Far From A Light-Bulb Moment

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2019

(I’m the manager at my store, and late one night I answer the phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Pet Store]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “How much are your pythons?”

Me: “We carry ball pythons here. The regular color morphs are $60, and the fancy color morphs are $120.”

Customer: “Do they come with a tank?”

Me: “No. You have to purchase a tank separately.”

Customer: “Then how do you get it home?”

Me: “We put them in a little box for you to transport them.”

Customer: “Can I keep it in the box?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because it’s a python. Pythons get big. Plus, they’re cold-blooded, so you have to keep them in a tank with certain lighting so they can stay warm and digest their food properly. It’s usually pretty expensive.”

Customer: “Well, how much is the tank?”

Me: “We sell kits that have everything you need for a snake, including the tank, the lights, the bedding, a water bowl, and a heat pad. The prices usually start at around $140.”

Customer: “Well, uh, I might come by later.”

(I track down my employee on the floor and warn her about the customer, telling her that if someone comes in wanting a ball python, make sure to sell him what he needs to properly take care of it. About twenty minutes later, I get paged to the front. A man is standing next to my employee, who looks nervous and confused.)

Employee: “Um, he’s here for a ball python, but uh, he said…”

Customer: “I’m going to get the tank and stuff at [Other Store across the street].”

(The other store is not a pet store, and it does not carry anything the man needs for a ball python.)

Me: “Okay, but we match their prices, you know.”

Customer: “You do?”

Me: “Yep. You don’t have to buy anything from them. Anything they have at their store that’s equivalent to what we have, we can match their price.”

Customer: “Um, let me see what you guys have.”

(I send my employee to show him our tanks. After a few minutes, the man leaves empty-handed. I get a call a few minutes later.)

Customer: “So uh, if [Other Store] has a tank here for $40, you guys can match that?”

Me: “Maybe. If the tank at their store is the same as what we have, then we can match it. What size is their tank? What’s included in it?”

Customer: “Well, uh… You mean I can’t just have one of your tanks for $40?”

Me: “Not if what they sell is different from what we sell. If they’re selling the same size glass tank for $40, we can match that. But if they’re only selling the glass tank for $40, we can’t sell you a kit for $40, since our kit has the lights and everything else included, and we can’t just give you all that stuff for free. See what I mean?”

Customer: “Uh, how much are the lights on their own?”

Me: *taking a guess* “Usually the prices start around $35.”

Customer: “$35 just for lights?”

Me: “Yep. They aren’t like regular light bulbs. They’re designed to mimic sunlight and produce UVA or UVB rays so that the reptiles can absorb their Vitamin D and digest their calcium properly. Like I said, ball pythons are really expensive upfront.”

Customer: “Can’t you cut me a deal? How about $70 for the snake and everything else?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “What deal can you make for me?”

Me: “Sometimes things go on sale. Other than that, there’s not much I can do for you.”

Customer: *click*

Don’t Steal Gas If You Don’t Want To Be Called A Thief

, , , , , , | Right | January 31, 2019

(I work at a gas station that will allow customers to fuel up and then pay when they are done. Since we’re the only one that does it in town, we have a few people drive off without paying, so I watch the customers like a hawk.)

Customer: *presses button to fuel then pay*

Me: “Welcome to [Company]. In the gray [Car], you are now set to fill, then pay. Please come inside and pay when you are finished. Thank you.”

(A few moments pass, and I hear someone rapidly pressing the intercom button. I look down and see that the lady has pumped $33 worth of gas so far.)

Customer: “THE PUMP WON’T STOP!”

(I hit the pump off button and go outside to inspect the pump. Nothing is wrong with it. The lady follows me inside, talking about how the pump wouldn’t stop.)

Me: “Okay, miss, it looks like your total comes to $37.22. Do you have a rewards card with us?”

Customer: “I only meant to pump $25 of gas.”

Me: “Well, you got $37 worth. Unfortunately, you have to pay for the gas you got.”

Customer: “Well I didn’t mean to. I only budgeted for $25 worth of gas.”

