Retail Hell Memories: Party Store Snow Globe Hell


This story was originally posted on December 12, 2009


SnowglobeshellAnother story from Holiday Hell to warm the cockles of your weary retail hearts.

It's always an amazing thing when a crew gets a Manager they love and a Manager gets a crew they love back!

I've been fortunate enough to have had that experience and it's the one of the things that gets us all through Retail Hell at the end of the day.

This story is from Melissa. It's long, but well worth the ending...

A few years ago I worked as an Assistant Manager at a major Party supply store that is now out of business. I started two weeks before Halloween that year so instead of trial by fire I was given a tube of burn cream and a pat on the back.

Halloween was absolutely horrible but I made it through to the day after. Now anyone who works in retail knows what happens the day after Halloween - The Christmas decorations come out!

Due to the massive re-zoning, stocking, etc.., every manager and 75% of the staff was on duty, and things were going very well. All the managers chipped in and bought pizza for the whole crew as a "Thanks for a job well done".

This was a Saturday night, and the store closed at 9:00pm.

At 8:45pm, an elderly woman came in to browse our collection of Christmas decorations. While doing a walk through I noticed her "wandering", so I stopped and asked if I could help her find anything.

She explained to me that the previous Christmas, she had bought several miniature snow globes and absolutely loved them, and was hoping that we had them again this year.

Now I had done inventory earlier that day and knew we had the snow globes in the back, but they could not be put out on the shelf until the next day (Sunday) due to the way our ad ran.

I explained to her about them not being out because of not being entered into the system and they would not ring up in the register until tomorrow morning, but being one of those "above and beyond" customer service people, I told her I might be able to get them for her. I told her I could bring the boxes out for her to go through and she could choose which ones she wanted and pay me cash for them. I explained that we could figure the price plus tax, she could pay me the amount, and I would just ring the sale through in the morning after the SKUS came up in the system.

The customer was very happy about this, and even said "That's why I come to this store, because of the great service I get."

I told her that I would go get a case and come back in a few minutes.

CglobeNow let me explain about these snow globes. They are the bane on my existence. The store actually had a straw drawing contest to determine who puts them on the shelves.

The snow globes are approximately 2in by 2in, and they came packaged - individually - in a styrofoam container. Inside the styrofoam container, they are wrapped in heat sealed plastic.

They are the biggest bitch, as each globe has to be cut out of the styrofoam, and then cut out of the plastic wrap. Each case comes with 60 of the packages in it, and we had five cases total. There was no rhyme or reason to which design of snow globe was in what package; you had to open each one to see the exact design.

I HATE those fucking things!

I go and get the dolly and one of the stock guys, and we bring the case out.

By this time it is five minutes til closing and my crew is getting antsy to close up and go home. So I open the case and make small talk with this woman. I ask her if she is looking for anything particular, and she said she just wanted to see the new designs.

I open the first couple of packages, and the customer agrees that they are very lovely, but that she would like to see what else we have. I should have stabbed myself in the neck with my exacto knife then and there!

I open another three packages, and she picks one out and places it to the side.

She then wants me to open all the packages in the case to see if there is some different design hidden at the bottom of the stack. Because, yea lady, the special golden fucking ticket one is hidden in the middle of the bottom of the case!

I explain that there is only 6 different designs of the snow globes, but she argues that there were 10 last year, and she wants to see all of them.

By now it is ten minutes past closing, and my crew is politely hovering around like vultures on a fresh kill. Company policy forbids anyone being in the store alone, so I have to keep at least one person there with me, plus I still have to total out the drawers and do my deposits.

I open another five packages and explain to this woman that I need to excuse myself for a moment to sign out my crew. She seemed fine with this, and I told her I would be back in a few minutes.

C1 (2)I gather the crew and send the non-cashier employees home. I explain that I need to total the cashier's drawers before they can go, and that I need one person to stay with me until I left. Luckily one of the big stock guys volunteered, so it wasn't an issue.

