was the only name she remembered.

I did have to go over the story with him just because he wasn’t able to get it out of her. Then, our customer care manager came over and thanked me for handling it in any way, and then explained that the gal who’d transferred it was new and had thought, like I had, that she was a salesperson having issues with the register itself.

Returner Burner: The Store Card Scandal
A Different Kind Of Returner Burner
Returner Burner, Part 8
Returner Burner: International Edition
Returner Burner: On Location

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This Refund Was A Smashing Success

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: _AbstractInsanity | January 30, 2021

A few days ago, I bought a new headset. This worldwide situation has made me play much more videogames than usual, and over time, I’ve started getting a headache from my old and chunky headphones. The dude selling the new headset recommended a lightly-built Bluetooth thing. It looked okay, but I wasn’t sure about it. The dude told me not to worry, and to make sure have a fully comprehensive insurance to be able to return it under any circumstances.

The headset arrives and it’s a piece of garbage. It sounds like speaking through a running fan, and only bass frequencies come through. I take it back to the store to have it exchanged or refunded. Since it has in-ear pieces, I thoroughly clean and disinfect it before leaving the house, even though I only used it for about thirty disappointing minutes.

I go up to the customer service desk and am greeted very rudely by the woman there.

Employee: “What’s the problem?!”

Me: “I think this headset is broken, but I’m not sure, since the quality was garbage from the first use. I’d like to return it and get my money back or browse for another product.”

She refused to take it back for hygiene reasons and laughed at me when I showed her the comprehensive insurance slip. The good thing is that comprehensive insurance covers self-inflicted damage, so I smashed the basically brand-new thing to pieces and got my money back from a very shocked-looking service lady.

I don’t think I’ll shop there again.

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All Pumped Up About Not Pumping Up

, , , , , | Right | January 29, 2021

Our pumps decide to just to go haywire and only pump twenty cents’ worth of gas per transaction. Someone will pay inside for $20 worth of gas and end up only getting twenty cents out of it before it shuts off and cancels the pump. Money doesn’t go missing, and we give them the change back on what they didn’t get, but still, it’s very frustrating.

An elderly gentleman walks in and tries to cut the long line on a busy Friday and is told to wait his turn. He gets upset about having to wait. When the line finally goes down, he huffs and gruffs about having to wait so long to my coworker.

I’m on the phone with our help desk trying to get someone out to fix the pump issue. I’ve been on hold, so I can hear what’s going on slightly due to the fact I’m in the back office behind the registers.

The gentleman is warned that the pumps are acting up, but he is “in a hurry” and throws money at my coworker while screaming from the door what pump he is on, which isn’t even the right one to begin with.

Well, lo and behold, the pump stops at twenty-two cents. The customer storms back in, slamming our front door open very aggressively.

Customer: “I said forty on pump three!”

Coworker: “Well, sir, we are experiencing technical difficulties with the pumps and are waiting on a repair.”

Customer: “I want a refund! This place is absolute bulls***!”

Coworker: “I can give you your change back.” *Does so*

Customer: “No! I want a full refund and the gas I wanted to begin with! I’m a paying customer and you have tried to rob me of my money!”

Coworker: “Sir, I can’t give you free gas; that is illegal. I can give you your change back and you can go somewhere where the pumps work.”

At this point, I have come back out of the office to see what is really going on and am able to hear everything more clearly.

Customer: “No! I’m a paying customer and I want my gas and a refund!”

Coworker: “Sir, again, I can’t—”

Customer: “No! I wanna see your f****** manager!”

My coworker, now slightly perturbed, turns around to see me.

Coworker: “Well, here’s my f****** manager!”

Me: “Sir, unfortunately—”

Customer: “I want my money back and the gas I asked for! I had to wait on this a**hole to even give me service!”

Me: “Sir—”

Customer: “Never mind! You all are dumb, anyway! Give me my money back! I won’t spend another penny here ever again!”

I hand the customer his money back, as twenty-two cents is easy to replace.

Coworker: *In a bit of a sarcastic tone* “Have a nice day, sir.”


The customer slammed the open door again and angrily walked across the parking lot.

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