Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a good manager is a thing of beauty

A friend turned me on to notalwaysright.com, a site that collects anecdotes of the INSANE customers one encounters all too often in the service sector. A choice example:

Customer, upon receiving her Moolatte: “This has a round lid, can I have a flat lid?”

Me: “I’m sorry, the only lid that fits that cup is a dome lid.”

Customer: “But I want a flat lid, Starbucks always gets me a flat lid! Why can’t you?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the flat lids we have won’t fit that cup.”

Customer: “I want to speak with your manager.” *mutters* “Stupid kids…”

(I go and get my manager)

Manager: “What’s the problem, ma’am?”

Customer: “This stupid employee of yours won’t give me a flat lid!” *brandishes the drink in his face*

(My manager takes one of every single lid in the store and puts them in front of her)

Manager: “Go ahead then.”

Customer: *proceeds to try and put the lids on the cup, none of which fit* “This is ridiculous! Why don’t you have a flat lid?! Starbucks always has a flat lid!!”

Manager: “Then go buy your drinks there and leave my employees alone.”


And even better:

Customer: “I’d like pineapple on my sub.”

Me: “I’m sorry, we don’t have pineapple. Only Mr. Sub has pineapple.”

Customer: “Yes you do! I always get pineapple here!”

Me: “I’ve worked here for quite a while, and we’ve never had it. Sorry!”

Customer: “Excuse me, the customer is always right! You can’t argue with me!”

Me: “Um…”

Customer speaks to my manager: “Excuse me, your employee is arguing with me! What are you going to do about it?”

Manager: “Don’t be so stupid! Get out of my store!”


I swear I have met every one of these morons. When I was young and vulnerable I tended to cry after they left. In my later years I just got mean.

The last day I worked at Casual Corner, which was about seven years ago, it was near the end of my shift, the mall was due to close in twenty minutes, and I was folding sweaters on the big display table at the front of the store. I was in a mellow mood because I knew I wasn't coming back there any more.

It was a big store, divided into three sections by partitions, and a door at either end of the store front. I saw a couple come in, with a pair of children, and slink around the partition onto the Petites side of the store. People are really good about avoiding the eye of salespeople when they don't want to be disturbed. They had that harried look of people who are just in for a quick scan and don't expect to find anything. I went on folding sweaters.

About five minutes later, the husband appears around the corner of the partition, which is about 25 feet from where I'm standing, and hollars, "Hey! You over there, picking your nose or whatever--you wanna come help us?"

I turned slowly toward him, raised an eyebrow, put a hand on my hip and said, "You wanna come over here and ask me that nicely?"

His wife's head pops around the corner. "What did you just say?"

I said, "You heard me."

"Well!" she said. "I am not shopping in here anymore!"

I pointed, advancing on them with a hostile look in my eye. "There's the door."

They backed toward it, hearding their rugrats behind them. "You need to be in a different line of work!" the wife snapped at me.

I grinned. "This is my last day."

They hustled for the door, muttering in outrage. There was a group of young men loitering outside the door and I thought about yelling after the departing couple, "You're not allowed to shop here anymore!" like Randall in Clerks, but I didn't.

As we were closing up the store, I told the manager on duty about the incident. "So if anybody calls up complaining about that girl who was so mean to them, it was me."

She laughed. "Honey, I'd say you got a gift for your last day!"

1 comment:

AJ Milne said...

...I thought about yelling after the departing couple, "You're not allowed to shop here anymore!" like Randall in Clerks, but I didn't.

Heh. I am told by many who have lived and do live in the world of retail that watching that film, and Randall specifically, felt like a sort of vicarious catharsis.

(I haven't, for the record; my hell jobs were generally more of the manual labour type, with some office drone thrown in for variety; I got my catharsis from office space, and Xander on the construction site.)