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The Only “Free” For Him Is Being Free To Leave

, , , | Right | September 19, 2021

It’s a slow Sunday shift in 2011. I’m working alone with the other recent hire, and we’ve been taking it in turns to deal with the few customers that walk in the door.

About half an hour before our shift ends, we hear a commotion outside. There’s a man pacing up and down in the parking lot, shouting angrily into his phone. My finely-honed Retail Sense begins to tingle, and sure enough, he comes barging in about five minutes later.

It turns out, he’s looking for a phone for his daughter, who’s eligible to upgrade.

Me: “Great! What can I show you?”

To avoid my typing in all caps, just imagine a red-faced drill sergeant who spotted a recruit who is just goofing off. His method of communication is of the same pitch and volume throughout our entire exchange.

Shouty Customer: “I want to get my daughter a smartphone, but I don’t want to pay for a data package!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but the inclusion of a data package is mandatory. Without it, the phone will just run up data overage charges.”

Shouty Customer: “I have been a [Carrier] customer for thirty years! I deserve to get the Internet on the upgraded phone for free!”

[Carrier] has only been in business for about twelve years, so not only is he lying, but he’s lying poorly. Furthermore, cell phones before now have been about the same size and weight as a brick. The likelihood of getting the brand-new tech for free is somewhere between “no” and “hahaha, NO.”

Me: *As sweetly and politely as I can* “Sir, it’s impossible for anyone to provide that for you.”

[Shouty Customer] growls like a bear, paces back and forth a few times, and then begrudgingly says:

Shouty Customer: “Well, maybe my daughter doesn’t need a smartphone. Show me ones where she can at least text easily!” 

I promptly show him our line-up of QWERTY-style keyboard phones.

Shouty Customer: “And these are all free, right?!”

Me: “No, but after rebate, some of these are only going to be—”

Shouty Customer: “That’s not good enough!”

Cue a long-winded rant while he snarls at me that he has been getting free phones, including free smartphones, for the past thirty years from [Carrier], that I am trying to scam him, that I don’t know anything about this industry, and that he can get a free phone right now with no contract online, etc.

Me: *As calmly as I can* “Sir, the phones [Carrier] offers for ‘free’ online are only free with the establishment or renewal of a contract, and even then, they’re usually only free after the rebates.”

They’re also usually pre-owned, but hey, you get what you pay for. Cue [Shouty Customer] repeating that I don’t know anything and storming out the door in a huff.

I breathed a sigh of relief and then started to smirk a little and shake my head at his ridiculous lies.

[Shouty Customer] thankfully never came back, and all I heard about it afterward was from my manager laughing his a** off about “some lying dips*** claiming thirty years of loyal business with [Carrier].”