Cleaning house

Monday, November 07, 2005


Gawd, Christine--getting all uppity for the end of the post. Can't you just be happy I posted at all and move on? *grin*

I actually wrote the last one on Saturday and mailed it in, but when I got to work today I found that it had bounced back. Apparently you need to mail your posts to the right address if you wish them to be magically posted for you. Who'd a thought it?

I really don't recall what else happened on Saturday. I actually remember though that the screaming crazy paint lady was NOT the most bizarre thing that occurred on Saturday. My life is just a bowl of cherries, I tell you.

Crazy paint lady calmed down considerably when I went to speak with her myself. There's something about speaking to 'The Manager' that causes crazy people to have moments of lucidity. Long enough to attempt to convince me that they are not, indeed, psycho. It seldom works, as I generally believe that people who demand to see 'The Manager' have their own club and sane people are denied membership on a consistent basis.

This is not to say that I don't feel people should complain, because I really DO. I just think that people should complain about things that are rational and that have some aspect over which human beings have any minute degree of control.

I cannot regulate the temperature of the sun in order to accomodate your family vacation. I am unable to make it stop raining hurricane force rain in order that you can take delivery of your drywall. I am unable to change the odour of deer feces in the middle of a wildlife petting zoo. And I am certainly not able to train a 10,000 pound whale to not defecate in the middle of the show-pool during your child's class trip. These are all things about which I have received complaints in the last 15 years of customer service jobs that I have held.

Complain to me about the rude cashier. Explain to me how you wasted your entire day waiting for a delivery truck to arrive--when it never did because you were too stupid (oops--my bad--*CONFUSED*) to give the salesclerk your correct street address. These are things which I can fix for you. I will even pretend that your inability to know with any degree of certainty WHICH HOUSE IS YOURS is the fault of the sales-person. Not that they were stupid and got it wrong, but that they should have asked you more questions and actually ascertained that what you were telling them was TRUE and ACCURATE.

I am a professional fixer. It is what I do ALL day long. Some days are easier than others. These are the days that are not filled with psychotic people (henceforth referred to as 'customers'). The tough days are the ones filled chock-full-o-crazies (henceforth referred to as 'customers'--you see my dilemma, sometimes even trained professionals have a difficult time telling them apart).

The days that are chock-full-o-crazies are the most trying, but these are the days that remind me how damned good at my job I am. It's one thing to take a rational person with a reasonable problem and solve that problem to your mutual satisfaction. It's another thing altogether to be able to make a crazy-freak (i.e. 'customer') happy.

We have a lady who stops into our store on a regular basis trying to return things without a receipt. Now, we have an *insanely* flexible return policy; however, we do require a piece of government issued photo-id if you do not have a receipt. Even so, depending on the item/circumstance/phase of the moon we may put a 24 hour hold on said item while we research the sale. This way we can ensure that the item did indeed come from our store/company and that we are not being scammed.

This 'customer' comes in at least once a week trying to return old, used crap that she has found in her house. I may be overly generous here, using the term 'house'. I think that she likely lives in a tin-foil coated cardboard box that she stole from our dumpster--but I shall try to be kind. The 'stuff' that she brings in to return is garbage. Always. Nevertheless, we will take it back if we can find some record of sale.

The problem that we run into occurs at the point when we ask her for identification. I believe that she may be in some sort of Econo- version of the witness protection program. She thinks the feds are out to get her. She will not give us governement issued ID. She tries to get refunds with her library card. She has several different library cards, with different names on them. She has also attempted to use her Airmiles card, and her Second Cup frequent buyer coffee card. She is summarily shot down each and every time. She ALWAYS causes a scene.

This woman, although quite likely certifiable, is a waste of my time. She is attempting to defraud my company, and steal from the pockets of genuine customers. People who return things that are garbage, or that they have 'acquired' elsewhere, are STEALING. And they're STEALING from you and me.

I have to be kind, and polite, and respectful, and considerate of this woman's feelings each and every time that she comes in to perpetrate this fraud. Because she's at the front of my store making a scene in front of the real customers. The ones that actually PAY for stuff. I need them to see that I am the rational one in the discussion, and that SHE is the crazy. I need to test myself against the forces of evil, and come out triumphant each and every time.

Exhilerating. Draining. Sometimes downright irritating. But always challenging.

As for the crazy, screaming, swearing, returning-shite-all-the-time-that-she-bought-on-clearance-and-tries-to-get-full-pop-for-with-no-receipt Paint Lady--Security forces are currently moving in on her location and will soon have her banned from returning ANY product without a receipt. Doesn't sound like much to you--but it makes a hella difference in my world.

Remind me to tell you about our security guy one day--he's ex-KGB. He's a real hoot. Freaking obsessively paranoid and camera-happy---but a hoot nonetheless.


  • pee my pants funny. i deal with the same sort of generated fraud in my work place. only, it is managers of stores (ahem) trying to return stuff to ME the supplier that they either didn't originally purchase from me (oh, but your company carried that BEFORE you were hired, yeah, yeah.. sure they did) or the obviously used, previously enjoyed product that "hasn't been touched, never moved off of the shelf". (I currently have a customer who bought our christmas lights, used them for.. oh, 10 years?.. and is now trying to return them to me without the original box or invoice number, stating that "a customer" *accidentally* broke the box and that it counts as "store damage" and i should refund him his.. ready for this... $2.99)

    on point of principle.. I SAW THE LIGHTS UP AT YOUR STORE LAST YEAR YOU BUTTHEAD.. i am KEEPING my boss' 3 dollars. but it is an ongoing headache.

    By Blogger Christine, At Tue Nov 08, 07:47:00 am  

  • Your stories bring back horible nightmares of my days dealing with the general public. You and everyone else who work in customer service are SAINTS! Seriously. I think everyone should have to work with the general public at some time in their lives...just so they can walk in our shoes for a while and realize what ASSHOLES they really are.

    It's amazing what being nice and saying thank you will get you.

    By Blogger Paige, At Tue Nov 08, 01:07:00 pm  

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