Behaving Antisocial About Being Social

, , , | Right | September 9, 2020

Our registers are spaced along a counter, rather than at individual kiosks. A customer is at the register next to mine, chattering to my supervisor about what she’s going to do with her craft purchase. I’m not paying attention, partly because I’m not interested, but mostly because another customer has come to the tills.

I greet the next customer and start ringing them up. We’re a little way down the counter and I’m not talking loudly enough to drown her out, but apparently, the customer takes offense.

Customer #1: “Excuse me? Excuse me! HEY!”

She reaches over and raps my register monitor sharply.

Customer #1: “Are you listening to me?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but no. I was helping another customer.”

Customer #1: “Well, you need to remember your manners! Close your mouth and open your ears, because I’m talking and you’re supposed to be listening! I was saying that I’m going to—”

Me: “Ma’am, I have a customer to help. I cannot socialize.”

Customer #1: “You’re being very rude! I learned in elementary school that when one person talks, you’re supposed to listen!”

Customer #2: “And I learned in elementary school that when you’re at work, you do your job and don’t stand around socializing. Leave the poor cashier alone.”

Customer #1: “You stay out of this!”

The supervisor, who initially kind of froze up, speaks up.

Supervisor: “Ma’am, you were talking to me. My employee was not part of our conversation, so she was not required to listen. Now, here is your change, and you’re going to need to leave, as we have other customers to assist.”

[Customer #1] huffed but stormed off. She didn’t send in a complaint, as far as I know.

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A Basket Full Of Karma

, , , , , | Right | June 10, 2020

At my thrift store, each department uses secondhand selling websites — eBay, for one — to find out what a particular item seems to be going for in the market, and prices items that way. As such, anyone who tries to haggle is told that we simply don’t do that.

A customer comes in and sees a picnic basket for two behind the counter and asks so see it. It comes with two of each utensil, as well as space for a nice lunch and a bottle of wine to be stored.

Customer: “Wow, I really like that item… but not for [our low price].”

Me: “Sorry, sir, the price is as marked. Housewares determined they’re going for that price when used. We cannot haggle.”

Customer: “Hmm. You know, I bought a new one for [$5 higher than our price], retail price.”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

The customer is silent for a beat as he almost obsessively checks and rechecks every inch of the item.

Customer: “Wow. I really do like that. It’s really cool. But not for [our price]… Maybe [half our asking price]. But not [our price].”

Me: “Sorry, sir, we still don’t haggle here.”

He is silent for another beat, obviously waiting to see if I’ll throw in a “but…” in there. When I remain quiet, as well…

Customer: “Well, I really like it, but not for [our price].”

He waits again.

Me: “…”

He finally heaves a very long, very exaggerated sigh and does a full-body sag of epic disappointment and dejection before he reluctantly stops fiddling with the basket:

Customer: “Well, I guess I’ll have to think about it.”

I put it behind the counter once more and say in a falsely cheerful voice:

Me: “Thank you for your interest, sir! If you decide that you really do like it enough to pay our asking price, you just ask me to bring it out for you.”

Customer: “Well, I really do like it. Just not for that price.”

Me: “Have a good day! Bye-bye now!”

I mutter under my breath:

Me: “You don’t actually like it… you just want it cheaper, you cheapskate haggling jerk.”

He comes back the next day, and I can see that he is preparing to sigh over the item again. He oh-so-casually asks if I have talked to Housewares to see if they’d be willing to part with it for his offer, reiterating yet again how MUCH he likes it, and how he just needs us to come down a little on the price.

Me: *Smiling sweetly* “Oh, I’m so sorry, sir! A young gentleman came in two hours ago and bought it already. He said he was going to take a date out for a picnic lunch as soon as the weather turned nice.”

It was a pleasure to see the man’s face fall when he realized how he had missed out. 

It’s actually very common for someone to try wrangling discounts out of us. Some even threaten that no one else would “pay so much money” for the item they want. Almost every single time that happens, someone else will come along and snatch the item up for the asking price without batting an eye.

In our store, you snooze, you lose!

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Those Who Won’t Pay The Price Will Pay Some Other Way

, , , , , | Right | April 15, 2020

I used to work in a thrift store. And without a doubt, the very worst part of working there was the hagglers. Customers always assumed they knew how much something was really worth, especially in the collectibles section. I never bothered to count how many customers gave me grief about the prices, even though I had no control over the prices whatsoever.

