Play Impossible Games…

, , , , , , | Working | June 10, 2021

I work at a small department store. Our company has a rewards program that has been around for years. This year, however, the company is pushing us hard to get people to sign up. As such, they have put out a new policy; all employees have to get a certain percentage of customers to sign up for the program or they risk disciplinary action or even potential termination. These quotas are set by the company, though store managers can make them higher if they want to.

Our store manager, unfortunately, is one of those people with ridiculously high standards. For a while, she sets the bar at 35%, already a good amount above the company standard, and most of us are just barely able to reach it. After a week, she decides to double the quota to 70%. Considering how negatively received the program is and the very low sign-up rate, this new quota seems absolutely asinine, but our store manager nevertheless enforces it. Four employees at our store get fired and many others get written up because they miss the absurdly high quota.

But it doesn’t stop there. After those firings, the store manager decides that even 70% isn’t enough. Nope. She now wants us to sign up every single customer we check out and tells us that there will be no more write-ups for missing the quota, only firings. The only problem? Many of our regulars either are already members or are just plain uninterested, making it literally impossible to fulfill a 100% signup rate. Even when we point this out to her, she just tells us to figure it out. Our assistant store manager walks out on her.

Predictably, nobody in the store is able to meet the goal of getting every customer to sign up. And how does the store manager respond? By firing the store’s entire staff for not meeting her literally impossible standard.

This attracts the attention of the regional manager, who is very curious about the store’s staff roster suddenly going from over twenty employees down to just the store manager. I don’t know what exactly transpires between the two of them in that meeting, but I do know that it ends with most of us being reinstated with all benefits –aside from the few who found different jobs — the quota-based policy being permanently scrapped in favor of a more intuitive, incentive-based policy, and our now ex-store manager out of a job.

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Serve Their Own Logic Back To Them On A Plate

, , , , | Right | June 7, 2021

One of my first run-ins as a new manager is with a customer over an “exchange.” This customer is being helped in our dish department by an employee who sells luggage. He is covering a coworker’s lunch break. The customer came in with her husband looking to replace a plate from a brand that is very popular in our stores. My employee calls me over since he seems to be unable to satisfy the customer. 

Me: “Hello, [Employee] tells me you wanted to speak with a manager. How can I help you?”

The customer gives me a weird look. I am twenty-four years old and my employee is in his sixties, as is the customer.

Customer:You’re the manager?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Well, last week, my son broke one of my salad plates and I need to replace it. You see, I bought the box set that had service for twelve and now I’m one short.”

Me: “Of course, which design and pattern was it? We’ll be happy to ring it up for you.”

I am thinking I was called over because she forgot the pattern and he needed a manager to find the purchase.

Customer: “No, that’s the problem. I want you to replace the plate; I’m not paying for it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

Customer: “See, my son broke the plate. He wanted to warm it up, so he put it in the toaster oven. I told him that it wasn’t oven-safe so he could only put it on the warm setting, but he didn’t. He turned on the toaster oven and the plate cracked.”

Me: “Yes, those plates aren’t oven-safe.”

Customer: “Exactly. So, I called and spoke to some gentleman. He said you’d replace the plate with no problem.”

Me: “Of course. We can easily get a replacement for you; we are still carrying the line. But you will have to pay for the replacement.”

Customer: *Raising her voice* “That is unacceptable! Why should I have to pay for the plate?! I didn’t break it! How much does the plate even cost?!”

Me: *Scans the plate* “Well, with today’s sale, it’s $12.”

Customer: “$12?! That’s outrageous! I did not pay that much for it originally!”

Me: *Trying to keep smiling* “Okay, let me see what you purchased originally. I should be able to match the sale. When did you purchase it?”

Annoyed, she throws her store card on the counter.

Customer: “I don’t know! I purchased it on this card when we were in town sometime last fall.”

Great. Hopefully, there aren’t a million purchases! I look up her history and see she’s a snowbird — someone who only comes down for the winter — so it’s easy to find.

Me: “I found the set. You paid full price for it: $500. Good news! Today’s sale of 30% off is a much better deal than you originally purchased the set for!”

Customer: “No, it is not! This is ridiculous. Why should I even have to pay for this plate?”

