|Retail Hell Story #1: The Banana
||[Mar. 22nd, 2007|10:41 am]
So, I'm trying not to be boring and whiny, which is hard, because I'm still sick, feel like crap, am freaking out over having too much to do and no time, in the middle of doing taxes and the STBX wants to talk re-financing and other major decisions RIGHT NOW. (I'm firmly against rushing into any kind of major financial decision -- if you have to make this kind of decision within a two day time frame, that's your FIRST sign that it's a bad idea.) And all I want to do is crawl into bed with a box of tissues, bottle of mucinex and quart of honey-lemonade. |
But the only thing more boring than other people's self-pity is my own. (Self-pity and farts occupy either end of the self-admiration scale. I just thought you should know.)
Breaks were hard to come by, as Ops Manager/Buyer/RatCatcher for an unnamed superpremium gourmet grocery store in Georgetown, but I'd managed to break away, grab something to eat and was waiting in line to pay for it, looking forward to getting off my feet for a few minutes. I was too busy running through my to-do list to catch the first part of the conversation ahead of me, but I heard the word "manager" and saw the cashier looking at me. I shook my head quickly, trying to convey that there were plenty of other people who could be called to handle this, that just because I was convenient...
But it was too late; the customer turned around and spotted me. "Are you a manager?" he asked, brandishing a half-peeled banana. I figured that between the cashier's glance, my suprafashionable outfit of white oxford shirt, black string tie, black pants and apron, I wasn't going to get away with denial.
"What can I help you with?" I asked, resigned to one more over-wound, full of entitlement, self-important storethatwillnotbenamed customer before lunch. But, hey, I was a pro, so I did it with enough "perky, helpful and accomodating" to keep the bitter resentment in the box where it stayed until my shift was over.
"I'd like to return this banana."
(Now, here's the thing. When I am confronted with outrageousness, things I don't understand, or someone who's English is not as good as they think it is, I will just repeat what they said, over and over again, until either I get it, or have bought enough time to deal with it. So, you probably know how the next few exhanges are gonna go down.)
"You'd like to return the banana?"
"Yes, it's defective."
"The banana is defective."
"Yes, it doesn't peel right."
(I could keep doing the ellipses, but you've probably already gotten the longer and longer pauses that are going to occur here. I mean, really. I had to buy time -- "Don't laugh, whatever you do, don't laugh. Smirking, smirking wouldn't be good, either. Don't look for the hidden camera, it's not someone's idea of a prank, this sh** happens to you on a regular basis, you're just feeling weak 'cause you're hungry, this is going to make such a good story for later, etc., etc." My head was very busy with editorial comments, while I was desperately trying to figure out where the hell we were going to go with this.)
"It doesn't peel right?"
"No, see!" he said, waving the defective banana around. "When I peel it, there are these bits that stay up on the sides and don't peel down. There's something wrong with it."
Ah. So, now my entire body and mind are engaged in warfare, with only my lonely superego manning the barricades against "You've got to be ****ing kidding me." But my superego is BADASS. So, instead:
"Uh, sir, that banana's slightly green. When they're slightly green and not fully ripe, sometimes they peel like that. You can pull those stiff pieces off, they just require a little more effort than peeling a fully ripe one. I actually prefer them slightly green and mine peel that way all of the time."
And I DID NOT laugh. Not even a smirk. But really, this wasn't some visitor from another country, who maybe had limited banana experience, I mean this guy was a typical G-town lawyer/accountant, clearly with a college degree and enough dough to be buying his lunch at this overpricedunnamed store. Was he so freaking priveleged that he'd never seen anything but a perfectly ripe banana? Had someone else always peeled bananas for him? What the....
"Well, there's something wrong with it; it's defective and I want to return it."
I am so NOT filling out a return authorization for a freaking banana, so I dig into my pocket and come up with 29 cents. "Will 29 cents cover a banana, Keisha?" I asked the cashier. She nodded and I handed him the money. 29 cents was a bargain to make this guy go away before my superego lost the fight and I burst out laughing. He snatched the coins and turned away in a huff.
"Uh, sir? Hang on there. I'm going to need that banana."
I should have saved that banana and had it bronzed.