Unable To Put Themselves In Somebody Else’s Paid-For Shoes

, , , | Right | January 23, 2020

(The phone rings and I answer it.)

Customer: “Hello, I bought a few things from your store and thought the total was wrong. When I got home, I checked, and I found that I was charged for a pair of shoes that I never purchased.”

Me: “Um, well, that’s unfortunate. I guess if you come right back, we can–“

Customer: “No, no. I’m already home. I’m not coming back tonight. I just need you to take a note so your manager can refund me when I’m able to come back in a couple of days.”

Me: “I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.”

Customer: “What do you mean?! I have my receipt!”

Me: “Which proves you paid for the shoes. It doesn’t prove that you never got a pair of shoes to begin with. If you come back tonight, before we close, my manager may be able to help you.”

Customer: “No, no, no! I’m already in [Nearby Town, fairly close]. I’m not coming back in tonight. It’s just not going to happen. I just need you to tell your manager that they have to refund me for the shoes I paid for but never got. I’ll come back in two weeks, when I pass through your town again, and get my cash back then.”

(I am a basic employee. My managers are awesome, but there’s no way on earth that I’m going to give a manager an order, much less expect it to be obeyed.)

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t give refunds in cash, ever. Our store plainly states that we don’t give refunds.”

Customer: “But I was charged for something I never purchased!”

Me: “And you’re refusing to come back immediately to fix it. Obviously, the refund isn’t that important to you if you’re not coming back for two weeks. I’ll tell you what; I’ll leave a note for my manager, and you can ask her if she’s willing, but I can’t make any guarantees.”

Customer: “No worries! I’ll bring my receipt as proof! They’ll have to give me the money back if I show them my receipt.”

(I take the customer’s name, reiterate that it’s highly unlikely that she’ll get a refund, and hang up. I tell my manager and she gives me a dubious look.)

Manager: “Yeah, I’m going to thank her for the donation and send her on her way. I’m not giving her money two weeks after the fact when she left the property and can’t prove that she never got the shoes.”

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Cheap Customers Are A Cancer

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2020

(I work in a thrift store. We get a lot of people who try to bargain with us, but we don’t do that with our products, as we are already consistently lower than the other thrift stores in the area. We have a regular who has tried all sorts of schemes to get us to lower the price.)

Regular: “Oh, I like that [item]. And that one. And that one. Please take those out of the case so I can look at it. That’s awesome, I really want that. Wait, it’s [price] dollars?!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Regular: “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…)

Regular: “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.”

Regular: “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: “We look these things up online, and then discount the retail price some 75% to 80%, ma’am. We’re not likely to go lower on it.”

Regular: “Yeah, that’s not true. There’s no way that’s 80% off.”

Me: “That’s the way we price everything, ma’am. Regardless of what we’re selling, our pricing policy is uniform across all the boards.”

Regular: “There’s still no way that’s 80% off.”

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

Regular: “Are you sure you can’t discount it to like, [less than 1/3 of the asking price]? Even though I might have cancer?”

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

Regular:My God, you are so heartless! I might have cancer and you won’t even discount something for me!

Me: *in a sickly sweet voice* “That’s right, ma’am! I totally am! Now, will you buy the [item] or shall I put it back?”

(She stared at it for a long time, huffed and puffed, complained some more about how heartless we were for not giving her a might-have-cancer discount, and stormed out without it. The item sold the very next day, to someone who didn’t feel the need to haggle.)

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Sounds Like Evidence In A Future Legal Case, But Okay…

, , , , , | Right | November 30, 2019

(I see this unfold while helping at the donation door of my thrift store. A woman is donating what looks like a full camping set for one person: a tent, a sleeping bag, various camping accessories, etc.)

Customer: “I went camping with my boyfriend and came back single.”

Me: “Um…”

(After the customer leaves…)

Coworker: “Yeah, that doesn’t sound suspicious at all!

(A day later…)

Coworker: “Remember the lady who ‘came back single’?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “She says she accidentally donated a shovel and pickaxe…. and wants them back.”

Me: *pause* “We’re going to be talking to a police officer who has many, many questions, aren’t we?”

(My coworker did return the shovel and pickaxe to her, after taking care to be the only one to handle them. I’m not even sure whether the lady just phrased it wrong, or whether there’s a shallow grave somewhere nearby. It’s been a few weeks, and no one has come up missing in the local news yet, so I’m hoping it was just bad phrasing.)

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Taking A Penny, But Giving You His Two Cents

, , , , , , | Right | November 1, 2019

(A guy comes up to the registers with three small housewares items, totaling $1.75. The guy rummages in his pockets and clatters down $1.50 in quarters, two dimes… and FOUR pennies.)

Customer: “Well, looks like I’ve only got $1.74. You can take that, right?”

(He gives me a tiny smirk, automatically assuming that I can.)

Me: *apologetically* “No, sir, I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

(His smirk dies.)

Customer: “Well, do you have one of those coin trays?”

(He’s looking for the give-a-penny, take-a-penny thing.)

Me: “No, sir. We don’t have one of those.”

Customer: “Why not?!”

(I explain. To sum it up, our money goes to a local No-Kill animal shelter for surrendered pets and strays. We make money off items sold, and we have little house-shaped banks to take dollar bills, and a pair of Big Belly Banks — one penguin, one begging dog — for coins, which kids and even adults love. Any declined change goes straight into these banks as a direct donation.)

Customer: “That’s ridiculous. You should just have a tray for loose change!”

(He then drops a dime on the counter. Now, here’s the thing: he didn’t rummage in his pocket to try to scrounge up what he owed. He made no effort to LOOK for more money. He literally had the dime in his palm the ENTIRE TIME that he was trying to get me to accept a penny less for what he was buying. I don’t say the half-dozen smart-mouthed things that fly through my head as I make the nickel in change for him.)

Customer: *retorts, in what is clearly a Direct Order from His High And Mighty-ness* “Just keep the nickel and use it to spot someone else who is short! I can’t believe you won’t take a freaking penny less!”

Me: *sickly-sweet grin, calling out as he stomps out the door* “The homeless animals thank you for your donation, sir! I’m sure they appreciate you not stealing money from them!”

(Maybe petty. Maybe passive-aggressive. But I don’t regret a word of it. I fed the penguin bank his nickel at the end of the night. Oddly enough, no one else had the gall to try to short change our charity.)

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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?!”

(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, and 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.)


This story is part of our Hagglers roundup.

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