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The 742nd Reason Why The Customer Is Not Always Right

, , | Right | October 8, 2021

I’m at a craft store looking at the selection of cross stitch and embroidery threads. This chain stocks one of the main brands of threads, one used by practically every pattern designer for cross stitch and embroidery. There are literally 500 colours just in the base collection, so the display is quite large. Each colour is identified with a code number, printed directly onto a band wrapped around every skein of thread.

I have a list of threads I need for a project up on my phone, and I’m browsing the sort-of numerically-ordered display for the relevant ones. I’ve got several already in my basket, and I’ve just picked up another, the last one in its spot.

Customer: “I need that.”

Me: “Sorry, looks like it’s the last one.”

Customer: “I’m doing a project and I need that colour.”

Me: “So do I.”

Customer: “I need it, though.”

She stares at me as if waiting for me to shrug and hand it over. She’s in the way of me searching for the rest of the colours I need. I keep the skein in my hand just in case she’s the sort to go for a basket grab.

Me: “Excuse me, I just need that…”

Customer: “I need that 742.”

Me: *Snapping* “And so do I. I also need 741 and 743, before you suggest that I be the one to swap shades. Since you’ve picked up neither, perhaps one of those will be a suitable substitute for your project?”

Customer: “It has to be 742.”

Me: “Sorry, can’t help. Now please move.”

Customer: “Give me that thread.”

Me: “No.”

Luckily, at that point, a member of staff, alerted to the stand-off by another customer, came down the aisle. She managed to draw the stubborn woman away with promises of “checking the back” and “putting in a special order”.

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