Wish You Could See “The Back” Of This Customer

| MI, USA | Bad Behavior

(I am an assistant manager for a large drugstore that sells lots of items but we are a small independent chain, and frequently the owner can only afford skeleton shifts. At such a time, I am on my own doing all the managerial stuff plus running the liquor counter, which is easily as busy as the pharmacy part of the store. I have no floor help. I’m ringing up a line of about five people when I hear someone yelling from the back of the line:)

Customer: “I need help in the back!”

Me: “What do you need in the back?”

Customer: “I need HELP in the BACK!”

Me: “Okay, as soon as I am finished with these customers I will help you.”

(I keep ringing up customers but she keeps yelling at me.)

Customer: “Why can’t you just call a stock-boy over to help me?”

Me: “I don’t have a stock-boy for this shift. We are short-handed.”

Customer: “What do you mean, you have no stock-boy? I need help in the back!”

Me: *thinking perhaps the pharmacy is less busy and the technician might be able to help her* “Ma’am, if you go to the pharmacy counter—” *which is all of five feet away* “—if they aren’t as busy perhaps the tech can help you.”

(The customer wanders over there, but returns seconds later. I only have two people left in line by now. Even they are rolling their eyes.)

Customer: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I NEED HELP IN THE BACK! YOU SEND ME OVER THERE. SHE SENDS ME BACK TO OVER HERE. WHY CAN’T I JUST GET SOME HELP IN THE BACK?!”

Me: “What exactly do you need from the back?”

(I gather that instead of telling the tech WHAT she needed, she just demanded some vague help in the back, so of course the tech sent her back to the manager.)

Customer: “I TOLD you, I need HELP in the BACK!”

(I finish my last customer and finally, FINALLY, I hope to glean what exactly she needs from the back. I walk towards the back with her and ask her for the 50th time, what exactly she needs.)

Customer: “I want to know if you have any [Soda]!”

(I could have told her, 15 minutes ago, that we had no Soda in the back but decide I’d better make a show of checking. She is yelling the entire time about how she has been here for half an hour (not) and how it is unacceptable that we don’t have stock-boys on the premises at all times. I take several deep breaths and come back out to inform her that no, we do not have any more Soda.)

Customer: “WHAT! How can you NOT have any [Soda]? IT IS IN YOUR SALE PAPER!”

Me: “We must have run out. I can give you a rain check—”

Customer: “I don’t want a rain check!! I want to know why it took me SO LONG to get help, and WHY you DON’T have an item that’s ON SALE!”

(Incidentally, no one but her ever bought a two-liter bottle of Soda. If we order a product and have to return the same product expired, repeatedly, we cannot always get that product back.)

Me: “I told you earlier, we are short-handed. I cannot help if we ran out of stock on a certain product. I would be happy to call our sister store five minutes down the road from here to see if they have any.”

Customer: “That’s UNACCEPTABLE! Where’s your manager?”

Me: “I am the manager.”

Customer: “Well, give me the phone number of someone over your head! This is unacceptable! You people NEVER have any help! You NEVER have the products in your ad!”

(I am tired and red-faced and shaking at this point. If she would have shut the h*** up twenty minutes ago I could have been on the phone trying to call some extra help in, because it was an unusually busy day.)

Me: “There is a customer service number posted on a sheet on the wall by the front counter—”

Customer: “WHAT? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW YOUR OWN F****** PHONE NUMBER? HOW F****** INCOMPETENT CAN YOU F****** BE?”

(I did know my phone number, and the store’s phone number, and the number of the two closest stores, and the main office, and certain higher-ups I need to call occasionally for certain issues I am not authorized to handle, but I have yet to memorize the customer service number. Why she thought calling our store number, which I would answer, would help, I cannot fathom. She walked away cussing and yelling about what a horrible store it is and how stupid I must be. Yep. I am stupid… to be working in retail.)

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