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The Grumbler Meets The Groveller

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Electronic-Pie-6645 | July 14, 2022

I am working the cash register at a pharmacy with a corner store attached. This elderly customer approaches the register. As it’s early morning on a Monday, the store is dead.

Me: “Find everything you’re looking for?”

He stops dead in his tracks and looks at me like a French bulldog looks at a steak.

Customer: “As a matter of fact, no. I want to get a bottle of multi-vitamins, and they’re locked up.”

Now, normally, I would leap at a chance to leave the penalty box that is the front register. However, the vitamin lockbox is the one lockbox that only the manager has a key for — the exactly one key, so that’s never a point of failure.

I put on my apologetic face.

Me: “Oh, I am sorry, sir. If you go back to the case, there is a Customer Service button. Hit that and the person with the keys will come to help.”

Instead of smiling and going to do as I suggested, he chooses to get indignant.

Customer: *Grumpily* “What? Why can’t you help me?”

I do my best to repress a heavy sigh.

Me: “Because, sir, I do not have the key for that box.”

So he grumbles the whole way, something like, “Razza-fragga, I’m a veteran. Grumble-mumble, I’m no thief.”

I ignore him and head back to the register to wait for his return.

Eventually, the sound of the service button being pressed is heard overhead. Good. All is right in the world. Right?


Well, it takes my manager three cycles of the alarm going off before he arrives at the lockbox. I can hear the old man from clear across the store.

Customer: “What took you so d*** long?”

Eventually, the old man makes his way back to my register. This time, having learned my lesson, I do not ask if he found everything. I just go through the normal questions. “Do you want a bag?” “Are you a member of our rewards program?” All those time sinks.

Once he is finished, he snatches the bag off the counter. He again looks me in the face and grumbles:

Customer: “Ya shoulda asked if I found everything.”

I’ve had just about enough of this guy, so I break out… Mr. Nice Guy.

Me: “Oh! Oh, I am so, so sorry, sir! Please excuse me!”

I start to flail my hands around as if I am partially trying to fan off my face.

Me: “I had already asked and I had helped you. I thought you had found everything. Please forgive me, sir.”

The old guy was so unprepared for such a response that he just stood there, blinked, and then slowly walked out of the store.

The power of groveling.

Question of the Week

What is the most stupid reason a customer has asked to see your manager?

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