Posts Tagged ‘store’

Smacked by a Customer

December 29, 2011

This isn’t a story of abuse, but one of indecency and a lack of social etiquette. Mind you, I have been clapped at like a dog, and waves to come like a dog; I have had someone pound their knuckles on the register demanding me to apologize for something I didn’t do; been mistaken for a skinny Chinese boy by an old woman who was obviously racist; been told the fact I have a penis means I can’t help them find clothing, I can go on about two-hundred times more. Either way, this is the first time I’ve actually been physically touched my a customer, which basically ruined the rest of my day.

I was calmly going through the crowd putting away clothes, greeting people and helping them. I wasn’t hiding, nor was I trying to be invisible. Out of nowhere, someone smacks my arm, and I’m thinking it’s some old friend. Instead, it’s a customer I don’t think I’ve seen before, but I’m sure isn’t a regular, yet also looked vaguely like ‘they all look the same to me’.

After she smacks me, I look at her, and she say, “I need the sweater in the window, there!” She points. I just stand there, speechless, as she walks to the front of the store. She looks back at me and waves me to follow. I had half-a-mind not to, but human decency and manners is something I’ve learned human beings don’t really learn, and when they do, they consider it something they can turn off and on when the situation befits them. She shows me a sweater, I don’t even look at. I tell her someone will get it, because I’m definitely not going to strain myself in the least to help someone who speaks English, and couldn’t just say, “Excuse me, I need help,” or the usual, “Do you work here?” Someone who can communicate in my own language, but their best form of transmission is by hitting you–this says a lot about her home situation and childhood, all wrapped up like a present to the world.

I get someone else to help her, so she can annoy and irritate them instead–which she does, because you can always tell when ‘they’ll be one of those people’.

As an added story, this automatically brings to mind a situation where a customer demanded to return an item which was old, with no tags, used, and no receipt. The cashier refused, saying it can’t be done. So the customer reached over and shoved the cashier. This was one of those 0.01% chance moments when a District Manager was standing nearby with the Store Manager. The DM rushed forward and said, “Excuse me! You are never allowed to touch my employees like that, ever! Who do you think you are? You are also no longer allowed in any of our stores. You are permanently banned and if I see you in a store, I will have you escorted out. Take your items and leave.” Or something to that point. If only, right?

Customer Types: Modern Slave Owner

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I Pick APEC of Zippers

November 14, 2011

My coworkers and I are helping an interesting couple, they’re European, at least by accent and attire. At one point, the husband comes up to me asking for help. He needs some sweaters, so I am glad to oblige. I search the floor where I’ve seen extra pairs–as sometimes they end up where they aren’t supposed to be. Seeing none, I ask for someone to check the back, as I double-check our inventory at our register.

The man comes up to me, “Well?”
“They’re checking in the back.” I search the computer, and I see him come behind the register to stand behind me looking over my shoulder. “Oh,I’m sorry, I need some space, sir.” I take a few steps away from him walking through the register area to get away. Finally, they find the sweater, well I actually go into the back to get farther away.

Later, he’s in the fitting room trying on the zip jacket, and unzips it, walking to me. I wonder if he’s going to ask for another size.
“You know, where I come from, the zipper is on this side,” he points to the right, while shaking the hanging end, “for men. For women, it is on this side.” He shakes the end of the zipper, where our zipper also ends. I stare at him blankly. “It’s backwards. Your zipper is backwards. The females have it on one side, the men have it on the other.” I stare at him blankly, because I suddenly think he’s crazy. “It’s okay, it fits good. I am just letting you know, it’s backwards.” He walks away, seeming almost proud to have informed me of this great wealth of knowledge.” I leave the fitting room behind, and leave him in the hands of other people.

I examine every single zipper in the entire store. Every single one connects on the left side. There is no ‘male-side’ or ‘female-side’ for these zippers. Sure, I know buttons are on the left for men, right for women. I tell one of my coworkers this ‘revelation’, noting, perhaps, in his country men’s pants and women’s pants must button on different sides. (Go ahead and look, your button should be on the left side.) So I begin to wonder what kind of country he’s from.

