Retail Hell Memories: The Customer is Sometimes Wrong


Skullies 3a

From u/SoleInvictus Tales From Retail:

This memory always boils my blood.

About 15 years ago, I was working in a thrift store as the assistant supervisor. The store was poorly managed so assistant supervisor meant I did all the floor work while our understaffed cashiers tried to keep the lines down, but I digress.

We were slammed one night so I went up front and told a nice little old lady, also the next customer in line, that I'd help her at my register. This Joe Dirt looking guy and his lady overheard and zoomed over to my register, beating tottering little granny. I firmly tell them she was next in line and to move back to let her in. They comply without a word.

While I ring up granny, he stares daggers at me as she fake mutters about the lack of customer service. I then ring those two losers up. As they get their items, this clown (the guy) leans over the counter and says "Two things. The customer is always right. First come, first served." I'm flabbergasted. As they start to leave, my coworker whispers to me "What. An. A**hole." Apparently chlorine in your gene pool gives you superhuman hearing: the aforementioned walking sphincter hears him.

He turns around, steps into the register space, grabs my coworker by the shirt, and snarls "Say that to my face." I tell him to leave or I'm calling the police. He shoves my coworker and walks out. We never see him again.






Thrift Store Hell: "Because That's Not Suspicious At All!"


Carolanne 040aFrom Puppies In Prada

Okay so this isn't my story, but a story No-Nonsense Steve told the rest of us.

Steve was on the door and a woman comes up. She's donating one complete set of camping equipment; tent, sleeping bag, lantern, etc. Practically brand new. Used only once. Cool. All that stuff is Steve's responsibility. He checks that stuff for quality, prices it, and puts it on the floor. The stuff she is giving him is entirely his domain.

Lady, as she hands the stuff over: "Yeah I went camping with my boyfriend and came home single."

Steve: ".... okaaaaayyy."

Steve to us later: "Yeah, that wasn't suspiciously phrased AT ALL..."

He told our store manager, and as many of us as he could pin down to share his concerns and to tell us to keep our hands the hell off of whatever was donated for a while. (Sometimes we like to shop in each other's areas for cool stuff, and we'll price the First Picks for each other.)

A few hours pass and we get a call. The lady "accidentally" donated a shovel and a pickaxe, and she would like them back.

Missy, who has already been told about the concerning phrasing: "...Okay, I'll have my employee look for them for you."

Concern levels rising.

Steve, when the manager tells him: "Okay, you know what? Tell her that I want to be the one to give them back to her, and that no one else is to touch them. It's already got my prints on them, if she wants them back she has to come here at a time when I'm present."

She did show up when Steve was gone, once. Missy relayed the message and apologized with a Retail Smile that Steve wanted to be the one to give them back.

The lady showed up later and DID get her shovel and pickaxe back. She may have been completely innocent, and phrased it poorly. She MAY have also done something... concerning... to her boyfriend.

For the love of Thrognar, people, watch what you say to retail slaves. We're all just waiting for the police to visit with Steve and ask him a few pointed questions...

Update: No one has been identified as missing in local news. Here's hoping it was just phrased poorly.

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Do Not Sass The Donation Door Workers


Carolanne book2From Puppies In Prada

Once a month, I do a complete purge of my high heeled shoes. Even reduced to like, $3 a piece, high heels don't really sell well unless they're insanely wacky with spikes, zippers, studs or otherwise good for ladies of the street corners. Don't get me wrong, I get that high heels in a landscape that sees snow at least three months out of a year isn't going to be as popular as boots with proper tread. But we get a decent inflow of heels from SOMEWHERE, so they are getting bought on the retail side, just not on the second-hand side.

It's kind of insulting, because my rule stands at "pristine, or nearly so," otherwise it gets recycled. So you're getting almost-new, quality heels for a few dollars.


Aaanyway, it's purge time. I send down a now-empty Canvas Basket Truck back to the donation door and spend a half hour filling my flat bed wagon with masses of high heels. Everything on the shelves is getting recycled, everything on the cart is going out. Three weeks of almost no motion is long enough, I say.

I go to the elevator and... huh... The empty roll around bin that I sent down is still on the elevator. This is unusual. We use these things to sort our crap and to send massive doses of donations to their respective areas to be processed. The donation door is pretty rabid about grabbing these back when they get returned.

Shrugging to myself, I call the elevator back up, put my wagon full o' heels and send it down. I then take the stairs nearest to the Donation door. I come out to a scene of desperate scrambling. The sorting table is piled higher than I am tall. The floor around it is covered in boxes of crap. And there's a line four cars long of people who are eager to dump a metric crapton of yard sale discards upon us.

Greaaat. Summer Yard Sale Season is in full swing.

Three people are desperately sorting through the piles; Scotty of Electronics (helpful passerby), James of Electronics (previous person on the door), and Jenny of Accessories (her hour on the door currently).

Me: "Huh... I WAS going to ask why y'all hadn't emptied the elevator yet but... question withdrawn."

