You’re So Backed Up That They Back You Up Into A Corner

, , , , | Right | March 9, 2020

(I work in a hobby store where we also have a workshop where the owner can repair electronics. We’ve been booked up with repairs since Christmas and the owner has requested that I accept no more repair requests, but instead take down customers’ information so we can inform them when space becomes available. This happens while I’m the only one working while the owner is out running errands.)

Customer: *comes rushing in* “Hey, I need to drop this off for a repair. I think there’s a part broken in it.”

Me: “Oh, no, I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, we are not accepting any repairs at this time. I can take down your number, though, and let you know when we can fit you in. Or you can just check back in a couple of weeks; we should be caught up then.”

(The customer stares at me for a minute.)

Customer: “So, can I just leave it here or was that not an option?”

(I’m keeping my smile in place, though I can feel the direction this is going.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry, I should have made myself more clear. We are filled up with orders so there’s no more room to take any more at this time.”

Customer: “Ah, when you didn’t say that, I thought maybe I could. So you can’t just fit me in, anyway?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. That comes directly from our owner; he is not accepting any more repairs until he gets caught up.”

(This goes back and forth a couple more times before the customer finally leaves… but only for a minute.)

Customer: “Me again. Sorry, but I just wanted to make sure you couldn’t make an exception for me.”

Me: “No, I’m sor—”

Customer: *cutting me off* “Because see, I drove over here from [Town that’s only 30 or 45 minutes away] and that’s such a far drive to only have to come back in a few weeks. I’m not using this while it’s broken, anyway, so why not just take it?”

(I am getting really tired of him wasting my time but still trying to be polite, though I know saying anything probably isn’t.)

Me: “I work at [Shipping Company] at night. I drive there every night, all week; it’s not so bad.”

Customer: *bursts out laughing* “I know, I just wanted to mention it.”

(He just stares at me for a while. I don’t have anything more to say so I just smile back.)

Customer: “So, what can you do?”

Me: “I can take down your number, or give you ours if you want so you can call before making the drive over to make sure we’ve got a spot open.”

Customer:Ha! Yeah, numbers are a thing. Okay, well, I guess I’ll try back later.”

(He leaves. Again. For about a minute. Again.)

Customer: “Heeey, I know you said there’s no space, but would $20 change your mind?”

(He is actually waving a twenty-dollar bill at me from the doorway. I am tired, and I also have work backing up because we got a shipment in and I’m supposed to be pricing and stocking it, but I can’t because I have to stay at the register if there are customers.)

Me: “Okay, go get it. I’ll try and find somewhere to put it.”

Customer: *looks put off* “Are you just changing your mind for the money?”

Me: “No, please put that away. You can pay when your repairs are done. But it’s not going to be for a while because we are very backed up right now.”

Customer: “Are you sure? Is it really okay?”

(I want to just scream at him but he’s hanging on the door and it’s driving me crazy, so I may be coming off more short than I was.)

Me: “Just go get it.”

(I make him fill out our usual repair agreement, and then I take it in the back and literally just set in on our office desk because the workstation is overflowing. I’m just relieved to have him finally — hopefully — gone when he pops back in and says:)

Customer: “Well, I know you said you didn’t want my money, but whoopsie! A ten just fell out of my hand! Byyyye!”

(I didn’t want to take it, but my husband needed new pants so, thanks, I guess?)

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