Wow, This Sale Is In Tents!

, , , , , | Right | February 11, 2021

I am working as a store manager for a national mattress retailer. It is mid-summer and we are having a “Tent Sale,” in reference to sidewalk and parking lot sales that take place UNDER tents. This is exclusively a mattress store; ‘mattress’ is IN the company name.

A young woman from a nearby restaurant, probably in her mid- to late teens, comes in, I am guessing on her break.

Me: “Welcome in! What can I do for you?”

Guest: “Well, I have a friend going camping soon, and I just thought I would stop in to look for her.”

While not common, I have had people coming in to look for camping pads before, so this doesn’t strike me as terribly odd. Still, I don’t like to presume until a guest has said what they want.

Me: “All right, I’d be more than happy to help you out! My name is [My Name], and what are we looking for?”

Guest: *Looking around* “Well… I was wondering what kind of tents you have?”

Me: “E-excuse me? Tents?”

Guest: “Yes, your signs say you’re having a tent sale.”

Me: “Oh! I apologize for the confusion, but that’s just the name of the sale. We don’t sell any tents, just mattresses.”

I motion to the sales floor of virtually nothing but sixty-plus mattresses on display.

Guest: “That is really misleading. That’s false advertising.”

I can only describe her tone as deeply offended, as if I have personally disrespected her ancestors.

Me: “Again, I really am sorry, but it’s in reference to sidewalk sales, not the actual sale of tents. We only sell mattresses and mattress accessories.”

The guest starts walking out, somehow even more offended than before.

Guest: “You need to change your sign! It’s really misleading!”

Me: *Thinking* “Yes, I, a lowly store manager, will be sure to have corporate rebrand the entire sale for all of our 3,000 stores across the nation.”

It is worth noting that this “misleading sign” showed a circus-style tent, not a camping one. Nowhere else does it mention a tent. This has not been the only occurrence of this, however; a coworker at another store had a similar experience where a guest started trying to barter for the canopy that corporate provided. I am happy to no longer be in a customer-facing job.

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Working On Getting Groceries Only

, , , , , | Right | February 5, 2021

I’m out doing my grocery shopping. An older man enters the aisle I’m in, and we both browse in silence for a few moments, until…

Old Man: “Do you know where the [item]s are these days?”

I have a vague idea of where they are, so I try to be as helpful as I can.

Me: “I think they’re two aisles over.”

I point in the direction I think the items might be.

Old Man: “They’re always moving things around and putting things in weird places!”

This store has recently gone through a minor reorganization so I can understand his frustration. I just nod and make a vaguely sympathetic noise, and he wanders off in the direction I pointed him in.

I don’t think any more about it until it comes time for me to check out, and I end up in line directly behind the same man.

Old Man: *Seeing me* “Oh! I’m sorry, I thought you worked here!”

I look down at my black tank top, black skinny jeans, bright pink hair, and shopping cart full of items.

Me: “Um… no. No, I don’t.”

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Going To Have To Ap-plier A New Strategy

, , , , , , | Related | February 4, 2021

When I am about four years old, we have an old TV with knobs to change the channel and the volume, and to turn it on or off. Two of the knobs have fallen off at some point, so we use a pair of needle-nosed pliers in place of the knobs; they can grip the metal piece that used to hold the knob, and thus, we can turn it to get the TV to do what we want.

One day, Dad brings home a new TV to replace the old one. My brother and I are so excited. Dad takes it out of the box and sets it where the old one was, and we get a good look at it. No knobs, broken or intact; this model has buttons and a remote.

Confused, we turn to Dad.

Brother & Me: “Where do we put the pliers?”

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Returner Burner: Outside Attack

, , , , , , | Right | February 2, 2021

I work IT for a big retail company, but we’re internal support only. We don’t support customers at all. One night, I get a call from a woman. Based on what she’s saying, it sounds like the register isn’t allowing her to process the return.

Me: “Okay, before I can look into that, I need your employee number.”

The caller then EXPLODES at me.

Caller: *Yelling* “Why do I have to give you my employee number? I don’t have an employee number! Do you have an employee number?”

I’m confused, since I still think she works here.

Me: “Um, yes, I do.”

Caller: “Oh, now you’re going to get sassy with me? Why do you have an employee number?”

Me: “Because I work for [Company]?”

Caller: *Seems to get even madder* “Don’t you take that tone with me! You know what you need to do? You need to stop talking, sit down, open your ears, and pretend you’re happily employed, and you need to help me, now!”

Me: “I’m going to have to put you on hold for a moment.”

Caller: “Don’t you put me on hold! You need to help me, right now!”

I put the phone on hold in the middle of her speech and turned to a coworker for help. He told me to call our on-call manager and conference them in/transfer the call. Before I could reach out, she ended the call. I immediately sent a message to my manager explaining what had happened. I also looked through my call logs and found that the call seemed to have come from our customer care team.

A couple of days later, my manager pulled me aside and told me what was going on. Apparently, that woman was a serial returner; she always has issues with something. She’d apparently purchased something on an account that was tied to her daughter’s name, and because of this, there were issues.

