The Fabric Of A Meltdown

, , , | Right | September 10, 2020

I work at a popular store that sells fabric that we cut to customer’s specifications. We are open late on Fridays — until 9:00 pm — and one night, at about 7:30, a woman comes up to the counter looking for around fifteen metres of a sturdy but brightly-coloured fabric.

Since we’re a small store, we don’t usually have more than eight meters of a specific colour of fabric except for the cheap cotton which she says will not work. 

Then, I remember that we recently got extra stock of a specific fabric that we were unable to put out on the floor. I tell the customer that I think we might have some extra of this and go into the back to look. I have to get a manager to help me get it off a high shelf, but we do have it, and it’s exactly what our customer wants.

Sounds like a happy ending right? No. 

I go to ring up her three rolls of fabric when she says she doesn’t have her card on her and asks if she can just use the number. I’m not sure, so I ask the manager who is still nearby and my manager says no.

The customer flips out.

Before, she was nice and talkative and very patient, but as soon as we tell her that she can’t pay with a card number, she starts screaming at my manager and me about how we have to let her pay this way, how she works in retail and we’re not allowed to deny her, how it’s not her fault she has a kid at home and she’s leaving the state in three weeks and needs the fabric now, and how she wants to talk to the store manager and wants his number.

My manager tells me to continue serving other customers while she discusses things with the angry customer. I finish ringing up the next customer, who has been watching this woman’s meltdown.

I’m about to reassure the next customer and tell her that she can go on her way, but she subtly flashes her police badge at me and tells me she’s gonna stay nearby just in case. 

So, now I can never say, “There’s never a cop when you need one,” and the customer did talk to the store manager over the phone, and she did not get the fabric.

And she stole my pen.

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