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The Very Act Of Apologizing About Being A Bad Customer Means You’re Not

, , , | Right | March 15, 2021

I’m a personal shopper. Many of our customers are entitled, a few are downright nasty, and two of them we want to ban, but corporate won’t let us. They complain so much that we have to have a manager check their order every single time, but that never stops them from going to corporate to get free stuff.

We also have some genuinely nice customers. I’m shopping for a sweet old lady, but I have one thing out of stock. I give her a call.

Me: “The only thing out was [Brand] shrimp scampi. Did you want to go with another brand? Or, [Brand] also had this cilantro lime shrimp thing, if you wanted to try that instead.”

Customer: “Oh, I think there’s another brand with something similar. I think it’s frozen with vegetables. If you find something like that, I’ll take that. If not, then just leave it off.”

Me: “Okay, I will take a look and see if we have that.”

I hang up and head to the frozen section. A brand known for its steamable vegetables that also has ready-made frozen meals has a shrimp scampi option, so I grab that and add it to the order. A little while later, the customer calls me back.

Customer: “Yes, I had placed an order earlier, under [Customer], and I talked to someone about subbing the shrimp.”

Me: “Yes, that was me.”

Customer: “Okay, I remembered the brand name: [Brand #2]. I think they have a shrimp thing.”

Me: “They do. I found one of their meals that was shrimp scampi, so I got you that.”

Customer: “Isn’t that really expensive?”

Me: “It’s on sale right now, so it was only a dollar and some change more than what you originally ordered.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s not too bad. I’ll try it, then. Thank you.”

Me: “You’re welcome. Have a good day.”

I go about my day. A little while later, this customer calls a third time.

Customer: “I know I’m being a pain in the a** by continuing to you, but I was wondering if it was too late to add something to my order?”

Me: “No; however, you would have to pay at the curb for the add-on. The way our online payment system is set up, we can’t go back in and charge you more once we capture your total. We have a card reader so you can pay by card at pickup.”

Customer: “Would cash work?”

Me: “Yes, you can pay with cash.”

Customer: “Great. I wanted to add some [Brand #3] bleach. I don’t need a great big thing of bleach, now. A small- to medium-size bottle will do.”

Me: “Small- to medium-size [Brand #3] bleach. Anything else?”

Customer: “That’s it. Do you know how much that will be?”

Me: “Just a moment while I check.”

I run to the cleaning aisle and grab a bottle of bleach.

Me: “The price tag said $2.89, so with tax, that will be about $3.”

Customer: “Okay, thank you. I know I’m being a pain in the a** to you right now, and I promise this is the last time I will call you today.”

Me: “You’re not a pain to shop for, trust me.”

Customer: “No, I know I am. Anyway, I think my pickup time was at one, so I will see you then.”

A little after one, our delivery phone rings.

Me: “Hi, last name, please?”

Customer: “It’s your pain in the a** customer, [Customer].”

Me: “Okay, I’ll be right out.”

I quickly grab her order and take it out to her car.

Customer: “I’m sorry again for being such a pain in the a** today. I know you guys are busy.”

Me: “Believe me, you are not a pain.”

I don’t think she fully believed me. But a customer who was polite, patient, and not angling for free stuff, who picked up at her scheduled pickup time and not five to ten hours later? I wish our pain in the a** customers were like her.

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