The Soap Dope

, , | Right | March 28, 2018

(I work for a well-reputed cosmetics company in a small shopping centre. We’re rather busy at the best of times, but Saturdays in the store are packed, so queues for the tills often reach the entire length of the — admittedly small — store. While both of the tills are in use, a girl comes up to me with a block of soap and asks if she can have the cheapest piece possible. Company policy doesn’t allow us to sell cuts of soap below 100g, which I tell her, and offer to try to cut the soap as close to 100g as I possibly can for her to avoid undercutting, as all undercuts need to be logged and wasted off.)

Me: “This piece here weighs 142g and is [price]. Would that be all right?”

Customer: “Couldn’t you make it a bit smaller?”

Me: “Okay.”

(I have to cut from a new piece, since cutting the previous one would end up with an undercut.)

Me: “Well, this piece is 112g, which comes to [cheaper price].”

Customer: “Any chance you can get it any smaller?”

(After two more tries, we end up with a piece of soap that weighs 104g, which she’s finally happy with. I print out the label for her and wrap the soap before handing it to her.)

Customer: “Can’t I just pay for it now?”

Me: “I’m afraid we’ve only got two tills on, you see. I’m very sorry, but we can’t really let people skip the queue.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just… Can you not just put it through for me?”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t, but the line does seem to be going down rather quickly! I’ve put the code and price label on the soap for you, so you’ll have a minimal wait at the till, but you’ll really have to join the back of the queue, if that’s all right.”

Customer: “Well, no, it’s not all right, but…”

(She begrudgingly made her way to the back of the queue, clearly muttering angrily to her friend beside her. Barely three minutes passed. I’d just finished rearranging the soap display with the smaller pieces I’d previously cut for the girl, when suddenly she came pushing back through the crowded shop and slammed her wrapped and priced piece of soap back onto the shelf with an indignant mutter of, “F*** this!” before she and her friend flounced out. The best thing was that if she’d have waited about another 30 seconds, she’d have been next served at the till.)

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