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I’m Not Your Pen Pal

, , , , | Right | September 13, 2021

Truck days are always fun. I’m putting away an entire shopping cart of pens, erasers, markers, and such when a customer walks up to me.

Customer: “I’m looking for [specific type of writing pen].”

Me: “We don’t carry that particular product.”

Customer: “Would anyone else know if you carry the product?”

Me: “I am the department head and I order for the department.”

I show her to the wall of similar items.

Me: “If we had that item, it would be here in this area, but there isn’t a tag for it, which proves that we don’t have it.”

Customer: *Huffs* “Well, would you know who would carry it?! This is ridiculous!”

I am tired, so I take a chance with getting reported by her and reply:

Me: “Ma’am, when I get off work, I go home and take care of my family. I don’t get online to look up products that we don’t carry to see who might carry them. I suggest that you Google it.”

The customer then pulled out her phone and began searching while I got back to my work.

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Time To Memorize 10,000 Barcodes!

, , , | Right | September 12, 2021

I am a personal shopper at a major national supermarket chain. I have never worked in any other department of the store, nor have I been trained in how to do the jobs of other departments.

On slow days, I am sometimes asked to help out in other areas of the store, but that typically only involves stocking shelves with items that department’s staff has already pulled from the back. I don’t have to search for the items in the back myself. We do carry handheld computer devices that can scan barcodes to tell us the price, aisle location, and backroom location of products, but we have to have a physical product or price tag so we have a barcode to scan!

I am heading over to Lawn and Garden to assist with stocking when a customer flags me over to an aisle of kitchen appliances.

Customer: “Can you check some prices for me?”

Me: “Sure!”

The customer points at three display models of air fryers.

Customer: “I’d like to know the prices of these.”

I look at the shelves below and find boxes for two out of the three air fryers. The boxes are so large they hang over the edge of the shelf, hiding the price tag underneath. All I have to do is lift the boxes up and read the prices for these two.

Me: “The larger one is $119 and the smaller one is $79.”

Customer: “And what about the third one?”

I look on each shelf. The third air fryer is not on any of them. I quickly search the entire aisle to see if it was stocked in the wrong place. Nope. I look for a price tag for it, but none of the stickers on the shelves match the display model. I even check the top-stock shelf on top. The air fryer is not there. There is no barcode on the display model’s description placard either. There is nothing for me to scan to determine the price.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I don’t think I can price-check this one for you. It seems like this air fryer wasn’t stocked.”

Customer: “Can’t you just go get one out of the back? I really want to know the price of this one.”

Me: “The app I use to do price-checks is the same one that tells me where in the back it is. Without a barcode to scan, I won’t be able to find it.”

Customer: “You don’t just know where in the back it is?”

Me: “I don’t actually work in this department, so no, I do not know where in the back kitchen appliances are kept.”

Customer: “Is there an employee who does work in this department?”

Me: “Only one was scheduled for today, but unfortunately, she went home sick.”

Customer: “Well, can I just take the display up to the cash registers and have them price-check it for me?”

Me: “No. It does not have a barcode to scan. Cashiers wouldn’t be able to price-check it either. Besides, you cannot move a display model. I can maybe find a manager for you? They would know where the air fryers are kept.”

Customer: “Does [Store] employ any competent employees? That’s the problem with you people. You’re all too lazy and just want management to do the jobs you don’t want to!”

Me: “I am sorry, but I am a personal shopper. I shop for items already on the sales floor, not in the back. That is my job. Now if you’ll let me, I’ll find someone who can help you.”

Customer: “You do that, and I’ll be sure to tell your manager that you were lazy and no help at all!”

I found a manager and told them what happened, and they just shrugged it off before going to help the customer. I wish I could say this was rare, but in the past month, I have been yelled at by customers for not mixing paint, cutting fabric, selling hunting licenses, or opening cash registers — none of which are my actual job. They think every single employee is trained how to do every single job, and we are not, but if we try to explain that, it is our fault and we are what’s wrong with the world these days!

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The Kinda Blind Leading The Totally Blind

, , , , | Right | September 10, 2021

I work at a well-known Canadian automotive and hardware chain store. Some of the larger locations can have over a hundred aisles. Our particular location, however, is quite small: only thirty-two aisles. Consequently, while I am hired to work in Hardware, this basically encompasses most departments: Hardware, Housewares, Sports, Seasonal, and Garden — essentially everything EXCEPT Automotive.

