Trouble This Way Comes

One of our customers who shops often is walking toward me. If I had ESP, an alarm in my head would go off whenever I see her. Instead, I automatically feel irritated, especially since I’m trapped at the cash registers. She has a bag of returns, of course. She also has a pile of clothes she wants to buy.

“I want to return these bras, they didn’t fit. I took off the tags, but there in here somewhere.” She dumps the contents on the counter. There is a black and a white bra, rolled up and twisted. I can already see her hair is clinging to the black bra. I already know I need to write damage tags on these, after I wash my hands. She doesn’t let go of the receipt when she hands them to me, because she also bought shorts, and now they are on promotion, so she wants a price adjustment for them. In addition, she wants to get all these new shorts, too.

Since she was making the transaction complicated, I decided to just split it. So I tell her, I’ll return the bras first. So I quickly scan them in, grab the bundle with the tips of my fingers–as I don’t want to rub my hands against the inside of those cups. Believe me, if you were standing there looking at her, you wouldn’t want to either. I print out a receipt for the return, and start on the shorts.

I scan it, and they are over-the-deadline. She normally can’t return them and obviously it’s too late for any price-adjustments, but I tell her I’ll pretend she’s returning them and buying back new ones.

“But I don’t have them to return.”
“It’s okay, I have the receipt, I can do it for you as an exception this time. I’m trying to help you out.” In reality, I just want to get rid of her as fast as possible. Truly, she doesn’t have the items, yet I can still use the numbers on the receipt to allow her to return them and buy them back with the new price.
“I can’t just get a price adjustment?”
“I said it’s over the deadline, the computer won’t allow it. I’m doing what I can to give you some money back.”
“Okay, do what you have to.”

So I find the shorts on the list and return it manually, then buy it back.

“What’s this, what are you doing?”
“I am returning them, and buying them back so you get the difference.”
“I don’t understand, but whatever.”
This time, I say okay. I’m losing patience with her stupidity and mix of arrogance and rudeness, when I’m already doing what I’m not supposed to–just to get rid of her.
“I have more items that you can return on that receipt that are cheaper now.”
I sigh loudly, and say, “Okay fine.” Now, she’s pushing my buttons.
“I’m just being greedy now,” she laughs.
“Yes, you are,” I tell her flatly, and give her a look of distaste.

Once I work those out, she asks about the bras, and I tell her I already returned them, and credited it back to her card.

“No!” She yells at me, “I wanted to use them towards this purchase! I don’t want it returned on my card!”

I stand and stare at her for a moment. I see a line of customers staring at us, because I’ve been working on this ridiculous transaction for so long, for Ms. Greedy–I hope there is no Mr. Greedy, because he’d have to be pretty stupid to marry her. So I ask for back-up at the register. I go to try to cancel her transaction, but the computer won’t allow me. So I have to ask for a manager to come, which takes a minute. I tell her a manager is coming to cancel the bra returns.

“I don’t understand. What are you doing?” Why do you understand nothing, woman? How have you survived in this world for so long?

“The manager needs to cancel it, then you can use the bras you’re returning to pay for these,” I point at her shorts. She looks at her watch, and sighs. I start to scan in the new shorts that she’s buying, while she keeps asking what I’m doing. I’m really too tired to keep explaining the same thing over and again. Who pays her bills? Definitely not her, she wouldn’t even understand what a bill is. She says this is so complicated–actually, it wasn’t complicated until you made it complicated, woman. The manager arrives, cancels the transaction, and we start at the very beginning. I return the bras and the shorts she does not have, I give her the price adjustments, and hit total. She keeps saying how it’s all so confusing, and I just make my blank face and pretend I can’t hear her. It would have been simple, if you weren’t so stupid.

So she pulls out her credit card, and pays for it using the same card which had been credited by the bras–the same money is going the same way. Now, she’s really pushing the edge of stupidity. Now, what I don’t understand is the difference between returning the bras and getting credit back on her credit card, and then buying the shorts. How is that different from returning the bras and using the credit to make the shorts cheaper–because it’s the same total at the end. It all goes back and comes from the same bank account.

This is one time, I’d need to use some thoughtful input, because none of my coworkers saw the difference, other than making things complicating, which customers are utterly good at.

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree, Capitalist, The Complainer, The Dumb, ESP, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, Micromanagement

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