The “Splash Zone” Crone

, , , , , | Right | May 18, 2020

This happened about ten years ago, when I worked for a national electronics retailer who has since gone out of business. 

I was a shift supervisor and the only one on site on this shift with refund authority.

I had been assisting at our front register, having been summoned by one of the less technical members of staff, and had just concluded testing a customer’s item, so I had one of the store multimeters on the table.

A new customer approached, wanting a refund on a “faulty” universal power supply they had bought recently. We’d had a lot of returns recently and my directive from the store manager was to aim for store credit when there was no fault with the item being returned.

I had the test kit in front of me, fired everything up and, lo and behold, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the PSU. I explained this to the customer, and told her that I would happily give her store credit or exchange for other goods, but I was not prepared to refund the item just because the item she wanted to power was broken.

She, perhaps quite understandably, wasn’t happy with the outcomes I was offering, but how she responded beggars belief.

After arguing for a few moments, she turned and checked behind herself, saw a child — who, based on what happened next, I assumed was with her, but turned out to belong to another customer who was queueing at the register — and pointed to one side of herself in a “stand there where I can see you” kind of way. She then threw herself to one side, colliding with a display unit, dislodging stock, and nearly pulling the shelf down on top of her.

She then demanded I complete an accident report, which I was going to do anyway, and insisted on adding her own comments about how our displays were hazardous and occluding the standing area around the register. They weren’t.

The customer to whom the child belonged was outraged but kept his composure while he was assisted by one of my colleagues.

Eventually, the mad woman left, and I called the store manager at home to explain what had happened.

The next day, we reviewed the CCTV together and it was incredibly obvious that she’d moved the child out of the “splash zone” before deliberately falling over nothing and colliding with the display.

We contacted the head office, who sent someone from the liability team to take copies of the CCTV. When he turned up and reviewed the footage, he laughed at how obvious her actions were and said that any claim she might submit would be thrown out.

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