A Fifty-Nine-Dollar Oopsie

, , , , , | Working | September 23, 2020

I’m picking up cigarettes at a drive-thru tobacco shop which I haven’t gone to before.

Me: “Two packs of [cigarettes], please.”

The cashier takes my ID and credit card and returns to the window with the card, cigarettes, and a receipt.

Cashier: “Oh, s***.”

The cashier goes back into the store, returning with a handful of cash.

Cashier: “I accidentally charged your card $70 instead of $11, so here’s the difference.”

She hands me my card and cigarettes, along with a $50 bill and assorted smaller bills, and leaves the window.

I take everything, confused and appalled, and linger in the drive-thru to check the $50 against the light. I used my credit card instead of my debit card, so thankfully, this didn’t overdraw my account.

Cashier: *Returns to the window* “It’s not fake. We check all our bills.”

Me: “Can I please have my receipt?”

True to her word, she had charged me more than $70. The receipt only recorded the total charge, not the cost of each item. I got the heck out of there and deposited the $50 at the ATM next door. Apparently, it was real.

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Well, It’s Certainly Memorable, Part 2

, , , , | Working | September 23, 2020

I am the author of this story. About six months after I stop working with this person, I receive a call from one of the higher-ups of the company asking me to come back and work for them with a promotion and 30% raise. It’s a hard offer to pass up. I meet with my former district manager — [Former Boss]’s boss — for lunch to discuss how the transition would work. 

District Manager: “So, it wouldn’t be the same thing you were doing before, but we can get you up to speed on the changes.”

Me: “That sounds great, and I’d like to come back as long as the support system is in place.”

District Manager: “Yes, we can get [Former Coworker] to help out.”

Me: *Incredulous* “[Former Coworker]?”

District Manager: “Yes, she was promoted to another location a couple of months ago.” 

Me: “Is [Former Coworker #2] still around?” 

District Manager: “What happened? How’s your relationship with [Former Coworker]?”

I pause. I think about deflecting. I think about lying. Then, I decide I don’t owe her anything.

Me: “Honestly, it’s terrible.”

District Manager: “What happened?”

Me: “Well, [Former Boss] hired and paid her to be my videographer when I got married. After jerking me around for a year and a half, she finally admitted to losing all my reception footage. I never even got an apology. So, if I have a choice, I’d prefer to work with [Former Coworker #2].”

District Manager: “Oh, my God. I knew she could be flaky, but that is unbelievable. Don’t worry; I’ll make sure you’re working with someone else.”

To be honest, I felt a little guilty about ratting her out to her big boss, even though I knew it wouldn’t lead to any repercussions for her. Maybe I am a vengeful person. But the triumph of being perfectly frank about her behavior was so, so sweet.

Related:
Well, It’s Certainly Memorable

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Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 14

, , , , , | Right | September 23, 2020

I work for a pretty well-known, somewhat expensive athletic wear store. However, the location I work at is an outlet store, so the price is a lot cheaper for our clothes. A customer came in yesterday, and despite corporate policy, we held several items, all of which were clearance, for her because she was so polite.

Customer: *At the register* “Oh, I remember you. You helped me the other day. I told you I’d come back. Oh, and don’t forget my 10% discount.”

We give three 10% discounts. One is to military and civil service personnel and the second corresponds to a coupon book offered by the mall. We must actually verify these discounts by either checking ID or making sure they do in fact have the “VIP coupon book”. The third discount is tricky; it’s our “team discount”. You have to get at least ten of the same item in all different sizes, AND you must prove it’s for a team. Normally, the team manager calls and talks to our store manager, or even corporate at times, to verify for this particular discount.

Me: “Oh, sure. Are you military?”

Customer: “No, I am not, but I get 10% off.”

Me: “Well, I’d certainly love to give you your discount. Do you have your VIP coupon book with you?”

Customer: “Why would I have that? Just give me the 10% off. I come here almost every month and they always give me a discount for buying so much.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I’ve never seen you in the past two years I’ve worked here and—” *Jokingly* “—you really don’t have all that much here.”

She only has eighteen items, and since they are clearance, the total is a little over $250; really this isn’t all that much by our standards.

Customer: “No! You’re giving me a discount or I’m not buying it.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, they do check the cameras every now and then, and if I’m seen giving you a discount without checking to make sure you are owed it, I could get fired. Since I’d rather not lose my job, I’m sorry, but I can’t give you a discount.”

Customer: “But the managers do it all the time.”

Me: “Oh, really? Which ones?”

Customer: “Your store manager!”

Me: “Let me go grab her real quick, then, but I can tell you, she’s going to say the exact same thing that I’ve said.”

She ignores my offer to grab a manager.

Customer: “Come on. What will it take for you to give me a discount?”

Me: “Well, if you’re an AAA member, I can hold your items while you go get the coupon book, which would be free to you, so you can get the discount. However, if you don’t want to do that, we’re having a promotion for the month of October through the mall and I’ll give you 25% off one item since I have that book that someone left.”

I go ahead and do that discount on her highest-priced item, which was marked $24.97 on clearance. This item was originally $40.

Customer: “That’s not the same, and it won’t save me much.”

Me: “You’re right, but the way I figure it, a little savings is better than nothing. Plus, I did it on your most expensive item: this $25 tank top. that way you got the most savings from it.”

The customer blows up.

