Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Customer Is Always... What?

Ever worked retail? Sucks, doesn't it? I mean it realllly sucks, sometimes. You can be as respectful and courteous behind that counter as you like but there's just no accounting for those people who just seem to come into your establishment for the sole cause of venting the issues they have in their so-called personal lives. A word of advice for those who fit that description: "Don't." We of the Retail Force don't need your anger nor your attitude. We're not your punching bags nor your understanding family members. We're at work. You're in our place of business. Unless you'd like to leave us the address of where you spend your days and critique your work style, feel free to stay home. Or better yet, stay home... and start drinking. It'll make all your problems go away. Trust me. You'll feel better. Give it a shot. ;)

Why the sudden nastiness in blogging? Three recent run-in's at my job with customers who just don't seem to get the finer points of human interaction and interpersonal communication. Let's look back, shall we?


MAN #1 comes us to the counter. He's normally an okay type; a regular. A bit of a wiseguy but no worries. He comes in tonight seeming a little off. World weary, maybe a little loaded. He comes up to the counter on a busy night and starts telling a story at top-volume...

Me: Hey! How ya' doing tonight?

Man #1: Lemme ask you... What kind of a fuckin' name for a poodle...

Me: (interrupting, smiling) Wait, wait! C'mon, shhhh! There's kids right behind you, man. Please, no swearing out loud... It's a "PG" store... (laughing) Okay, so what's this about a poodle?

Man #1: (dramatic, angry pause) Look... I'm sorry I used a word... that you found personally objectionable, but... (he leans in, to my face) Don't ever correct me again.

Me: (keeping my cool) I'm sorry, but like I said there are children not ten feet from us and we can't have swearing in the store. Okay? Please try to understand.

Man #1 (intense) I hope... you're hearing me.

Me: (intense back) That's the problem, Sir. I am hearing you.


MAN #2 enters the store and begins speaking heatedly at a NEW HIRE about the outside video drop-box being locked. About a month ago we began locking the box during the daytime in order to get customers to drop their movies inside the store and to help ensure quicker DVD check-ins and more efficient service, which we always point out to every customer during every transaction. Most appreciate the forward leap in service... but not all. The New Hire isn't yet equipped to handle surly customers yet, so I step in...

Man #2: That drop box is supposed to be open all day! You want me to leave my car running outside where it'll get stolen??

Me: Well, you block a fire lane when you drop off movies from your car at the box, Sir. And there are more than a dozen empty parking spaces in our lot out there. The drop box is pretty much for when the store's closed, only.

Man #2: Why doesn't it say that? (This argument has always made me laugh. As if everything in the world needs labels for those without common sense. This man is the type of mouth breather who sues McDonald's when their coffee is served too hot.)

Me: (joking) Well, it doesn't say a lot of things.

Man #2: (walking toward me, now) Are you getting snide with me?

Me: (walking toward him, now) No. I'm making a joke with you.

He takes my name. I give it. He leaves. We of the Retail Force are happy.


MAN #3 would like to do some renting but he hasn't been into the store for about two years and the credit card (or bank card) on his account has expired. Cards are required to back up member accounts so that the company has a way to get their money back if a customer never returns what they rent. This happens all day every day and is standard operating procedure. This fella just isn't having it.

Man #3: This is stupid! I'm not giving you my credit card! I'm paying cash!

Me: Well, I can save your movies for you until you can come back with one...

Man #3: Forget it. Just gimme the Coke. (The soft drink. Not the drug. He seems to be on enough of them, already.)

Me: That's $1.41 then, please.

Man #3 throws (yes, throws) a giftcard at me across the counter. I ring up his purchase and try giving back his giftcard, which still has quite a bit of money stored on it.

Man#3: Throw it away! I'm not coming back.

Me: Well... there's still close to $20.00 left on this gift card. You could always give it to someone... Otherwise you're throwing away close to twenty dollars, here.

Man#3: I don't care! You guys are assholes! (He leaves.)

Sure. He throws money at me, shouts obscenities in public and storms away. And I'm the asshole.

"Who's next, please?" :)


millionsuns said...

Ah, wow. This takes me back to Classic Video in Rochester, NY, where I worked for about 3 years. And lemme tellya, these customers always come into the store in threes.

There was this one series of idiot customers coming into the store one day that culminated in this one guy who gave us some attitude about not having anything in stock, as if it were our fault for renting all the copies of "Analyze This" on a Friday night.

My friend Bobby, who was also working there at the time, is the kind of guy who's had about 35 jobs since I've known him and takes shit from nobody. He responded to the customer by telling him he could always go home and spend quality time with his kids.

The guy raged, picking up the Classic Video catalog binder from the counter and throwing it at Bobby, then telling everyone in the store we were a bunch of fuckheads with no respect for our customers. It was classic. Pardon the pun.

Anyway, he stormed outside, telling Bobby he had shit for brains, and got to his car, revved it up, and started peeling out of the parking lot. By this time, Bobby had leapt over the counter and ran outside to meet the car as it turned the corner, at which time he slammed his hands on the hood and spat on the windshield.

Eventually, after this escapade, Bobby was fired (or left, as he put it), and the guy came back to apologize to the owners.

I guess the moral of the story is, it happens everywhere. But never underestimate how psychotic normal people can get when something sets them off.

DanielLee said...

That is fucking hilarious.

You poor, poor bastard! ;)

Chris said...

Don't even get them started on the whole Widescreen vs. Full screen debate or you could really set them off.