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Old 02-15-2008, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,612 posts, read 68,185,843 times
Reputation: 16304

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I see there is now a thread growing in popularity in which people are recanting their shopping horror stories in dealing with retail/hospitality employees, and I thought it was about time that the tables were turned so we retail warriors could vent our horror stories about dealing with an elitist and unappreciative general public.

I currently work at a Lowe's Home Improvement store about two hours from New York City or Philadelphia. Here are some of my favorite customer horror stories:

1.) On Black Friday 2006 our store, which lies within a very busy chain retail corridor, was extremely congested. I was employed as a loader at the time---the grunt who roams the parking lot looking to assist customers in loading purchases, retrieving carts, picking up litter, etc. I was standing near the main entrance of our store when I saw a frail woman walking up the middle of the road apparently looking for her vehicle. She had a rather large microwave in her shopping cart, so I decided to approach her. Traffic was heavy, so I was careful to look BOTH ways before heading into the driving aisle, and I didn't see any oncoming vehicles. I greeted the woman with a smile, and she gladly accepted my offer to put the appliance into her vehicle for her. About ten seconds later we both heard a car horn. A rather nasty man in a red Volkswagen Beetle pulled up along side of us, rolled down his window, and began to scream belligerently at both of us for "cutting him off." He then sped off while I screamed after him "Why don't you try having some patience??!!"

Apparently he was the type who didn't like to be "challenged" because he backed his car up to us and once again became confrontational. "What did you say? Do you know who I am? I could have you fired right now! Yada, yada, yada." To my surprise the woman took the initiative to fight back, coming to my defense and reaming HIM out. The man's wife sat in the front seat looking embarrassed as all hell (as she should have been for marrying one of New York's finest morons) as the two of them went at it before I also chimed in. At this time bystanders were watching the events unfold. I came to the defense of the woman, as I thought it was in extremely poor taste for a large man in a vehicle to be berating a frail woman, and that's when he said he'd "snap my neck." He sped off before I could get his plate number to call 911 to report the threat. The woman and I proceeded towards her vehicle, stunned, as she made a comment about "rude New Yorkers."

Later on that evening one of my friends sneaked up behind me and said "I'm gonna kill you!" in a deep voice. I turned around with my box cutter and nearly slashed him, as I thought he was the man from earlier returning to assault me. Needless to say I was quite jittery after that for quite some time.

2.) Also in late-2006 I was in the parking lot at night retrieving carts near our lawn & garden area when I observed a man drive his car into a pick-up truck. There didn't appear to be any damage, but the noise attracted the curiosity of a few other customers in addition to myself, all of whom walked over to investigate. Once they realized there was nothing "exciting" to see, the others left while I saw the man inspecting the pick-up truck for damage. It was at that point that he got all creepy on me. His eyes got really wide, and he was saying more or less "You're not going to rat me out, are you? That would be a very bad thing to do." Needless to say I was stunned at the hollow threat being made to me, but when he turned his back again after a few moments I quickly made a mental note of his plate number and make and model of his vehicle. When he left I left a note on the windshield of the pick-up truck with the make, model, and plate number of the vehicle the sedan that had hit their fender, as well as a description of what I had seen, and I signed it "A Friend from Lowe's." As I continued to retrieve carts I noticed two men grab the note, drive under the bright lumber canopy area, and search for damage---there appeared to be a scratch on the bumper as I noticed them honing in on one small area in particular.

3.) In late-2005 I unexpectedly became a "good samaritan" when I observed a man trying to kill his girlfriend in our parking lot. She was in the backseat lying down and screaming for help as she tried kicking her boyfriend's hands away as he reached in after her through the semi-open rear window. Once again several other customers stopped with a "deer in headlights" look, and I scolded them to use their cell phones to call 911 while I approached the vehicle to see what I could do. I pulled out my boxcutter and said to the guy "leave her alone; I'll knife you!" He continued trying to claw at her undeterred. A moment later a township police officer arrived and diffused the situation, but not after I somehow turned into a "legend" at work who single-handedly held down an attacker with my boxcutter until police arrived! LOL!

4.) My first week on the job in early-2005 I had an elderly man become very belligerent with me because I refused to tie something down to his vehicle. As per Lowe's policy our employees are NOT permitted to adhere any objects to a customer's vehicle, as we then become liable should something happen on their way home. The man threw a huge tantrum, embarrassing me as he attracted attention from other customers.

5.) Just yesterday I had an unsavory incident occur. I am now employed as a sales specialist in our inside seasonal department. As per Lowe's policy we can't ship clearance items from other stores to our store, as our store then loses money due to accompanying postage, paperwork, etc. After I told a customer this he became rather irate and wanted me to call a manager. I did, and I got the same response over the phone, which I relayed to him again. He still wasn't satisfied, and then he demanded that I bring him a manager because he was "irate" and would return the fireplace he had bought if we wouldn't ship in the blower for it from another store about two hours away. I called my manager back again, and then the two of them went at it.

