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That Did Not Go Swimmingly

, , , , , | Right | June 9, 2019

(I’m working in a small, high-end swimwear store. For reasons that I hope are obvious, we have a very strict “all sales final” policy on swimwear. Naturally, this policy doesn’t always go over well with our clientele, who are mostly middle-aged women with a lot of money and even more free time. On this particular day, the owner of the store is working in the office while I’m assisting customers. A woman in her 50s comes in with a plastic bag and makes a beeline for the register.)

Me: “Hello, how can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need to return this!”

(I cringe hearing the word “return,” but I take the bag from her and open it anyway. Sure enough, it’s a swimsuit, and one that we definitely have not sold in the six months that I’ve been with the company. The wrinkled tags and a crumpled, faded receipt are stapled to one of the straps.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t take this return.”

Customer: *instantly angry* “Why not?!”

Me: “We have a no-return policy on swimsuits; it says so right here on the receipt, and on signs throughout the store.”

Customer: “Well, surely you can make an exception. I never wore it so it’s as good as new, right?”

(I take the suit out of the bag and examine it more closely. Not only has it clearly been put through a washing machine at least once, but the leg holes and straps are badly stretched out.)

Me: “Ma’am, this has obviously been worn; see how the leg holes have been stretched?”

Customer: “Fine, I wore it, but only once for no more than an hour, and that’s how it looked after! You should give me my money back because it was badly made, definitely not worth the $200 I spent on it! It’s ugly, too. It looked nothing like it did in the advertisement here in the store!”

Me: “Again, ma’am, there’s really nothing I can do. We can’t accept returns on swimwear for sanitary reasons.”

Customer: “Well, how about this? I know the owner of this place, and I’m sure she wouldn’t be too happy to hear how you’re treating one of her oldest friends! I could have you fired, b****. What do you think of that?”

(At that moment, the owner leans out of the office behind me.)

Owner: “I think I’m not going to fire one of my most reliable employees for enforcing my policies. I also think that if you bought that suit expecting to look like the 20-something model in the advertisement in it, you’re a d*** fool and you deserve to be out $200; you didn’t even look like that when you were in your 20s!”

(The woman gapes at her for a moment before storming out, leaving the swimsuit behind. The owner picks it up, puts it back in the bag, and drops it in the trash before turning to me.)

Owner: “I’m sorry about her. I’ve known her since college and we’re still in the same social circles but we have never been friends. She was a stuck-up b**** then, and she’s a stuck-up b**** now.”

Me: “I can’t even begin to imagine how she thought that she was going to pass that off as new!”

Owner: “No doubt she was counting on you being as dumb as she is.”

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