Me: *very confused* “Why didn’t you prepay for $25 so you wouldn’t go over?”

Customer: “Because when you do that, the pump won’t give you the full $25. There is a method to my madness.”

Me: “Well, you still need to pay the full $37. Is there any way you could get the money?”

Customer: “If I could give the gas back, I would. But I can’t, and I don’t have enough to pay for it; I only budgeted for $25. It’s also not my fault the pump was broken.”

Me: “Miss, the pump wasn’t broken.”

Customer: “YES, IT WAS!”

Me: “Okay, miss, the only thing left we can do is take down your ID info.”

(We do this to every customer that can’t pay for their gas.)


Me: “No, miss, we do this to everyone that can’t pay for their gas. I can give you a week to pay it, if you need.”

Customer: “I only budgeted for $25; I’m not paying any more than that. You need to fix your pumps.”

Me: “Miss, our pumps are serviced frequently to make sure they work properly. And if you leave without paying the full price for your gas, I’ll have to call the police.”

Customer: “FINE, HERE!”

(She opens her wallet, revealing a large sum of cash, then proceeds to throw it at my face — the 22 cents included.)

Customer: *walks away*

Me: *to coworker* “What an a**.”


(The customer leaves and proceeds to call every store in our chain, trying to get me fired. I call my general manager and tell her what happened. She says that she and the regional manager will review the tape and call me back.)

General Manager: “That lady you had that argument with — did she ever cut your hair?”

Me: “No? I’ve never seen her before in my life.”

General Manager: *laughs* “She called [General Manager at the store in the next town over] and said she used to cut your hair when you were a boy. Anyway, I reviewed the tape, and you held yourself very well. I wouldn’t have called her an a** while she was still in the store, though. Honestly, I probably would have punched her when she threw the money at my face. Anyway, you’re not going to be fired. Just don’t call anyone an a** out loud, understand?”

Me: “Yes, I won’t do that again.”

(The lady never returned, and we never had a problem with the pump not shutting off since. My manager said she was probably trying to con us out of gas, anyway.)

Can’t Get A Handle On Her Demands

, , , | Right | January 29, 2019

(A lady walks into my store and stands at the doorway with her nose in the air and her hands on her hips, as if she expects someone to instantly rush to assist her. Since my cashier and I are helping out other people already, she waits around a moment before marching further into the store. Later, she and I cross paths.)

Customer: “Can you help me?”

Me: “Sure! How can I help you?”

Customer: “I doubt you can help me since you people never have what I need.”

Me: “Well, let’s see. What are you looking for?”

Customer: “I’m looking for a dog harness, but it has a handle on it so you can lift the dog, like when the dog gets too old and needs help jumping into cars…”

Me: “I know exactly what you’re talking about! It’s right over here, but it’s the only one we have in the store, so it’ll depend on whether your dog is the right size for it. How much does your dog weigh?”

Customer: “Sixty pounds.”

Me: “Great! It looks like this harness is for any dog between fifty and ninety pounds, so it should fit perfectly!”

Customer: “Well, the one I saw on the Internet was only fifteen dollars. I printed it out, but I left the paper at home.”

Me: “This one is thirty dollars. It’s possible that you might have seen a different item, but if you want, I can check to see if this item has a different price on our website.”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Sometimes our online prices are different from the in-store prices. However, we do match our online prices, so if you want, I can go look up the online price for this item and match it for you.”

Customer: “But this is the wrong item! This one doesn’t have a handle on it.”

Me: *pointing to the handle* “It looks like it actually does have a handle.”

Customer: “Well, the item I want lifts the dog from the back! It’s my dog’s back legs that are going bad, and this harness lifts from the front!”

(I’m puzzled at this point since not only does the item clearly wrap around the dog’s belly, as displayed in its picture, but I also can’t imagine any type of harness that only lifts up a dog’s backside since the dog would probably fall on its face.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is the only harness of this type that we have in the store…”

Customer: “I KNEW you wouldn’t have what I wanted!”