I see the couple approach the register as I go back to the fitting room, free of their backward zippers. Then I hear the cashier ask, “How do I do a Tax Exemption? These people are from APEC.” (APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, they have conventions–The Greatest Convention in the Pacific; people from around the world take part in it, hammering out trade-agreements and forward visions of future financial status.)

Either way, I am suddenly stunned that my financial future is in the hands of guys like this. (Even though a coworker has pointed out, some people are very knowledgeable about one thing, and absolutely clueless about every thing else.) I don’t know how far they had to travel from Kazakhstan, but I can tell they sent their best delegates from the Kazakh Ministry of Finance this time around.

Customer Types: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

The Company Divorce

August 29, 2011

I was sitting with an older employee, at least one who has been with the company for far longer than I have. She was telling us about one of the worst customers she ever knew. This customer is a woman who they would always help, always give the best service to, and always ended with a smile. Then the woman would leave the store, and call the customer support line to complain about the store. She’d say how rude the employees were, how they didn’t help her, and how she felt so ridiculed and insulted by the service, and she didn’t want to ever shop there again. In response, the company would compensate her with gift cards, free purchases, or some other form of compensation for her terrible experience. Then the store would be called by the corporate-level and spoken to about how they treat their customers, get the sales training workshops, etc.

Eventually, the store manager caught onto this little game. The next time the woman came in, they gave her the absolute best service imaginable. They found everything she was searching for. They did all they could to please her. Then she left, and the store manager called the customer support line to tell them exactly what just happened, and the experience the woman had. Soon after, the woman called to complain about the service, and was caught red-handed. Because of all the ‘gifts’ she had received, she also left a paper-trail of all her ‘complaints’, which were unfounded. The company officially divorced her, and told her she was not welcome back to their stores ever again, and they would not appreciate her business any longer.

It is at least nice to know the customer isn’t always right.

Customer Types: The Complainer, Capitalist

Blah!

July 3, 2011

I’m wandering around in a sale-section looking for good deals and I see a man who looks homeless–big, hairy, fat, huge beard, wearing drab mustard colors with a backpack. I think he’s a shop-lifter at first, so I stay around the area–my mistake!

“Excuse me,” he says with an accent. “I am looking for a specific item. It has stripes, and on the inside the tag says, ‘Blah’.”
Wait, what? Yes, I said the same thing. “What?”
“Blah!”
“I have never, ever heard of this before. I’ve been working here for a while.”
“It’s blah. It says blah.”
I just stand and stare at him for a while.
He lifts a piece of clothing, and pulls out the tag, “On the inside it says, ‘Blah’. B-L-A. Blah.”
I’m just standing there in awe, and I tell him, I have never heard of this, and I don’t know if this is from a different country or something.
“No, no, my daughter bought them last week from your other store. It says Blah, and is made in India. It has stripes.”
Okay. I am totally unaware of this new ‘brand’ or name, or have any idea what store or company he’s talking about, so I call the store he mentioned.

“Hello, thank you for calling.”
“Hi,” I tell her my name, “I’m looking for a piece of clothing. My customer said his daughter was in your store last week, and it’s an item that says Blah on tag, and comes in stripes, and it’s made in India. Have you heard of this before?”
“Excuse me?”
“Blah. B-L-A. He said it’s on the tag.”
The woman on the other end pauses and laughs, “I’m sorry, I don’t think your customer knows how to spell. We don’t carry anything like that.”
I laugh, too, “I know, that’s what I thought, but I just wanted to make sure, in case this was something new.”
So I get off the phone, and the man is excited, “So, do they have it?”
“No, I’m sorry,” and we both laugh a little, as he walks away in search of his Blah clothing somewhere in our store, with stripes.