Customer: “THIS ISN’T $25; IT’S $15! I GRABBED IT FROM THE CLEARANCE RACK SO YOU MUST HAVE RUNG IT UP WRONG ON PURPOSE!”

I show her on the tag where it says $24.97 and somehow, at this point, I’m still keeping my cool.

Me: “Unfortunately, it is that price. Did you want me to take it off this transaction?”

Customer: “OF COURSE I DO!”

She picks up the tank top and throws it at me.

Customer: “Now, which item will you do the 25% off of now? Or will you finally give me the 10% like you should?”

Me: “None of them. I merely did it out of courtesy. Technically, I could still have gotten in trouble for discounting that item as it wasn’t your coupon book.”

She is now realizing I’m not falling for her pleas.

Customer: “Well, fine! I don’t want it.”

She shoves it all away from her, knocking several items off the counter.

Me: “All right, then. Have a great day and I hope to see you again soon.”

I say this to a lot of customers; it’s just a habit of mine. The customer whirls around.

Customer: “WHAT’S. YOUR. NAME?!”

I write down my name, my boss’s name, and my store number.

Me: “Here’s all the information you’ll need. Now please leave my store.”

Coworker: *Turns to me* “How’d you handle that without blowing up at the customer?”

Me: “Too many years of working retail and dealing with idiots.”

I went and told my store manager what happened; she just laughed and said, “I hope she does report you. I think it’d make the district manager laugh, too.”

Related:
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 13
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 12
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 11
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 10
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 8

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

, , , , | Related | September 23, 2020

I have two girls, ages four and two, and am visibly pregnant with my third child. My mother is watching the younger girl while I do a quick run to the grocery store with my elder daughter.

A random stranger comes up to me who clearly wants to rub my belly but is restraining herself.

Stranger: “Ooh, a new baby!” *To my daughter* “Are you hoping for a brother or a sister?”

My four-year-old speaks up VERY loudly in that way that only four-year-olds can.

Daughter: “I want a brother because I already have a sister and one’s enough of those.”

A nearby cashier tried very hard not to laugh.

My daughter did get her wish. She and her sister are still very close, though, thirty-five years later!

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The Time 911 Called Me

, , , | Right | September 23, 2020

Please note that at the time of this story I was running on hope and caffeine, and had been awake for thirty hours, so some details might have changed due to my recollection.

It is the winter of 2018. I work at a call center for a power and natural gas company. The worst polar vortex storm the state has seen in ages hits us, with temperatures frequently hitting -25 or below for over a week.

Even the waffle houses closed; waffle houses are so reliable FEMA uses something called “the waffle house index” to rate disasters!

I was living close enough to work that they called me in a few times and all hours of the day over the weeks because the number of people who could arrive safely is small.

At the beginning, our queue could be over 500 people. By day three it is mostly just shouting that we need to reconnect their power before anyone else because of any number of reasons, none of which changed the reality that we couldn’t do that. The power grid is like a vascular system. If the end of the line isn’t getting blood it isn’t because the immediate juncture is stopped up. This is compounded by weather and reconnection surges frying an entire second batch of equipment and causing a second wave of outages.

Me: *Taking a call* “Thank you for calling [Power Company], my name is [My Name]; how may I help you today?”

Caller: “I’m not sure you can help, please let me know if you need to get a supervisor. My name is [Caller’s Name] and I am with [Major cellular company]. We donate facilities to be used as 911 relays and switchboards, and the 911 branch in Minnesota town has a problem. See, we have generators and fuel, but only enough for 86 hours. We are currently at about 76 hours without power. We have a fuel delivery being made on an emergency basis tomorrow after they will have been out of power for about 90 hours. With this weather, we need to remain active so our last-ditch hope was to contact you guys and see what can be done.”

I am staring blankly at the address search screen trying to process this.

Me: “Well… let me put you on hold for just a second, I want to see if we have a protocol for… this. Can I get the address of your building?”

Caller: “Oh yeah, absolutely, ask around! Anything that may help. Our address is [Very Minnesota road in very mid-west town].”

At this point, I just mute and ask the girl next to me what the h*** I do. The supervisors are beyond busy, sometimes even taking calls themselves, but she had worked there for six years and just gave me a blank stare for a moment.

Supervisor: “Huh, that’s new, call dispatch I guess. It is an emergency. Several actually.”

I hop on the line, check to make sure an order to investigate the outage is already there, check-in with the caller and get his callback line, all that, then call dispatch.

Dispatch: “Dispatch, what’s the issue?”

Me: “So I know we don’t prioritize who gets reconnected b—”

Dispatch: “Ya d*** right we don’t!”

Me: “Yes I understand that, but I have a fellow from 911 on my line. He says they’ve exhausted their options for keeping the lights on themselves. They won’t get fuel for the generator until they’ve been offline for several hours. That town was hit some of the worst, the last thing they need is to not be able to contact emergency services.”

There is a long pause.

Dispatch: “Okay, I need to put you on hold.”

I hear a bunch of shouting into different rooms because he didn’t put me on hold or even mute me. The dispatcher’s boss gets on the line.

Dispatch Boss: “This is [Dispatch Boss], I hear you’ve got 911 on your line?”

We go back and forth, I bring the cell rep into the call and hop around in the system getting our protocol stuff done, and letting my team lead know what’s going on. I never heard about the issue again, so I have to assume it worked out.

Honestly, I think that dispatch actually giving a hoot was more surreal than being called by 911. Those guys always sound like every request you make is like squeezing lemon juice in their eyes.

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