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Tales of Retail Horror

I am a retail employer, and at the same time, I am also a customer. So wherever I shop, I like to be nice to the employees because I know how it feels to deal with rude customers. I do not like dealing with rude customers, but I also have no problem confronting them, especially when they are wrong. Today, I will share three different customer interaction stories. Two of the stories are from my friends, while one of them is mine and they are not in any particular order. 

I Treat You like how You Treat Me

As soon as the lady walked inside, I greeted her with a smile. Instead, I only got a rude remark, “I know you guys overcharged me. It was supposed to be half off.” Her tone and action, shoving the receipt so close to my face, was just plain rude. I asked her what she was talking about, so we walked down the aisle back to the apparel trims. I explained to her that the trims by the yard were regular price and only the trims sold by the spool were half off. Exactly like how it was printed word for word on the sale sign. She said she knew and that she can read but that the first four items were supposed to be half off according to what the employee had told her when she got it cut. Not wanting to argue with her because I had no idea what happened since she made the purchase the previous day, we went back to the front so I can fix the prices, and she gets her money back. I adjusted all the prices for the first four items like she had told me. When I told her about the amount she was getting back, she responded that it was incorrect and that she should be getting more back. I explained that she used a 20% off total purchase, which already took like a dollar or two off the original price. She argued in an annoying tone that it was not the correct amount and that she wasn’t even sure if the 20% took it off or not. Not wanting to deal with her, I told her I would adjust the return prices. Yet, it was still wrong. She took her receipt and said to me in yet another harsh tone that she would do the calculations on her phone and be back. Not wanting to further deal with her attitude, I told her, “You could come back in another hour when the store manager gets here if you don’t like my service.” I know that I should not have said that to her, but at this point, I no longer care. Why should I respect a customer who had been rude to me since the second she stepped foot into the store?

She gave me an annoyed look and responded that she does not want to come back later and that I was now hostile to her. I answered that I am not hostile, and if she thinks I was, she should probably think about how she acted towards me. She continued in her annoyed tone that she was not and was telling me her opinions. I am not the type of person to let other people disrespect me, so I responded, “Now you’re not because I just called you out on your tone and actions, but the moment you stepped in, you were. So, if you want me to treat you like a value customer, you need to respect me as well.” Her eyes grew so big as she saw another customer nearby nodding in agreement with me and also saying the same thing. She then left to get her phone and came back a few seconds later. It was now that she told me in a much calmer tone and pointed out items five and six to my attention. Of course, I only did it after I told her,  “It’s not because of the register or my fault that the math didn’t match up. If you would have just told me correctly that you needed all six items to be fixed, not just the four from earlier that could have saved us both a lot of troubles.”   After she left, my employee, the same one who serviced her the previous day, quietly told me that he only checked the prices for the spool of trims. She didn’t ask him to check the prices for the ones he had to measure and cut. I reassured him that everything was okay and that I chose not to ask him about it while she was present because I already knew that she would repeat the exact words back to me. 

The point here is if you are the customer and need to talk to an employee or manager about a price that you think is wrong, do not shove the receipt in front of an employee’s face. Do not come in with a hostile attitude. All you have to do is kindly explain what went wrong. Additionally, if you did not bring your purchase with you, do not expect the employees to know what or how many you bought especially when all the items have similar names. If you told the employee as soon as you came in or at the register that an item was priced wrong, we will take your words for it and only fixed the items you claimed were price incorrect. We do not know if any other items were priced correctly or not, so be consistent and clear or let the employee know of any additional prices that need to be fixed. I have had customers who came to me with the exact pricing and signage situation. Many of them had asked about another item on the receipt or pointed out that there are three items that need price adjustment instead of two things. Also, if you find the employee being rude back to you, maybe you should reflect on how you acted. Sure, most employees will still be timid or act friendly, but some employees will stand their ground and treat you like how you treat them. 

You Just Lost a Valuable Customer  

I once told my manager that I would tape black pieces of paper over the two 12 x 12 glass panels on the doors that lead to the back, where we take our breaks and where we received our weekly truck. Depending on how long our shift is, we get two paid fifteen-minute breaks and a thirty-minute unpaid break. There have been so many times when a customer peaks through the crack (the doors are these wooden swing doors and have an alarm to let us know when someone is going in or coming out from the back) or sees us through the glass panels. It is ridiculous how many of them asked us to help them find something or do a price check. A fact here is that my coworkers and I never take a fifteen-minute break. We only take our thirty-minute lunch or dinner break, in which we clocked out and stay off the floor.

Recently, while I was taking my thirty-minute break to eat my dinner, a customer saw me sitting down, touching my phone while I was waiting for my food to heat up. She saw me and walk to the doors asking me to help her. I told her that I could not allow her because I was on my dinner break and she will have to wait for the other manager to help her. She got upset and started throwing a fit at me for not wanting to help her. So, I explained to her again that I clocked out for my break, was not working at the moment, and cannot be on the floor. She responded, “so you’re really not going to help me?”  I shook my head no, and she stormed off while complaining that she was going to call corporate and how we lost a valuable customer. 

You Need to Honor the Price

This story happened at my previous employer, and to all my readers, this is a story that you will want to finish reading because sometimes you might want to hear what an employee has to say. At my previous employer, we do markdowns, meaning we go around and price all the clearance items on the first Monday of each month. One Monday morning, a customer came in and picked up a Bluetooth speaker with a $30 clearance tag. I was doing markdowns close to the front, so I checked her out. As soon as I scan the speaker, I saw that it was marked down to $10. Being the nice employee I am, I was going to let her know in case she wanted to buy more. Plus, we needed the speakers gone so that we put out the new ones. Also, the district manager and loss prevention manager had arrived at this moment. They were both looking around the front like they usually do. 

Before I can even explain to her about the dropped price, she cut me off and said, “So you are not going to honor the price? I got it from over there with all the other clearance stuff.” I tried to explain, but I could not even get one word out. As soon as I said ma’am, she cut me off again. “It says $30, right here. Right here. Either I get it for the $30 or not buy it, and you lose a customer.” Unbeknownst to her, I made eye contact with my store manager, another key holder, district manager, and LP manager, all of whom had gathered over at the men’s section right across from the registers. I just gave her a slight nod and overrode the $10 to $30. She paid for it and left. As soon as she walked out, I told everyone that the speakers were on clearance for $10. 

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