Customer Types: ESP, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations

I Wear It While Fishing

March 31, 2011

I’m minding my own business, meaning I’m doing something, and a couple comes up to me asking if I work here.

“Yes, can I help you?”
“We are looking for a cap.”
Obviously, my first consideration is a baseball cap, as it is the most general.
“No, we are looking for a fisherman’s cap.”
I obviously know what a fisherman’s cap looks like, as I work in the fashion industry. “I’m sorry, we don’t carry hats like that.”
“You do!” She yells at me suddenly.
“Yes, we used to, like two years ago.”
“You have them now! They bought one yesterday from your store!”
“We don’t carry anything like that. Are you sure it was our store?” Just great, I’m working with hearsay from people who may or may not know what a fisherman’s cap is.
“You have them! It is a wide-brimmed cap…”
“I know what a fisherman’s cap is.” I also know I don’t like being yelled at for no particular reason. I consider, perhaps they don’t know what such a hat is. So I show them fedoras, and no, they yell, a fisherman’s cap, glaring at me as if I don’t know what it is. Seriously? This issue of customers thinking they know more about fashion than people who work with it every day is getting a little taxing. Also, customers who suddenly know more about the product we carry than the people who work there is a little daunting, and excessive. I just tell them that no we don’t carry it.

So to prove me wrong, obviously, they get their cell phones and call their friends. By now I am left to assume they didn’t go to this store, but another one of our stores. After getting off the phone, they instead decide to ask for the same hat from another, much newer coworker. At the same time, I ask our merchandising people if they know of any ‘fisherman’s hats’ that are supposed to be here or coming in soon. No one has any idea what they are talking about. And for some reason it turns back upon me to call another store to see if they carry this elusive hat. As the couple is standing there staring at us, I decide to go into the back of the store to make my phone call.

So I dial the number.
“Hello, thank you for calling, how can I help you?”
“Hello, I’m calling from another store. I was wondering if you could find an item for me.”
“Okay, what are you looking for?”
“A fisherman’s cap.”
“Excuse me?”
“A fisherman’s cap. It has a wide-brim.”
“We don’t carry that.”
“I know. This couple is here saying they bought one from your store yesterday. They said it was wide-brimmed. I showed them everything we have, like fedoras, baseball caps, military caps…”
“That’s the same things we have. We don’t carry anything like that. I’m sorry.” We both laugh a little, awkwardly.
I thank her for her time, saying I kind of expected this. She says to try the children’s department, which is where we have wide-brimmed hats for kids.

I find the merchandising person again, and we locate the children’s version of a safari hat, which is as close as you can get to a fisherman’s cap in our store. I try to tell the woman this is the only hat we have, but she only looks at me and walks away. So I have the merchandising person find her and show her the hat, since she’s obviously ignoring me now. So they talk, and the merchandiser comes to me.
“You know what she said?”
“What?”
“She said she’s looking for a beanie.”
Okay, sure. Because obviously, whenever I go fishing, I wear my fishing beanie–the wide-brimmed style. You know it’s all the rage among sports fishermen. I’m sure it was featured in a fashion magazine recently. Thank you very much. Shall we top it all off? Yes? She also signed up for a credit card! I swear to you, we promote the most irritating of customers to keep coming back to our stores.

Customer Types: Don’t Kill the Messenger, The Dumb, FashioNOTstas, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, The Riddler, Unapologetic

Legal Precedent

December 22, 2010

There is an older woman who comes in and always, always has some problem, or demands something in her favor, even if it is against our policy, and even ethically wrong. Today, it’s busy, I have customers to help, and she comes with her daughter and drags me to find things and do things. Really, there are fifty customers and only one of me. I find the belt they’re looking for, then she wants me to get sandals off a mannequin.

