You Got To Have A Lorra Lorra Laughs Or You’ll Cry

, , , , , | Right | April 8, 2019

(In my first job, I am placed in the refund section of a large department store in the UK. In my years there, I’ve had my fair share of terrible customers, but this is still the strangest customer I’ve ever encountered. It’s a slow weekday shift. A lady in her mid- to late 60s approaches my desk with a small plastic bag.)

Me: “Hello. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I’d like to return these bras, please.”

Me: “No problem. What is the reason for the return?”

Customer: “Do you know who Cilla Black is? You’re probably too young to know her.”

(I’m thrown by the sudden change of topic, but I inform the customer I do know who she is, thanks in most part to my grandparents’ love of the show “Blind Date.”)

Customer: “Well, I was watching a program with her in it last night and she was talking about how much she hates white bras, because they always end up going gray when you wash them. She’s a very smart woman; you probably don’t know who she is.”

Me: “Um, okay. Well, as I said, I do know who she…”

Customer: “And I thought to myself, she’s right; white bras all go gray over time. It’s terrible. So, I brought them here today to get a full refund.”

(She then proceeds to dump two very old, worn-looking bras onto the desk in front of me. Both of them have obviously been well used, and I don’t recognise them as part of our current range. Still, I hope for the best and try my hardest to remain professional.)

Me: “Do you happen to have the receipt for these two items?

Customer: “Oh, no. Why would I keep a receipt for that long?”

Me: *trying not to touch the bras* “How long have you had these, exactly?”

Customer: “Well, I don’t know, but look at them. Look how gray they are. She was right, wasn’t she? Cilla Black knows what she’s talking about.”

(As much as I would love to tell this customer to leave and take her gray bras with her, my management is very lenient with returns and I know they’re probably going to offer this woman at least store credit. So, I pick up the bras — begrudgingly — and look for the code on the label in the fabric, only to find no code. The label is bare. The garments have been washed so much that all the text has faded away completely until there is nothing left but a blank label. I now have two old, well-worn bras with no receipt, no code, and no way to even tell if they came from our store in the first place.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, but there’s no way for me to process this refund.”

Customer: “But they’ve gone gray. Just like Cilla Black said.”

Me: “Yes, I do see that, but unfortunately, I have no way of putting them through the till. They have no barcode on them and this is not a style we carry anymore. I don’t think we’ve stocked them for a very long time.”

Customer: “But they’re gray.”

Me: “I do apologise, but there’s no way to even tell which store they came from. See?” *proffers the blank label for her to see* “I have no way to refund them. I am sorry, but there’s nothing I can do.”

(The customer goes quiet and looks thoughtful for a moment as if what I’ve said has begun to sink in.)

Customer: “I see… You obviously don’t know who Cilla Black is. If you did you’d, understand. She’s such a smart lady. That program I watched with her in it was so good. I always watch Cilla Black. She’s amazing. Let me explain to you who she is and then you’ll understand. You’re just too young to know her; that’s the problem. And on the program last night she was…”

Me: “Let me just go get my manager.”

(It took my manager fifteen minutes to convince her that she couldn’t return old, used garments just because of a celebrity she saw on a TV program. She left with her bras and I never saw her again. Definitely not my worst customer, but absolutely my weirdest.)

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