Back in the day, I used to work retail. I worked retail for ten years or so, about five of those ten on the management side.
Let me tell you something, I think everyone should work in the service industry for at least one year to see what it’s like because customers, for the most part, are ignorant fucks.
It’s true, I speak from experience.
For those who complain about the customer service industry going down hill, well, chances are you are part of the problem. It’s come to a point where people expect something for nothing or, sometimes, don’t know what the fuck they want.
I was working at the drug store I managed one Saturday night, about an hour before closing, last day of the current sale.
I get called up to the front register for customer assistance.
I arrive at the register where I see an eighty-year-old man and his wife. I nod my head to the customers and say, “What can I do for you?”
The cashier, Germaine, starts to say, “He was wondering if…”
“I can speak for myself, Goddammit,” the man said, completely cutting Germaine off.
Oh oh. Here we go. I knew whatever it was, it wasn’t about Germaine. He was a rock solid employee who never had any problems. Ever.
There was an ad open on the counter. Old Bastard thrust his gnarly old finger on a picture of razors and said, “I want these and you don’t have any on the shelf!”
“I offered a rainche…” Germane started.
“I don’t want a Goddamn raincheck! I want these razors. I can’t shave with a raincheck!” Old Bastard said. And Bitty Old Bitch stood there, nodding in agreement.
I put a smile on my face, knowing nothing pisses off an irate customer more than someone smiling at them. “Well let’s see what I can do,” I said.
I looked at what the man wanted. It was a 12-pack of Gillette Mach razors on sale for like $11.49. I walked around the counter and headed down the razor aisle.
“I already looked down there and you don’t have them!” He hollered after me.
I turned and smiled, “Well, sir, I’m seeing what I can do for you.” And headed back down the aisle.
I reached the razors and saw that we had 4-packs of the Machs. I grabbed three of them and headed back up to the register.
“How about three 4-packs for the sale price?”
“No. I want the ones that are on sale.” He said.
What the fuck? I’m quite sure my smile faltered. “But sir, these are the ones on sale.”
He picked up the ad and pointed to the pictured razors again.
“Does it say three 4-packs? NO. It says a 12-pack. I want a 12-pack.”
“They’re the same razor,” I said. I was fighting laughter. This guy was insane.
“It might very well be the same damn razor,” he said. “But it’s not. what’s. on. sale.” He said, emphasizing the last words with a finger tap to the ad.
“Uh. Okay. Germaine,” I said, “can you hand me the calculator?” Germaine handed me the calculator kept behind the registers. I checked the ad price on the 12-pack and headed back down the razor aisle.
“Where are you going now?” Old Bastard asked.
“Checking something, sir. I’m trying to make you happy.” I reached the razors and checked the regular price on the 12-pack. I threw the numbers in the calculator and saw the guy was saving 10% on the razors. I walked back to him and said, “Sir, the sale price is 10% off the regular price. How about I give you 20% off any pack of razors for your inconvenience?”
“Not good enough! I am not leaving without the razors that are in the ad?”
“Then I don’t know what to tell you, sir,” I cheerily replied. “You’ve been offered a raincheck, you won’t take it. You’ve been offered the exact same razor count, exact same brand, you won’t take it. You’ve been offered a better deal than what’s in the ad, you won’t take it.”
“You can tell me you have the razors that are in the ad.”
“No. I can’t. Because I don’t. Now, is there anything else I can do for you?” I said, smiling still.
“You can wipe that smart ass grin off your face.”
“Oh no, sir, I can’t. I love dealing with the public. I can’t help but be happy when I help customers such as yourself.” Behind the man, Germaine was staring at the ceiling, barely containing his laughter. It was always a party when I worked.
Old Bastard threw the ad on the ground in disgust and headed for the door.
“I’m calling your boss tomorrow! I’m going to have your job!” He said as he was leaving. I so loved it when they said that. I can assure you, they didn’t want my job because then they’d have to deal with people like themselves.
“Fantastic, sir!” I called behind him. “And you have a wonderful evening and thank you for shopping at RiteAid!”
His finger shot up as he walked out the door. Not the pointy one, either.
The next day I got a call from the district manager’s assistant, John. John was the guy that handled all of the complaints for Jerry, the DM.
“Hey Stewie,” he said, “how’s it going?”
“Good. Let’s get to it.”
John laughed, “Okay, so you know why I’m calling. Tell me what happened.”
So I told him the whole story. By the time I was finished, he was laughing.
“Yeah, that’s the story I heard. Did you really tell him to have a good night and thanks for shopping at RiteAid?” He said, still laughing.
“Actually, I believe it was ‘have a wonderful evening’ and not a good night.” I said.
“You are such a prick, man,” John laughed.
“So am I in trouble?”
“No. I can’t really fault you for anything. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“So why are you calling?” I asked, smiling.
“I honestly don’t know. I think because I have to. But I don’t know what to say to you if you didn’t do anything wrong.”
“You can say goodbye and let me go back to running my store.”
“That I can do,” John said, laughing. “Thanks, man, you made my day.” And he hung up.
I headed to the salesfloor to see what else kind of trouble I couldn’t get into.