It’s mid-winter in a small northern town, the hardware store has slowed down predictably. A costumer strays in and says “brrrr.” We were in the middle of a bad blizzard and a long cold streak, so many of us had run out of clever ways of saying “It’s cold.”
Me: “Good afternoon, can I help you with anything?”
Me: “What can I help you with?”
Customer: “I need a 2/4 inch black pipe cap.”
Me: “1/2 inch black?”
Customer: “No, 2/4.”
Me: “Well it’s the same thing, just making sure we’re on the same page.”
Customer: “I meant 3/4 inch.”
Me: “That’s fine, follow me.”
We make our way over the fittings, I hand him a black 3/4 inch cap.
Customer: “No, this isn’t it.”
Me: “Well what’s wrong with it?”
Customer: “Everything, it’s too big, I asked for brass, and it’s supposed to go inside the pipe.
Okay, so first of all, this is why I repeat to customers what they asked for. I heard black, I said black, he didn’t argue with it. Second of all, if it goes into the pipe it’s a plug, not a cap. Admittedly I ignored the “too big” comment under the assumption that it was redundant as it would be smaller fitting in a pipe than it would be fitting around one.
Whatever. I hand him a 3/4 brass plug.
Customer: “I told you, it’s way too big!”
Me: “Is it possible you meant 1/2 like you initially said, or maybe 3/8?”
Customer: “When I say 3/4, I mean 3/4.”
Me: “Well this is 3/4.”
Customer: “It’s too big, what don’t you get?”
Me: “Sir, you asked for 3/4, this is 3/4, says it right on the bag. This is what you asked for. Would you like me to show you the smaller fittings?”
Customer: “Are they 3/4?”
Me: “No, they’re smaller.”
Customer: “Then you don’t have them, what a waste of time.”
He left, and scowled when I said “Have a nice day!”