You Don’t Have An Inside Voice But You Still Have To Come Inside

, , , | Right | July 19, 2021

My store offers online grocery shopping. We do not accept orders over the phone, we never have, and we never will. The company also recently changed the payment system, so when the customer places an order they have two options: 1) pay online; or 2) select the EBT option and come inside the store to pay. Maybe three or four customers out of four hundred pay inside since it’s easier on everyone to just pay online.

I am not a manager, but I am the shift lead, so I do deal with difficult customers. A coworker flags me down. This coworker is still relatively new and doesn’t quite know how to not let customers bully her into getting their way. She is on the phone with someone.

Coworker: “I’m going to pass you off to someone more senior who can answer your question.”

She gives me the phone and flashes me an “I’m sorry” look.

Me: “This is [My Name].”

Customer: “[My Name], listen. I’m going to be there in five minutes. I have some stuff I need you to grab and hold for me until I get there.”

We are super busy and short-staffed. We are just barely keeping up with orders as they come in. We do not have time to do anything else.

Me: “Did you place an online order?”

Customer: “No, but I’ve seen you do this for other people. So, I need a chicken, a lemon meringue pie—”

Me: “Ma’am, if you did not place an online order, then we cannot grab items for you and hold them.”

Customer: “Sure you can. Anyway—”

Me: “No. The only way we will grab items for you is if you place an online order.”

Customer: “I don’t want to do that.”

Me: “That’s the only way for us to get what you want.”

Customer: “I’ve seen you hold stuff for other people. You place their stuff in those cabinets.”

Me: “They place their orders online. If you place an order online, we will grab what you want.”

Customer: “I just want a chicken and—”

Me: “Ma’am, even if we did grab that stuff, you would still have to come inside the store to pay.”

Customer: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I HAVE TO COME INSIDE? OTHER PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO GO INSIDE!”

Me: “We did away with curbside payments months ago. Everyone who places an order pays online.”

Customer: “I can’t just give you my card over the phone?”

Me: “No, and we will not shop for you unless you place an online order.”

Customer: “I don’t know how to do that.”

Me: “Just go online to [Store Website] and select ‘Order groceries.’”

Customer: *Grumbles something*

Me: “Have a good day.” *Hangs up*

Coworker: “Thank you. I didn’t know what to do.”

Me: “It’s 2:55. No way she’s getting an order in today.”

The cut-off for same-day pickup is 3:00 pm. My next move was to tell her that the next available time slot wasn’t until 7:30 that evening — after the twenty people in line ahead of her — but that we were running behind so it would be even later.

Coworker: “She was so insistent, and she told me she works in the deli so she knows the system.”

Me: “She works here?!”

Coworker: “That’s what she said, but I didn’t catch her name.”

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