Holiday Hell: Mom Spoils Christmas Herself

 

C1From Online Retail Hellion, December, 2009:

Working for an online-only retailer may not have the piggy messes to clean up at the end of the day (and I have worked that terror before), but it does have the wonderful combination of everything else retail related, with the added bonus of phone-based customer service, where customers can be even more abusive because you are only a faceless voice on the other end of the line.

With the holidays here again, I thought I'd share my favorite holiday story from working online retail. This story happened to a former coworker:

The setup: It's 5 days before Christmas, delivery companies worldwide are in overdrive trying to get people's stuff delivered on time. Delays inevitably develop (last year we had to deal with an entire 'brown' delivery truck full of our stuff catching fire, burning all the presents inside inside to slag. Really!).

My coworker "Dan" gets a call from a customer who had just checked the shipping company's website, and found that her son's XBox 360 wouldn't be delivered until December 26th. Therefore, since we were the company she had handed the money to, she called us to bitch. Though we had handed the XBox to the shipper in plenty of time to get it to her (it f-ing left the warehouse the day she ordered it), delays in the shipper's overloaded system had caused the package to be bumped to the day after Christmas. But, it was, of course, all our fault.

"You've ruined my son's Christmas!" she screamed so loudly that I, a few desks down, could hear her. "I want you to personally tell my son that his present isn't going to get here on time, and that he's not going to have a present under the tree on Christmas morning!"

SkullysantaDan stammered, tried to reason with her, but it was too late, the child was on the phone.

"Hello?" a voice said, sounding about 12 years old.

"Hey there buddy," Dan said, as upbeat as possible, "I'm really sorry, but your XBox 360 isn't going to get there until the day after Christmas."

"I'm getting an XBOX 360?!" the boy yelled, exploding with excitement.

"Yeah, but it's not going to be there until the day after Christmas." says Dan.

"I don't care! I'm getting an XBox!!" the boy shouted, and handed the phone back to his mother.
Shouts of "Yes! Woohoo!" could be heard in the background as the mother mumbled something about "Yeah, well, it better show up..." and hung up.

--Online Retail Hellion

 

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Molly Mog's Craziest Customers From Hell

 

Gas station 1

 

From Molly_Mog, June, 2014

So it was a lovely insane day at the petrol forecourt, everyone was  a little, umm, odd. There were the middle-aged little boys who stamped out of the shop because the coffee machine was working at that moment, cursing and swearing about how unfair it was and how shit we are. There were the idiots who come in the exit and park the wrong way, who when we ask them, politely, to turn around go into a fit about how they aren't thieves and how dare we! (Pump and runners often face the wrong way so we have been told by the area manager to make them turn around, this is an area manager suck.) One even tried to scare me by turning around and moving as fast as possible as if he was going to hit the pumps or the bollards, which actually made me laugh because, well, pumps and bollards will hurt his car more than he'd ever hurt me.

Then there was Mr Important, he'd spent the best part of ten minutes slowly making a coffee while talking over Important Things on his phone and blocking anyone else from being able to because obviously he's the only person in the shop. Then he continues to wander around the tiny little shop talking loudly and Importantly. Then another customer comes in to pay and tells me that a Range Rover is blocking the middle of the pumps. I knew it had to be him. So I asked him if it was his, of course it was, so could he please move it as it is blocking the pumps for other customers to use. He said he would and didn't. After a few minutes I asked him again and he shouts that he can't while he's on the phone. I don't have to be sickly sweet to arsehole customers, thankfully, so I suggested that he actually hang up and move the car. He slams his unpaid coffee down and storms out, still on his phone and I think no more, of well we lost a sale of coffee just because he didn't want to get his hair wet. Weirdly, ten minutes later he comes back in hands me a tenner and says "Large coffee £2.40" as if I can't read or don't know my job and when I hand him the change silently he snaps "£7.60 right?" I just smiled. He was not happy. He really needed that coffee.

