Take A Swipe At Reading

| Raleigh, NC, USA | Right | July 15, 2014

(The card reader in my store is a little different, in that it asks you to select credit or debit before you swipe. It is much more intuitive than most, and the machine gives very explicit instructions, but it still trips people up. The following happens at least 10 times a day.)

Me: “Your total is [total]. Go ahead and select credit or debit on the screen first, and then swipe.”

Customer: “Credit.” *swipes card*

Me: “You’ll need to hit the credit button first, and then you can swipe.”

Customer: *swipes card*

Me: “Ma’am, if you’re using credit, you’ll need to hit the blue button on the screen. After you do that, you can swipe your card.”

Customer: *hits button on screen*

(Screen now reads, in large letters, PLEASE SWIPE CARD.)

Customer: *stares blankly at screen*

Me: “Ma’am… swipe your card now.”

Customer: *swipes card* “Why is it asking for a PIN? This doesn’t have a PIN, it’s a credit card! Why doesn’t your machine work?!”

Me: “It’s asking for a PIN, because you hit the green debit button instead of the blue credit button. Hit CANCEL, and we can start this again…”

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Working Around The Problem

| Australia | Working | July 14, 2014

(I have a coworker who is rude to everyone she works with, but she generally hides it from the manager and customers very well. We’ve all just learned to ignore her. She’s leaning over a table that has something I need on it, so I silently tug it out from under her.)

Coworker: *slowly straightens up and glares at me* “What?! You couldn’t just say ‘EXCUSE ME’?”

Me: “I honestly had no idea you knew what those words meant.”

Coworker: “You’re such a b****!”

Me: “You’ve never said ‘excuse me’ in all the time you’ve worked here. I refuse to give you a courtesy that you so blatantly deny everyone around you. I also refuse to sink to your level and yell at you to get the h*** out of my way. I ALSO refuse to get in trouble because you’re taking your sweet time doing a simple job whilst blocking my way. My only remaining option is to work around you as if you’re not there, and until you can learn to be more polite, that’s not going to change.”

Coworker: “Just shut up!” *storms off*

Regular: *appearing behind me* “Wow….”

Me: *awkward smile* “I guess I’m having a bad day.”

Regular: “I don’t envy you.”

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Playing The Race Ticket

| OH, USA | Right | July 13, 2014

(I am black/white biracial. I have just started working at a clothing and home goods store. We have a return policy that states that if an item doesn’t come back with a ticket, we have to go find one out on the floor. I’m working register, as are a Spanish/Mexican lady, a Puerto Rican, two African American women, and our Polish manager. An older African American lady comes up to the register five minutes before closing and wants to return a pair of jeans.)

Coordinator: *who is Spanish/Mexican* “Sorry, ma’am, these don’t have a ticket and we haven’t received any of these in a while. We will have to find a pair on the floor to match the price.”

Customer: *huffs* “Those pants were 12.99. Just make a ticket and take them!”

(The coordinator sends out one of us to look for a pair.)

Coordinator: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that, ma’am. I need to have a number to make them from so that the computer will accept it.”

(It’s taking a while to find a style that matches what the customer is trying to return and two minutes pass. During this time, the rest of us have finished behind the counter and are waiting for the return to finish so that we can close the store. Our manager has come up from the office to see what is taking so long.)

Customer: *more huffs* “This is taking too long! Where’s your manager? I wanna talk to your manager about this!”

(We all look at our bemused manager.)

Customer: “What, that blonde lady?!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, but this is our policy. To do the return, we need to copy a ticket.”

Customer: *eyerolls*

(A match is found and the return is completed. As the customer is stuffing her wallet back in her purse, she leaves the store, muttering.)

Customer: “That’s racist. If I was a white woman it would’ve been done faster.”

(We all turned to each other and start laughing.)

Manager: “[My Name] is the only white person here! This blonde is all peroxide!”

