Body Language Lost In Translation

| OR, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Liars & Scammers, Top

(One of our new employees is dealing with a customer who is clearly angry, and is being physically aggressive and threatening. We are on the verge of calling security, but we can see that our new employee is still very calm. We hit the button when we see the customer lunge at her, despite the fact that she doesn’t react at all, and just stares at him. I run over to see what’s wrong.)

Me: “Hi there, I’m the manager. Is there a problem I can help with?”

Customer: “This white b**** won’t give me the sale price!”

(The customer waves a sale leaflet from one of our competitors in my face.)

New Employee: *still very calm* “I tried to tell him that isn’t our flyer, and we don’t even have that item, but he doesn’t seem interested in hearing that.”

Customer: “Don’t lie to me, you b****! You just don’t want me to get this great price!”

New Employee: “Sir, I have two things to say. Firstly, that flyer is from last year—”

Customer: “How the f*** do you know?!”

New Employee: “Because, it’s for a summer sale, and it is currently February. Second, if we had that item at a great price and you wanted it but could not find it, I would do my best to track it down in-store for you. If we didn’t have it here, I would call other stores for you. The simple truth is that we don’t carry that particular item.”

Customer: “How the f*** do you know?”

New Employee: “Because, sir, it’s an adult novelty, and this is a children’s clothing store.”

(Security arrives and escorts the customer out of the store.)

Me: “I don’t know how you were able to stay so calm! You almost sounded bored! I don’t think your expression changed the entire time!”

New Employee: “Oh, I have a lot of trouble with body language. I figured out a long time ago that when I get confused, it’s better not to respond at all, because usually I laugh and it makes them angry.”

(She’s now one of our area supervisors, and is actually better at handling the rare aggressive customer we get than our security team. This is because, apparently, a person who can’t be intimidated makes people uncomfortable.)

Cart Thief

| Denver, CO, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal

(I am helping a customer load a large item into their truck. They will need twine to secure their large kennel.)

Me: “Okay, I will be back with twine.”

(When I come back out, I see that they have used my cart rope to secure their load.)

Me: “You can’t use that; I need it to push carts.”

Customer: “It’s okay; we’ll bring it back.”

Me: “No, I need it to push carts.”

Customer: “Let me talk to your manager.”

(I get my manager.)

Manager: “We have twine; the cart pushers need that to push their carts.”

Customer: “Twine isn’t as good though.”

Manager: “I’m sorry; I cannot claim liability. That is a device to secure carts; you cannot use that to safely secure loads. Please give it back.”

Customer: “Okay, fine!”

(I go to get my rope, but the customer just drives off! The next week is really busy, and we’ve run out of carts. This leaves the customers having to wait for cart pushers to bring back carts, or to go into the parking lot and find it themselves. We cannot send more than three cart pushers, because we do not have enough rope. I see the same customer waiting while I am taking a break.)

Customer: “What is wrong with you! There are no carts! This is no time to stand around while people are waiting. How come you guys don’t know to send more people!”

Me: “Well, sir, I’ve been pushing carts for two hours, and I need to stay hydrated. And besides, someone, if you remember took our rope. Therefore, we can only send three people out to carts.”

(The customer doesn’t know what to say. He gives me a dirty look, and starts to walk away. He runs into my manager.)

Customer: “Your employee is accusing me of stealing your ropes! You guys are so incompetent! You can’t even get your s*** together and get carts!”

Manager: “I told you last week to not take our ropes. Get out of my store; I don’t want to see you here anymore.”

(The customer kicks a cart on the way out and speeds off. As he does, I can still see he hasn’t unloaded the kennel, and it’s still secured with the rope.)

When Patience Is Paper Thin

| Howell, MI, USA | Technology, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

(A customer comes into the copy and print area while I’m helping another customer and her son. After ignoring my greeting, she goes over to the customer color-copy machines, and starts making copies.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but why am I being charged $0.49 a copy, when that sign says black and white are only $0.09?”

(The customer points to the sign over the black and white copy machines that advertise $0.09 a copy.)

Me: “You’re using the color machine, not a black and white. It’ll charge you $0.49 a copy when you use it.”

(I point to the sign above the color machine that states just that.)

Customer: “Well, can’t it see that I’m not copying color pages?”

Me: “No, it doesn’t have that sort of capability. It only knows that it is used for color copies, and charges accordingly.”

Customer: “Well why didn’t you stop me before I started making copies?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I didn’t know you only had black and white pages. I can return your money and help you on the black and white machine if you would like.”

(The customer hands me the credit card she used to make the copies, and I refund her money. As I start to walk towards the black and white she pushes past me.)

Customer: “I don’t need your God-d*** help. You did enough already!”

(I return to the other customer and her son, and continue talking about his school project that he needs printed and finished. Five minutes go by, and the older woman has a stack of approximately 250 papers in her hand. She walks up to me and interrupts my conversation with the other customers.)

Customer: “I need these cut.”

Me: “We charge $2 for every 500 pieces of paper cut, per cut.”

Customer: “$2! Just for a few pieces of paper to be cut?! You must be out of your d*** mind! I’ll do them myself!”

(I show her to the small hand-cutter. I show her how it works, using only a few sheets of paper at a time. Only five seconds after I turn away, she starts shouting again.)

Customer: “THIS. ISN’T. WORKING!”

(I turn around to find that she has stuffed a quarter of her stack of papers under the blade. Every time she tries to cut, she rips the papers.)

Me: “Ma’am, you’re only supposed to do a maximum of 10 sheets at a time, like I showed you.”

Customer: “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE DOING ONLY A FEW PAGES AT A TIME!”

(The other customer and her son, and other nearby customers and associates are now watching as this angry customer fumes at me.)

Me: “I offered to cut them for you, and it was too much money. I showed how to properly cut them using the hand cutter, and you didn’t follow what I said. I don’t understand what you want me to do.”

Customer: “I WANT YOU TO REFUND MY RUINED COPIES AND DO THEM OVER, YOU LITTLE B****! AND THEN I WANT YOU TO CUT THEM ALL FOR FREE! YOU’VE WASTED MY TIME, AND I’M NOT PUTTING UP WITH YOUR SNARKY ATTITUDE!”

Me: “I’m not going to do that. I showed you how to cut them, and you didn’t listen. I have every right to refuse, especially after treating me with disrespect.”

Customer: “I AM NEVER SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!”

(The customer screams, grabs the ruined papers, and throws them into the air before storming off into another area of the store with her few good copies.)