|Retail Hell #72
||[Dec. 21st, 2007|12:53 pm]
Okay, so your holiday shopping is done or almost done. Or you’re in a rat’s nest panic and are girding your sanity and composure for one more trip to the mall. And you’re going to run into some surly salespeople and think “God, these people suck, tits on a bull would be more useful.” |
Now, granted, a lot of people are in the retail trade because, well, they had no choice. It was easy to get into, the hours fit, they needed the money, etc. And in some cases, they’re not bad people, but suffer from not having been trained, having a bad manager, having a bad hair day.
No wait. Every day is a battle to keep from choking the life out of your customers. Sure, some of them are lovely. Most don’t really register as anything more than a problem solved, a credit card swiped, a bag filled. But some of you…
“Excuse me, I need my money back on these shrimp I bought” says a Georgetown matron with suspiciously shrimp-unburdened hands. “They were rotten. We couldn’t eat them.”
“Okay,” I say, “Um, where are the shrimp.?”
“I threw them out.”
“Okaaaay.” I reply, settling in for a spell, trying not to have a bad attitude because it’s maybe a brisk 48 degrees out and this woman is wearing a mink coat. To grocery shop. And in my book, you can wear fur if you have the need to be outside in really cold conditions – like you’re an Inuit in a fishing village on the Alaskan coastline. “Do you have your receipt?”
“No, I threw that out with the shrimp. It was 5 pounds of the Jumbo shrimp. I bought them yesterday.”
Now, at the store, at the time, these puppies were probably going for about $25 a pound. So, there’s no way I can just cave on this and give her the money to get her out of my life.
“M’am, you don’t have the shrimp and you don’t have a receipt. I need some kind of proof that you HAD the shrimp.”
“Are you calling me a liar?”
Well, yeah, actually, I am. But I have had special training emphasizing that calling a customer a liar is ALWAYS a no-win situation. (If you go down this path, it’s just a matter of a few more verbal banterings until you have KILL them. And then you go to jail.)
So, instead, I lie right back.
“Oh, no, m’am. But I have to have some kind of back-up as to the existence, purchase date, or quantity of the shrimp. Something.” And then I have a brainstorm – surely the seafood guys will remember this mink-enveloped pill.
“How’s this m’am, I’ve only got two guys working in seafood this week. If you can tell me which one sold them to you, I’m sure they’ll back you up and that’ll be good enough for a refund.”
“How the hell could I possibly remember who sold them to me?” bristling with mink indignation.
“M’am, there both down there right now – surely you’ll recognize one of them or they’ll recognize you. Was it a short, round black man, or a tall, skinny white man?”
“I told you, I don’t remember!”
“Well, let’s walk down there now, ma’am, and maybe they’ll recognize you.”
“I don’t have time for this and I am NOT going to walk all the way back there. Are you going to give me my money back or not?” she hollers. And now she’s broken the cardinal rule of semi-civilized discourse and raised her voice in my store. And that’s where you will lose any vestige of goodwill in the customer-salesperson relationship. I’ve offered her an easy solution and she’s responded with not having enough TIME?
“Well, ma’am, I’m very sorry, but there is no way I can just hand you $125 because you say it’s owed to you. With no product, no receipt, you didn’t call us last night and let us know the shrimp were bad and now you won’t take the 20 footsteps to a possible resolution of the problem. I’m afraid we can’t help you. Now I have other customers to tend to.” Walking away from her “I’m calling New York-I’m a close personal friend of Store Owner-I will make sure you never work in this town again-yada, yada” tirade. Because really, in December, we all secretly wish that someone would put us out of our misery.
I remember this scenario now, since yesterday I was in TJ Maxx picking up some goodies and after waiting patiently in line to pay, and being asked to come over to customer service, where they were taking people from the regular lines, and as I’m being rung up, this pushy broad elbows right up to the counter and loudly says “I need you to call a manager, I want 25% off of this ornament, because the feathers are damaged and the angel’s hair is unraveling.” So, my transaction is interrupted while the cashier pages the manager. But pushy broad sees the manager in the distance and says “Never mind, there he is, I’ll go do it myself.” And the cashier and I share an eyeroll – especially since, it’s like a ten dollar item and a clear piece of crap. But before I’m even finished, she’s back. “The manager says I can have 25% off.” And she plops the ornament and a whole bunch of other stuff on the counter, next to my stuff that’s being bagged and starts rooting for her wallet. And I look at the other three register stands, with lines of at least 4-5 people at each, who are looking at this lady with daggers in their eyes, since each one of them had stood a chance that they’d be the next person to be rung up at the customer service register.
And I, glorying in the freedom of not actually working there, but being possessed of a strong sense of fairplay and a powerful set of lungs said, very loudly “I’m sorry, but did you just push in front of all of these other people who’ve been patiently waiting in line long before you even came up here?” Which inspired another woman at the back of one of the lines to holler “Oh, sweetheart, I think you’re in line right here, AFTER me.”
Ah….finally able to dispense justice….