This Is One Heck Of A Yarn

, , , | Right | CREDIT: SomeSonance | June 18, 2021

I work at a craft store chain with several stores in the area. I’m a cashier, but since we have so many cashiers, I often work on the floor when we aren’t as busy. Thanks to the health crisis, we’ve been having slow incomes of stock, piled on top of customers buying more supplies than usual since they are stuck at home having to do crafts.

I am returning items to the shelves when I get stopped by an interesting customer.

Customer: “Hello, do you have this style of yarn in stock?”

Me: “Let me check!”

The customer shows me her phone and I find the item that’s on our app. There’s a SKU there, which I look up, and it shows that we are out.

Me: “I’m sorry, it looks like we are out of that yarn.”

Customer: “Do you have any in overstock?”

Me: “No, we do not. Our list of stock details all stock, including overstock.”

Customer: *Sighs* “When will you be getting more?!”

I need to emphasize that processing is not my field of study in this job, as I am normally a cashier. I do know that we get new shipments in on Mondays, but yarn has been coming in increasingly sparingly and we haven’t gotten many new shipments in a while due to low supply.

Me: “Due to delays and low stock thanks to the health crisis, we are not able to tell when any new shipments of that yarn will arrive.”

Customer: *Beginning to look frustrated* “Are you sure there isn’t any in overstock?!”

Me: “I’m positive. We do not even have an overstock location set for this type of yarn, as we haven’t had overstock for it yet.”

The customer’s kids pop up out of nowhere.

Kid #1: “Mommmmm, I need to go to the bathroom.”

Customer: “Have [Kid #2] take you!”

Kid #2: “But I don’t know where the bathroom is.”

These two children are young. [Kid #2] looks to be maybe five years old, while [Kid #1] is about three years old or so.

Me: “The bathroom is right around this corner!” *Points*

Customer: *Shooing her kids off* “Yeah, yeah, go.” *To me* “Are there any other stores that may have the yarn?!”

Me: “I can check. Can you please give me a moment?”

I check my scan gun for other store availability.

Me: “It looks like nearly every single store in the nearby vicinity is out, as well. Though there is [Location] across the city which may have a few—”

Customer: “But that’s so far! I don’t want to drive out that far!”

I’m trying to stay as silent as I can. I’m not very confrontational at all and try to let the situation calm down as much as I can. The customer is beginning to look really infuriated from such a small thing, and I’m not one to fuel the flames.

Me: “I understand your frustrations, but I’ve checked every single store that could possibly be nearby, and every single one is out of stock except for [Location].”

Customer: “Fiiiiine, but I’m going to call them to make sure they have it.”

I help her set up a call with the other store. She insists that I stay and help her call, even though I have many other things I could do instead. During this time, her children return and are clearly desperate for their mother’s attention, but the customer physically shoos them off because this call is apparently more important. Eventually, she gets on the phone with the other store after calling three times.

Customer: “Hello. Can you check if you have this specific yarn in stock? I have the SKU number here.”

Employee: “Sorry, we aren’t able to do that since we are busy right now and don’t have anyone available on the floor to check.”

Customer: “But I need to see if you have this yarn before I drive all the way out there!”

Employee: “There isn’t anyone available to check for you right now.”

Customer: *Frustrated* “Can I speak to the manager?!”

Employee: “I’m gonna put you on hold.”

While she’s on hold, the customer addresses me.

Customer: “[Craft Store] has terrible customer service!”

I am baffled. This customer has now just addressed me, a customer service member of said craft store, complaining about the customer service of said craft store. I have no clue how to respond and simply awkwardly nod. What kind of response am I supposed to give?! I want nothing more than to get out of this. For five agonizing minutes on hold, I sit with the customer and her energetic children begging for attention. Eventually, though, the other location’s manager picks up the call.

Manager: “Hello?”

Customer: “Hi there. Can you check if you have this item in stock?”

Manager: *Checks* “I’m sorry, we do not have any of that yarn in stock.”

Customer: “But I’m at a different store and it says you do have it in stock!”

Manager: “Sometimes the system incorrectly puts in the number in stock when mixing up returns. Our apologies.”

Customer: “Are you sure?!

Manager: “Yes, I’m sure.”

The customer hangs up and turns back to me. I manage to negotiate and look at other yarn she may also need for her project and see if she can get that yarn first. It takes many more grueling minutes of sifting through every single aisle of yarn we have, but I eventually help her get a cart full of yarn for her project. As soon as we finish, I am called up to the register to assist with the line. It is extremely hard to hide the visible relief on my face.

This is not the end of [Customer]’s story. Even though we have three cashiers at the registers, I am (un)lucky enough to get [Customer] back at my register when she comes up to pay. Her kids are still running around but she doesn’t even look in their direction. I am desperate never to see her face again, so I quickly ring her up.

Near the end of the transaction, she shows me a coupon.

Me: “I’m sorry, we no longer accept competitors’ coupons.”

Customer: “Since when?!”

Me: “Since last March. There are several signs placed around the registers.” *Points*

Customer: “Do you have any other coupons?”

Me: “We have a 20%-off coupon on our website!”

Customer: “Do you have anything better than that?!”

I explain all the possible options we have for discounts at our store.

Customer: “Can I just… Can I… AUGH!” *Grabs her purse and kids* “Can you put it on hold?”

Me: “Uh… sure… Wait—”

Before I could stop her, the customer nearly ran out of the store with her kids in tow. I tried to stop her to let her know that I needed a name and phone number to put her order on hold, but she was gone before I knew it.

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