Retail Life #27


         Oh, lovely humans. Some days in retail are so nice. Customers help each other out, someone in line helps cover the change if the person at the register is short, and no one destroys the clothes section. And there are other days. Most days, really. Everyone is yelling, there are kids everywhere, a man wants a free bag of ice because the beer wasn’t cold, the phone won’t stop ringing, and frozen pizza is in the middle of the chip aisle. And I just want to scream WHY!


         The first story I have for you today mostly just left me confused. And to this day, I still don’t really understand what happened in this woman’s brain. Okay. I was walking towards the back of the store after checking in a vendor and a woman is literally waving her arms over her head to get my attention. Even though she is directly in my path, so I can clearly see her. And a simple, “excuse me, ma’am,” will always suffice. But anyway… I look at her and she says, “I really need to use the restroom.” And I have to inform her that our restroom is out of order. Because it is. It really, really is. No matter how many people think we’re just lying or being rude and keeping the toilet from them. Someone flushed a f*cking baby diaper, and now it’s broken. Sorry they haven’t cared enough to come fix it yet. Bah.

         Sorry. So, I tell her it’s broken, and she does the grunt/psh/eye-roll (because I couldn’t possibly be telling the truth) and asks where we go. I tell her about the two restaurants in the strip mall next to us. She does the potty dance, picks up her basket from the floor by the hallway door, and keeps saying “ugh, I’m not gonna make it, I’m not gonna make it.” Then she goes up to the register to buy her random stuff. Five seconds later, I’ve forgotten about her and continue about my work.

         Until she comes up behind me and says, “Excuse me!” I turn halfway. “Look at me!” I turn all the way. She looks me up and down. “Where’s your name tag?”

         Blink. Blink. I tell her it’s in my bag in the back. She asks for my name. I tell her, and I say I’m the manager, and that I’m sorry the bathroom is broken. Just to cover all the bases and try to end this confrontation quickly so I can get back to work. But this is where her response baffles me. She says, “Yeah, I know you’re the manager. I knew that.” And I just look at her, because I don’t know what else to say at this point. Then she says, “You have a blessed day.” And just… walks away.

         Like… she had so much hostility, though. I was definitely getting the “I’m about to cuss you up and down” vibes from her and then just… have a blessed day. Was it code for “go die”? Or… am I missing something here? I dunno. I’m still confused.

         This second story is less weird. It’s very typical customer behavior, really. We have a customer who has a very interesting backstory that I couldn’t possibly put all here or it would be several pages long. The short of it is she has a drug problem, her boyfriend has told us not to let her return things for cash if he’s not with her, and she’s very short-tempered and gets mad a lot. A lot. Like, the store’s closed (been closed for several minutes) and she tries to yank the doors off the hinges and cusses and screams in the parking lot. But that’s not this story. That’s just a Tuesday with this woman.

         This story is about telling her we’re unable to give her cash back on her debit card. Because we’re not a large store. We have cash handling policies that limit the cash in the drawer for our safety. And if people aren’t paying in cash, we don’t have a lot of cash. They do not require us to give you cash back. We have an ATM in the store for this reason.

         So, my assistant is the one ringing her up. When a customer selects cash back on their side, it shows on our screen before the transaction is complete and we have a split second to react and cancel if we don’t have the money in the drawer. My assistant does just this and apologizes. The woman goes off. Yelling that it’s ridiculous that we offer cash back if she can’t get it and we need to have a sign up and no one wants to pay the ATM fee for cash, we’re a store and we should have money etc, etc. But the best part was when she says, “Why don’t you just go to the back and get the money?”

         There’s money in the back?? Where? Because I’d like some. The store safe is right behind the register. It’s right next to the cigarette cabinet. Does she think we have a special cash back safe in the office?

         I’m nearby when this is all happening, and my assistant is getting a little hot under the collar because she doesn’t take crap from customers. So, I step in to try to deescalate the situation. I attempt to explain the cash handling policy thing and she calls us “stupid mother f*ckers.” My assistant slammed her hand on the counter so hard it made me jump. And then I told her she could leave because she didn’t need to act like that in our store.

         She says we’re going to get fired over this and she wants our names and our district manager’s name, blah blah blah. Goes on about how she has two witnesses for how she was treated (two other people in line that just look really annoyed at her temper tantrum). And one of these women literally says, “I’m not a witness to anything, I just want to buy my stuff and leave and you’re in the way.” She finally leaves.

         How entitled do you think you are that you think we should just do what you say? We did nothing wrong. Because we’re technically not supposed to have signs saying we can’t do cash back and we’re supposed to rely on that split second it’s on the screen to cancel it. And it’s just common courtesy to ask the cashier before selecting it. But that’s just me. I just don’t understand how people really think they can get us fired over little things like that. Did I punch you? No. Did I cuss at you? No, that was all you. I didn’t even raise my voice. If anything happens, IF, we might get a write up. Maybe. Doubt it. But that would be the extent of it. Because my boss always gets my side of the story. And the fact that this woman is a regular that acts ridiculous every time she’s in the building will not hold up her side.

         Anyway, another day, another dollar, another crazy person. But it is what it is. Hope you’re all having better times at your jobs.