Friday, July 21, 2006

Loony lady in Layaway

  • I know I promised a "post a day" earlier this week. I was sick Thursday night on top of having back-to-back terrible days at work at my real job. So everyone gets a two-fer today. I love comments, so please keep them coming.

    The service desk had just slowed down around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night when the other guy asked me "Can she put these on Layaway for a day if she doesn't have enough money to pay for them?"

    Well, if you don't have a credit card, Layaway is good enough. It seems like this woman wants to buy some camping gear, maybe for her grandkids and doesn't have enough cash.

    I say fine, and tell my supervisor that I'm going to go back to Layaway and take care of her. Sweet Buddha I didn't know what I was in for.

    This woman was crazy. First, it turns out that she had tried to pay for more than $170 worth of camping stuff with $29 in singles. Yeah. That's not really close to the definition of "not quite having enough money."

    And this stuff was for her. I have no clue what it was for. She had a tent, four lamps, two battery-powered fans, three lamps, and TWO combination fan/lamps.

    She wanted me to figure out "if I get this tent and this lamp and this lamp on layaway, can I BUY this lamp and these batteries?" Endless combinations of this. We went on like this for half an hour. Seriously.

    I finally told her. You've got $150 of stuff on layaway. That's $15. You'll have about $12 left over. What do you really need? Then she goes "But I need to get something to eat. All I've have today is some yogurt."

    I'm like "Um, eating is important." I'm not sure where she was going with that, other than sympathy. It's not business to be sympathetic. She wants to buy, she can buy. Otherwise, someone else can buy it.

    She tries a new tactic. "You'll put them up so no one can get them?"

    "Yes ma'am. We box them and put them in bins in the back." She points at the shelf behind me and goes "Well, I don't want you to use that box. It's been on the floor and it looks dirty."

    As a matter of fact, I was planning to use that particular box, because it was sturdy, and big enough to hold the tent and all her crap without me having to get a second box. But I didn't tell her that, and got a second one anyway.

    When she left and I went back to the Service Desk, I accused the guy "You knew she was crazy and you made me deal with her." He was like "But you're good with the crazy people." OH GOOD LORD!

    Anonymous said...

    What are you looking for today?

    The dykes next door said...

    It seems that we have several things in common-working retail, a Monroe, La. connection, we both play for the "same team", AND, I found you because of our mutual interest in "Dead Like Me". I just wanted to tell you that the SciFi Channel is now showing the original episodes. The first one was on this past Tuesday at 6:00 pm CST. The really interesting thing is that there is a scene in there that is not in the original (or on the DVDs) Before George dies, it shows Rube, sitting on his bed, and the list gets shoved under his door. He sits down and starts writing the assignments down, and you see that it is George. I have some information on my blog. I am hoping that the SciFi Channel will pick it up and continue with it, even without Mandy Patinkin (the extra scene is what gives me hope). BTW, I really do enjoy your posts. Take care of yourself! Oh, also...have you ever seen "Prisoner, Cell Block H", from Australia? Its an over the top campy "women in prison" DVD. I used to watch it on tv about 20 or so years ago. I grabbed it when I saw it in Best Buy about a year or so'd probably like it.

    Chunes said...

    Heh, I love your stories. I can't get enough of your blog! I've read your archives in chronological order for the past couple days and now I'm here.

    This story reminds me of my own "loony lady in layaway" story. It was in November of 2005, so naturally the place was insanely busy. In fact, our layaway department was staffed with five people: two running registers, two binning, and one boxer. Well, I was on one of the registers and this lady comes up to the desk.

    Now, this lady obviously had real mental issues. She had someone there to help her---it might have been her father. Now this is the kicker---her helper vanished completely. So there I was, left to tend to this handicapped customer. The next hour and a half was from hell.

    Her cart was completely filled with clothing. It was mounded so high you could probably fill three carts comfortably with it. I rang up everything eventually and the total came to about eight-hundred dollars. (Hey, I don't ask questions, I just ring stuff up).

    She pulled out a ten-dollar bill and handed it to me. I tried to explain to her that she only handed me ten dollars and that I'd need about seventy more. She had a complete mental breakdown. She started crying and telling me how she was so confused. She just could not seem to understand that she had taken far more merchandise than she could pay for or ever need.

    I spent the next hour going through every single article of clothing with her and helping her decide if she needed it or not. This was not a fun process, considering her condition. She obsessed about everything. It took her forever to decide what to leave behind.

    All throughout this process, she'd randomly start crying or telling me that since "the accident" she just couldn't think anymore. I felt really sorry for her. She described to me that she used to be a normal person but now had a hard time with most tasks.

    Finally, I narrowed it down to where she could pay for it and sent her on her merry way. I never did see her helper again that day.

    My co-workers could not believe what happened. I mean, that customer basically tied up one of the registers for almost two hours during which about twenty customers were helped by the other cashier. Luckily, if there's one thing I have, it's patience. It's my only redeeming quality. ;)

    The hilarious thing is, later that night, I heard that this same customer got caught trying to take a whole bunch of merchandise out the TLE exit by a manager. When he approached her, she had another breakdown and acted all confused like she didn't know what she was doing. I'm talking total meltdown here. The manager let her have it, and I don't blame him.