It's not all "fun and games" in retail, contrary to what you people think. How is YOUR mood today for $9/hr.?
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:03 AM
 
5,654 posts, read 17,482,327 times
Reputation: 3996
Yep - being abused for low $ - gotta love the big box retail job... in my day it was $3.75 an hour. Someone should write a book about working retail. I know so many people who have good stories. Working with the public is a trip. You realize how many "crazies" are really out there.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:51 PM
 
40,586 posts, read 24,918,335 times
Reputation: 12913
How to count the ways. I managed a small mall several years ago, and received a call from what I presume was an elderly woman who demanded I transfer her to "travel". I told her she had reached the mall, could I assist her. "Transfer me to travel right now," she replied. I then told her this was the mall management office, not a switchboard, I couldn't transfer her to any other numbers, but if she would tell me which company she was calling, I would look up the number for her. Her response, "I just want a damn travel agency, just transfer me to whatever travel agency is in the mall." I informed her that we didn't have any travel agencies located in the mall. At which point she told me she was reporting me to the Better Business Bureau, and she did. About two weeks later I got a letter in the mail from the BBB informing me of an active complaint against the mall for non-service.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
1,222 posts, read 4,609,860 times
Reputation: 858
I worked for Circuit City in a former life. I sold video and audio components. i was the only female in the video department. I sucked at sales. I was too honest to push someone towards a brand with a higher markup (and higher commission) when I knew the quality of that item wasn't as good as something else. I also wouldn't harp on the extended warranties (which usually paid a higher commission than the item itself) if the person was not at all interested. So, I was known as "Subsidy Girl" since my commission was usually lower than my subsidy pay.

Anyway, during my time there, I was told that I was "smart for a girl", that I "knew a lot about that stuff for being so young". One day I answered the phone and a woman asked to speak to one of the "men" in the department. After my stun wore off, I politely informed her that all of the "boys" were busy, but I would be happy to assist her.
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:24 PM
 
5,654 posts, read 17,482,327 times
Reputation: 3996
One time a drunk couple came in the dept. store. He fell over and hit his head on a clothesrack and started to bleed all over... GREAT.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,440 posts, read 32,218,800 times
Reputation: 15560
ROTFL!!!!!! I have been in some form of retail for most of my life, my parents had a store..... if people only realized what we go through to "serve" the public. And what we have to say about them after they leave........
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,739 posts, read 32,132,110 times
Reputation: 6808
Years ago, I was a manager in The Bombay Company. I was the only manager in a store that should have had three members of management. I was ALWAYS at work and it was Christmas time.

The Bombay Company compiled a list of addresses by taking down the address of people who made purchases in the store. If you were paying cash then we didn't need to take your address if you don't want to give it but with checks and credit cards we took it down as verification, we could of course indicate to NOT send a catalog if the customer preferred. They did not share their addresses with other companies.

This feature also kept a tally of how much money a person spent and drove a special mailing list that sent out coupons to people that gave them additional discounts up and above what was normal and invitations to special events.

On one evening, I was working with a Christmas temp, she asked me if we needed this mans address, he was paying with a credit card. I told her we did need the address. I was not aware the man had already started to object because I had been focussed on the other customer.

Of course I tried to explain the stores policy to the man.

At this point the man started shouting, I mean shouting, did I know who he was, he wasn't going to give his address to us (I saw his wife backing out of the store). The temp had already run his transaction, he whipped the card out of her hands, told us he didn't want the item. Screaming and yelling like a wing nut the entire time. People all over the store stopped to look. I was actually affraid and I don't scare easily. I was glad there was a LARGE counter between us, the temp huddled behind me as I stood there pretending I wasn't terrified.

I started looking about for someone to help me should this continue, when suddenly the man stalked out of the store after telling me he was the postmaster general or something to that effect.

Of course his transaction had already been processed, without the credit card, I had to call the people and tell them to reverse the last transaction because I really didn't want to see this man again.

Needless to say I hated Christmas when I worked in retail. I was literally ready to ring someones neck by Christmas eve
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
2,073 posts, read 4,988,726 times
Reputation: 1095
It's fun to work at American Eagle Outfitters because we have headset radios, and if a costumer is acting a little snobby -- I can promise you they are being watched and talked about silently on the radio!
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,612 posts, read 68,185,843 times
Reputation: 16304
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsey_Mcfarren View Post
Needless to say I hated Christmas when I worked in retail. I was literally ready to ring someones neck by Christmas eve
Isn't it a bloody shame how you have to HATE holidays when you work in retail? I forever dread Christmas now.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,739 posts, read 32,132,110 times
Reputation: 6808
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWB View Post
Isn't it a bloody shame how you have to HATE holidays when you work in retail? I forever dread Christmas now.
Well I have done some things to combat that. I do as much of my shopping as I can EARLY and online. I can't stand getting caught in the crush of Christmas shopping.

I also find ways that would be considered non traditional to celebrate now. I NEVER listen to Christmas carols, those got beaten to death when working in retail.

I remember by the time Christmas actually got there, if I was sick from exhaustion, I was so tired I just wanted to sleep all day.
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