RHSEPT 501Finally there was Mr Creepy. He's new-ish to our place but has become a semi-regular for about a month. He's very loud and very imposing, though not to me as it's hard to cow me, he looks like Brian Blessed and Boris Johnsons' love child. I listen to the radio at work, it helps my sanity levels, and I dance and mime along to the words (I don't inflict people with my singing) and I genuinely don't care what others think about it. Mr Creepy likes me singing along, he really likes it. He asked me many questions the first time he came in and saw me, including does my husband approve? Because I need permission from a man/woman/wookie to do what I wish that doesn't hurt others.  I told him my ex-husband had no say in what I did and I knew it was a mistake because then came all the creepy questions. Just ugh. This time I wasn't singing or dancing because there was nothing on I wanted to join in with and immediately he starts commenting about it. Then he tells me to start singing. My polite smile drops and I refuse point blank, then he asks when I'll be singing again, to which I said later, "Oh when later?" to which I replied I didn't know, because you know I don't run of a bloody schedule, spankfish. I didn't say that last bit to him but the tone did. He finally left and I really, really felt like taking a long shower in boiling water.

Today was a funny day but I really am so very tired of the adult children.

*

June, 2014

All the talk about sock and boob and, shudder, pants money has reminded me of a fairly recent horror.

It was an early Sunday morning and a couple were getting coffee from our machine and a couple of other bits and pieces. They came up to the till and then the woman pulled out her purse and removed a rolled up £10 note only to giggle in a little girl way (hideous in anyone over the age of 7) and said to her partner: "Oh it's the one from partying, it's all I've got."

Then she hands me the rolled up note, I unroll it, and you are probably way ahead of me here, I get white powder all over my hands as I unroll it. My face becomes a mask, trying not to show the horror, then hand her the change. Thankfully it's Sunday and no one else is there yet so I tell my manager that I need to wash the money and my hands thoroughly before I scream hysterically.

RHSEPT 288I'm not a germaphobe, I don't think you can be when you work with money that much, but the white powder absolutely freaked me out.

*

 October 2016

I finally encountered it, after all the years in retail, reading the sites saying that the customer just stared at the person as if the stare would change the answer they didn't like.

It finally happened to me.

I'm in the bakery/coffee bar and a customer comes up and asks if there are any more croissants available. There had been a rush and I had some in the oven so I told him so. He just stared at me.

So I said I was sorry there were no more croissants left and we were baking some.

He just stared at me some more.

I think my brain left for the moment because I just ended up staring back at him until I tried one more time: No there are no croissants, they're in the oven and they won't be available for at least 20 minutes (including cooling time).

Finally he stopped staring and asked me for a coffee. I've never encountered anyone like him before, he has a coffee loyalty card, he's going to be back.

Help.

--Molly_Mog

 

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Old Lady Calling: Do You Have Suggestions on How to Get the Lid Off my Mayo?

Nametag4a From Riferous:

Sometimes, you can just feel yourself dying a little inside.

I just got a call from a little old lady.

She had bought some brand name mayo and couldn't get the lid off.

Yes, she called and asked to speak to a manager because she couldn't get the lid off of her mayo.

And asked if I had any suggestions.

I said, "Well, have you tried wrapping a towel around it?", but alas, that wasn't the kind of innovative logic she was looking for.

She asks, "Well would there be a plastic wrapper around it, and where would that be?"

"Well, there could be, and it would cover the lid and part of the bottle itself."

"Can you go check that for me?"

I'm halfway through a company mandated video that will be followed by a test, upstairs, in the back, on the opposite end of the building.

"Sure, let me put you on old. I mean hold." (I didn't really say that, but that's funny right there.)

OLD-PEOPLE-HELLSo I get to the mayo aisle, ask her which one in particular it was.

She only then decides to tell me that it was a squeeze bottle.

For those not familiar with a squeeze bottle of mayo, they have a screw on lid (at least most do), which is not tight, because there is an inner seal. 

"Well, the ones I'm checking are pretty easy, they just twist right off, and then there is a seal across the neck of the bottle..."

"With a pull tab?", she interjects, telling me that she probably knows better what she is doing than she thinks she does.

"Yes, you grab that pull tab and pull off the seal, and put the lid back on.

"Do you have to take that seal off before you can get the lid off?"

What? "No, you have to take the lid off to take the seal off. It's on the neck blah blah same thing I've already said."

"Now I got some of the [other name brand she can't pronounce, here's a clue, sounds a HELL of a lot like SMELLMANN'S], and it had a wrapper around the lid."

"Yes, it does."

"Would it have that seal inside?"

"No, that's what the outer seal is for."

At this point I'm thinking that she's going to actually have to drive back in and have me open the damn bottle for her.

Or she's going to demand that I come to her house, open the bottle, and spend three hours listening to stories about her dead husband and her 28 cats.