She wants a certain size, and I tell her, “Our mannequins only wear larger sizes, it can’t fit that size.”
“Well can you check the other mannequins?”
What, I don’t speak English? I just told you, it doesn’t fit the size you’re looking for, so it is an impossibility for any mannequin to be wearing that size. “Our mannequins only wear the larger size, it can’t fit that size.”
“Don’t you have more in the back?”
“It’s two days until Christmas, our stock is totally out. Everything is on the floor.”
I go and ask my manager for confirmation, and yes, “No mannequin wears that size. It can’t fit.” So I tell her about this customer, who is always high-maintenance and demanding.
Instead, the woman finds another manager to ask, “Can you check the mannequins if they have this size?” This manager asks the manager I just spoke to, and this woman gets two more confirmations that we don’t have her size.

Let me rewind to the last time she came to the store, and the reason why I won’t put up with her anymore. We had a special sale, during a certain time in the morning. She comes in the night before asking to speak to a manager. You need to ‘check-in’ at our store using a phone application (app) and you can qualify for the special sale.

First, she says she doesn’t have the application, so it’s unfair against her. A manager points out, you can go online, and any phone or computer–even the stores in the mall which have computers–allow you to use this application to ‘check-in’.

Then, she says, “I have a job. I have to work every day from nine-to-five. I can’t come in to this sale. I can’t make it.  This is discrimination! I work at a law firm! This is a legal precedent. I should know! I want to speak to your store manager!”

To which, the store manager is having a conference call, and she said she’ll wait. The whole time, she’s arguing with the manager of the fairness of the sale, and how it works against her. Again, threatening the company as being discriminant against her because she doesn’t have a phone application and she can’t come in because she has a job. Eventually, the store manager does arrive, and tells her the exact same thing she’s been told. And they have a ‘civilized’ argument about it, where the store manager consistently says, “No, it doesn’t work like that. If you can’t make it, find someone else. You aren’t getting the deal.” She continues to argue, saying she’s going to call the company. My store manager says she’s fine with that, and gives her the corporate number.

Fast-forward to today. She’s standing there, pointing at me, while speaking to my manager. The other manager is waving at me to hide. Later, the manager comes to me and says, “She was complaining about you. She said you were so horrible today, you must be in a terrible mood. Usually, you’re so nice and helpful. But today you weren’t helpful at all, and you were so rude.”

Well, lady, I’m not going to be nice to you anymore, you aren’t worth my time or my energy. You are a waste of the time and energy of just me, and my store. I hope your legal precedent and your law firm teaches you more, because you sure don’t know a lot about anything–other than being rude, demanding, stupid, ignorant, irritating, and frankly, I have the right to refuse service, and I refuse to be your slave again. Go panhandle your worthless crap to other people.

Finally, as ‘thanks’ to the manager who helped her, she bought her a shirt as a gift. Obviously trying to curry some favor with at least one of our managers because every single other manager knows what she’s all about. Of course, we can’t accept gifts at our store, as it is legally and ethically wrong, so my manager returned it after she left. I’ll show you legal precedent…

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Capitalist, The Complainer, Micromanagement, Tattle Tale

The Emergency Call

November 10, 2010

“Hello, thank you for calling our store.”
“Hello? Who is this?”
I tell the customer on the phone my name.
“Oh, okay. I have a hold, but I can’t make it. I’m so sorry. I just can’t make it in today. I keep extending the hold. I’m sorry. It’s just I haven’t been able to make it in this entire week.”
It’s a Wednesday when she calls.
“I called the other day, and I just keep extending it. But I can’t make it in today, can you extend it another day? It’s an emergency. Actually, it’s a real emergency–an ambulance is heading here right now to pick us up.”
I kind of look around, making sure this isn’t some prank call. So in case of emergency, what is the phone call you must make? Of course, call the retail store to make sure they don’t put your clothes away!
“They’ll be here really soon. I’m sorry I’m asking you to extend it another day. I promise, I promise I won’t extend it again! It’s just an emergency and I can’t make it in today.”
I try to cut in asking for her name and the items she put on hold. Through all her talking, I finally get the info I need.  I’m about to hang up as she says.
“I want to make sure my items are still on hold. Can you go and check?”
I’m a bit speechless, she’s still babbling about being sorry, and the emergency, but I’m thinking, “If an ambulance is coming, why am I putting you on hold to find the items?” As I put her on hold, she’s still talking, “I just can’t…” *Click*
So I go and look through the holds, and there it is–her hold with a whole lot of scratches and pen marks. She’s extended the hold three times already. I’m starting to wonder what other excuses she’s made for ‘not being able to make it’. I mean, is her house one of the pit-stops for ambulance crews?
“Hello, yes, I found your item!”
“Oh, good, so you can extend it for another day?”
“Yes.”
“Oh, thank you. I”m so sorry I can’t come in. I’m such a bother extending it everyday, but I’m just so busy I can’t make it in.”
“Okay.”
“So your name was Mark?”
“Yeah, sure. Okay, bye-bye.”
“Thank you, bye.”
My name isn’t Mark.

