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Wishing You Could Trim This Conversation Back A LOT

, , , | Right | January 6, 2022

I work in a store that sells just infomercial products. I love my job because the owner allows us to have a backbone and refuse service. Since it’s a small mom-and-pop shop, we can’t give you your money back, only store credit within two weeks. Technically, we can’t take any returns.

I come in ten minutes early to open the store like I usually do, and an old lady tries to barge in after me with a bag. I stop her from coming in.

Me: “Woah, there! We open at 11:00; you’ve still got ten minutes!”

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t notice.”

I doubt that but she waits outside until we open. I tend to open the doors five minutes before 11:00, but I know how this interaction is going to go, so I open the doors when the clock actually hits 11:00.

The woman wants to return two cat things: one a four-in-one cat toy and the other a pet hair trimmer.

Customer: “I had this toy out for an hour, and my cats didn’t touch it.”

I take the toy out of the box, and it isn’t damaged or anything, so I can exchange that.

Me: “Okay, it doesn’t look damaged or anything, so I can exchange that. What about the trimmer?”

Customer: “It just didn’t work that well.”

I open the box. The trimmer has black and grey fur all over it, and the blades are all dirty and have cat hair, too.

Me: “Well, we can do a return on the toy but not the trimmer because of how dirty it is.”

Customer: “Oh, my son must have forgotten to clean that.”

She pulls off a good portion of the hair stuck between the blades.

Customer: “It’s still good! I just want my money back.”

Me: “We can’t take it back. This is one of the items we have to be really careful and strict with. We’ve had a lot of people buy razors and trimmers, use them up, and try to bring them back with the argument that they bought them that way, full of dirty hair.”

Customer: “It’s not fair that I can’t return this! I want to speak to a manager!”

Me: “I’m the only one in the store, but I’ll call the manager.”

I call her, since she’s the one who works there six days a week anyway and was working yesterday when the lady bought the trimmer. I bring the manager up to date on the whole story (or as much as I can with the customer standing right in front of me listening to me) and send her pictures of the product.

Me: “Is this something I should return? I mean, you’re the one who will have to deal with cleaning it and possibly putting it back on the shelf.”

Manager: “It’s up to you. You also have to add the factor of whether it’s legitimately broken or not. If it is, then yeah, we can swap it out. If it’s not, then maybe we can exchange it if it’s clean. But I’ll go on your word.”

Me: *To the customer* “Did the trimmer not work at all, or did it just not work well enough?”

Customer: “It worked, but not well enough.”

I thanked my manager and hung up.

Me: “I’m not going to exchange the trimmer because of how dirty it is. We’ve had too many people bring back razors with hair or even grease on them.”

Customer: “Call your manager again! She said if the trimmer doesn’t work, I can return it!”

I call again and ask if I can put it on speaker. They argue for a bit. The manager tells her exactly what I did, and she adds the fact that we technically don’t even have to accept the return, but we do it anyway for the benefit of the customer. The customer is unhappy but ends up accepting it. I hang up the phone.

Me: “Looks like you’ll be getting $22 in store credit.”

Customer: “That’s not right! The manager I spoke to yesterday said I could return it for my money back within two weeks with the receipt!”

Me: “You’re mistaken; you must have misunderstood her. Maybe she said ‘return’ and you thought she meant ‘refund’. That’s a common misconception.”

Customer: “I want to talk to your manager again! Call her!”

So, I call her AGAIN.

Me: “What did you tell this lady when she asked about the return policy yesterday?”

Manager: “I said what I usually say: store credit or exchange.”

She allows me to put it on speaker again. They argue again for a bit, the lady insisting my manager said something completely different from what my manager actually said. She finally accepts that she will get store credit.

Customer: “Does this store credit expire?”

Me: “No, it works like a gift card.”

Customer: “Can I use it at any other stores?”

Me: “No, all the as-seen-on-TV stores and websites are independently owned.”

She finally leaves. Ten seconds later, she comes back.

Customer: “I want your name and your manager’s! I going to file a complaint with [some bureau, I don’t remember].”

I give her our first names.

Customer: “I want your last names, too!”

Me: “There are a total of three employees at this store, including me. Our first names are good enough. It’s a very small business and none of us have the same names.”

Customer: “I want your manager’s last name!”

I refused to tell her. She kept demanding it, so I ended up giving her a fake last name for myself. She finally left, saying she was going to file a complaint with the owner. We haven’t heard from her since.

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