Retail Rant Time

Had an interesting customer interaction recently and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m still so confused about where I went wrong. Maybe you can enlighten me.

I was outside unlocking the ice when an old man gets out of his car. He grabs a shopping cart, so I waited to hold the door open for him. Once we were both inside, I saw I had a customer waiting for me at the counter. Before I can walk away, though, the man asks where he could find the scissors. I tell him, they’re down the first aisle, towards the back, on the right. And then I walk towards the register to ring up the waiting customer.

Now this might be the first thing that makes him mad, because he does give me an offended look as I walked away. And my only guess is that he didn’t like how I only told him where the scissors were instead of walking him back there. But clearly I was the only one in the store. We’d only been open fifteen or so minutes by then and I don’t generally have another worker in the store until noon. If I hadn’t had a customer waiting at the counter, I would have at least walked him half the way there. But they’re not really hard to find so I don’t see it as necessary.

Anyway. I go to ring up the waiting customer. But then my scanner is messing up, so I take the opportunity to reset my scanner because the man was the only other person in the store. And USUALLY it doesn’t take more than a minute to reset. As I wait, I fill up a candy display on the counter. The man walks up, and the scanner isn’t ready yet, so I say, “It’s going to be just a moment, I had to reset the scanner.” He says it’s fine and we wait.

So, of course since someone is standing there waiting, it wants to take its sweet ass time. And maybe this is the next occasion for the man to get mad. But it wasn’t anything I had control over. And I couldn’t just take him to the other register, because I was the only one there and I can’t sign on to more than one register at a time. So, I mean, I can see how he’s getting impatient, but it’s not my fault. I had to reset the scanner. *shrug*

So, I keep filling the candy display while we wait. I walk a few steps away to throw the empty box in the trash can and the register makes a noise that means it’s ALMOST done resetting. And he angrily says, “Okay, I think it’s done.” And I would just like to state, I will never understand why customers think they know more about my register than I do. But I say, “it’s getting there.” Because no, it’s not done, sir. I can turn the screen around if you’d like so you can see the blank screen with the little spinning loading icon.

Anyway. It finished resetting, finally. I ring up his two items and tell him his total. $2.58. First, he tries to pay with his card. He inserts the chip and it makes the error noise. He inserts it again, error noise. And a third time, error noise. I say, “Okay, you can try to swipe it now.” Because the machine will allow the strip instead after the third error. He tries to swipe it, but I can see he’s holding it the wrong direction. I say, “you need to flip it around the other way,” and make a little swirl motion with my hand. He stares at me. Doesn’t change it, slides it the wrong way again. I try to explain again that he’s holding the card wrong (and if I’m being honest, it makes me think he was holding the chip wrong too) and he says, “Whatever, I’ll just pay with cash and be done with it.” Okay, cool.

He hands me three one dollar bills. His change is .42 cents. I hand him the change and his receipt. He stares at the coins in his hand and then says, “$2.50?” And I answer, “No, it was $2.58. That’s .42 cents.”

And then he snatches his bag off the counter and says, “That was the worst customer service I’ve ever had in my life.” And leaves.

And I was just completely shocked. Even the lady in line behind him looked shocked. And then she said, “I can’t believe he just said that.” Me neither, lady, me neither.

Like okay, maybe he was frustrated 1) not holding his hand to the scissors 2) waiting for the scanner to reset and 3) his card issues (which were 100% his fault, but why not blame me anyway). But at the same time, that’s the WORST customer service he’s ever had? Like… do you not get out much? My mediocre, 8:15 in the morning customer service isn’t fantastic, I get it. But the WORST? That’s what has me confused.

But shout out to the lady who defended me.