I’m working in the plumbing aisle when a woman comes up and asks for help with Automotive. I start to tell her she needs to go ask for help at the Automotive desk, but a quick glance shows me that there are already six or seven people lined up there, waiting for help.

Me: “Well, it’s not really my department, but I can see if I might be able to help you. What were you looking for?

Customer: “I need new wiper blades for my car.”

Me: “Great! I’m not very familiar, but I know there’s a book there that lists which wiper blades work with which vehicles. Let’s go have a look.”

We walk over to the windshield wiper blades, and I open the book. It all looks pretty straightforward, and I think I’ll be able to help her out, no problem. I turn to the customer.

Me: “All right, so, what kind of car do you have?”

Customer: “It’s a blue one.”

Me: *Blinks slowly several times* “Yeah… I think you’ll need to go line up at the Automotive desk and get someone from there to help you.”

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A Big Mayo No No, Part 7

, , , , | Right | September 9, 2021

It’s my last day working the service desk at a big box store. A guest comes up to the desk and I greet him. In response, he says nothing but puts a greeting card covered in mayonnaise on the desk, along with an equally mayo’d receipt, and he keeps the bag away from me and in his hands. 

Normally, I wouldn’t take such an obviously ruined return — it clearly didn’t leave the store that way — but some changes to our return policy have tied my hands.

So, I have to hand-key the receipt into the system because the barcode is mayo-y and return the greeting card. 

Me: “So, for that, I can credit [amount] back to your credit card.” 

He tosses the bag he’s holding onto the counter.

Customer: “What about the broccoli salad? I called last night!”

Inside the bag is a leaking and gross container of broccoli salad that has clearly not been refrigerated since last night. If you’ve ever left mayo out on the counter, you know what it turns into, and that is what I am looking at. I’ve never felt sympathy for drooping broccoli before now.

Customer: “The boy who bagged my stuff last night didn’t do a very good job, and now this is all over my car!” 

I seriously doubt that. Our baggers are explicitly trained that food — even bottled, factory-sealed food — goes in separate bags from literally everything else, for just this reason. We supply plastic to-go boxes with lids for all our foods, but anyone can tell at a glance that they’re 1,000 miles away from leak-proof. He would have had to bag it this way himself, or he would have had to take the greeting card out of its bag and shove it in with his broccoli salad for this to have happened.

All he lets me get out is:

Me: “Oh—”

Customer: “Yes, ‘Oh.’ What are you going to do about my car?”

I try not to imply that he is an idiot with my tone.

Me: “Well, I can return the salad for you, but there is nothing we can do about your car.”

He invokes the almighty manager, and once she arrives, he goes into a gigantic spiel about how nobody apologized to him for broccoli salad spilling in his car, how none of the cashiers know how to bag properly, etc.

Then, he turns to me.

Customer: “Nothing personal, but you need to be trained. Show some empathy.” 

Manager: “My employee does not owe you an apology. I can see that you’re already being offered your money back for the card and the salad. That’s the extent of what we can do for you.”

Customer: “What about my car?!”

Manager: “Once our products are paid for, it’s no longer our responsibility, and we certainly don’t take responsibility for the way you transported it home.”

Customer: “But I called last night and—”

Manager: “And you would not have gotten a promise that we would pay for cleaning your car, sir. We simply do not do that. You already are getting the full amount back for your items. You may put your card in to get the money back on your card, but this is all that you’re getting back.”

The customer finally realized that he had hit a brick wall and took his refund before leaving, glaring daggers at us both. I’m so glad I moved on to a non-retail field!

A Big Mayo No No, Part 6
A Big Mayo No No, Part 5
A Big Mayo No No, Part 4
A Big Mayo No No, Part 3
A Big Mayo No No, Part 2

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Had The Gall To Share That With You

, , , , , | Right | September 9, 2021

I’m chatting with a strange but pleasant elderly lady customer.

Customer: “Look what I have in my purse!”

It contains some polished rocks, or shells, or pearls. Upon her offering, I take several out and look at them curiously.

Customer: “These are the gallstones they took out of me last week.”

I hope I didn’t toss them back into the purse too quickly.

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