Retail Hell Memories: Opening Nightmares - "By The Way, Your Sign Says "Closed"


This story was originally posted on May 21, 2011.

Open For HellHeya Heya RHUers! The Dark Lord of Marketing here again with another tale of yester-year custy lunacy. This one wasn’t even crazy-entitlement or sheer bitchiness either, it was just straight up WTF!

In college I worked part time at a local Mom & Pop video store/photo lab. I know, strange combo right? Hey, it worked for them and has successfully been one of the best places I’ve ever worked for!

Being their college boy part-timer, I was the main person working weekends and usually opened the store both Saturday and Sunday, and naturally had they typical routine of coming in an hour to 45 minutes before open to start up the machines and run tests, get the drawer set up, check in the pile of returned videos from overnight, and do any of the cleaning that needs taken care of that’s just absolutely impossible to do with customers present.

The only unfortunate part of this was that the storefront consisted of windows from about knee height to ceiling the width of the store, so if anyone happened to be an early bird they would always see me and assume the store was open. I lost track of how many times I opened early cause a custy was at the door, but it was usually along the lines of ten or fifteen minutes early at the max so it never bothered me much.

Until *she* showed up…

One dark and dreary winter morning when I got in the back door and shut off the alarm system I heard a steady *kthunk* *kthunk* noise that piqued my curiosity, and naturally being the super-courageous and completely invincible 19-year-old that I was I didn’t even think twice about investigating it.

I peered through a crack in a sliding door that separated the stockroom from the sales floor and lo and behold there was a woman at the front door on the outside rhythmically tugging on the locked door.

Dumbass 2Like any good retail slave, I didn’t want to have to deal with someone a full hour before I had to so I began running what setup I could do from the back room whilst in a completely dark store.

Now this was a Saturday morning at about 9am, and it was overcast and drizzling so there wasn’t a whole lot of ambient light to fool the eye; it was just a little beyond the level of obvious that there was not a single electric light on in the front of the store, but even after about ten minutes while I counted out the drawer from the back room and loaded all the control strips for the photo processors there was still the steady *kthunk* *kthunk* from out front.

Now I knew I was in trouble, cause the only things I had left to do were in the visible store front, so I sucked up my disdain (which didn’t take too long, I was only 19 so I hadn’t built up anywhere near as much as I have today…) and went out front…

Sure enough, the second the custy saw me through the windows she began waving dramatically to get my attention.

I gave her a quizzical look and made a show of checking my watch while I walked out to the front door, and an even larger-than-necessary show of unlocking the front door, going so far as to purposefully use the wrong key the first time.

I was only going to crack it open and ask if I could help her, but the second it was unlocked she swung it open, said “thank you!” and walked right past me up to the counter and stood patiently, the whole time I’m still standing by the front door staring dumbfounded at her.

She wasn’t making a grab for anything at all, so I trotted back behind the counter and haltingly asked “Can I help you with anything?”

She responded “Sure, I’d like double prints on these,” and nicely set a roll of film on the counter in between us, “it’s for {insert forgotten customer name and phone number here}”.

Still being apprehensive, I said “OK, would sometime about 11 o’clock be alright to pick this up? We’re usually not open for another half hour…”

Carolanne derp“Certainly, that’s no problem!”

She was even being kinda cheery-sounding, certainly not how I’d be after standing in the cold pulling on a locked door for at least ten minutes, and showing absolutely no confirmation or reaction to the fact that I had just mentioned that we weren’t open for business yet.

She just turned around and started walking back to the front door with a little friendly “I’ll see you then” tossed over her shoulder.

I was still in a state of shock and confusion when she got back to the door, opened it up, and looked back at me to say “By the way, your sign here says ‘Closed’…”

Reeeeeeeeeally lady? The sign tipped you off but the locked door, lack of interior lights, and the fact that the only employee you talked to was still wearing a winter coat didn’t? Really!?!?!

Ah well, at least she wasn’t rude about it. Although it made me wonder exactly what medication cocktail she was on. Till next time!!!

--Dark Lord of Marketing


Read more Opening Nightmare stories here!


Dumbass Customers: Woman Uses a Pen To Sign Electronic Signature Pad


From Sarah, December, 2009:

I once had a customer write on our signature pad in ink!

When I realized what she was doing I asked her to use the style.

She then licked her finger and proceeded to try and clean up the pad with her saliva.

I was completely grossed out because it's a touch screen and people will have to touch that.

