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Not Much Left To Rightly Explain

, , , , , | Right | June 8, 2022

At the end of each transaction, we are required to ask the customer if they would like to donate to a local charity that is geared towards helping under-privileged children get active. It is completely their choice if they want to, and if so, how much.

Me: “Would you like to make a donation to [Local Charity]?”

Customer: “Sure.”

Awkward silence.

Me: “How much would you like to donate?”

Customer: “Oh, that’s confidential.”

Me: “But I can’t put in the donation amount unless you tell me how much you want to donate.”

Customer: “Well, you’re not supposed to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” *Slightly angrier.* “Forget it. I’m not donating anymore.”

We finish the transaction without a donation. After the customer leaves, my colleagues, my supervisor and I all look at each other, extremely confused at what had just happened.

Running A Competitive Race

, , | Right | June 8, 2022

My (now extinct) bookstore had a policy of thirty days for a return with receipt. A woman comes into the store carrying a bag from our competitor and plops the bag down on the counter in front of me, saying she wants to do a return.

I already have a bad feeling, but I pull the books out. To be fair, it’s pretty clear that the books were put into a closet and forgotten, as they look as pristine as the day they were taken off the shelf. However, the receipt is most definitely from our competitor and dated five years ago.

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t take these books back.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

I explain the above.

Customer: *Snappily.* “I would like to speak to a manager then because I don’t want to drive all the way [two miles down the road] to [Competitor]!”

I sigh and take the books with me to the phone, call over the PA system for a manager, and begin trying to look the books up in our database. I know that the managers have taken books purchased from our competitor, and simply do the Return Without Receipt workaround. I can kind of understand this, as the credit we give out can be paid back when someone else buys the book, but I loathe letting a customer ‘win’ like this.

I can see the woman working herself up into a state out of the corner of my eye; she’s huffing and puffing, shifting from one foot to the other and making a variety of angry faces in practice of the arrival of the manager.

I type in the first title of the first book. The database comes back with zero results. I give a tiny smile to myself. This means we don’t sell the book. We’ve never sold the book. It is exclusive to our competitor. There is no possible way we can give her money for this book, no matter how the managers try. The management is notoriously slow at responding to calls to the registers so while the woman mentally practices her dissatisfied customer spiel, I go through the whole bag. I put the book aside and look up the second book. Then the third. Five books, none of which our store has EVER carried.

I head back to the register she’s standing at the same time a manager arrives. The woman bursts out with:

Customer: “Yes, hi, I want to return these books but your employee won’t return them.”

Me: “According to her receipt, she bought them from [Competitor], five years ago.”

Manager: “Well we can try to return them without a receipt but you’ll only get store credit for it, and the lowest possible price they’ve been sold at in the past.”

Customer: “That’s not acceptable!”

Manager: *Growing a bit of spine unexpectedly.* “Well that’s the only option you have. I suggest you take it.”

The woman gapes like a fish for a moment.

Me: “Actually, we can’t do that either. These books are also [Competitor] exclusive.”

Customer: “And just what does that mean?!”

Me: “It means we don’t even carry these books. We never have. Our computers won’t even recognize their existence. It is literally impossible for you to return them to us and get anything at all for them. Your only chance is to take them to [competitor] and hope they’ll take them there.”

I start putting the books back in her bag as the woman argues that the price of the book is literally on the cover, so just give her the cash for each of them that way. The manager calmly but politely refuses.

I place the bag on the register counter for her to take.

Customer: *Snatching up the bag in a fury.* “You’re only doing this because I’m white!”

Me, manager, and a nearby coworker who has been shamelessly eavesdropping are all white. In a feat of perfect synchronization:

The Three Of Us: “Ma’am? You’re black.”

The woman experiences what I can only guess is the brain version of a Blue Screen of Death that lasts a full four seconds. Then she just screeches and charges for the front doors, slamming through them and out of the building.

