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Thinks He’s In Charge (Port)

, , , , | Right | March 27, 2019

(I work at an electronics repair shop — a highly-regarded one that deals with some pretty advanced repairs. A customer has a tablet that he keeps breaking the charge port on. He has broken it repeatedly and this is our fourth time fixing it. He has left the tablet with another tech for us to order the part. As soon as it arrives, I have it installed and call the guy. The wholesale cost of the part is $18, so we do have a tangible minimum cost to maintain.)

Me: “Hey, [Customer], this is [My Name] at [Shop]. I’ve got your tablet here. It’s all put together, fully charged, and working perfectly. You can—“

(I’m updating the work order and see the dates. He had picked it up three days before he dropped it back off again. It was an easy fix, and repeat customers and word of mouth are invaluable in this field.)

Me: “—oh, wow. You were just here. Let me drop that $20 labour charge for you real quick… And that totals out to $21.70 after tax now.”

Customer: “I’m not f****** paying that. You people gave me a bad part! All I did was plug it in once and it didn’t work! You’re going to warranty this, a**hole!”

(If he had worded this like a decent person, he could have easily gotten it for half of our cost. We don’t bend to abusive customers.)

Me: “The plug looks like the cable was put in upside down. The warranty covers defects in the parts and workmanship. If it didn’t work and was in good physical condition, it would definitely be under warranty, but this is physical damage. I’m already pulling the labour cost as a show of good faith.”

Customer: “No! You put some kind of ching-chong China part from some ‘tee-uh-wani’ place! Just admit it! I want an American-made part this time!”

Me: “It’s an original equipment manufacturer Samsung part. It’s all made in Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam. You’re already getting the repair at half of what you agreed on when you dropped it off. I’m not charging you extra or anything like that.”

Customer: “F*** you! Who’s the manager there?”

Me: *fire and joyful demons cackling fill the background of the shop as I say my favourite words* “I am the manager.”

Customer: “Who else is there, then? Who’s in charge?”

Me: “I’m in charge here. I’ve got my assistant manager here.”

Customer: *now huffing in anger, effectively, over saving $20* “Yeah, well, we’ll see about that. When I get there, I’LL SHOW YOU WHO’S IN CHARGE!” *hangs up*

(Ten or fifteen minutes go by. I spend the time updating the notes with the interaction, make paper copies of everything we did, and dig out the old part to show him. I mention to my other tech that I think this guy might be the type to do something violent.)

Customer: *storms in the front door* “Are you [My Name]?! You think you’re tough? Want to say it to my face that I broke that f****** thing?”

(I’m not the stereotypical nerd. I deadlift three times my body weight, bench almost double, and keep my core and reflexes tight by trail riding dirt bikes. I look like a meathead, until I open my mouth and start talking about how cool it is that we’re at twelve-nanometer silicon microprocessors already. This guy is the peaked-in-high-school, overweight forty-something who tries to dress like a Harley biker, but doesn’t ride.)

Me: “Yeah, I’ve got the old part here. You can see how it’s stretched out on the bottom from the wider top edge of the plug being put in upside down.”

Customer: *leaning across the counter, trying to intimidate me* “That doesn’t prove anything.” *smacks part out of my hand* “You faked that. Or it was like that when I got it.”

(Around this time, one of our regulars comes in — a sweet old lady who usually just needs basic tech support. She’s a time waster, but always nice. This is also the point when I stop being polite. As soon as he smacks that part out of my hand, I decide he is going to pay for his repair and be blacklisted.)

Me: “No, we did not. That’s the exact condition it was in when it came in here. It got like that after you broke it, again. And it takes a lot of nerve to come in here and make that claim when this is your fourth repair for this exact problem.”

Customer: “What did you say to me? Give me a refund, now! All those parts broke, too, and you’re going to pay for it now!”

Me: *quite firmly, hitting the sale button on the register* “The total is $21.70 after tax.”

Customer: “You know what?” *grabs the tablet off the counter, walks halfway across the room, and turns back* “Sue me.”

Me: “Oh, we will.”

(I point to one of the security cameras that got a clear shot of his face, and then I read off his license plate number out loud and write it down. He sort of runs out of the door.)

Old Lady: *in the most stereotypical, sweet, old lady voice* “Well, that man was just a f****** c***, wasn’t he? I had my hand on my pepper spray the whole time. You say the word and I’ll run out there and get him while his window is down.”

(The poor assistant manager is a pacifist and is shaking from how stressed even listening to the whole thing made him. The owner comes by after being called and filled in. Shortly after he gets there, we get a call from corporate saying they’ve got an angry man on the phone demanding I be fired.)

Owner: “Oh, you’ve got him on the phone? Great. Let him know I haven’t finished filling out the police report just yet, so if he wants to be an adult he can call me and we can settle this.”

(The customer calls back a few minutes later and screams at the owner. I can’t hear the whole conversation, but at one point I hear the owner say, “Yeah. And if you’d talked to me like that you’d have got a h*** of a lot more than rude. I went back to jail for less than that.” The customer hangs up. Maybe three minutes later, he calls back. This time he is put on speaker phone.)

Customer: “My lawyer just advised me to pay you. Do you want a credit card over the phone?”

Owner: “Lawyer, huh? That’s pretty cool your wife is a lawyer. Yeah, a credit card will work.”

(He paid, contested the payment, lost the claim, and took a hit off his credit score, plus the fee. He called back weeks later threatening to protest the store. Over $20. Pepper Spray Grandma never paid full price again.)

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