They Need A Larger Size To Hold In All That Entitlement

, , , , | Right | November 1, 2018

(I am working in the fitting room of a well-known department store. There are no computers or cash in the fitting room, just a phone. I am overloaded with clothes that need sorting and putting away, as well as trying to help customers, answering the phone, and keeping the stalls clean. It’s a Saturday morning and it’s extraordinarily busy, more so than usual. We are also exceptionally understaffed. There are only two managers on duty, instead of the usual four or five. Two team members in my department just didn’t show up for their shift. Every other team member on the floor is on every available cash register, but each line is at least ten people deep. There is just one person at the lay-by counter, which is also the photo desk and the service desk. All the team members are on edge, and the customers are understandably frustrated, but it is glaringly obvious that we are understaffed and busy, and that we are doing the best we can. An irate man, probably about 40 years old, storms into the fitting room with a trolley. In his trolley, there is a backpack, a 3-pack of satin boxers, and four sports shirts in two different sizes. He throws two of the shirts at me and shoves his receipt into my face while yelling.)

Man: “I want you to exchange these shirts for me, RIGHT NOW! They do not fit me at all! I got an XL, but I need an XXL because for some reason they DON’T FIT! This is absolutely STUPID! They wouldn’t even fit a LITTLE PERSON!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that, but–”

(I cannot process exchanges in the fitting room as I have no computers. He needs to go to the lay-by counter. You need the computer to scan the receipt to return the items, and issue a new receipt for the exchanged items, since different sizes in the same style have different barcodes. Yes, it’s a bit frustrating, but that’s just how it works. I try to explain this to him, and I try to explain the fact that he needs to go to the lay-by counter, but he doesn’t accept it. He is getting more aggressive and keeps interrupting me.)

Man: “I am on my DAY OFF from work! I am NOT spending my Saturday morning WAITING IN LINE! I have just come from the lay-by counter and there is only ONE person down there with more than twelve people in line! I am NOT waiting! Process this for me right now! I make $40 an hour! Where is a manager?!”

(Yes, he actually mentioned his wage. I was shocked. I read about it all the time on this very site, but I never thought people actually said things like that. The managers are on the cash registers, too, so even if I did call them for help, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything. As the man is ranting, I harshly fold his receipt in half, thrust it in his direction, and put the XL shirts aside. They are the same as the new shirts, just a different size, and even though the new shirts wouldn’t match his old receipt, I decide to take a risk just to get him out of the store.)

Me: “Yes, I know it is very, very busy. It’s a Saturday, the busiest day of the week, and as you can see, we are a bit short-staffed today. I’m sorry about the wait and I’m sorry about your shirts not fitting you properly, but just take your new shirts and your old receipt and go, please.”

(He huffs and grumbles and storms away. I did not raise my voice once and I somehow managed a smile the whole time, but on the inside I was shaken up. I grew up with my parents yelling at each other and at me and my siblings, so whenever somebody raises their voice or yells, even if it’s not at me, I instantly get stressed and upset and want to cry. It’s embarrassing, but it’s just how I react. What’s more is that I had never dealt with a customer that extreme before in my four years at that store. After he leaves, I’m trying so hard to keep it together and it seems to be working, until a young mother with her baby speaks up from outside one of the fitting room stalls.)

Lady: “Are you okay?!”

Me: “Oh… I… Yeah…”

Lady: “Oh, honey, it’s not your fault, okay? You did nothing wrong! He’s just a grumpy old man, okay? As soon as I heard the yelling, I immediately came out of my fitting room and waited, just in case you needed any help. I was going to have a go at him if he didn’t stop!”

(The absolute kindness of this stranger set off the water works. I managed to get it under control before it was too obvious, but I was flawed by her words. Thank you, ma’am, wherever you are, I really appreciate what you did for me. The worst part about the whole thing, though? I later found out amidst the chaos, he managed to slip through the cracks and steal that backpack and those boxers, worth $24 all together, because he didn’t want to wait in line at the register. What is wrong with these people that think they are so superior to everybody else?)

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