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Doing A Disservice To Customer Service, Part 2

| Canberra, ACT, Australia | Working | July 11, 2014

(I enter a store in my lunch break that’s popular here for selling all sorts of things: from headphones to art and photo prints, from coffee thermos to wooden keyboards. I saw headphones on display earlier that week, but they changed the display and I couldn’t find them again. The store is so jam-packed with all sorts of things and it’s hard to find anything. I go to ask for help from the young woman working. She is just leaning at the register looking bored and is the only one working that day.)

Me: “Hi. I saw you had some headphones out the front a couple of days ago, but I can’t find them now. Can you please help me? I’d like to buy a pair.”

Saleswoman: “Nah, sorry. I can’t.”

Me: “Oh, have you sold out?”

Saleswoman: “Nah, they’re here somewhere.”

Me: “Um… okay. I can try finding them myself, but I really just want to double check the price. How much are they?”

Saleswoman: “I dunno.”

Me: *quite annoyed at this point but trying to stay polite* “Well, can’t you find it in the computer? Is this your first day? I don’t understand.”

Saleswoman: “Listen, I don’t normally work here. I started a while ago but, like, I only work weekends. I’m only here today, on my day off, because my coworker called in sick, and I have no choice but to work. I usually work at [Different Store] and I enjoy that more. That’s my focus, so I can’t really help you. Okay?”

Me: “Uhm. You technically work here as a part-timer and if you were called in to work today, shouldn’t you be working? Shouldn’t you know your products? You haven’t tried to help me at all.”

Saleswoman: “To be honest, I don’t even want to be here. It’s my day off. I don’t even want to work here. It’s so not my style. I don’t really think that I have to find anything or get to know how this store works because it’s just not in my interest to. If you can’t find it yourself, come back some other day when someone else is working so they can help you instead.”

Me: “…”

(I leave the store after trying to find the headphones one more time and overhear her saying this to other customers who ask for help. I give up and am furious. I go back to work, just a few doors down, so I put on my smile and try and get on with my day.)

Me: “Hi! How can I help you today?”

(My customer is quite rude to me until I help her find what she needs and give her the customer service I give everyone. We come to the register when she is suddenly very nice to me.)

Customer: “Thank goodness! I am so sorry for the way I acted before. I just had the worst customer service of my life a few doors down and I just assumed everyone who worked in this complex were like that! I’m so sorry. You worked so hard to help me and I really appreciate that.”

Me: “You were just in [Other Store], weren’t you…”

Customer: “How did you know? I was trying to buy things from there, but I couldn’t find what I needed and the woman just blew me off like I was nothing!”

Me: “I just wasted my lunch break there. Only just came back. Trust me, she is the only one here like that. Most of the rest of us in these shops are the complete opposite. We love to help!”

(If that lazy saleswoman at Other Store was trying to get fired, she was doing a good job of it! I didn’t see her in Other Store again after that day.)

Related:
Doing A Disservice To Customer Service

Unhappy To Have Nothing To Complain About

| PA, USA | Right | July 9, 2014

(It is after dark and I am attending to a line of customers as we have had a pretty busy night due to the holidays. An older woman comes up to my register.)

Me: “How are you today, ma’am?”

Customer: *is quiet for a few moments before throwing her items onto the table* “Hello.”

(I begin to scan her items all the while she makes numerous demands of how she would like everything bagged a certain way. I am pleasant and cheerful the entire time as she has caught me in a good mood.)

Customer: “And see that you pack these together! Oh, and all the food in one bag. And make sure that box isn’t scratched!”

Me: “Oh course. That’s no problem!”

(I smile and continue to pack her things. There is a long pause.)

Customer: *in a sharp and sarcastic tone* “Well, you sure are… chipper and rather fast today.”

Me: *I smile* “Oh, I try to be! I’ve been here so long this job just comes as second nature.”

Customer: “Well, see that you stop that! You’re going too fast for me! And stop being so happy!”

Me: “… I’m sorry?”

(The woman walks off as I am left stunned.)

Coworker: “Did you really just get yelled at for being too nice?! Now I’ve seen it all!”

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