I lose the last dregs of restraint and just put my head down on the desk and laugh. Dumbest attempt at pulling the race card, ever.

Try Not To Flubber Your Lines

, , , , | Right | June 8, 2022

In the ’90s I worked for a now-defunct retailer that sold books, music, and movies, and also did movie rentals. When we were slow in the other departments, we would help out putting returned movies away. As I was doing so, I heard this exchange (which has been burned into my brain for twenty-five years) between a customer and our video manager:

Customer: “What’s this one about, this Hamlet?”

Manager: “That’s Shakespeare, the Shakespeare play. They did a movie of it.”

Customer: *Pointing at Mel Gibson on the cover.* “You mean him?”

Manager: “Right, Mel Gibson plays Hamlet. Glenn Close is in it too, Alan Bates. Good cast.”

Customer: *Looking at the pictures on the back.* “So who does Shakespeare play? Which one’s he?”

Manager: “Um, he isn’t in it…”

Customer: “So he’s the director or what?”

Manager: “No, he wrote it…”

Customer: “But he’s not in it?”

Manager: “No, he… he’s been dead for some time…”

Customer: “Well, what’s it about?”

My manager gives him a two-sentence summary of the plot, to which the guy responds with nine words that instantly became an employee inside joke for ages afterward, and I quote:

Customer: “So it’s not a family movie like Flubber, then.”

He left with ‘Flubber.’

Putting Your Wrong Foot In Your Mouth

, , , | Right | June 7, 2022

A woman tried on a pair of shoes and yelled out, in my very crowded store:

Customer: “These are the most uncomfortable shoes I have ever had on my feet!”

I respond, just as loud:

Me: “Maybe that’s because you have them on the wrong feet.”

I’m All Stylist And No Stardust

, , , , | Right | June 7, 2022

I’m a hairstylist, and sometimes my clients are very sweet but also very dumb. I habitually check throughout a haircut to see if they’re happy with the length.

Me: “Okay, how does that look to you?”

Client: “Umm, maybe just a little shorter?”

Me: *Snip, snip, blend.* “Okay, how’s that? Don’t be afraid to tell me, I’d rather keep going until you’re happy with it!”

Client: “Hmm, just a little more, please.”

This continues for a bit, eventually taking off a bit more than I thought she wanted, but it was a dry cut at this point, so it wouldn’t shrink up on her. However, after the last check I did, I got this response:

Client: “Actually… yeah, that’s a bit shorter than I wanted. Could you cut it longer, please?”

Me: *Laughs.*

Client: *Is completely serious and expectant.*

Client’s Mom: *Stares at her daughter in WTF.*

Me: “Umm… I’m sorry, what?”

Client: “Yes, it’s a little shorter than I wanted, I should’ve stopped you after the last one. Will you cut it longer, please?”

Me: *Thinking I’m being trolled.* “I’m sorry, my pair of magic shears are on back order!”

Client: “Oh, shoot! Well, can you ask another stylist to borrow hers?”

Client’s Mom: “[Client’s Name], what are you talking about?!”

Client: “You know, like in that movie we watched the other day!”

Client’s Mom: “…You mean Stardust?!”

Client: “Yes! Where the captain is doing a makeover on the kid and cuts his hair longer! Exactly!”

Me: *Still thinking I’m being trolled.* “I know that movie and that scene. But no, I’m sorry, I can’t use anyone else’s.”

Client’s Mom: *Staring at her daughter in horror.* “You know that’s a movie, right? A complete work of fiction?!”

Client: *Pointing to me.* “Well, yeah, but she’s a stylist. She knows how to do these things.”

Me: *Realizing this adult woman is serious.* “Uh… no… no, I’m sorry, I can’t cut it longer, just… just shorter…”

My client was twenty at the time and was genuinely confused as to why I couldn’t use my shears to add length. Her mom looked like she couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. As I said, sweet girl, but dumb AF.