That’s Not How Lines Work

, , | Right | November 30, 2019

(A customer comes in with a ring she wants to exchange. We have a very specific exchange policy, since our system is very old.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it would be easier to just return this. The only thing you could exchange it for would be another piece of jewelry for the same price.”

Customer #1: “What? Why not? I’m still getting something from your store; what’s the difference?”

Me: “It’ll throw off our inventory if you exchanged it for something from another department. I’m sorry, but our computer system is really old and it can’t do anything fancy.”

(She reluctantly agrees to this and I return her ring for her. She goes off to shop and then comes back with an armload of stuff which she leaves on my register while she goes off to shop again. Meanwhile, a line forms at my counter. I’ve begun checking out the other customers when she returns, and she stands off to the side looking over other merchandise on the racks.)

Customer #1: “Excuse me, I was next.”

Customer #2: “I’m sorry, but you weren’t.”

Customer #1: “Yes, I was.” *looking at me* “I was next, right?”

Me: “You got out of line, ma’am.”

Customer #1: “But I left my stuff here! I’m next!”

(Flustered, I begin ringing up the merchandise for the woman who was actually standing in line. The other customer immediately begins yelling at me.)

Customer #1: “I was next! You let this b**** go first, but I left my stuff here so I wouldn’t have to wait!”

Customer #2: *talking to me* “Thank you, miss. Have a good day.” *addressing the other customer* “And you are very rude.”

Customer #1: “You’re both the rude ones! You obviously don’t know customer service! I’m going to call your main office and complain about you.”

Me: “That’s fine. Here’s their number.”

Customer #1: “This is ridiculous. I was here first.”

Me: “You got out of line twice, ma’am.”

Customer #1: “I was here first! You’re rude! You’re going to get fired after today!”

(An hour later, the manager comes up and asks me about what happened, very surprised that I got a complaint since I never have before.)

Me: “She was just mad that I wouldn’t change store policy for her, and that I wouldn’t let her cut in line.”

(I didn’t get in trouble at all, and at my last evaluation I even got a raise.)

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