The Gift-Wrap That Keeps On Giving

, , , | Right | August 30, 2019

(I’m cashiering and a customer has just purchased two books and asked if they can be gift-wrapped. We do offer free gift-wrapping, so I say sure and take her over to the end of the counter where we wrap.)

Me: “Even though the holidays are over, we still have our holiday wrap—” *shows her* “—as well as our regular paper.” *shows her that one* “Which one would you like?”

Customer: “Oh, that’s perfect! This book—” *taps one* “—is a belated Christmas gift. Can you wrap that one in the holiday paper and the other one in the other paper?”

Me: “Sure, no problem.”

(I tear off paper from each roll and wrap each book. The customer is standing there watching me the whole time. When I’m done, I grab the bag and go to put the books in it.)

Customer: “Excuse me, you mixed those books up. I wanted this one—” *taps the book in the regular paper* “—in the Christmas paper and the other one in the regular paper.”

Me: *perplexed as to why she stood there and watched me and didn’t say something BEFORE I finished wrapping, but of course I can’t say anything* “Oh, my mistake. I must have misunderstood you. Let me redo them.”

(I carefully take the paper off and set it aside, thinking I might be able to use it for something else, and rewrap the books. I double-check with her before I start to make sure I’ve got them right. Now, all of a sudden, she’s impatient, tapping her foot and looking at her watch and sighing.)

Customer: “Can’t you go any faster? I’m in a hurry!”

Me: “I wanted to make them neat, since they’re gifts. I assumed you didn’t want sloppy-looking wrapping. I’m going as quickly as I can.”

(I deliberately slow down, because now she’s just irritating me. She continues to sigh until I finish.)

Me: *as falsely cheerful as possible* “Here you go! All set!”

(I try to hand her the bag but she doesn’t take it.)

Customer: “Don’t you have any ribbon or bows or something? They look so plain!”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, we don’t. But there’s a [Retailer] at the other end of the parking lot; I’m sure you can get ribbon or bows there.”

Customer: “I didn’t want to have to pay for it! Never mind. Just give me two cards to go with them.”

Me: “We sell cards in the stationery area right behind you, but I don’t have any to give away for free.”

Customer: “That’s outrageous! I don’t need anything fancy, just two blank cards.”

Me: “Again, I don’t have anything, just the wrapping paper. If you want to buy a card, you’ll have to look in the stationery. We do have blank cards that are reasonably priced.”

Customer: “Just give me two pieces of wrapping paper; I’ll make cards out of those.”

Me: “All right.”

(I try to hand her the wrapping that came off the books from the first time around; since I didn’t rip it, there’s plenty of decent paper left.)

Customer: “No! I don’t want that trash! Give me new paper.”

Me: “All right.”

(I tear off a generous piece of paper from each roll and hand it to her without creasing it. She snatches it out of my hands and stuffs it into the bag haphazardly.)

Customer: “My God, you need to work on your customer service skills! Never in my life have I had such bad service!”

(She turned and stalked off. I called my manager and told her what had happened. She offered to come out and cover my register so I could take a break!)

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