If All Else Fails, Use Guilt

, , , , , | Right | December 18, 2018

(I work in the service department at a car dealership that is part of a larger dealer group spanning multiple makes. My particular brand’s franchise is closing for business so the car make will no longer be supported, and another brand is moving into the space. We originally were to have a temporary contract extension of a few months to remain operating in order for the manufacturer to open another location, so we could transition our customers, but at the last second, they opted out of that plan. The manufacturer ‘surprised’ us with news of the last date of operations with just under two weeks’ notice until said termination. We immediately had to cease bringing in new business to give us the best shot at completing the repairs that were already ongoing. As such, we have not had adequate time to prepare our customers for the closure. However, I do think it wouldn’t have helped for some as they don’t seem to understand the concept of ‘Closed for business.’ The first example customer dropped in without calling or scheduling — something that, even under normal circumstances, we were virtually always too busy to accommodate anyway.)

Me: “What brings you in today?”

Customer: “Well, I have [problem #1] and [problem #2] and I was hoping you guys could just fit me in.”

(He’s literally coming by in the afternoon on the Friday before a holiday weekend — the least likely time a by-appointment business would be able to ever fit anyone in for a drop-in.)

Me: “Unfortunately, I have some… unexpected news we just received. We’re going out of business. Our dealership is actually closing permanently a week from today.”

Customer: “Oh! Oh, no!”

Me: “It took us by surprise, too. Unfortunately, we’re not able to take any more cars in at all; we have to finish what we have in the shop now before our doors shut for good.”

Customer: “Oh, I understand. That sounds tough. And finding out during the holidays, too.”

Me: *glad he’s taking it so well, unlike most people* “I can get you the number for [Manufacturer’s corporate helpline] so they can help you find the most convenient location for your future service needs.”

Customer: “Oh, don’t worry. It’s okay. I’ll just come back later.”

Me: “Uhm… No. That won’t help. We won’t be here.”

Customer: “OH! You’re CLOSING!”

Me: “Yes. Closing.”

Customer: “Oh… I guess I’ll get that phone number.”

(I don’t know what other meanings he originally interpreted from ‘going out of business’ and ‘closing permanently’. The next customer called to schedule an appointment and proceeded to flip out on my cashier who answered the phone:)

Customer: “BUT I HAVE TO GET MY OIL CHANGED! I’M ALREADY WAY OVERDUE! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?”

Cashier: “There are many facilities that can perform the oil change on your car. You’re not obligated to take it to the dealership where you bought the car, especially as it’s no longer in business.”

Customer: “THIS IS SO INCONSIDERATE. I WANT YOU TO KNOW I’M LEAVING A BAD REVIEW ON YELP. WHAT ABOUT MY CAR?”

Cashier: *losing patience* “It’s blindsided all of us. [Manufacturer] gave us less than two weeks’ warning. I feel bad about your oil change, but I also feel bad about the fact that we have twelve employees here who just found out they don’t know if they’ll have jobs in less than two weeks.”

Customer: “WHAT?! Oh…”

(It worked so well that our manager actually encouraged us to guilt-trip people about our unknown employment when they gave us a hard time. It worked to shut them down pretty well. Fortunately, as the dealer group is large, they have guaranteed we will be able to keep comparable jobs at other locations, most of which are nearby. And we all shared a good laugh about why she thought slamming us on Yelp would make us feel bad: we were going out of business so our Yelp score means diddly squat. The only thing her review would do would be to help us by a. spreading the word that we were closing and not taking in any more cars, and b. making us look less attractive to customers, again helping reduce the number of people trying to bring in cars we couldn’t see anyway.)

They’re A Sexist Jerk Under The Hood

, , , , , , , | Right | November 6, 2018

I currently work as a service writer at a car dealership, but my original background is hands-on; though I’m now tied to a desk, I am an ASE Master Certified Technician — among other professional certifications I maintain — and have been working on cars — first as a hobby, then in a vocational program, and then professionally — for almost twenty years. I am also a woman and am often mistaken for being younger than my age.