Me: “You don’t have to purchase it. I’d be more than happy to put it back for you.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous. What kind of place is this? You sell nice things; you should take care of your customers. I am now one piece short of my twelve-piece set. I need the plate!”

Me: “Ma’am, I understand, but your son broke the plate. I wouldn’t be able to just give you a new one for free.”

The customer is now screaming because she has gotten nowhere.

Customer: “I have never had such terrible service in my life! Why should I have to pay for it?! I didn’t break it!”

Enough is enough so I’m shutting this down.

Me: “You’re absolutely right. You didn’t break the plate; your son did. He should pay for it.”

The customer’s jaw drops and she stares at me.

Customer: *Huffs* “Well, I never! [Husband], we’re leaving!”

She stormed off.

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She’s Got You On The Hook

, , , , | Working | June 7, 2021

My coworker is complaining about a task that our manager gave her, telling me she finds it hard and time-consuming. It’s actually a task that I really like, so I offer to swap my final task of the day with her. My task was to move stock that is hanging on hooks in an aisle to a new position at the end of the aisle. It is literally moving less than a metre, an easy job as the stock could be moved while still on the display hooks. I have already cleared the new area.

I explain exactly what needs to be done and my coworker nods and agrees, and I head to the office to complete her task. Both tasks should only take ten to twenty minutes. I head back out after completing her task to find that both areas that I was supposed to work on are completely empty.

Me: “[Coworker], where is the stock that is supposed to be here?”

Coworker: “Oh, that’s in a trolley at the front of the store.”

Me: “What? Why is it in a trolley?”

Coworker: “Because you wanted it taken off ready for you to do.”

I sigh and grab the trolley, noting that all of the stock is now mixed together.

Me: “Where are all the hooks?”

Coworker: “I put them away, out in the dock.”

It took me almost two hours to sort all the mixed stock and find where she had put all the hooks, and I even had to print new tickets up as she had thrown them out. I had to stay back to do it in my own time. The next time she complained about being given the other task, I just shrugged and went about doing my own tasks. She could never understand why I wouldn’t do it even though I liked doing it.

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Won’t Even Give Them Credit For Trying

, , , , , , | Right | June 6, 2021

I work at customer service at a home improvement store. I am training a coworker. He and I have been processing returns and we’ve been really busy. I notice there is a problem with the return he is processing, so I stop what I am doing to find out what’s going on.

The customer and her husband paid with their store credit card. Immediately after their transaction, they paid off the bill. They want cash back for the return, which is a little over $600.

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we can’t do that because it has to go back to the original tender.”

Customer: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “You can’t get cash for the return; it was paid with the credit card.”

She keeps repeating that she doesn’t understand.

Me: “Would you like to talk to a manager?”

Customer: “No. I don’t think that’s how it should be.”

The return is processed, and they stand off to the side and call someone. They talk for a couple of minutes and leave, thank goodness.

A couple of hours later, we’re slammed. I’m coming back to customer service when who do I see? The same lady and her husband. They are also joined by another woman and a toddler.

I don’t have the pleasure of dealing with them. The seasonal/outside supervisor gets called because he is the only available manager. It goes back and forth for a while. He calls the credit center to find out what can be done, which is nothing! All four of them finally leave after wasting time and gas because they thought they could get a manager to override it.

Don’t expect cash back on a return just because you paid off the bill. There are some things that not even managers can do.

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Like The Phone, He’s Having An “Off” Day

, , , , , | Right | June 4, 2021

An angry customer comes up to me and slams his one-day-old expensive phone on my counter so hard he’s lucky it doesn’t crack.

Customer: “You have exactly one f****** minute to fix my phone, or I want a new one. NOW!”

Me: “All right. What seems to be wrong with it?”

Customer: “What do you mean, ‘what seems to be wrong with it’? IT’S F****** DEAD, CAN’T YOU SEE?!”

I hold the power button for four seconds and the phone boots up. I turn the screen around for the angry customer to see, trying to withhold my smug grin.

Me: “Anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “I told that little s*** son of mine to test the phone before he sent me back here!”

He stormed out, extremely red-faced.

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