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Epic Fabric Store Hell Tale of Entitled Custy And Horrible District Manager

Entitledbitchstory Fabric Faerie back after a really long time, and also back working at my fabric store. I had attempted to break away and get a job/internship relevant to my career... but luckily my manager is still ridiculously awesome and let me have my job back within a week of asking. I still love my store to pieces, but things are starting to get on my nerves. 

Not that I'm trying to say I particularly minded only having good stories, but it does feel appropriate to have something to actually complain about on here, for once. It's almost like things were going too well so they've got to be worse the second time around. Really, though, the entire problem can be summed up in three simple words:

New. District. Manager. 

After our last one was fired for being a liar (having permission to work from home since he lived far, and then lying about actually going to the stores), this new DM started pretty much at the end of my first round at the store. We overlapped for a few months, but nothing major happened. 

So, I return from traipsing about Asia and school to find that the new DM has moved into our store. Carved out a chunk of the classroom, made ridiculous planning choices like having them remove a light fixture from the ceiling because she wanted to use lamps instead, and is there from starting from an hour before open and staying until close every single Monday. Awesome. Luckily, she tends to just lurk in the back of the store and mostly stays out of our hair, content to simply be using my store's office supplies because she's too dumb to remember her password to log into her own personal work-computer. 

Along with the new DM, corporate's gone nuts with the customer service thing. I mean, yes, that's our job, but what they want us slaves to do isn't customer 'service' it's customer stalking. The expect us to approach wandering customers an average of three times while they shop, offering suggestions on what else they need (which they really don't, of course), man the cutting table, do register, complete tasks like unpacking and setting out everything from the weekly truck within 48 hours of the delivery, clean the store, and be available at all times for customers to ask us questions. By the way, they've cut back the hours the store can give, so usually there's only two people working at a time. Maybe three, if we're lucky. It's just gotten ridiculous. RHSEPT 191

So, keeping those two bits in mind - new DM moving into our store, and crazy corporate expectations - I have an entitled custy story from today. Settle in, everyone, it's a long one.

The morning started out fairly busy but not ridiculous, until around 11 am. Around then, I see a custy at the register waiting, so I go ask what I can do for her. It turns out she has a return, which means I have to measure it. No big deal, it will only take a couple minutes. It was upholstery fabric, on a big tube which we have a machine for in the back of the store. I explain to the custy that I have to measure her fabric and I'll be right back. Easy. 

So, about halfway through measuring the return, a customer comes up. Tosses a shopping bag onto the cutting table like she just walked into her house, and says something along the lines of "Are you the one who's supposed to help me?"

"I'm with another customer right now, but I'll be back for you as soon as I can." Standard response, whatever. I'm cheerful, perky, even. Entitled custy nods vaguely, sipping her overpriced beverage, not even bothering to look at me while she expected me to drop what I was doing. Anyway, I get back up to the front of the store and hand off the return to my manager, since it was over my price limit. 

Now, some time between when I went to measure the return and reappeared back up front, customers started leaking out of the fucking woodwork. Hour cutbacks mean that there were only two of us to work the whole store, myself and my awesome Manager, who is in the middle of a return and then has another two customers in line behind her. There are at least three at the cutting table, and I start on them since it would look negligent to completely bypass a line of customers, and one impatient customer is better than three.

So, we're doing what we can and as a whole fabric store customers are pretty patient, so it's going fairly well. I somehow trade places with my manager, doing register while she cuts fabric, when I get a question about elastic from the customer I was ringing. Its a legit question, she wanted to know if we had a bigger variety than what she had found. Turns out she had found the tiny display of cheap pre-packaged elastic, not venturing to the back wall of the store where all the real elastic is. I go to take her back and show her, and on the way run into Entitled Custy again. I recognize her and offer another "We'll be with you as soon as we can."

"I should hope so, if you actually want my business." 

OCTOCAROL 024
"We got really swamped suddenly, ma'am. We're doing the best we can."

I lead my elastic custy to the right section, and start to help her find what she wanted. Before I could actually say anything, though, Entitled Custy calls from the other side of really tall displays.

"Miss! Miss!"

I figure out she's calling to me, and answer. "Yes?"

"Would it be better if I called before coming in to make an appointment?" ... What? Does this look like the classy kind of big-city store that takes appointments? There are only even two people working right now.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, we don't take appointments. We just help customers as they arrive." How was I supposed to respond to that? Nowhere in the guidelines does it explain how to tell a customer that we don't operate under appointments since we're usually not busy enough to warrant them, and don't have enough staff to sacrifice someone anyway.

