January 19th, 2007 by Ajay
As you may know, I once spent a horrible period of my life working retail. If you’ve ever gone shopping and were treated poorly by the employees, I can tell you why that happened. There are only 2(two) reasons why. Either a) the employee is just a jerk or b) you are a jerk. Although, given enough time, enough of b) happens that most employees become a).
Here’s an example. I have in my well-manicured hands a letter that I borrowed from work. Take a peek. I’ll wait.
Did you count those grammar and spelling errors? Go back if you didn’t. I’m no English teacher, but I can spell retarded, and it starts with Customer.
When little (needs stretchy pants “little”) Jim came into the store, I had been there for about 7 months. In that time, I had never heard of 2-Pocket shirts because my store had never had them while I was employed there. According to the boss, she hadn’t had them in for at least 2 years prior. Now, I wasn’t at work the day this man came in, but I wish I was. Oh to see him attempt to make the little Assistant Manager(who actually is very tiny) manifest these shirts out of thin air with just the power of his undoubtedly fat, angry mouth.
To clarify: this man came in looking for a shirt he probably bought a decade ago. According to his email, Jimbo stops into the store in C-Rock to do some shopping. Something is a Big Mistake. I say it’s building a mall that’s not indoors, but that’s just me. He makes some reasonable requests: “Show me stuff that’ll stretch out when I stuff my face six times a day.” Very do-able. I’ll now provide what I believe to be a 90% accurate replay of the conversation Jimmy and the AM had. With commentary.
Jim:”Show me the Tow pocket button down sport shirts.”
AM: Beg pardon sir? Toe? (probably has an accent, therefore can’t understand him. types with an accent too, HA!)
Jim: “Tow. TOW. TOW POCKET. More than ONE!” (holds up his fingers most likely, taps both sides of giant man-boob chest)
AM: Oh. We don’t have those.
Jim: “What do you mean you don’t have any?” (this happens 60% of the time: they automatically think you are lying to them and get defensive)
AM: We haven’t had them for as long as I’ve been here, sir. Almost 2 years. (i’m guessing how long the AM was there before i was)
Jim: “Well, can’t you call the other stores? Can you do that for me?” (disguise a demand as a request. This actually means, ‘I want you to call all the stores as fast as you can and the first one should have what I want.’ This could also be replaced with ‘can you order it?’ No. There is no order number or warehouse that takes orders from the store. This could go two ways; you agree with the customer that the lack of ordering is dumb and he calms down or it just makes them angrier. Angrier! Ha! who’d have thought? 21st century folks! where’s the order system! I’m as baffled as the customers on this one.)
AM: I could, sir, but we, the Company, don’t have those types of shirts. They stopped making them. (true, the president of the division actually visited while i worked there. It is more ‘cost effective’ to make the shirt with ‘higher quality fabric and stitching’ than sow another pocket on it. Probably because they could make one more shirt with the fabric they save from every 50 extra pockets. Woo-fuck’n-hoo.)
Jim: “That’s bullshit! I bought a 2-pocket shirt just last year!” (every damn customer says this about every fill-in-the-blank item that we haven’t had for fill-in-the-blant amount of time. Whether it is “last week” or “last year,” they always “just bought it.” And as the customer is always right, the “discussion” moves on)
I’ll skip the rest because here is where Jim demands to talk to the manager, and as the manager isn’t there, he forfeits his purchase because he won’t buy anything from anywhere that doesn’t fulfill his every wish and whim. Which isn’t possible because the shirts do not exist. Jimbo’s “the customer is always right” attitude has failed him. The shirts will not appear out of nowhere. Not at our store. So he goes to Kohl’s; finds a different brand; fires off an angry, half-assed email; and then you know what? Our store gets the following:
Wow! Instead of emailing the guy back and saying, hey jackass! you were actually wrong as a customer, we don’t make them anymore! they passed the buck back to our store, essentially saying that even though they already lost the customer, the company will by no means defend it’s employees. Even when the employees are 100%, obviously in the right by saying, “no, we don’t carry those anymore,” the company still perpetuates the myth that “the customer is always right.”