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Thrift Store Hell: Trying To Take Advantage Of The Program


Skully coworkersFrom Puppies In Prada

Our thrift store participates in a program for people at a disadvantage. Namely, a person with limited means can get a voucher from this program, and bring this voucher to our store. The voucher very specifically names the individual, what kinds of things they can get, and a value that the voucher covers them for.


John Doe - $30 - Jeans, shirts, shoes, jackets (etc)

A bit of background: My Assistant Manager is at the registers. My Supervisor heads down at 4:30 with a small cart of things she plans to work on during dead moments at the register. I am behind her, but get delayed. Aside from the fact that I have a fairly large wagon load of stuff of my own, which doesn't slow me down; I do have to make a minor emergency pit stop at the employee bathroom, which does. So I am delayed by a few minutes.

Back to story:

In comes Entitled Shithead. Entitled Shithead is a young man, somewhere between 18 - 20. He presents the voucher to the Assistant Manager and she tells him (as if it's not written in black and white in front of him) the terms of his voucher.

He immediately starts bargaining like a Yard Sale Veteran. Can he buy that $100 piece of signed artwork with his $30 voucher for clothes? Okay, well how about this huge ass collection of $3 jewelry. Can he buy $30 of that with his voucher? What about...

The assistant manager shuts him down harder than the temple doors after Indiana Jones snatches his hat. He gets really upset and argues vigorously with her, demanding to know why she won't "just write on the voucher that jewelry is okay?!"

Carolanne chanelAnswer: Because that's not what the program is for.

Cue angry tantrum.

The Assistant Manager calls the program representative and tells her about his behavior, and that she can either tell the Entitled Shithead to follow the terms, or the Assistant Manager will run the voucher through the shredder and kick him out of our building. He gets the phone, listens for a while, turns red and storms off into the store, huffing and puffing, to look for... you know... actual clothes.

I'm done with my business and come out, pulling my wagon to the registers. Assistant manager and Supervisor tell me all that has transpired so far.

So I've been alerted.

My Assistant Manager goes upstairs to sort Housewares, and it's just me and Supervisor.

I bet you can guess what happens next.

Yep. Entitled Shithead comes up to the registers just a few minutes later and comes to me. Not to my Supervisor, who was witness to the exchange, but to me. Because there's a chance I wasn't made aware and may cave into his angry customer tantrum, I suppose? Nyeeehh! :P

He has a pair of Nike shoes, a shirt, two hats and some jeans. He also has a bike chain, and a tool of some sort.

Now, a thing to note is that I price Nike shoes at almost always $10. Flate rate, unless they're a little worn, where I take a few dollars off. This is usually due to a combination of Nikes starting somewhere around $60 and going up from there, and our almost completely arbitrary and wonky pricing system.

I guess that last bit is kind of unimportant, but it is good to note that Nike shoes tend to be one of the rare "higher priced" shoes I sell. Just about every other brand of sneakers, are $5 each.
Also, it's the beginning of August, which means that a colored tag has gone 50% off, and that a LOT of our clothes are now discounted. He hasn't chosen the color.

Basically this is a bit of a long winded way of saying that Entitled Shithead has deliberately chosen items that eat up a lot of his value, giving him very little bang for his buck.

Jason bored 1I tell him this. He is uninterested in finding the magical tag color and tells me to ring him up.

I do, while telling him with a smile that

1) that his voucher is good for $30 in CLOTHES and he is currently at $40 and
2) the bike chain and tool are not covered by his voucher, so he needs to produce some cash

He argues with me.

I tell him to cough up cash, or decide what he's not getting today.

He doesn't have cash.

Then he needs to re-evaluate what he's getting.

He demands that I just give him the items he wants for $30.


He then scowls angrily and snarls, "Whatever, I'm getting angry now."

(Yaaawwwwnn.... Oh, pardon me. Were you saying something? I do apologize, it's just that I find myself suddenly and irrevocably... Bored! Now fork over some cheese to Sheogorath before he plucks out your eyeballs.)

I Retail Smilingly(TM) take the bike chain and tool off the list, to the delightful jingle of him pissing and moaning that he didn't tell me to take them off, and to the return song of my people that he only has $30 and he was at $40.

He's really fuming now. His total is $27.

Him: "Okay, so just give me the $3 that I'm not spending."

Freddy and HagMe: "That's not happening. This voucher doesn't have cash value."

Him: "So what, am I out the $3 now?!"

Me: "Well, you can get some cheaper clothes and see if you can't match it up."

Nope. He's not interested in that.

Me: "Then it looks like you have a choice. Either buy something more expensive and pay the difference..."

Him: "I told you I don't have cash!"

Me: "Then I guess you're either out the value, or you make smarter choices in your shopping. Those are your options."

Him: "Can't I get a piece of $3 jewelry to round it up?"

Me: "No. Your voucher is for clothes, not jewelry."

Also, you're basically getting this shit for free. There's no fucking way you're getting something you can just turn around for profit.

He's really puffing now, but he finally just decides to take what he's got, and be out the supposed $3 value.

Before he storms off he says: "I'm going to give you some advice. If you want people to come through that door and spend their money in your shop, you need to stop arguing with people."

Skullies cheersMe: "And you need learn how to obey the terms and conditions of your voucher, son. Bye-bye now!" I actually give him a bye-bye finger wave.

He storms off in a delightfully immature manner and leaves the store.

I leave the registers, hunt down the Assistant Manager and tell her everything that transpired, including my responses, which would have gotten me SO VERY FIRED anywhere else.

She's unconcerned about my attitude in the way I handled it (I get the suspicion that she's actually quite pleased with my handing the little bastard his ass), and reassured me that she backs me all the way.

I'm actually sorry that I can't make this place a lifelong career, because it's insanely refreshing to be able to tell people how little of their crap you're willing to take.

--Puppies In Prada



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