The Tale Of The $300 Headache

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2019

My store offers a service where you can order groceries online and pick them up at the curb at a scheduled time. Normally, we upload the orders from our handhelds onto the computer which is linked to one of the registers. From there, we print out a receipt which gives us the total. When customers pick up outside, if they did not pay online, we input the total into an app on an iPod and take credit card payment that way. We have one customer who uses our online grocery service and pays for her groceries with an EBT card. Debate about whether or not she should even be allowed to use a luxury service like this aside, our system is not at all set up for EBT, but we can’t refuse her service because of policy and discrimination and such. Instead, we have to take extra steps with her orders and she has to come into the store to pay at our register. This means we cannot run her order through the register until she comes. It’s annoying, but since she is the only customer we have who pays with EBT and she only shops every couple of weeks, it’s not that big of a deal. 

Our pickup times run from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, and customers are allowed to come as late as 8:00 pm, which is when our department closes. If they come after 8:00, they must come inside and customer service has to get payment. 

One day, our EBT customer places a large order that is scheduled for a pickup at noon. I shop the order and give her a call telling her it’s ready and she can come pick it up. She does not show up at noon, and at one I have to leave. I ask my manager if I could put the order into the register, then suspend it so when she comes my coworkers just have to hit the total button, but I am told no. A coworker says that she will take care of it when the customer shows up. I return that evening around 6:45 to grab something really fast for dinner, and I see that this customer still has not shown up. I figure that she will probably come the next day and leave. 

The next day, I come in for work and see that the customer has picked up her groceries. An hour later, the same manager comes to us, panicking and demanding to know what happened with this order. I tell her that the customer did not come before I left, and I text the closer, who says she still hadn’t come before he left at 8:00. A little investigation turns up this glorious moment of stupidity.

Turns out, the customer had come in at 8:20 to pick up her groceries. The customer service clerk on duty at the time was new and had absolutely no idea what to do with the order. Fair enough. Rather than telling the customer that she couldn’t process her order and that she had to come back the next day when someone was here to help her, the clerk decided to just give her her $300 grocery order for free!

The manager tells us that since it is our order, it is our problem, and we are responsible for getting payment from her. We are told to call this customer every hour to tell her to come back and pay. We do, but we still have not made contact before my shift ends, and I leave with a $300 headache. She does come in after I leave, but can’t pay then for some reason, and comes back the day after that to pay.

Now, if we have EBT orders, we have to run them through the register and suspend the transaction until the customer comes. What really tickedc me off, though, was when my manager said that the closer should have stayed late, because the customer showed up twenty minutes after he left. If a customer still has not picked up their order by 8:00, odds are they will pick up the next day. We will occasionally stay past close to get a head start on the next day, but that is usually only around the holidays when we know we will be swamped. Otherwise, 8:00 means we punch out and leave for the night.

1 Thumbs