(As she storms out, my cashier makes the mistake of smiling at her, prompting her to yell at him for our store being “the sorry-est [pet store]” she’d ever seen.)

Being A Thief Ain’t No Sunshine

, , , , | Legal | January 19, 2019

(I am working third-shift in a convenience store. One night, a somewhat intoxicated woman comes in carrying a handful of sunglasses.)

Woman: “Hi. I need to return these sunglasses.”

Me: “Hello. I can help you with that; I just need to see your receipt to process your refund.”

Woman: “They didn’t give me no receipt! Just give me my money back.”

Me: “No problem; I can reprint your receipt. When did you purchase these items?”

Woman: “Um, Tuesday?”

Me: “Okay, and about what time on Tuesday?”

Woman: “I don’t know; my sister actually bought them… from [another location]. Just give me my money!”

(At this point the customer staggers and knocks over a jerky display.)

Me: *having lost all patience* “Lady, you stole these sunglasses, didn’t you?”

Woman: “Please, just give me my money! I need some money, please!”

Me: *taking the sunglasses and putting them on the back counter* “No, I think I’ll call the police, instead.”

(The woman cussed me out and fled the store. The next day the district manager sent out an email warning about a woman who stole some sunglasses from [other location]. I called him and told him I had them right here with me.)

Threatening Retail Workers Is The Only Power Some People Have

, , , , | Right | January 17, 2019

(While I’m working on unloading the stock, a customer approaches me.)

Customer: “Is that the only cashier you have in the whole store? There’s a line, and I’m in a hurry!”

(I look up and see that the line currently consists of two people, not including the customer herself. I head to the registers for backup, grabbing the second person in line and directing them to another register, as per policy. Eventually, I get done with him, and the customer who called me over reaches me.)

Customer: “I have a coupon, as well.”

(I ring up her items and try to take her coupon, but she keeps a vice grip on it.)

Me: “Ma’am, if you want to use it, I have to take it.”

Customer: “No, you don’t! I can use it as many times as I want!”

Me: “That’s not true. We keep the coupons.”

Customer: “Well, they let me do it before! You obviously need to learn to do your job!”

Me: “I don’t know who let you keep the coupon before, ma’am, but that’s not how this works. You use the coupon, and we keep it.”

Customer: “They let me do it before, so just do your job!”

(Whenever a customer is being unreasonable and I have a choice to stand my ground or let them have what they want, I ask myself, “Is this worth getting a complaint to corporate later?” Resolving a corporate complaint involves a lecture from our district manager, who would do anything to save a sale. It also requires calling the customer afterward to apologize and offer them something for free, even if the customer is wrong. Her coupon will save her less than five dollars, so I conclude that it’s not worth the hassle. I scan it and let her keep it.)

Customer: *smugly* “I’m going to call to complain about you!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Who’s your manager?”

Me: “I’m the manager on duty.”

Customer: *literally throws her head back to scoff loudly* “Ha! You’re a sorry excuse for a manager. You should learn how to do your job! You’re supposed to let customers keep their coupons! This isn’t [Grocery Store]!”

Me: “…?”

Customer: “My coupon is still good until [next month]! I can keep using it. Now hurry up and ring up my coupon!”

Me: “I did.”

Customer: “Well, then, do the thing you do at your register!”

(I glance at my register, spin the PIN pad around to read it, and then spin it back to show her where it reads, “Please swipe or insert your card.”)

Me: “You need to swipe or insert your card.”

Customer: “Who’s your manager?”

Me: “[Boss].”

Customer: *victorious smile* “Well, he’ll be hearing all about this!”

(She started to stomp away, nearly forgetting her receipt until she spun around, saw me holding it out to her, and snatched it out of my hands. I honestly wish I had stood my ground and made her give up the coupon, but my boss and district manager would both have wanted me to save the sale, so I know this was the correct route to avoid getting in trouble. I just don’t know why she felt compelled to fuss so much at me AFTER I gave her what she wanted! I guess threatening retail workers is the only thing that makes her feel powerful.)

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