This Customer Is Beyond Explanation

, , , | Right | October 10, 2019

(A woman approaches our cashier to ask if we carry “water things for cats.” Since the cashier is in a transaction with a line of people, she pages for floor help. I come over to see what is going on.)

Me: “Hi there. How can I help you?”

Customer: “You work here? I need a water thing. It’s for my cats.”

Me: “Okay, no problem. Let’s go take a look at what’s on the shelf. Was there something in particular you were looking for?”

Customer: “No. I don’t know what it’s called. I’ll know it when I see it.”

(We go to the aisle and start going through her options. Does she want a regular dish? No, her cat won’t drink from a dish. How about a fountain? No, that requires a filter and cleaning and she doesn’t want to plug it in. Finally, we come to the gravity water dispensers.)

Me: “You fill the bottle with water and put it in like this, and then the water flows out and fills the basin. No electricity, no filters, it’s easy to wash, and you probably won’t have to fill it more than a few times a week.”

Customer: “How does it work? Why doesn’t the water just come out?”

Me: “There’s a trigger at the bottom of the bottle that doesn’t open until it’s pushed—”

Customer: “Pushed by what? I don’t see what you’re doing.”

Me: “See this white piece that moves up when I push on it? That’s the trigger. It’s held shut by gravity to keep the water in until something — like the basin — pushes it up to let the water out.”

Customer: “This sounds too complicated. How will my cats know what to do?”

Me: “Well… the cats just drink from the basin. There’s a water fountain by the bathrooms. We can put some water in it and I can show you what I’m talking about.”

Customer: “No. Oh! What fountains do you have?”

Me: “For animals? The fountains are here but they’re all electric.”

Customer: “Won’t they take batteries? I’m sure you can put some 9V or something in it.”

Me: “No… they’re all plug-in, unfortunately. If you don’t want a regular bowl and you don’t want to use electricity, the gravity basin is your best bet.”

Customer: “Well, you’re not doing a very good job of explaining how it works.”

(I explain it again, taking the whole thing apart and showing her piece by piece.)

Me: “I’m sure there are videos online if you’d like me to look them up. Or I can give you a demonstration.”

Customer: “No. If you can’t explain it, I don’t want to buy it.”

Me: *fed up* “Okay, well, I hope you find what you’re looking for elsewhere. Have a nice night.”

(She later calls the store and complains about my lack of knowledge about products and my attitude. I walk my manager through the interaction.)

Me: “I don’t know what else I could have done to help her, short of taking it home for her and showing her cats how to use it. I can explain it a dozen different ways but that doesn’t change her ability to understand.”

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