I then scrubbed it with disinfectant but couldn't get the ink off.

That was just gross.

The lady was like 30, she should have known better.







Home Improvement Hell: The Idiot Customer Parade



From an RHUer, April 2009:

Swear to God, I don't know what gives customers their entitlement complexes, or their idiocy. Maybe they weren't loved enough when they were little. Maybe their mommies were retail slaves and were never home, thus driving them to take out their rage on the slaves of today.

I work at the OTHER massive home improvement store, although I'm a wimpy cashier, rather than a hardcore lumber-loader. ;-) I sling the occasional bag of topsoil or concrete, though. But I had a guy the other day that seriously made me wonder what kind of women he's used to. I was hopping back and forth from our tall ladders to the racks of display lamps to change burned-out bulbs, and I overheard a man saying to one of the managers who was nearby, "Shouldn't you get a boy to do that? That looks dangerous!" For one thing, I'm a lot lighter than a lot of our male employees, and can shimmy among the lights easier than them. And I guess it's ok if a guy falls and busts his head, but not a girl. My manager said that I was perfectly capable of doing my job, which I appreciated. :thumbs up:

I often work returns, which drives me fucknuts on occasion. I despise customers who obviously stole shit and bring it back, but I can't do anything about it without proof, unless the loss prevention manager is actually on top of it and puts their license in the system so it rejects returns without receipts.

Jason 009aA week or so ago, I was working in Lawn and Garden, which also takes returns, and I had a lady ask me about replacing a plant she'd bought a year or so ago that had died. We have a one-year guarantee on our plants, so I told her that yes, we could replace it/refund it if she would bring it back. She gave me this bewildered look and said, "But it's in the ground!" Stupid bitch actually expects us to replace a plant without ever seeing it? Be a good way to stock your garden for free. I ended up explaining to to her like she was a dumb 5 year old, asking her if she would ask to get a new vacuum if hers broke without bringing it back. That made her get it, amazingly.

Then 2 days ago, I had this evil bitch who was bringing back a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff, all on separate receipts. That doesn't matter usually, you can scan all the merch and all the receipts and the system will give the money back in whatever tender you paid with. But this bitch INSISTED I do each receipt separately. I explained how the system works to her, and she snapped, "Well, I just want to do it my way." Uh, do you see a BK sign anywhere, lady? Fine, let's take 20 minutes to do your return which could have taken 5. She returned some sod, and the L&G lady asked me if there was anything wrong with it. Apparently, the same bitch had called a couple days before to get the sod, and expected us to set aside 75 squares of sod for her to pick up eventually. Garden Lady told her if she would pay for it over the phone, of course she would set it aside for her, but that was the only way. Bitch huffed and whined and paid up, then said, "You'd better pick out good ones, or I'll be back." Oh, the terror. If you want good ones, pick 'em out your damn self. I told Garden Lady she should have pissed on the sod before she gave it to her.

You know, this is my first retail job, and I've had it for over a year now. I'll be glad when I'm done with uni and can get a real job with regular hours.


*read more Home Improvement Hell Stories here



Dumbass Customers: Ma'am, I'm sorry but I cannot return an item over the phone



From M, April 2009:

I don't know what it is about 'guests' but they just seem to get more and more insane and stupid as time progresses.  This was probably one of the best phone conversations I've ever had. Enjoy.

*on the phone*
My coworker: no. maam. uh. no. you can't on the phone. no. yes. okay hold on.

My coworker to me: She wants a manager.

Me: [takes phone.] Thank you for holding this is M how can I help you?

Lady: yea I bought [insert item here. I honestly can't remember what it was] and it doesn't work and I want to return it.

Me: Okay, do you have a receipt for it dated within 90 days?

Lady: yes! I just bought it and it doesn't work!

Me: I'm very sorry about that. Just bring in the item and the receipt to the service desk and we'll gladly exchange or refund the item for you.

Lady: Look, I don't live by the store. it's too far away.

Me: Well that's okay, you don't have to return it to this store. You can return any [store name] merchandise to any [store name].

Lady: This is a pain. I don't have time to keep running back and forth. Can we do this over the phone?

Me: [pause] over the phone?

Lady: yes, can't I just read you the information off the receipt or something?

Me: no.

Lady: Why not? this is ridiculous, I shouldn't have to drive all the way back there because this thing is broken!

Me: Ma'am, there is no way to return something over the phone. I need the merchandise in the store to refund the money for it.

Lady: I can't believe this. I want to process this return over the phone so I don't have to drive to ANY [Store Name].

