A Cancer Of Convenience

, , , , , | Right | September 30, 2019

(We have a regular who comes into our thrift store once every couple of weeks to look at our wares, make lots of loud noises about the things she wants, and then react, loudly, in horror at the prices. She has been caught switching tags in the past. Why she has not been banned yet is unknown. As such, she is not exactly beloved within our store.)

Customer: “Oh, I like that item. And that one. And that one. Please take that out of the case so I can look at it. That’s awesome; I really want that. Wait, it’s $70 dollars?!”

(I didn’t price the item, but I do know enough about the way we handle prices to know that getting it for that price is an absolute steal.)

Customer: “You know, I just came from the doctor’s, and we got a test done, and I might have cancer.”

Me: “Yikes. That’s a bummer.”

(While cancer is serious business, the timing of her mentioning this is suspicious. She wants a thing. Thing is expensive. Now she might have cancer. Hmm…)

Customer: “They’re going to do some more tests to confirm it, but I need to do something nice for myself to keep from flipping out about it, and my family’s not being supportive right now so I’m shopping for myself only, and they don’t deserve anything tonight.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “Are you sure there’s no wiggle room on that item? Because I really like it, but I don’t know. It’s not awesome enough to pay that much for it.”

Me: “Sorry, but that’s the price we’re selling it for. We don’t further lower prices on things until they’ve been sitting around for over 30 days.”

Customer: “Are you sure you can’t discount it to like, $20? Even though I might have cancer?”

Me: “Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the answer, ma’am.”

Customer:My God, you are so heartless!”

Me: *fed up with her tactics and going full-on sarcastic* “That’s right, ma’am! I totally am! I’m a raging monster!”

(My supervisor and coworker are just around the corner, and they’re making muffled choking noises.)

Customer: “I totally believe it! You won’t even discount for somebody who may be dying of cancer!”

Me: “Ma’am, our thrift store exists to give money to [Local Charity]. Even if I was allowed to discount someone else’s department, it would be taking money from [Charity Focus]. Maybe you should just save the $50 difference for the treatment of your possible cancer.”

(I have been making announcements that the store is preparing to close for the night at the 30-, 15-, 10-, and 5-minute marks. Finally, I announce that we are fully closed and to please bring all purchases to the front. The woman is the only one left. She putters around for five more minutes before coming up to the registers. She tries to haggle on multiple items, says, “I know that!” when we tell her repeatedly that we do not haggle, then tries to haggle some more. My supervisor finally tells her to make her choices, pay, and leave, as we are closed and she needs to get out. She tries to give my supervisor the puppy eyes and says:)

Customer: “Look, I really want that item, but not at that price. If you can discount it to what I’m offering, I can make a huge profit on it in my online business.”

(Bingo. That’s why she wants the discount. She is willing to cheat a charity to make personal profit.)

Customer: *continuing* “Then, I would have lots of money for my cancer treatment.”

(She was refused again, and she finally walked outside, huffing and puffing and complaining loudly about how heartless we were. Naturally, she left a pile of stuff for us to clean up. The item? The very next day, someone saw it and paid the money without batting an eye. As for the woman? She came in a few weeks later, the picture of perfect health, and never mentioned cancer again.)

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Donation Frustration

, , , , | Right | September 22, 2019

My sister works at a thrift store where the things they sell come from donations and the money they make goes to help the homeless, providing food, shelter, and jobs. Unfortunately, many people seem to view donating as a way to get rid of their trash. Some of the things my sister has seen donated include:

Empty CD cases. Once, a whole tote of them that she had to go through, check, and throw away.

Old mail, with the address and name still on it.

Jelly beans mixed in with the rest of the donated items.

Chewed gum in the bottom of a purse.

Old furniture that was so messed up or rusted that no one would buy it. The donator then usually asks if they can leave it for the store to throw away, which costs the store money.

My sister now appreciates anyone who asks to make sure something is worth donating.

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The Wi-Fi Is Screwed

, , , , | Right | September 16, 2019

(I work at a very popular thrift store. One day, our Wi-Fi goes out so we can’t use our computers. This means that while we wait for the Internet providers to fix it, we have to write up all the receipts by hand and can only take cash. There are signs on the door when you walk in, on each register, and all over the store. My manager makes announcements every 15 minutes, and I apologize to each customer for the inconvenience. But even with all that, this happens multiple times.)

Me: “All right, now that I’ve added in the tax, your total will be [amount].”

Customer: *pulls out a card and tries to hand it to me*

Me: “Um, we can only take cash right now.”

Customer: “Really? Are you sure?”

Me: “Positive.”

Customer: “Well, I really wish someone would’ve told me beforehand.”

Me: “…”

(Also, while most customers are very understanding, patient, and nice about the situation, I still have a couple of these.)

Customer: “Well, this is just very bad business. You need to fix this immediately.” *leaves in an angry huff*

Me: “Oh, sure. Let me just grab my trusty screwdriver and fix the Wi-Fi. I’ll have it up and running in no time.”

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Her Policy Is To Scream And Shout No Matter What

, , , | Right | September 16, 2019

(At my store, if a customer wants to do a return, we have to pay them back the way they originally paid for it. A woman and her daughter come in to return a bra.)

Customer: “I’d like to return this.”

Me: “All right.” *scans receipt and bra* “You’ll be getting back $5.18, and you paid with card, so that’s how we’ll give it back. Please insert your card when it asks.”

Customer: “But I don’t have the card.”

Me: “Well… I’m not supposed to do the return without the card—”

Customer: *cuts me off before I can tell her I’ll still do cashback* “WELL, Y’ALL ARE GONNA GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK! WHERE IS YOUR MANAGER?!”

Me: *signals to the manager to come over* “We may still be able to give it back in cash since it’s a small amount. But next time, please try to have your card so that we can do the return properly.”


Me: *ignores her yelling to ask for the go-ahead from my manager, though now I have an attitude, as well*

Manager: “It’s fine.”

(My manager tries to calm the woman down because she’s still yelling through the whole thing and even stays after I’ve handed her the money to give us “a piece of her mind” so we’ll “know how to properly run a business.”)

Customer: “…and you’d better not ever try to take my money again! You need to change that policy because it’s bulls***! And next time—”

Me: *fed up after hearing her rant for the past five minutes and slams my hand on the counter* “LOOK! We don’t make the rules, so you continuously yelling at us over five dollars isn’t going to change what corporate decided.”

Customer: “I didn’t say anything about you making the rules! I’m just saying—”

Manager: *cuts her off, sighing* “Ma’am, it’s just store policy. You’ve been shouting for well over five minutes now. We went against store policy and gave you the money back. Can you just drop it?”

Customer: *walks to the toy section with her daughter still loudly going on about how she hates our policy*

Customer #2: *walks up and sets her stuff down rolling her eyes* “I promise I won’t be difficult like that.”

Me: *smiles* “Thank you.”

(Yes, I admit I could’ve handled that better; I lost my temper, and raised my voice. But after dealing with customers like her for nearly a year and getting yelled at earlier that day because our computers shut down, I just had little patience for getting yelled at for five minutes straight over a policy I didn’t make, especially after I had already broken the rules for her.)

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When You’ve Been Doing Black Friday For Eighty Years

, , , , , | Right | August 29, 2019

It was my first week of working in a thrift store and it was our half-off sale day. People lined up outside of the store for hours prior to us opening, Black Friday style. Once the doors were opened people ran in, pushing and shoving to get carts and go to the furniture section. 

I looked over to our toy area and saw an 80-something-year-old woman ram a pregnant lady holding her toddler so that she could get a better look at the puzzles. 

I worked there for six more years.

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