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You’re Down For His Count

| Right | September 30, 2016

(Our store has a little monitor over the door which “counts” how many people walk in. One of the metrics I am judged on as a manager is turnover. So, for example, if 10 people are counted walking in the store and I have ten transactions, I have 100% turnover. Our turnover rate has to stay above 30%. I notice a husband pacing under the customer counter. Each time he moves back and forth, it blinks showing it counted another person. I decide to try to politely get him to move.)

Me: “Good morning, sir! I see you’re waiting patiently. We have couches towards the back, if you want to relax while your wife shops.”

Man: “Relax! Humph!”

(He continues pacing. I try a minute later.)

Me: “I just wanted you to know I have fresh coffee in the lounge, or bottled water if you don’t need the caffeine.”

Man: “I’m not thirsty.”

Me: “That’s okay. I have today’s newspapers and a few good magazines back there as well.”

Man: “Are you trying to trick me into going into the lounge? What, are you going to trick me into paying for that newspaper?”

Me: “Not at all! I just thought you would be more comfortable back there, and we prefer that our guests not stand close to the door.”

Man: “Listen, little miss! I don’t care what you prefer!”

(I decide to leave him alone. A bit later he waves me over. He has noticed the blinking light and asks what it is.)

Me: “That actually counts the number of people who come in the store. It’s part of the reason we try to keep our guests from being too close to the door. I was working with your wife and she said that you’re an accountant, so I know you understand how important it is to have correct numbers…”

(The man grunts and starts pacing faster, a slow sprint back and forth, grinning at the light. I give up. For the hour and a half time that he is there, we show as having a whopping 950 guests, but only 10 transactions, as it is a slow morning. For the month this means that we have to cut hours, cancel the monthly pizza party, and all full-time employees have any bonuses withheld. A few months later, they return.)

Man: *smiling* “Do you have the paper showing my number of paces from the previous trip? I wants to break my ‘record.’”

(I decided to level with him and told him that, although his pacing seemed innocent, it had severely penalized my employees, and begged him not to pace at the entrance again. Red-faced, he ordered his wife out of the store and barked that they won’t be coming back if I won’t let him have “fun.” Frankly, I was glad.)

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