Unable To Engineer A Solution, Part 2

, , , , | Right | November 17, 2020

I work customer service at an international hardware chain, so I see a lot of different customers: plumbers, electricians, general contractors… you see where I’m going with this. Most of my customers are pleasant, but there are some that have that air of “I know better than you” about them.

This customer walks in with a pretty beat-up case of flooring in a cart.

Customer: “I found this on the side of the road. It looks like it must’ve fallen out of someone’s car; can you see if you can find out who?”

Me: “Sorry, sir, but there’s no way for me to look up specifically who bought it; however, we’d be happy to keep it up here in case the customer returns for it!”

Customer: “Nah, you can look it up. I’m an engineer and I know there’s a way in your system to look it up.”

I’m dumbfounded at this point. Being an engineer does NOT give you knowledge of how our computer systems work.

Me: “Sir, we have no way of knowing who bought it or even when. Our system does not let us do th—”

Customer: *Interrupting* “Don’t tell me you can’t! I’m an engineer! I know you have a way of looking that up! Can I speak to your manager?”

I’m already fed up with his holier-than-thou attitude at this point, so I call over my direct supervisor.

Supervisor: “How can I help you, sir?”

The customer repeats the spiel about finding it on the side of the road.

Supervisor: “I don’t have any way of looking that up, sir, especially since it’s general merchandise; the system will only tell us the last purchase date. We don’t keep a record of who specifically buys what.”

Customer: “Yes, you can! I’m an engineer! I know you can look it up!”

Supervisor: *Deadpan* “No. We can’t, sir. Our systems will not allow us to look it up.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I’m an engineer. I know you have some way of doing it in your system! You just don’t want to do it!”

Supervisor: “Sir, if there were any way for me to do it, I would. Since this was found on the side of the road, it’s basically yours at this point.”

Customer: “I don’t want it. I want you to find out who lost it!”

My supervisor gives up at this point, walks to one of our computers, and types in the merchandise SKU to prove that the only thing our system shows us is when it was purchased last, which was about two weeks ago.

Customer: “Oh… so, you really can’t look it up? Can I leave my name and number so you can contact me if the person returns for it?”

Supervisor: “Not sure what good that’ll do, sir, but go ahead.”

The customer leaves his name and number and exits looking satisfied. My supervisor looks at the paper, throws it out, and turns to me.

Supervisor: “Twelve years of experience between me and you, and just because he’s an engineer, he thinks he knows better.”

No one ever came in for the flooring.

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Unable To Engineer A Solution

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