Customer Type: The Dumb, The Liar, Lowered Expectations

Coupon Literacy

October 28, 2010

I’m at the register, the bane of my existence, and we have special coupons, which give a pretty good discount on regular priced merchandise (You can read this as full-priced, non-sale items, etc. Yet, knowing society, people will choose the dumb options on how to interpret clear English. Because you know, they ask, “How long will this be on sale for?” And they could mean marked-down product–which never return to full price–or they could mean promotional items, which return to regular price eventually.) I got side-tracked, where was I? Oh yes.

A woman comes up with a bundle of items on promotion–read this as items on sale, because they aren’t regular priced if they’re not full-priced, right? (I mean today, I had to deal with cheap people who wanted me to mark items back to regular price, since they were on sale, in order to get the coupon savings, which amounted to roughly $1 savings. Congratulations for you! Big saver! Bring out a banner! I just love how special promotions bring out the sale-mongers who decide their I.Q. has dropped twenty points in order to shop.) Either way, I ring up the woman’s items, and I tell her, the register will remove the promotional price–thus the item becomes full-priced/regular priced; this is actually automatic–and then she’ll get the discount off the regular price. (This comes out to about $2 savings, lucky lady!) To which, the woman angrily yells at me, “How can you do that? Where does it say that? I want to read it!” (There really should be a test for people to be allowed to shop in person, with so many people lacking social skills. One question should be repeated twice, “Can you clearly read and understand your native language?” “Are you sure you can read English/native language?”) I point at the coupon, of all things, it isn’t even in the fine print, it says on the very top, ” Regular Priced Merchandise.” To which she complains, mumbling to me saying, “You should have made it clearer! I wouldn’t have even come in if that were the case. I wouldn’t have even bought this!” I love when it’s my fault.

If that is a threat, I don’t know if I care. Does it look like I have a thousand ripples of pleasure having to deal with your stupidity and lack of literacy where you can’t even read English? Do I really care if you’re trying to make me responsible for not only your greed and lack of intelligence, but also you pointing your finger at me as if it’s my fault? I didn’t teach you to read, nor did I teach you to use this lack of logic, nor did I make you come trying to money grub super-discounts and getting items for free. Some people actually do have to pay for their rent and feed themselves in this world, woman.

Of course, all I said was, “Please swipe your card.”

Customer Types: Big Baby, The Blind, Capitalist, The Dumb

How a Store Stays Open

October 19, 2010

This might be redundant, but that’s okay, I don’t mind. I, the salesperson, have recently been relegated to the cash registers for most of my shifts. I, in turn, go to sleep and wake up with a sore back and tense irritation. I, now, have to stand tied to the registers, because I can only go so far before I have to run back, saying, “I’ll be right there.” I have to watch my coworkers either selling or not selling, while stuck at my most disliked place in the store.

