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Final Sale But Not The Final Word

, , , | Right | January 1, 2021

I’m working as a volunteer at a summer stock theater this summer. We don’t have high-quality, Broadway-level performances, but we’re far from community theater.

Some people are paid staff, but most of us are volunteers — students looking to boost college applications, like me, or retirees looking to keep busy.

Occasionally, the management will have sales to boost attendance at performances that, for whatever reason, aren’t selling well — just after a long weekend or a big event in the area, for example.

I show up for my time answering phone calls. Yesterday, we had a big sale offering tickets for 50% off.

First caller of the day:

Me: “Good morning, my name is [My Name] at [Theater]. How may I assist you?”

Caller: “I need to cancel my tickets.”

All sales are final. Sometimes we can exchange tickets for a different day under specific circumstances. The recent sale was final, no exceptions.

Me: “Do you have your confirmation number?”

Caller: *Loud sigh* “I have to get that.”

Me: “Okay. I’ll wait.”

The computer automatically searches by caller’s number for any active orders, so I’m already looking at her order. I want to verify to be certain. The numbers match.

Me: “I’m sorry, but those tickets were bought with yesterday’s 50% offer—”

Caller: *Interrupts* “Yes, I know.”

Me: “That offer is final sale. No returns. No exceptions.”

Caller: “But I don’t want them. The website didn’t say anything about them being final sale! You are holding my money hostage!”

The website reminds buyers four times that it’s a final sale offer, including a screen you have to agree to to move forward.

Me: “I’m sorry. But the website and all emails said final sale. Sometimes management might let people move to another day. I could go ask…”

My manager is sitting next to me shaking her head no.

Caller: “Just give me my money! I don’t want any tickets! It was such a good price, but this morning my neighbor said the lead actress is very whiny. I don’t want to see that!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but the tickets are final sale.”

Caller: “This is terrible customer service! I can’t believe they pay you to be so rude!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m a volunteer.”

Caller: “I can’t believe you won’t give me my money back! This is larceny! I’m going to the police!” *Hangs up*

I wrote an incident report and attached it to the order file.

Later that day, her husband came in and tried to return the tickets. She had told him that we said we could only give money back in person. He was very embarrassed and upset (at her), when my manager explained what had happened on the phone and showed him the multiple places it said “Final Sale” on the website. He left… with the tickets.

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Catching A Winer In The Act

, , , | Right | October 13, 2020

I work in a theater where guests get a free drink with their entrance ticket. If there is a break in the play, people can get their free drink then, which means we have to get a couple of hundred guests their drink within a short period of time.

Up comes this guy who immediately has a rude tone. 

Guest: “What kind of red wines do you have?”

Me: “We actually have this one really good w—”

Guest: “Just one? What is this place?”

The group he is with already has this look that says, “Here he goes again.”

Me: “We’re just a small theatre, but I can assure you that the wine is really good! If you’d like anything else we also have—”

Guest: “Just give me the red wine, quick. I bet it’s not even that good.”

I proceed to give him his wine and help the rest of his group, who are being really kind. 

The break usually takes about twenty minutes, and toward the end, this guy comes back with a sour — pun intended — look on his face. The rest of his group are behind him, wanting to get back to their seats. He puts the empty glass on my bar. 

Guest: “I knew this wine was going to be bad. It tasted like cork and even had cork in it!”

Me: “Sorry to hear that, but are you sure, sir?”

Guest: “Excuse me?! I know my wines and this had cork in it!”

Me: “Well, that’s odd—” *grabs the bottle* “—because our bottles have a screw cap.”

The look on his face was priceless as he stormed off, whilst his friends were laughing it up! Everything lined up perfectly, and after work, my colleagues and I had a good laugh about it.

This story is part of the second Wine roundup! This is the last story in the roundup, but we have plenty of others you might enjoy!

23 Stories About Wine, And The Customers Who Shouldn’t Be Drinking It


Read the next Wine roundup story!

Read the Wine roundup!

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A Harmless Necessary Chicken

, , , , , | Working | September 25, 2020

I was inspired by this story to recount my own encounter with unwitting stage fauna.

Some years ago, I was in a summer production of The Merry Wives of Windsor in an outdoor venue. This venue was near a pond and had various birds wandering about. This included a few chickens and roosters.

In a particular scene, a washing basket was onstage at the beginning of a scene. As the actors went about the scene, they noticed they were getting more laughs than usual but thought nothing more than how responsive the audience was. As they got closer to the climax of the scene, they were getting more and more laughs and titters, so they amped up their energy.

In the climax of the scene, Falstaff had to hide in a panic and threw himself into the washing basket…

…to be encountered with a face full of enraged chicken, whose nice cosy resting spot had been disturbed by an actor almost landing on her. Apparently, the hen had been poking her head out of the basket, enjoying the show, to the amusement of the audience, without the actors noticing. The poor chicken took flight, squawking, through the audience, emptying herself on the actor as a final act of revenge. After a momentary pause, during which everyone attempted to pull themselves together, the show resumed. Poor Falstaff had to have a quick costume change.

A Harmless Necessary Cat

This story is part of our Best Of September 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of September 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of September 2020 roundup!

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Making A Show Out Of Working There

, , , , | Right | September 22, 2020

It’s a small staff and my boss and coworkers are almost all out of the office, so even though I’m relatively new to the working world, I’m the most senior employee in the back office at the moment. A young man huffs and puffs into my doorway and approaches my desk.

Customer: *Rolling his eyes* “Your box office seller is new. Ugh. He didn’t recognize me, and I need to get my employee discount for tickets for [Upcoming Performance].”

Me: “He’s not new, and I don’t recognize you, either.”

Customer: “How dare you?! I’m an usher!”

Since I work in the back office, I suppose that this guy is on the roster to work an occasional shift and I just haven’t met him yet.

Me: “Um, we don’t actually have an employee discount at the box office. You either work the show or…”

Customer: *Scoffing* “Well, then, put me on the schedule to work the show!”

Me: “The… house manager manages the usher schedule. Not the marketing department.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I can’t believe you won’t help me! Let me talk to [Former Executive Director]!”

My eyebrow shoots up.

Me: “Sir. She resigned three years ago. You say you’re a current employee?”

Customer: “Um, I guess it’s been a little while since I worked a show… Three years? Really?”

Me: “Yup.”

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Not What We Mean By “Racism Is A White People Problem”

, , | Right | September 1, 2020

I’m a black female working at a theater at my university while a play is going on about racism. An elderly couple walks up wanting a refund. On the back of the tickets, it says that all sales are final.

Patron Husband: “I want a refund; I didn’t enjoy the show.”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, there are no refunds.” *Flips over the ticket*

Patron Husband: “No offense, but they have racism all wrong.”

I look at one of my ushers because I am confused.

Patron Husband: “Racism happened because of the lack of fathers and incarcerations in black people. I know because it happened to Irish people like me.”

Me: “Sir, racism happened because of systemic oppression from slavery and the unfair treatment of people of color, many who, like myself, have both parents in their lives.”

Patron Wife: “We just want our money back, and since you won’t give it to us, we’ll call your boss.”

I texted my boss, telling her what happened, and she told me there were still no refunds.

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