Jason Hear no evilThree heads rotate, a la Linda Blair, at me and they give me smiles that would curdle Jason Voorhees's blood solid.

Scotty: "Wise decision."

I hold up both hands in full surrender. "Hang on for just a sec. Let me pull my wagon out of the line of traffic and I'll help."

I sprint to the elevator, pull my stuff out of the way, then sprint back to the door and dive in. Common decency to your coworkers demands that you help when you spot trouble like this. Here, it's also nearly instant good karma, since being reluctant to jump in and assist can turn on you real fast.

It takes four of us half an hour to wrangle the massive mess under control. As the hour gets longer in the tooth, the line finally slows down. The tally board we keep shows 30+ people in the first hour, 20 in the second, 15 in the third, and 28 in this hour. This shit is insane.

Jenny sends Scotty and James off once it gets a little better under control. The two only have half of this hour to take their break, and they've already dedicated the first half of it to bringing the insanity under control. Time squeeze is happening. Go take your break while you can!

Fortunately the four of us have gotten it under control. Jenny and I are the remaining two, bashing out the last of the pile. Thankfully we get it into a semblance of order, though between cars, we were keeping a steady stream of bins running upstairs for people to distribute.

Freddy and jason palsI now have 20 minutes to fully purge my heels and get the new ones situated. Why? Because NEXT hour, I'M the one on the door. This is why it is always wise to rescue coworkers in trouble. You will have a door shift soon, regardless of when in the day you work.

I managed to sweep the old shoes into garbage bags, then situated my new ones. Two minutes to Door time, I go back into the back with my wagon.

Me: "Hey Jenny, I'm gonna make use of the restroom before I free you."

Jenny: "No worries!"

In the end, she stayed with me for fifteen minutes as we handled a (much, much smaller) rush.

It will be this insane until August, folks. *whimper*

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Entitled Customer Doesn't Think He Needs To Wait His Turn


Entitled custiesFrom Puppies In Prada

You know what I love the most about my job? We're not required to take shit from assholes. If someone's being an absolute ass, you can put them in their place.

Donation door time! Things are heating up, both in temperature and in volume of crap. An older woman comes to the door and I start helping her sort throught he things we can, and the things we can't, take.

Another car pulls up.

He walks right the fuck past me and drops a box right next to the door.

Me: "Excuse me sir, but I'm afraid there's a line, and you need to wait your turn."

Man, snotty: "I am in line!"

Me: "And you need to wait your turn. We need to be able to look at what you're donating to be able to say whether we can take it."

Man, still snotty: "It's kitchenware. You can take it."

Me: "That remains to be seen, sir. You need to wait your turn, and that means waiting until I'm finished with this lady's donations."

Elderly lady: "You really must think you're something special to try to jump the line like that, young man!"

Holy shit, son. When other customers tear into your ass, you done fucked up!

Man, outraged: "You don't need to talk to me like I'm a child!"

Jason snootyMe: "Apparently I DO, sir, since everyone else has learned how to wait in line in first grade. I don't know how you failed that, but regardless, you need to wait."

Oh, forgot to mention... this is a middle aged guy; younger than the lady I'm helping, but likely over 40 years of age. PLENTY of years under his belt to know fucking better.

Man: "Fine, then I'll take my donation somewhere else!"

Me: "That's perfectly fine with me, sir. You do that."

The man storms over, snatches up his box and storms back to his car, slamming the door and driving away.

Elderly lady: "My goodness, what a spoiled brat."

Me: "Would you be surprised if I said that we get people like him every day?"

Elderly lady: "Not in the slightest, honey. I've seen a lot of grown men like him in my years."

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: But I Only Want Four Of Them!


Carolanne Argh 2From Puppies In Prada

Posted all over the store are signs that say: "Please do not open sealed containers. All items are present in the box."

On sealed containers: "Please do not open sealed containers. All items are present in the box."

Aaaand here comes a customer. She has a bag, sealed, with 12 knobs for a cabinet or something. WITH A STICKER saying "Please do not open sealed containers. All items are present in the box."

Customer: "So can I open this?"


Me: "No, ma'am. Those are part of a set of 12. We ask that you don't open containers that are taped shut."

Customer: "Yeah but, I only want like, four of them."

Me: "...And we're selling them as a set of 12. If you want to buy individual knobs, there's a Re-Store and a Habitat For Humanity store down the road that sells individual knobs at cheap prices."

Customer: "I only want four, and really, they're just knobs."

Yeah, but here's the thing: we cannot change prices, unless it's in our department. I am Mistress of the Domain of Shoes and Purses, so I could drop a price on a pair of shoes if she spotted some wear that I missed. But knobs? Those belong to Housewares.... and the Assistant Manager. There's no WAY I'm infringing upon the Domain of Housewares for this lady's nonsense!

Me: *irritated now* "If you want four, you have to buy all twelve. You open that bag and I'm charging you the full $12 on that bag, so whether you're buying four or all twelve, I'm still charging you the FULL $12."

Customer: *Grumble mutter mutter grumble*

She reluctantly pays the $12 and leaves.

--Puppies In Prada