So this is a story with half of it completed from one of my co-workers in our instore liquor shop.
On mobile, excuse any format issues etc.
So I get a call from a customer asking if they can return unused wine/beer/spirts from an event they had.
This call arrives after our liquor store has closed for the night, so I can't pass the customer on to them. But this sounds like it was a very large shop, upwards of a thousand dollars worth of booze.
I tell the customer that there shouldn't be any issues returning unwanted alcohol provided they had proof of purchase. They ensure me they do and that they will be in the store tomorrow. Pretty standard stuff.
Now for part two, which I did not witness. (I'll keep it in first person for simplicity)
Two customers come into the store with two trollies (shopping carts) packed full of wine bottles, beer slabs and a few vodka bottles.
They explained they're here for a return and we start scanning the returns in. Then I noticed something strange about one of the wine bottles. The aluminium cap/lid seems to have been drawn on with a permanent marker.
This raises my suspicions so I look a little closer. They have drawn over the little aluminium tabs that break off when the bottle lid is twisted off. This bottle has been opened, and been drawn on to try to conceal that fact.
I look at the customers, but they are both avoiding eye contact. I give the bottle a little twist, and it opens easily without the sound of snapping tabs. They are watching me now, guilt trying to be hidden from their faces.
With the most polite tone I can manage I say
"excuse me, but is there any possibility this bottle could have been opened?"
Their faces go red, and they admit it was opened without any further pushing. Then as I'm explaining that we can't return opened products, something else catches my attention. This wine doesn't smell. There is only a very weak hint of alcohol.
Wordlessly, I reach across and pick up one of our tasting glasses, pour myself a glass and take a sip. Water. The bottle has not just been opened, but refilled with water.
Through a retail smile I say
"Are there any other products here that might have potentially been opened, and subsequently filled with water?"
Turns out, the only products that weren't tampered with were the beer slabs. The vodka and all of the white wines were all opened and refilled.
The customers denied doing it themselves, saying that it must have been the bar attendants they hired.
At our managers request in the name of customer service, we return their slabs, keep the other items and ask that they take greater care and responsibility next time.
We submitted a report to our loss prevention team, but sadly never heard anything about it.
TL, DR: customers try to return a couple hundred dollars worth of alcohol switched with water.
So I used to work in the liquor department of a grocery store when I was in college. Everyone that worked in the department would alternate and be scheduled for all the different shifts.
On this particular Saturday, it was my turn to open. Part of the expectations for the person opening was to restock anything that the night crew didn't get to. Being a weekend in the summer, the night crew was obviously slammed, so I had a decent amount of things to restock.
One of the things that needed to be restock was the walk-in beer cooler. We have a lot of the big domestics in there because there is more room and easier to keep large quantities of beer cold. We have pallets of 24 packs of Bud, coors, miller, etc in our back room and built into displays in the store. We had to take hot beer and fill up the cooler as needed.
On this particular morning, an elderly lady came in at 9:00 right when we opened and made a beeline for the walk-in cooler. Then she came over to me and demanded that I get her a 24 pack of old Milwaukee lite because that is the only beer her husband drinks. She barked that it was not in the cooler where it always is. Old Milwaukee lite is not that popular of a beer that we carried. We basically just had 4 spaces dedicated to it in the cooler as we didn't sell a lot of it. Looks like we ran out of old Milwaukee the night before, so people probably purchased the old Milwaukee lite instead.
I calmly told her that we had more in a display and I showed her where it was. She looked at the beer as i picked it up to put in her cart and said, "It has to be cold."
I told her that we didn't have any cold and that it was 9:00 and that if she put it in her fridge, it should be fine by the afternoon.
She then rolled her eyes and said, "I know it can be cold by then, but it has to be cold now. If beer goes from cold, to warm, to cold again, it can go bad."
I then told her, "well these have only been warm, so as long as you don't warm it up after you put it in the fridge, it should be fine."
She looked at me like I was trying to swindle her and said, "well the beer is cold at the brewery and when trucks deliver it, so it has already been ruined, my husband will be able to tell if I buy this."
I then told her, "Mam, the beer is hot when the truck brings it. Plus we always hold all of our backstock at room temperature until there is room for it on the shelf in the cooler. So every case of beer that you have purchased here for your husband has already changed temperatures by the time he has had it."
She then basically called me an idiot and told me that I had no idea what I was talking about and how this can ruin the taste of beer. I normally didn't care if customers bickered with me, but I lost it when she called me an idiot and told me I was stupid.
I then told her, "Lady, you are correct. The quality of beer can suffer from drastic temperature swings like taking a beer from the fridge and leaving it in a hot car all day long, but moving it from room temperature to a fridge won't do any harm. I am sure that there are probably few select people in the world with palettes that can taste defects in beer that has experienced mild temperature swings, but these people don't drink Old Milwaukee lite.."
At that point, she lost it and started cussing me out. She asks to see my manager. But he was off that day so I gave her his number and his work schedule and she stormed out of the store.
I called my manager to try and explain what was going on. As soon as I said old lady and Old Milwaukee lite, he cut me off and told me she did that to him 3 times before. He told me not to worry as we are the only store in the area that had 24 packs of that beer. She would be back because that is the only beer that her husband drinks.
2 months later I saw her come in when I opened again. Luckily we had the beer stocked. She came to purchase it and she seemed like the nicest old lady that you had ever met. A complete 180 from the previous experience...