I send him out to assist the lady while I'm trying to get the drawers and drop bag done. Not five minutes later the stock guy comes back and says the words no manager EVER wants to hear - "You better come see this."

I leave the most senior crew member in charge of watching the money and head out to the floor. As we are walking across the store, stock guy is trying very hard not to laugh. I know it's bad and he won't tell me what's wrong.

I turn the corner and see it - the huge fucking mess strewn down the aisle and no lady in sight.

This lady had opened EVERY package in the case (With her bare hands!) and had thrown the styrofoam packing down one half of the aisle and the plastic wrap down the other.

The overwhelming feeling of wanting to stab someone overcomes me. I go in search of stock boy and the customer, and find them three aisles over. I ask the lady if she found what she was looking for, and she looks at me and says -
"No, I think I will wait until you put them up on display. It will be easier to decide then."

I actually saw red.

Still being in polite mode and on probation, I explain to her that the store is closed and that she is welcome to come back tomorrow after we get them on the shelves.

She then asks for my name, so she can have me personally assist her when she returns.

I thank her for her business and escort her out.

As I close and lock the door, I hear the outburst of laughter from the entire crew.

I'm not one to cuss at my crew but that night I let it slip.Maxglobe

FreddyglobeI said "The next mother fucker that laughs will be the one cleaning this shit up!"

No one outrightly laughed but were still snickering. Luckily they all knew I was not mad at them and didn't take it personally.

By now it is 9:35, and the crew was supposed to be out of there by 9:30 at the latest.

I still have the drawers to do, the drop bag to finish, and now an entire aisle landfill of trash to clean. I have never cried at work but I was damn close that night. I decide that the first priority is to get the drawers done and the cashiers out of there, and the trash can wait.

I go back to the office and start totaling the drawers, and one of the cashiers ask if they can step out back for a smoke break.

I tell her that is fine, but that I don't want her outside by herself. The other cashiers and stock boy volunteer to go stand with her, and I start working on the drawers.

By the time I finish the drawers and drop bag it is 10:10.

I seal everything up in the safe and go searching for my crew. The back door is locked and there is no one in sight. I start walking the floor and can hear them in the far aisle.

JasonglobeAs I come around the corner, I see the entire crew has come together to clean up the mess.

They had cleaned the aisle spotless, returned the snowglobes to the styrofoam, and had repacked the case.

I thanked them profusely, told them that I would buy them all pizza, and explain to the big boss why they were so over on their time.

Then, the little quiet girl that doesn't talk much says - "Oh don't worry about it, we all clocked out at 9:40. You needed the help and we helped, don't worry about it. But you're the only manager we would do this for".

This time I wanted to cry in a good way.

We left, and the next night I bought them all a huge pizza feast out of my own pocket and even called the people on their days off to come in and get some.

So this is my customer from hell story but in the end it turned out alright.

Goes to show you, treat your crew right and they'll treat you right.

But I still refuse to put the snow globes out.


Read more Piggy Shopper Hell and Awesome Retail Slaves stories!

 For more Holiday Hell tales go here




Gross Return Hell: The Leggings


Skullies eewwFrom RHUer

I used to work at a discount clothes store a long time ago. There are many stories I could share about this place, but this one was the absolute worst...

A lady came up with a pair of leggings she wanted to return. She had the receipt.

Wonderful, I thought, this will be quick and easy.

Oh gods how the jinx struck.

She plops a plastic bag on the counter, presumably containing the leggings in question. Well, the combination of force from the plop and the movement of air proceeds to make the bag floof open.


I am blasted by the smell so powerfully that I actually rear back. I use the end of a pen to creep the bag open a smidgen, partly to verify that it really was the bag and not just a Silent But Deadly Fart from one of our patrons and partly because I couldn't believe what she was obviously trying to do.

Nope! The leggings have indeed been soiled.

Me: "I'm sorry ma'am, but we cannot return these."

Woman: "But I don't want them anymore!"

Me: "And what the hell makes you think we do?! We're not paid enough to handle bodily fluids, ma'am. And these are most definitely stained with fluid feces."