She ended up turning back around and I'm not sure whether she left the store or lurked more around the back. That's another point against this entitled custy: she never even bothered with the line at the cutting table, or the register. She just marched her little drink-baring self into the back of the store and stayed there.

I get back to the elastic customer, and finally help her find what she needed. But, this means that she needs it cut since it's not the pre-packaged kind. So I cut her the 10 yards she wanted, and when he hears the price ($0.34 for three feet), she decides she wants the entire roll. Usually this would be awesome, since she's buying the whole thing, but in this case it was simply poor timing since it meant that I had to measure it all. By hand. After the 10 yards I had already measured and cut, there were 40.3 more yards. 121 feet. By hand. And the customers are still lining up.  OCTOCAROL 029

I finish with the elastic customer, and move on to the next one. Sometime in the middle of this, my manager had tried to answer the phone which had been ringing off the hook and ring at the same time. So I'm measuring fabric, and hear someone telling me that they'll measure, and I should go do register. I look up, and lo and behold it's the resident DM, surfacing from her office/cave in the very back of the store. Shocked, I tell her the yardage and immediately move to the register.

I didn't even know the DM knew how to use scissors.

This glorious display of common sense doesn't last, of course, since as soon as Awesome Manager is done on the phone, Resident DM retreats back to her lair. I guess she must have figured out that if the phone was ringing for ten solid minutes, we might be a little busy. Awesome Manager and I keep working, and eventually the we get the line back down to normal.

It's at this point I discover the truth behind Resident DM surfacing: she had come to tell one of us that there was a customer waiting in the back of the store. Entitled custy strikes again. My guess is that amidst her lurking, she had came across the DM's office and asked her to serve her.

Awesome Manager returns empty-handed, so apparently Entitled Custy couldn't handle us not taking appointments and left. She came off as rich enough that it could have been a potentially large sale, but of well. I mention to Awesome Manager that I had encountered the entitled custy and had tried to buffer her patience, but couldn't make it back there before she gave up. It was at this point Awesome Manager reaffirmed her awesomeness.


"But so why didn't Resident DM help her?" RHSEPT 095

The entire this was passed off as "It was insane and this is why we need more hours. Also, DM is a dumb bitch who doesn't know shit about managing a business that actually serves the customers." .. Though maybe not in quite so many words.

It's alright, though. We were so busy, I also didn't have time to find a way to tactfully tell Entitled Custy that she had a quarter-sized stain on the back-middle seam of her white capri pants. And if you can't say something nicely, don't say anything at all, right?

Alright, storytime's over and it's bedtime now, kids. I'll be back soon with some of my usual happy-times to brighten your day.

-Fabric Faerie

Update:

Hey everyone, I've got an update about my Entitled Custy from yesterday. Apparently she came back to our store later in the afternoon, while Awesome Manager was still working but after I had gone home. Apparently she has been to our store before and received good service, so she figured she'd give us another chance. By then it had died down to normal, so we were able to help her right away, and get her all set. 

While my manager was working with her, though, the custy decided to share her opinion of that morning. Apparently she had understood that we were busy, but it was the Resident District Manager that she was upset with. DM walked by her a bunch of times and never once offered to help her. Even when the DM showed up at the cutting table, my manager asked (once she was free from the phone call) if the DM wanted her to take over, or to help the customer in the back. DM said to take over cutting because "she has so much to do." So, the DM told the store manager to put off a customer so that the DM can go stare blankly at her computer some more. 

The custy was apparently full of nicknames for the DM, including "Ms. Clickity-Click" and "Ms. Long Eyelashes," straight up mocking (and rightly so) the DM's fashion choices. The custy even said that with the attitude the DM has, Awesome Manager should be the district manager instead! Which is entirely true. And Awesome Manager is going to tell DM that a customer called in to complain about her, specifically. Seriously, though - if any of us, even my Manager - had even -thought- about acting the way DM did, we'd be written up for it. And DM pulls that kind of shit all the time. It's obnoxious. 

I kind of feel bad now about not telling the custy about the stain on her pants... but oh well.

So, there you go. At my store, even my bad custys turn out to be good custys...

Sometimes.