But aha! I have an idea!

"You can get the flip top lid up, right?"

"Yes."

"If you stick a knife in that slot and poke through the seal you will be able to squeeze it out."

Genius, right?

"Well, you don't think that lid was made into the bottle, do you?" Freddy2 093

*Pause while brain tries to regain traction.*

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you don't think it's attached to the bottle, all one piece, do you?"

Would I still be having this conversation if that's what I thought?

"No, it comes off."

"Well if I stick a knife in through that slot and poke a hole in the seal, will that be sufficient?"

You mean what I told you to do two minutes ago???

Yeah, I think that will be fucking sufficient!!!

I wish, I wish, I wish I didn't have to be back here at 7 in the morning, so I could go kill enough brain cells to understand people.

Fuck.

--Riferous

 

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CELL PHONE STORE HELL: CRAZY CUSTY BECOMES VERBALLY ABUSIVE AND GETS TOLD

 

Retailballscarol

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.

Carolanne 070My 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?"

"MY INTERNET."

"....Yes, ma'am?"

"MY INTERNET."

"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."

Carolanne 037CUE 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.)

--Phone Wench

 

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Retail Balls Awards: Walmart Customer Gets Told By RHUer Customer

 

Retailballsfreddy

 

From Brian The Werewolf, October, 2014

Tonight I went on a late night soup run. It's so cold and after a rough day, Sam and I decided we wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese. Went to Walmart and picked up tomato basil home-style tomato soup, real deli cheese and crackers.

All the self checkout lanes were full, so I went down to one of the two that was open. Got in line behind a woman in a wheelchair and a man in a blue hoodie. The man with the blue hoodie was being a little rough with the cashier, far rougher than was necessary. Based on what I could tell, he had picked up a bunch of stuff he couldn't pay for and then was berating her as if it were her fault.

Another man and his wife, total strangers, came up to the guy in the blue hoodie and gave him money, money enough to pay for what he didn't have to cover for.

WalmartcustySo the process started again, and when the cashier re-rang up the meat and stuff she had just had to undo, the man stopped her and told her to put the meat back. She asked him, very politely, a question to clarify because the other man had specifically given her the money to help the dude in the blue hoodie, and made sure he wanted to put it back because now it was covered.

Man in the blue hoodie proceeds to very loudly snap at the cashier and said: "What part of put it BACK didn't you fucking understand?"

The poor girl didn't have a choice but to sit there and take his abuse so I spoke up and said: "Hey, lay off."

He grumbled and growled a bit and took the extra money the stranger didn't have to give him meant to cover groceries and pocketed it, snatching it out of the cashier's hand.

After the woman in the wheelchair paid for her movie and moved out, I checked out and asked the cashier if she was okay. She said she was and said it was part of working up front. I apologized for the man's behavior and told her to hang in there. Someone's gonna go up on People of Walmart AND Retail Hell Underground.

--BrianTheWerewolf

 

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Cashier Hell: Holiday Fistfight

 

CASHIERHELL

From Norelle, December, 2008:

Kind of funny story I thought I'd share-- and it has a happy ending!
We're allowed to wear Holiday t shirts and sweaters and such to work for the month of december and I was taking up the company's offer by wearing a Hanukkah t-shirt that poked fun at a secular Christmas tradition- it had a bunch of presents in front of a big menorah and it said "Santa Schmanta" on it.

I'm not really Jewish, but I'm not really Christian either, and I thought the shirt was cute, and the Jewish customers often complain that they feel underrepresented around the holidays and the company was ok with it.

Of course, in order to make sure that all people continue to take themselves too seriously, a lady decides to find my tshirt offense. She spews off all sorts of anti-semitic stuff and says i'm the spawn of Satan, destroying good Christian principles like Santa Claus.

I'm a little shocked by this out of the blue bitchfest, so I'm silent and trying to think of something to say that will even penetrate her skull, when the lady behind her, took offense to what she was saying.

The two ladies started yelling at each other, and the anti-semitic lady threw a punch (well, it was more of a limp slap with two inch fingernails, but you get what I'm saying) and these two ladies end up in an all out, rolling on the floor, scratching, hair pulling, catfight, right on the front end of the store. 

I call security, and they call the local police. Security separated the two women by the time the police got there, and the police walked them out, and asked them not to return unless they could behave themselves. 

--Norelle

 

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