Me: Ma'am, I'm sorry but I cannot return an item over the phone. With a return you need to give back the merchandise that you don't want. You cannot keep the merchandise and get your money back for it. It's kind of like stealing.

Lady: I don't steal!

Me: I'm not implying that you do, but if I were to give you back money for something you kept it's sort of the same concept.

Lady: Thank you for your help. *click*

*sigh*  Yes, I cannot believe this actually happened either.  Maybe next time she'll ask to return something via email!


Read more Dumbass Customer Stories here.






Dumbass Customers: "I Am Not Stupid!"


Dumbass 3From u/UniqueUsername_Nope, TalesFromRetail

It was late one evening about 30 minutes before the store closed. We were completely dead, not one customer in the store and the 3 of us that were on duty were chatting at the register at the front of the store when a son and father enter and approach us straight away.

All three of us greet them kindly and I take the lead in serving them as it was my duty on the register [the other two staff came from different departments]. The son takes the lead, as I soon find out the father has not got perfect English and sometimes find's it hard to communicate.

Son: Hello, my father would like to return this charger[car battery charger] please. It doesn't work

Me: Okay, did it not work after purchasing or was there some sort of issue?

Son: [Speaks to father in own language]....he says it stopped working. He used it once, and then it wouldn't work

Me: Okay that's fine, what happened when you noticed it wasn't working? Was it dropped/ damaged/ not charged...etc, etc

Son: [Speaks to father, father seems to be getting a little bit salty]......No, he say's it just stopped working

Me: Was it used correctly? No issues with using the cables incorrectly or anything, was the car battery working?

Father: [Saltiness level over 100]I am mechanic. I know how to use. I am not stupid [points at charger] BROKEN. New one [speaks to son in own language]

Fine, whatever. So my colleague goes and grabs a new one off the shelf, as well as a car battery to make sure there's no issue with the new charger we are about to replace. We explain this to the son, which he translates to his father[Saltiness decreasing].

Carolanne argh 1My colleague and I swap the chargers, we take the old one and connect it up to an old battery we had sitting behind the register, and the father connects the new charger to the new battery. The old charger seems to be working perfectly, it's turning on and reading great.......just as we turn around to explain this to the father and son, the father turns on the new charger...... in a second there are sparks flying everywhere and the new charger dies. The so called "mechanic" has incorrectly connected the charger and the battery. [For anyone out there, RED = positive/ BLACK = negative ALWAYS!]

My colleague and I look stone faced at the father who's turning a deathly white, and the son who's now turned a dark shade of red.

Colleague: Your original charger works perfect

Me: [points to charger they just broke] This one however, is now broken

Colleague: [Hands over original charger to son]

Me: Please explain to your father how to correctly use the charger, and perhaps read the instructions next time

They both apologise very quietly and leave very quickly.



Read more Dumbass Customer stories here!


Retail Hell Memories: Your Tape Damaged My Machine!


Jason 011

From Ian:

Back when I was in High School, I worked for one of the big chain video rental stores. I won’t say which one, but the colors are blue and gold. 

So, this is back in the day of VHS Tapes, and we had some rather old tapes on the shelves. Some of these tapes were from the early days of VHS and were prone to a few problems. 

So one day someone comes in and rents one of these older tapes. He returns to our store later that night demanding to speak to a manager. 

I lead him over to my Manager who was very cool and good with these types of customers.  Unfortunately I was within earshot of this idiot while he was ranting.

Apparently, this waste of air rented one of the older videos and took it home to watch. He put the tape into the downstairs VCR and it got stuck. 

“It wouldn’t go down when I put it in, and it wouldn’t come up when I hit eject."

So he took the VCR into the dining room and proceeded to take the entire thing apart.  He was specific to note that he may have broken a few pieces and so it was impossible to put it back together. 

So why does this guy rank as a waste of air? 

This tape having just destroyed his VCR, he took it upstairs and proceeded to use the VCR there. 

Guess what?

It stuck again.

Same table with all of the pieces of the other VCR on it, he took apart the second one.  Broke some of that one as well. 

So he comes in and demands that we refund the cost of the tape, which she gladly does, and that we cover the cost of him getting two VCRs repaired. 

In his mind it was our tape that damaged his machines, not the fact that he butchered them with a screwdriver and a pair of wire cutters. 

My manager told him that he was SOL because he broke them, not us. 

That guy yelled so loud at the two of us I had a headache all night.