Many of my customers, especially “old-school” car guys, don’t expect me to be so knowledgeable. While most of them are delighted when I can not only keep up with them but teach them new things, a few just can’t quite grasp the idea of a female being technically capable, no matter how many times we’ve interacted.

One customer in particular is the type that thinks he’s very knowledgeable; he has literally said to me multiple times, “Well, I happen to know quite a bit about cars.” From what I’ve heard, his knowledge is both limited and mostly twisted by misunderstanding. He often tries to second-guess me while still asking for advice but trying to sound like he knows what he’s talking about.

Since our first interaction I have thought he’s not nearly as sharp as he thinks he is, but I try to give him the benefit of the doubt due what I choose to tell myself is our personality clash; that’s a nicer way to sort it in my brain than, “He’s a sexist jerk who squirms every time he has to come to me.”

I felt completely vindicated when one day he has to call me to ask me, of all things, how to open the hood of his car. The answer: pull the bright red lever with the silhouette of a car with the hood popped that’s right by the driver’s left knee. He has owned the same car for about a year. Anyone who “happens to know quite a bit about cars” should be able to figure out how to open their own hood after a year, without having to make a phone call to ask.

Has Twenty-Twenty Vision

, , , , , | Right | October 7, 2018

(I am working the express lane for those who have twenty items or less. I really hate being on it because I often get customers with a lot more due to the fact that the sign is hard to see. I try to have them leave by letting them know ASAP so I’m not wasting their time, but sometimes I don’t notice them in time and let them through, which clearly frustrates the customers with only a few things. I am ringing up a customer with only a few items and there is no one else in my line. A woman with a full cart comes in.)

Me: “Uh, ma’am, this line is only for twenty items or less.”

(She stares at me, and I quickly revert my attention back to the customer I was helping, assuming that she is going to leave. However, she doesn’t and starts to put her stuff on the belt.)

Customer: “Oh! This is for twenty items or less.”

(She then proceeds to SEPARATE ALL HER ITEMS BY TWENTY. As she is doing this, the store progressively starts getting busy as a stream of customers with only a few items in their hands make their way to my register.)

Me: *whispers* “Kill me now, please.”

How Much Jam Did Someone Stuff Down There?

, , , , | Right | October 2, 2018

(One of the offices I assist remotely is allergic to doing troubleshooting that requires any amount of effort on their part, preferring to just replace everything any time there’s a problem, and charge it to the company. This is my favorite ticket from these guys:)

Ticket: “The printer downstairs in the south wing has a paper jam. I believe the best course of action would be to replace the printer.”

Never Feed Them (Hours) After Midnight

, , , , , , | Legal | September 12, 2018

(I am seventeen, working in a popular fast food place. Being a minor, there are restrictions on when we can work; we can work 28 hours a week, and not past midnight.)

Manager #1: “Hey, [My Name] can you work closing tonight?”

Me: “Well, I can work part of closing. But I need to leave at midnight.”

Manager #1: “Why?”

Me: “I’m a minor; I cannot work past midnight.”

Manager #1: “Oh. Well, what we can do is have you clock out at midnight, then, just keep working. Then I’ll make an adjustment to your time.”

Me: “Um… Well… It is a Friday and I have no school tomorrow, so… okay.”

(I happily work the extra hours. This repeats itself many times over the next couple of months; I have a ton of “adjustment” hours I get paid for and am happy with the money. Then, one day…)

Me: “Do you need me to work closing tonight? It’s a weekend.”

Manager #2: “You cannot work past midnight; you are a minor.”

Me: “Oh, [Manager] always has me work closing, then just puts the extra hours on my time card as an adjustment.”

Manager #2: “Um, they shouldn’t be doing that; it’s against the law. I need to look into it.”

(The manager who was doing that was demoted, and a very strongly-worded memo came out that stated very clearly that all minors must leave by midnight. Oops! I didn’t mean to get them in trouble; I was just happy to have the extra money!)

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