My shop has a very straightforward policy for people who place orders using the Doorbell Cosmetics catalog. The products (usually clothing and shoes, which I don’t keep in stock) arrive within 7 days of placing an order, and the customer has 90 days to pick up their order. We do not ask for payment in advance, so we get occasional customers who, realizing that they ordered more than they can pay for, simply ignore the weekly reminder phone calls until I give up and return the products after 90 days.
It’s Groundhog Day, and I’m sending out a final reminder message to the customers who placed their orders in October. October was a particularly sketchy month, customer-wise. There are 5 significant orders left in the bin, for a total of nearly $400. All of these customers have failed to respond to nine phone messages. Message #10, while strongly worded, is still pleasant and polite. I explain that we will be forced to return the products if they are not picked up within 3 days due to company policy. I also say that if they wish to reorder the items, they can do so at any time, but that they are now required to pay in advance for custom orders.
To my surprise, one customer actually comes into the store after the call. I bring her products to the register...a big box of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Then she tells me that I should give them to her free “because I didn’t get them in time for Christmas”.
I explain that she’d received 10 phone calls, starting on October 1, reminding her to pick up her products. And that since the holidays are past, I can send the items back to the warehouse so that she doesn’t need to pay for them.
She replies, “No, you didn’t get them to me by Christmas, so I should get them free.”
Me: "Your order came in on October 1. I called the same day, and then we called 9 more times to remind you! In several of the calls, we listed our holiday hours...extra hours when you could have come in. We even called offering free home delivery as late as Christmas Eve for people who couldn’t make it into the store. How is it my fault that you didn’t pick up your order by Christmas?"
She: (in a snotty tone) "Because. You. Didn’t. Get. Them. To. Me. By. Christmas."
Me: "But you had 2 ½ months to pick the items up before Christmas. And you got reminder phone calls every other week. You don’t get to delay picking up your order, and then get it free."
She: "I’m calling the Better Business Bureau!"
Me: "Here’s our business card. Ask for Sara at the BBB, and tell her the store’s name. Now unless you want to pay for these items, I am sending them back to the warehouse."
The customer storms out in a huff. I toss the items into the “returns” box. And of course the other four deadbeats failed to call or visit, and their stuff ended up being returned too.