There’s Customers Over Here

, , , | Right | September 27, 2018

(I have five minutes left in my shift when a customer approaches me looking for some pens we have on sale. Luckily, I can scan to get directions right to them, so I figure I can show the customer and then finish cleaning up my stock after without risking going over my hours. Unfortunately, when we get there I see we’re sold out.)

Me: “I’m so sorry, but we must have sold the last ones today, and the system hasn’t caught up yet. We’ll get more in this week; do you need them now?”

Customer: “No, I just wanted to grab some fine-line pens for writing.”

Me: “Oh! Well, the sale ones were for drawing, so we actually have writing pens for that same price all the time. You can even test them there.”

(I show the customer the pens in the next aisle. I even walk him through each one, and answer some questions. I’m hitting the end of my shift, so I try to wrap it up.)

Me: “…and there’s pens up at the front that are roughly the same quality, but 50 cents cheaper. I need to head up there so I can show you.”

Customer: “Okay, it’s going to sound like I’m picking on you, but since you’ve been so helpful, I’m going to offer you some advice.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “You know the verb ‘to be’ is dead; people don’t use it anymore. You said, ‘There’s,’ as a contraction, but since it’s a multiple, you should have said, ‘There are.’”

Me: “Oh. Okay?”

Customer: “You wouldn’t say, ‘There’s cars over there,’ right? It’s the same thing.”

(I realize he’s going to keep going, so I decide to just smile and nod.)

Customer: “You’ll notice it’s what they say on the news. It’s the more professional way to speak. My daughter says, ‘There are,’ and she works at the White House. It makes people judge you if they hear that. It’s like the n-word to educated people.”

(At that point my customer service smile becomes strained past believability, but I manage to keep quiet because I just want to go home. By the time he’s done, it’s five minutes after my shift should be over.)

Me: “Okay, thanks. I’ll remember that. Now, let me just show you those pens.”

(While we were walking he made a joke about being the worst customer. I didn’t laugh.)

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