Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ah -- The Public

posted Wed, 27 Dec 2006

11:15 a.m. Customer hands me a blouse with a tag but no receipt. The tag has two bar codes – the UPC code and the control number. The control number is a unique number that is associated with the sales transaction and is linked in the system to the customer’s credit card (always use your credit card! It makes returns like a gajillion times easier) so the receipt isn’t necessary.

Customer: I want to return this.

Me: OK, let me scan it. [I scan the control number and the UPC, but the computer cannot find a transaction associated with the control number. Hmmm…. No receipt. No transaction associated with this control number. Every single other time I have looked up a return this way, I have found the transaction. It’s linked back to the customer’s credit card or, at least, to a cash or check transaction. But this time, it looks like the item was never purchased in the first place, i.e., she picked it up off the rack and brought it to the register to try to return it without buying it first. I am suspicious.]

Me: Ma’am, I am not finding this item in the computer. I’m a temporary employee and not sure how to handle all the variations. Would you like me to call a manager and ask her how I am supposed to do this?

Customer: No.

Me: [I thought so.]


12:40 p.m. The customer, a little old white-haired lady, hands me a 20% off coupon that The Store sent her in the mail. Once it’s activated, it’s good for only one day.

Me: Ma’am, are you aware that once you use this card, you may only use it for one day?

Customer: But I used it yesterday and it worked just fine.

Me: Oh. But no one signed it yesterday.

Customer: I’ve already used it this morning, too.

Me: But you’re only supposed to be able to use it for one day.

Customer: Well, I want today to be the day I use it.

Me: But you already used it yesterday.

Customer: How do you know that?

Me: You just told me and you don’t look like a liar to me.

Customer [glares]: I want today to be the day that I use this coupon.

Me [deep breath, clenched teeth, as I sign the card]: Yes, ma’am.


2:30 p.m., The Store. Customer hands me a coupon for 20% off.

Me: Ma’am, this coupon was only good between 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Customer: What! That’s not fair! Why would a coupon expire at 1:00 p.m.?

Me: To encourage people to come to the store early—

Customer: That’s not fair to the people who shop in the afternoon!

Me [debating whether to discuss the concept of peak pricing, using the examples of movie matinees and subway fares]: No, ma’am.

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