At least once or twice, somebody had the gall to tell me to go to the back and tell the people who put on the price stickers that their prices were much too high, and one old man told me to my face that God didn’t love me because I was robbing the customers of their hard-earned money.

I especially dreaded when the workers put two different stickers on the same item by mistake, because the customer would demand the lower price every time. 

We had a few regular hagglers and my stomach would sink to my shoes every time I saw them. My most memorable moment was when a regular came by like usual, and I dreaded her the most because she was the “my way or the highway” kind of person. While she never got physically aggressive or anything, I could just tell she was a woman who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t take no for an answer. 

I can’t remember what item it was, but she was very adamant about purchasing a particular collectible that day while being just as adamant about not buying it for full price. As usual, she tried everything possible to get us to knock the price down, and she hung around the area for at least an hour. 

When she walked away for a bit, a man came to collectibles, saw that same item, and decided to buy it. He didn’t say anything about how much it cost; he just wanted it. How could I refuse? I wrote him the sales ticket, he came back with his receipt in good time, and he left with his little prize fair and square. 

You guessed it: the same lady came back — I swear my heart skipped a beat or two — and saw that the item was gone, and all I can tell you is that she was not a happy camper.

It was all I could do to refrain from telling her, “Well, gee, lady, maybe if you weren’t so picky about the price, you could have gotten your hands on it first. And you wouldn’t have saved that much money, anyway.”

I totally understand people who must stick to a strict budget, and I understand the need to save. Even so, as I witnessed there, and still witness from time to time at my current job, the lengths some people will go to save a measly two or three bucks are simply astounding.

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So Much For Unity And Working Together…

, , , , , | Friendly | March 22, 2020

(I walk into the thrift store where two older ladies are working and there’s an old man who just hangs out all day. They are talking very loudly about a very mild kerfuffle that got blown way out of proportion that happened at a local high school involving pro-[American Politician] posters. They have apparently not noticed or cared that anyone has walked in.)

Lady #1: “–and so this little [expletive] kept tearing down the posters, and the school won’t do a thing! It’s disrespectful.”

Lady #2: “They’re always like that, and the teachers are always protecting those types. Why, my granddaughter got in trouble for telling one of those Hispanic boys to stop insulting the teacher. And walking around with Brown Pride shirts!”

(I am starting to get uncomfortable, as well as mentally calling bull on her claim given the area’s demographic makeup. Then, they go back to complaining about the poster incident when the old man pipes up.)

Man: “You know, that boy should be hung by the neck for showing such disrespect!” 

(The ladies made noises of agreement — and I immediately left and haven’t been back since.)

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Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 16

, , , , | Right | March 20, 2020

(I recently started working at a locally-owned thrift store that benefits the less fortunate people in our area. This takes place on my fourth day of work. A customer comes up to me carrying a stand of some sort, which I later find out is for cymbals for a drum set.)

Customer: “Can you do $10 for this?”

(The original price is $12.99. As we are a store, not a garage sale; the price on the tag is final unless it has been on the floor for a long period of time. I look at the tag and see that it was just put out yesterday.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but this was just put out yesterday so I can’t lower the price.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because it just got onto the floor yesterday.”

Customer: “But it doesn’t even have the cymbals on it.”

Me: “I understand that, sir, but it is still a nice, working stand.”

(He tests it out to make sure that it adjusts and everything properly and then tells me that he “might” get it. A few minutes later, I see him walking to the cash register.)

Customer: “I am going to leave the tag here and take the stand to the truck. My wife is going to pay for it.”

(There is no wife or anyone to speak of around.)

Me: “I am sorry, sir. You can’t take it out of the store until you have paid for it.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because… you haven’t paid for it.”

Customer: “But my wife is going to pay for it!” *still no wife around*

Me: “Sir, once your wife has paid, then you can take it.”

(The customer is really getting irate and giving off an aggressive vibe. He leaves to go to his truck after his wife finally comes to pay, and she doesn’t even have a way to pay. One of their children has to get his credit card from him, which he understands to mean that I have rejected some other form of payment, and storms back into the store. After they have checked out and left, the next customer comes up. I am shaking a bit and trying to calm myself down as I am the only one on the floor.)

Next Customer: “Sweetie, you handled that with great tact. Better than I would have!”

Lady Behind Her: “Yeah, honey, you did good! Don’t worry; we were ready to circle the wagons if anything had happened!”

(The next several customers were great, and one even told me that I was a blessing to him, which almost made me cry right there.)

Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 15
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 14
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 13

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