This is okay on days when I have a strong seller to replace my presence on the sales floor. There are some people who can make massive sales, beyond even my capacity–people who understand how a store stays open. How? Well, we can consider the other people I must watch from my perch. These people are folding, making the store pretty, maintaining sizes, etc. (Sometimes, it’s okay, when the store manager orders it, because whose to disagree with the store manager?) Yet, tied to the register, I try to help people, try to send them to the fitting rooms, try to see how they’re doing. While I hear the folders say, “Yeah, take any room,” while standing by their pile barely giving notice to the customers.

How does a store stay open? Is it because you make everything pretty, does that make people want to buy your merchandise? If you say yes, then never, ever open your own retail store. Ever. It is the act of selling, finding what someone is looking for–even if they don’t know they’re looking for it. It is the act of placing clothes in their hand, being a sales person–what do you think that means? A salesperson is a folder? Yeah, right. I think not. Even if you spend all your time making the store as beautiful and folded as possible, that does nothing.

Customers are here to shop, the purpose of a salesperson is to move the merchandise so you don’t need to fold it anymore. If it’s sold, it can’t be folded. If it’s sold, that’s money in the bank. The longer it remains unsold, the longer we have to keep folding it, and the more money is wasted on rent, pay, etc. I mean seriously, beautiful folding isn’t going to pay a single bill.

What makes it harder for me is the fact I know each sale contributes not only to the store, but to the hours each coworker has to work, each paycheck they get back. And I look at people who are ignoring customers, who have the freedom to speak to every customer, to offer them help, and instead, I see them touching clothes. When I am on the floor, I greet every single customer–rude or not–and you understand why I get so many horrible people, because I actually do talk to everyone. I want everyone to find something, even if they only spend $10, that’s far more than nothing.

I have tension and irritation, because I don’t know what I’m surrounded by anymore. I don’t know if it’s colleagues or competitors, because some people are working real hard to make sure other people have no hours, so the store makes no money, and helps people lose jobs, especially when the economy is already so bad.

Shoplifter: You Got Schooled, Redux

October 17, 2010

Four months ago, I had a couple come in and totally out themselves as shoplifters, because they did everything you’re not supposed to do in order to get away with it. Let us rejoin the action now.

A decently dressed young man comes in, and I know he’s from another store. He asks for a manager. I tell the manager someone is here. They want to know who needs them, etc., but I’ve already started to look around. As soon as the manager arrives, the guy says, “I’m from another store, and my manager sent me…”
I cut him off, “Where are they? I don’t see them.”
“Oh, you know?” He looks at me curiously, but I’m already walking away.
As I search the store, I see no one out of the ordinary, but I know he came to warn us about the shoplifters. I suddenly hear the manager say, “I need you in the front.” I find out they entered, and my manager tried to approach them, but they were scary, saying they don’t want any help. So she called on me to intercept.
I quickly arrive, and I’m slightly disappointed, it’s the same man from four months ago–although I thought it was only three months, even though I recently wondered why I haven’t seen them for so long. The woman was totally different, but the man, I recognized him instantly. So I rush up to him and greet him.
“Hey, it’s been a long time. I was wondering when you’d come in again!”
“What? I don’t know you.”
“Oh, come on, we talked in your favorite corner the last time. It was three months ago.” I wave at the same corner they always go to, and was informed later, that’s where the manager found them.
“I don’t know who you are.”
I wave at his female friend who is trying to be invisible, “I remember you, but you have a different woman with you this time. I definitely don’t remember her!” At this remark, she quickly darts out the front door.
As he tries to leave, I stop him, “The last time you said you have an IQ of 290. And I told you it doesn’t go that high!”
“I don’t know what my IQ is.”
“Yes, you said it was 290, that’s really bad for your IQ if you’re forgetting things. Shame, shame.” I shake my head at him. He’s taking a defensive stance, but I stand my ground, even approaching him.
He backs away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know you!”
“I know you, I remember you, I told you have a good memory.”
He steps outside, turning to the left, looking for his departed friend.
I yell, “I know which way she went, she went THAT way,” gesturing to the right. “Don’t worry, I”ll remember you when you come back again!”