Discount Rat Assignment
If there was one thing that I really wanted to do while working in Department Store Hell, it was To Catch a Thief. While the one that I was pining for was the one that ended in a high-paced chase with the NAT and LP, concluding in a tackle just outside the store doors and a Walk of Shame arrest, the one that I ended up getting was a Tag Toggler, and went down more quietly than I imagined.
I was working on-call on a busy sale day, the store packed with Discount Rats fishing through clearance, and I was assigned to the Teen Girl section. The clearance racks in this section were choice, because they offered the cheapest clearance of anywhere else in the store. (Sometimes the quality of the items corresponded to the low, low prices, but clearance is a gamble no matter how you look at it.) The thing about the Teen Girl section is that they hire young college-age girls to work that department, and their work uniform is the clothes that they carry in that section, rather than the store's uniform of professional clothing. These girls were often ditzy, and dressed like they didn't know how things run. While I was dressed as they were, and looked about their age, I was actually several years older and had been with the store for years. I knew what I was doing.
Enter the Tag Toggler; a middle-aged man buried in the middle of my mile-long line. He presented me with a polo-necked shirt from the Teen Boy section... the kind with a reptile stitched on it. These shirts have very distinctive tags, this one did not. It had another tag with a clearance marking on it for $5. I damn-near laughed out loud and asked if he was new. He had come downstairs to the Ditzy Girl section thinking that I didn't know any better and would cheerfully ring him out at that price. He didn't know that I had started my Department Store career in the Teen Boy section, and knew that Reptile Logo Brand was typically $100 per shirt and never went on sale.
"Oh no!" I said in my best ditzy voice. "This is not the right tag! Someone has put the wrong one on here! Shall I get you the right one?"
Wary, he indicated that that would be fine, and I called LP to let them know about the vermin at my register. Busy, they told me to call a manager. I had hit a snag. A busy, harassed manager would probably just tell me to ring him up at that price. I picked up the phone to play Manager Roulette. But Thrognar smiled upon me on this day, for the manager on the other end was Bettie Page! Bettie Page Manager had a Bettie Page haircut, and despite her professional appearance, was a rocker, and most likely was hiding some heavy metal tats. What's more, BP knew when to use her accommodating Customer Service Voice, and when to tell the crustomer to GTFO.
She came over, unhurried, and used her CSV to ascertain the problem. I explained that I needed to find the correct tag so that this gentleman could purchase his shirt and be on his way, and she responded that she could do this for us, directing the NAT to step aside so that I could ring others in the meantime.
She disappeared into the fray upstairs and called after a few minutes. "Good catch, Without Nametag. I've got the correct tag here, and you were right: $100. Ask him if he still wants it."
I relayed the information to the NAT, and asked. He replied that he did. Again, I almost laughed. Really, what customer would be willing to pay $100 for a shirt that was supposedly $5? He didn't even argue. It occurs to me now that he probably figured that he could take that tag home, attach it to something else, and try to return it for $100. Because to NATs, the tag on an item is just as important (if not more so) that the item itself. Bettie Page rang him up, and his debit card was declined. Raise your hand if you're not surprised!
He shrugged and left, probably on his way to another store to try that shit. We watched him go, and the manager rather unprofessionally high-fived me. Fuck yeah, Bettie Page!
May all of your managers have spines.