From July, 2011
Phone Wench gets a Retail Balls Award for giving a crusty old crazy hag great service, but refusing to take her abusive threats:
Hi there, RHU! Long-time reader, first-time poster. Call me Phone Wench.
I graduated college recently, and now work for a large cellular provider... let's call them Whorizon. Except I don't actually work for them. My store is a locally owned indirect agent, meaning we're licensed to sell phones, sign people up for contracts and all that jazz, but we can't provide all the services of an actual corporate location. Nor can we match online prices/deals/etc. Not only would we get run out of business in about five minutes if we did that, but corporate legally won't let us.
Not that this stops the custys! Or should I say crustys, since the place I live is basically one enormous hyper-wealthy retirement community. Think hellspawn are bad? You've never dealt with an 80 year old woman demanding to know how to make her iPhone's screen bigger. (Yes. Not the display or the font, the actual screen. "Don't you people sell bigger phones than this? You really ought to consider your customers more.")
I have people continually turning up in my store demanding free phones, which of course I can't give to them; the best I can do is give them a $50 phone with a $50 rebate, and even that varies depending on corporate's promotions. Can you get it for free online? Probably. Is it going to be used? Probably. Are you going to turn up in my store two weeks later, pissed that you have a used phone, and demanding that I exchange it for a new one? Probably, and then I will laugh at you.
Most of the time, if you're polite and firm, the customers will either capitulate and buy the damn phone, or give up and go to the corporate store (which also won't fulfill online deals and is on the other side of town to boot.) Most of the time.
Then there's..... Glenda. Glenda (not her real name) is an infamously terrible customer, to the point where none of the senior sales reps will serve her and even the manager doesn't want to deal with her. Why Glenda continues to shop with us, I will never know, since apparently her cell reception is terrible, none of her phones work, her internet is too slow, and every sales rep she deals with is surly and rude to her.
My first encounter with Glenda came a couple weeks ago, as I was cashing in my drawer at the start of my shift. The phone rings, I look around, the other sales rep is busy, so I pick up. "Welcome to Wireless Hell, my name is Phone Wench, how can I help you?"
"Are you a Whorizon internet customer, ma'am? How can I help you?" This was apparently the wrong thing to say, as she burst into a tirade about how she's been a Whorizon customer for ten years and how I should know her and how I AM SO RUDE, etc, etc.
Before hanging up on me, she screams that she's coming into the store directly because "YOU CLEARLY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING" and tells me she's going to make sure I get fired.
I hang up, mildly shaken, and go back to cashing in. Sure enough, about thirty minutes later a car pulls up right in front of our door (which is a no-parking zone) and an older woman gets out and stomps in.
The senior sales rep looks up, and immediately decides to go hover over a browsing customer. I am alone at the desk. The woman storms up, slams a Mifi (wireless internet) device down on the counter, and snarls, "MY INTERNET IS DOWN. THIS PIECE OF SHIT WON'T TURN ON."
Now, I really don't appreciate being sworn at, but I also know it can be frustrating when equipment doesn't work. I decide to give her the benefit of the doubt. I take the device, look at it, pop the battery out and back in again*, and plug it into my charger. A little green light comes on; the device is perfectly functional. I say, as softly and politely as I can, "I think it just needs to be charged, ma'am. If it's been having problems charging, I can replace the battery for you."
CUE THE HOUNDS OF HELL. I am told I am surly, I am rude, I am worthless, I don't know anything about technology, how this device HAS NEVER WORKED (yet somehow she's had it for six months now), and WILL NEVER WORK, and I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. I cower under this torrent of abuse, until suddenly an idea occurs to me. "Ma'am, let me talk to my manager, and see if I can replace the device for you."
And while a shriek of WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE rises behind me, I escape into the back. My manager is back there, laughing hysterically, and hands me another Mifi device. "I heard everything. Give her this and we can resell her old one."
I take the Mifi, head back out, and switch her account over to the new device, while Glenda continues to hurl abuse at me. "Here, ma'am, this one will work, and if it doesn't, come right back and we'll exchange it. Thank you for choosing Wireless Hell, and have an excellent day."
This is not enough for Glenda. "IF THIS ONE DOESN'T WORK, I'M COMING BACK HERE AND THROWING IT AT YOU!"
I sit bolt upright. "Ma'am, if you do that, I will happily CALL THE POLICE." My voice is loud and firm, and the other customers in the store turn to look. I have had ENOUGH, and I'm not putting up with any more of this. "As long as you can refrain from committing assault, I will be happy to serve you. If not, you are more than welcome to take your business to corporate."
She stares at me. I stare back.
Eventually she drops her eyes, snatches up the new device, and scurries out with a half-snarled "Thank you."
Phone Wench: 1, Crazy Bitch: 0.
Working for Whorizon means you put up with a lot of customer abuse, usually for things that aren't your fault and could never have been, but this time I feel like I managed to keep a little of my dignity intact.
(*Footnote*: Popping the battery out and back in again solves a lot of glitches. Please, customers, for the love of whatever deity you hold sacred, TRY THAT FIRST before you come in and yell at the sales rep. We are not tech support and can't be.)
read more Phone Store Hell here
checkout more Retail Balls awards here