With Managers Like These, Who Needs Customers?

, , , , | Working | September 12, 2018

I am sixteen, working my first job in a grocery store as a cashier, mere months after being hired. I am working in our express lane, which is attached to our deli and hot foods department, to make it easier for customers to purchase hot meals.

A rather gruff-looking older woman comes to my lane with a handful of items, including one of our ready-made sandwiches, made with meat, cheese, and typically lettuce and tomato. I am immediately on edge as the woman responds rather rudely to my greeting; however, I continue checking her out until we get to the sandwich.

She tells me she called earlier in the day and the woman at our customer service center told her she could get a new, replacement sandwich for free. The story is that she purchased a sandwich yesterday for her mother, and the lettuce in the sandwich was soggy and limp like it had gone bad. She provides no specific name of a customer service worker, though we always answer our phones with our names. When I ask her if she has her receipt, she gets ornery and says the woman at customer service told her she wouldn’t need it. This is not true; receipts are required on returns. When I mention to her that returns and exchanges are handled at our customer service desk, she gets blustery and tells me I can set the sandwich aside, as she isn’t going to get it.

As she leaves with her other products, she mutters about how she is never going to come back to this store again… because we enforce our very simple rules? Good riddance.

My boss comes to talk to me later. Apparently, the woman has called to complain about me, and my boss says, “Sometimes it’s just better to give the customers what they want.”

What is even the point of us having rules at all if we’re going to allow customers to break them whenever they want?

I’ve been working at the store for eight years now — and I’m a heck of a lot tougher about our policies now than I was then — and the way my boss said that still grates on me. She’s no longer working with us, thankfully.

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