--Fabric Faerie

Comments

snuzzle

I'm glad the lady came back and was able to redeem herself, but she still loses major brownie points for not bothering to wait in a line anywhere. On the whole, customers at my store are great too but it still annoys me to see someone wandering around, looking like they're shopping, only to have them turn around and be annoyed at you because you didn't know they wanted to check out. Despite them being nowhere near the bloody checkout. :|

fgjkf

that thing about approaching 3 times would make me not like shopping at your store. if i want help or suggestions i'll ask. i understand the first approach but after that i just want to look and be left alone. i don't blame you, as shitheads are making you do it, but it's annoying.

Card Creature

Personally, I think you offered poor customer service to this "entitled" customer. You put customers who had arrived later than her in higher priority, wasting her time. Unless what she wanted required an obscene amount of time, she should have been served immediately after you were done cutting for the previous customer. Your DM sounds like they're not doing a very good job, but you also put this person off. You weren't rude about it, it even sounds like you treated her politely, but you still put her off, and that's not good in my book.

Bill

I am with Card Creature- if that "entitled" customer would have been me, I would expect to be served next if you told me that you are just doing the return. It is not important if she was in a line or not- she saw you and approached you, that should be enough. If you were about to serve a line next, you would have had to tell her (e.g. "We are a bit busy and I have to serve this line first, but I will come back to you right after that"), not make her wait until god knows when.
I think her reaction (thinking that if she is obviously not being helped, she needs an appointment) is very kind, because she did not automatically think that you leave her out, but rather that SHE needs to do something different to get service. I do not understand how you can look down on her behaviour.

trekkiebabe31

I get the not knowing what a custy wants if they're just wandering around, and if she really needed help she should've popped into a line, that way she could make sure of getting to speak to someone. Lately at my work we've been really busy in the mornings and the problem is that we only have 1-2 floor people, but they're usually doing projects, so it falls to us cashiers to go show custys where stuff is and all that.

NC Tony

I will never understand the corporate idea of "Let's cut down on the amount of employees we have on the floor while doubling their workload." Then they turn around and blame you when you can't live up to their ridiculous expectations.

shevrolet

I am also kind of on the side of the "entitled custy." She wasn't just wandering around, sounds like she was looking for someone to help her because no one was working the cutting table (because you were busy in the back). If I were her, I wouldn't go get into a random line after a store clerk had just told me that they'd come help me when they were done with a return.
I probably would have thought about making the same sarcastic comment about appointments but wouldn't really say it. I try not to joke with people like that when they're busy.

Zmidponk

With sudden Insta-Queues™ like that, I find that the best way of dealing with it is to treat the person on the floor as someone who was in the queue before the queue was even there, so deal with them first, then help everyone else in the queue. Most customers are fine with that, if they understand you're not helping them because you'd already been grabbed by someone else, and the only people who object are, basically, self-important, entitled arseholes.

I do have to make a comment about that 'approaching a customer three times' thing. One place I used to work had the same sort of idea. In the first week of implementing this, there was around 20 complaints by customers about them being constantly harassed whilst browsing. There was no second week.

Fabric Faerie

Thanks to everyone for their opinions on the situation. I definitely understand that I probably should have gone back to her, but there was someone up at the front tables and another customer or two waiting which she completely bypassed, and it was mostly her tone that made me label her an entitled custy. It was also a 'lesser-of-two-evils' kind of situation - I either ignore the customer in the back who did skip the line, or I have three more customers get impatient waiting on the one. It seemed like she had a big project to work out, which is also why I tried to get the others done ahead of her, but what's done is done.

I am glad she came back, though.

And on the customer service part - I typically ignore the 3-times thing, ask once (or maybe twice if I come across them again a while later) and leave them alone. The catch is that our customers are generally older, and not quite as internet-savvy as the younger generations, and the internet is the only way to register a complaint besides talking to the managers personally, so a lot of complaints go unheard.

Ladybird

I ditto those who are with the custy. I understand that you were suddenly swamped, but she was there first and you not only had her wait through the people who were in line after her, then you get swapped to register, then you go help a custy with something that ends up taking even longer, and you continue to ignore her. I understand your logic, but even so, if you do that, once you've finished with the three who had queued up at the cutting table, you should've helped her. If more people come up, they can wait, because you already had her waiting for ages.

I understand the situation, but I don't think I would have been that patient, if I was her. She waited a looong time, tried various approaches and was rebuffed and still came back. For that she is a saint, regardless of how she may have come across in your initial encounter.

Ladybird

But your DM's a dick. She really should be reprimanded. Forward customer complaints where fault can be found with her to corporate, and perhaps video footage of incidents might find their way onto higher-ups' desks.. Just saying. ;)

Livia

That saves me. Thanks for being so sensilbe!

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