She demands my manager.

My manager is the next register over. He doesn't even LOOK at her. "Ma'am, I can smell them from here. We're not taking them back. Throw them out, or wash them yourself; I don't care. But you are NOT getting money back for them."

The woman stormed out with her leggings.

Me, to manager: "Sorry for saying 'hell' on the floor."

Manager: "I didn't hear a damn thing."

I gave a little chuckle, and went back to ringing up customers.



Read more Gross Retail Hell stories here!


Thrift Store Hell: Silent Rage Tantrum Update


Carolanne 002AFrom Puppies In Prada

Okay, mini update to yesterday's post. I went in and asked Missy if I could talk to her in her office. I said I didn't want to sound like a tattle tale, but that yesterday, Lemkil's behavior really concerned me.

I told her everything, even the "reckless as a wounded elephant" comment I made. I told her the volunteer who had seen it, and who had seen him flip a table in a fit previously. I even said the thing about how a dude slamming doors was using it as a substitute for violence and she understood immediately before I even finished the sentence.

I admitted that at the time, I was NOT afraid that he would haul off and punch me, but that his behavior WAS leaning in that concerning direction.

She thanked me for telling her. She said that she had had to talk to him about that kind of behavior before, and that this wasn't the first time he had done that "substitute aggression" thing. She had been willing to let it be a one time thing if his behavior had improved after the first talking to. She was glad I had said something, because if she doesn't see it or even know about it, she can't do anything about it. Since I told her about it and now she was aware that it had happened a second time, now it was going on a written record of his behavior.

I have the next couple of days off from work, so I'm just going to breathe and enjoy my time off.

There's a really weird freedom in telling management of something hinky, and they not only take you seriously, but they also do something about it. It's also really fucked up that getting this reaction is so rare in the retail world. :\


On a lighter note, Missy has a merle coated Koolie mix named Copper who is an absolute doll. He's perfected human manipulation, by uttering these deep miserable whines of "I am so unloved, nobody has petted me in thirty whole seconds!" As soon as you walk over to him, he runs over, grabs a toy and plays tug-of-war with you for a few minutes, making these gawd awful "I am Cujo and I am eating your babies" growls. Nobody fears these growls, because the dog is such a complete furry marshmallow that even when he's hyper excited and making these noises, never ONCE has he ever scored skin with his teeth. (He's also hilarious, because I SWEAR he's perfected the "what's that behind you?!" glance in the middle of tug of war, and he yanks harder on the toy as soon as you look away. "Ha ha! Fooled you!")

When I entered the office to talk to Missy, I failed to play the tug of war tax, and when I sat down, I ended up with him half in my lap and in my face to get my attention. Ladies and gentlemen, I failed my duties, I must pay the tax, and here's a furry nose and doggy breath in my face to remind me of this fact. He gave me a thorough doggie scolding in doggie language, with me profusely apologizing for my sins, then ran to grab a chew. Once both of us could stop laughing, basically the entire meeting, I was penalized to tug-of-warring with him with the chew.

He's a goofy beast, but he DID make it easier to talk to Missy about Lemkil's behavior. Perhaps he's no specially trained therapy dog, but he knows how to calm you/distract you when you're feeling stressed or anxious.

We don't deserve the awesomeness of dogs, my friends, but they're gracing us with their presence anyway.

--Puppies In Prada


Tales From The Front Desk: VIP From Hell Demands To Speak To GM


4 hotel skulliesFrom coastkid, Tales From The Front Desk

I recently dealt with an extremely demanding and fussy sexpedia "VIP".

On his 1st day alone he complained about no less than 3 times, made one of our cafe girls cry and then lied to a local restaurant about how our staff assured him they would stay open so he could get dinner (after we'd called the restaurant in question to confirm they were closed already).

On the next morning I dealt with him again and it was unpleasant to say in the least, he demanded to speak to the GM and then refused to speak to anyone else apart from repeatedly asking when the GM would be available.