She’d apparently started dialing random numbers and had eventually gotten to an admin for the CEO.

Luckily, no one thought it was my fault, even though she was doing her best to blame everything on me, although I think that was just because mine was the only name she remembered.

I did have to go over the story with him just because he wasn’t able to get it out of her. Then, our customer care manager came over and thanked me for handling it in any way, and then explained that the gal who’d transferred it was new and had thought, like I had, that she was a salesperson having issues with the register itself.

Returner Burner: The Store Card Scandal
A Different Kind Of Returner Burner
Returner Burner, Part 8
Returner Burner: International Edition
Returner Burner: On Location

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No We Won’t Need You, No We Won’t Feed You, When You’re Sixty-Four

, , , | Right | January 30, 2021

I’m working as the only person at the till tonight. A woman walks in by herself. We sell salads and pizza at this restaurant, and to the right of the counter we have a display case where we have four pizzas available by the slice.

Me: “Hi, welcome to [Store]! What can I do for you?”

Customer: “I want to order a salad and a slice, but I’m not quite sure what salad I want.”

Me: “No problem, take your time!”

She walks up to the other side of the display case next to a family who is eating their dinner. Since we usually have a lot of clattering and music playing, it can sometimes be hard to hear people, and this was no exception. I see her point to a slice, however, so I ring it up. After half a minute or so, she is still staring at the pizza and has given no other confirmation. I go up to her to see what is wrong.

Me: “Ma’am, is everything all right?”

Customer: “Yes, I want this slice of pizza like I already said. God, can you even hear me? I already asked for it; I want this one.”

Me: “Ma’am, I did hear you.”

Customer: “I don’t think you did! After all…”

She continues to berate me for not hearing her, even though I have already placed it on her order. The dad from the family in the corner speaks up.

Dad: “Ma’am, the reason she can’t hear you is because of the divider here and because you’re speaking very quietly. She’s just trying to do her job.”

Customer: *Visibly upset* “Get the f*** away from me! I don’t appreciate you harassing me like this! Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean you can get away with s*** like this!”

The father and I are both shocked at her response as he continues to defend me, before he gets up and leaves the establishment. I don’t think he sees me thanking him quietly, but I try.

Customer: “God, I just wanted a slice of pizza! I’ve never been treated so badly here; you just got me harassed! What an a**hole! I’ve been purchasing meals here for twenty-five years…”

She continues yelling at me as the soul drains from my eyes and I try to get through this order.

Customer: “And I want a salad, but I don’t know what you guys have. Where is your menu?”

She picks up the menu and browses it as I wait quietly to hear what she wants.

Me: “Are you finding everything all right?”

Customer: “Show me the salads.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t do that until you order one.”

Customer: “Then how am I supposed to know what’s on them?”

She shoves the menu at me.

Customer: “Tell me what you have.”

I name the salads until I’m interrupted.

Customer: “Read it to me! I don’t have my glasses on. I’m an old lady; I’m sixty-four! Is that old enough for you?! God!”

I begin to read off the salad names and their ingredients.

Customer: “I can’t do this. Let me speak to your manager. You can’t hear me at all!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, let me grab him.”

After notifying my manager, I notice another customer has come in and has been waiting for a minute. I’m afraid of leaving the woman alone, though, and enduring more harassment, so I ask her if it’s all right that I leave her alone as I help them.

Customer: “Yes! God, can you even do your job right? This is what you’re getting paid for!”

My manager comes in and talks to her while she yells about how bad of an employee I am, as I try to help the next customer without crying. The next customer is appalled at her behavior and keeps shooting her upset glances.

My boss finally gets her something to eat and she settles down for about five minutes before coming back and yelling at both me and my coworker, who tried to fill in for us to avoid us getting yelled at again.

Customer: “The service is horrible here! And she can’t hear a d*** thing that I say, and she can’t do her job at all! And…”

She continues this rampage before my boss gives her our customer service number and she goes outside to yell at them for ten minutes. As she comes back in, I’m paralyzed with stress and trying not to cry.

Customer: “I just called the headquarters to inform them that the music was too loud, and that you were having troubles hearing my order and doing your job. I can’t believe how this company treats you! And all these children here!”

I am visibly confused at her change in character and bring out my boss before she can say anything more. I stand by as they talk.

Customer: “Your music is too loud here! And it’s horrible! I already asked you to turn it down—”

Manager: “Which we did. And our music is approved by the company—”

Customer: “I don’t give a d*** who it’s approved by! When you have children here—”

I leave the counter and have a good cry. The woman is promptly kicked out. A few days later, we share the times we’ve had nightmares about work, which is funny in a way, because the job is honestly really fun and everyone gets along really well.

Me: “Oh, man, the nightmares I’ve had about this place.”

Manager: “I had one the other night about that horrible lady who came in!”

Coworker: *Laughing* “You had a nightmare about her?”

Manager & I: *In unison* “She was so horrible, how could you not?!”

Later that night, after I’d left, the customer I served while my manager dealt with [Customer] asked for my name and wrote me a lovely card, which all my coworkers proudly told me about afterward. Yay!

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