Posts Tagged ‘english’

Sales Gone Wrong.

December 5, 2009

I don’t like cashing very much. You have to work with people one-on-one at the most volatile of situations, with not hope of escape, unless they ask for a manager. I find it especially confusing when you try to offer people a better deal and they are aghast as if you just slapped them in the face.

We have promotions on items where usually you buy two for $20, then we increase it to three for $20 or four for $20. We generally place a huge sign on the tables with those items that says, “Limited Time, four for $20.” Though, the tags will always say two for $20, the table sign will overrule it temporarily.

So I scan in the items they bring and tell them, “If you get one more, it will be $20 for all four.”
The man pulls out the tiny tag and tells me, “It says two for $20.”
“And there was a giant sign on the table that says four for $20,” I pause for a moment, “But, I can just give it to you two for $20 if it makes you happier.”
Of course, they don’t take that deal, and run back to get the two additional free items.

We have had two-for-one sales recently. Many people don’t hear or read the promotion until they reach the cash registers. Once there, I tell them, “You can get a second one for free.” As before, we split the savings between the two items, so they are still worth something. (Especially if you’re getting a gift, you don’t want to give someone something worth $0.)

So my customer gets the second, free item after searching for several minutes. I show them the discount, which confuses them, and they say, “I don’t want it, take it off.” So I do, and the original item goes back to full-price.
“Okay, it’s the same total.”
They stare at me for while. And again, I tell them the second item is free. And again, they decide they want the free item.

A woman exchanges a shirt, which is now on promotion, so they are cheaper. The item she buys costs less than the item she returned. This I tell her before I finish the transaction, then I say, “Okay, I’m giving you $5 back.”
She looks at me suspiciously, “Why?”
“Because the item you just bought is on promotion.”
She stares at me for a while in disbelief. “Why am I getting money back?” I’m thinking to myself, “Well I can just raise the price so you get nothing…”

Customer Type: Agreeing to Disagree, The Blind, The Deaf


Made in Bangkok.

September 12, 2009

I’m approaching an older white couple, and the wife is looking at the shirt tags, her voice in disbelief. “This is made in Thailand. This is made in Hong Kong. This is made in Bangkok!”

I was already expecting them to be rude to me or treat me as a third-world slave, because I am not white, and many people of certain generations and backgrounds will treat others in that subservient, second-class fashion, so I greet them with a warm hello. She looks at me, and they both walk away.

I walk up to the shirt she was looking at: Made in Bangladesh.

Isn’t is sad when a white racist with discrimination-issues can’t even read in English? Kind of ironic really. Sadly, she’s lived her entire life like that, and will die like that, sounds like a waste of 80-years.

Customer Type: Racist, Modern Slave-Owner

Canned Discount in Japanese.

September 12, 2009

There are times we do things for charity, like working with a local food-bank accepting cans in exchange for a discount. There was an older man who spoke no English, who came to the register. I note, I have a simple rule–never visit a country if you can’t speak any of the language. If you do, bring someone that can speak for you. You surely don’t want to embarrass yourself and end up in some story that’s retold later.

So he comes up and hands me a pile of clothes, then he puts the flier on top–which announces the charitable event–canned goods in exchange for a discount. I ring up his purchase, but since he has no canned goods, I act as if he’s just resting the flier on the counter. I press enter, and he sees the total, shaking the paper in my face.

“It says you get discount if you bring in canned food.” I do not know enough Japanese to translate this curious statement for him. Thus if I went to Japan, I would obviously bring someone who can speak the language.
He glares at me, his expression unchanged.
“Canned food. Cans. Vegetables. Food.”
He still stares at me and points at the flier, specifically the line for the discount. I don’t know if he’s totally oblivious to all the other statements on the paper.
“Charity? Fundraiser? Homeless? Starving?” I try to think of words he might have heard in Japan, but to no avail. This is getting quite embarrassing, and not for me. I glance at the long line of customers listening to our exchange, seeing their fliers and the cans they’re holding, knowing they understand exactly what the discount is. They’re looking at the back of his head with the ‘shame-shame’ face. This is one time, being rich isn’t a power against a retail store.
He stands there staring at me, so I go to the donation box and show him a can of vegetables. He shakes his head. Then he spits out the English he does know, “I give, I get can?” He gestures the paper toward the cans, as if we give him a canned food for having a flier. Seriously, this isn’t a third-world country.
“No, the cans are for charity. For the poor. For people that have no home.”
He shakes his head angrily, wanting the discount. I point at the box again. He yells, “No can!” while pointing at himself–he doesn’t want any cans, and I surely doubt he’s homeless.

In the end, he just slams down the flier and says, “No buy!,” as if he was triumphant against the Retail world. He walks away angry and proud. Now there is a man, if he knew what an ass he made of himself–in front of a line of customers–would hopefully be ashamed of himself. Yet, if he wasn’t ashamed of himself, then I feel sorrow for the world.

Customer Type: Learn the Language