Balls award4Some background, our GM is new to the property. He's only been with us a month tops at this point so I was kinda hesitant on how to handle him regarding this as our previous GM had 0 backbone and would have rolled over for this kind of guest.

So I went and spoke to my new GM who took me seriously (yay) and said he would go and speak to the guest.

I didn't really pay it anymore attention cause I had stuff to do and got semi busy with check-outs but after about 20 mins my GM came back over. I was kinda prepared to hear some BS about "keeping our guests happy" but no, the heaven's opened and my GM drops this bombshell, "I told him that clearly we aren't the hotel for him and it would be a good idea for him to check out."

I swear my chin almost hit the floor! Frankly my co-workers and I were pretty taken back that our GM stood up for us and gave a nasty guest the boot! It certainly gave us all a nice boost and made us feel genuinely respected by upper management for a change.



Two Stories: The Happy, And The Strange


Carolanne whootFrom Puppies In Prada

I have two short stories for you:

First: the happy.

So this weekend, Missy brought me into her office to do an annual review. Apparently I just squeaked in under the deadline as having worked at the Animal Shelter Thrift Store long enough to count (6 months). To my very happy surprise, I basically aced it. My marks were all in the Excellent and Very Good range. The ones I was below Excellent in was basically due to my still being relatively new and still ironing out my knowledge base. I got a raise (the highest she's allowed to give me at this point in my position and career)!

Also, can I stress yet again how much I love Missy? Not only is she a manager who's actually human and treats everybody else like one, but if she really doesn't have anything to put in the Needs Improvement mandatory section of the review, she won't make bullshit up. She just pretty much says that there's nothing that really needs improving short of simple experience.

Also, holy crap, she's even freaking relatable. She laughs... LAUGHS with us over silly/stupid/facepalm bullshit that customers do or say!

Me, holding up a boot: "You know, the pair to this is in my section... I found this one on a random fixture halfway across the store. Couldn't they at least take both boots?"

Missy: Laughing "I know, right?!"

Dearest Thrognar, I don't know whether I'm dreaming or whether I died and went to Retail Heaven. Missy is the one and only manager I've ever encountered that really and truly is worth doing extra crap for that most retail slaves learn (the hard way) never to do. I'm going to be heartbroken the day she moves on to better things.


Jason oopsSecond: the strange.

I walk into work early, usually to spend time waiting to clock in with a good book. As I pass by the back door, Steve turns to me, highly amused.

Steve: "So... somebody donated this today."

He holds up a Cat-O-Nine-Tails bondage flogger and a trademarked Indiana Jones braided whip toy (which is approximately 6 feet long).

I'm stunned speechless. There are no words in this moment.

Steve: "I'm pretty sure we don't have a Marital Aids section of the store..."

What. Is. Even. The. Fuck? Somebody donated their (likely used) sex toys to a thrift shop. What the fuck is wrong with people? WHY would you donate that? Quite frankly someone, at the door at least, now has your face to recall to pair with what you do in private. And while your..... thing, is your thing.... not everybody wants or needs to know that.

Please, please, PLEASE dispose of "marital aids" properly, people!

--Puppies In Prada

Cashier Hell: Prepared Managers Help Make Veteran's Day Sale Not So Crazy



From  erinm1414

I'm a cashier at a large department store, and today we had a Veteran's Day sale, on top of a few other usable coupons. Needless to say, it was madness.

My coworkers were telling me that it reminded them of Black Friday. Lines weaving to the back of the store at some points.

When I started my shift my manager approached me before my first customer came over. He told me, "Don't worry about the line. It's going to be crazy the entire time, but we (as in him and the other managers) will be taking care of it. Move at your normal pace and relax, we'll take care of the rest."

And he did take care of it. He and the others manned the line the entire time and our customers weren't cranky about waiting in line. Don't know if this was a juicy enough story to post but to me it meant a lot that our managers put that kind of effort into our store to make it the least stressful it can be, for both employees and customers.

A crazy day didn't seem so crazy anymore.