Sunday, December 03, 2006

The grapes of wrath

It never ceases to amaze me that people are so petty and so cheap over just a few pennies. Human beings will lie, cheat, steal and act like complete savages just to avoid actually paying the fair market price for goods and services. Case in point.

This woman and her daughter come through my line Friday night. The daughter had done the self-checkout and now the mother was incredibly pissed off that the grapes were more than $11.

Well, you got 4.31 pounds of grapes at $2.68 a pound, so yeah, that's a total of $11.55.

So now, Mommy is saying that they want to return the grapes. That the grapes were too expensive, and that they don't want them. OK.

Unfortunately, what we have to do with produce items that are sold by weight is to re-weight the item and refund the amount remaining. In this case, there was only 2.39 pounds of grapes left in the bag. Yeah. Something strange was going on.

Now, they two ladies (and I use the term loosely) were exchanging a couple of shirts, and I sat there and watched the daughter open the bag of grapes and stuff her craw with them. She's paid for the merchandise. I can see it all in Wal-Mart bags, and it's not uncommon for people to wait and do a return or exchange after finishing their shopping. Also, it is not theft until AFTER they leave the store without paying for it. BUT I SAW HER EATING THEM.

But after she's had to wait in line for about 30 minutes, about two pounds of grapes are gone, either down her maw or secreted into a shopping bag. And now Mommy, who doesn't want to pay for $11 worth of grapes, says the scale must have been wrong and she wants a refund.

Firstly, she's hacked off that grapes are $2.68 a pounds Look woman, it is December. Produce is high. Remember the evil woman with the blueberries? If you want fresh fruit, you're going to have to pay for it!

I look at the receipt and then run out to register 12 to weigh the grapes. Shocker. There's less than half the weight in the bag than what it says on the receipt. Of course, the bag looks half empty too.

ME: "Ma'am, I can't give you a refund on two pounds of grapes that aren't here."
HER: "The grapes are too expensive." (and what, pray tell, does the fact that they are "expensive" have to do with anything, except possibly to justify your heifer's thieving?)
ME: "Ma'am, you can only get a refund on the grapes that are left in the package."
HER: "What do you mean, left in the package?"
ME: "Ma'am, this package is opened. Did you buy an open package? I saw your daughter eating the grapes."
DAUGHTER: "I wasn't eating them."
ME: "Ma'am, I saw you eating them."
DAUGHTER: "No I wasn't." I looooook at her. She looks away. Gotcha. You know you're a stone cold liar and going to hell for that one.
ME: "Ma'am, you paid for 4.31 pounds of grapes. There are 2.39 pounds of grapes left here. There are 2 pounds gone. Do you understand that we can't give you a refund for merchandise that you've already eaten?"
HER: "But the package was open when we got it." Who buys open produce? And should that matter? Even if the package was open, it would still weigh the same?
ME: "Ma'am, you can have a refund on the grapes you have left, or you can speak to a manager."

Of course the cow wants a manager, and the stupid manager rolls over and refunds the entire purchase price. Although he does keep the package of grapes. So they basically got $5.41 worth of grapes for free, and made me look like an idiot in the process. God bless management.


FARfetched said...

Dang. You win some, you lose some. Any chance you can keep track of which managers have something grey between their ears & just page them?

Anonymous said...

I understand keeping the customers happy.........However, customers like that should be kicked to the curb

hockeyfrog said...

If that kid actually ate two pounds of grapes, imagine the digestive... issues... that child will probably suffer.

IrishOshen said...

Haha someone's going home with the shits. Serves them right the theiving so and so's

Operator said...

Dude, you never suggest a manager as an option! You're educating the public at that point that they don't have to deal with you on your terms. It's waving the white flag!

Just state things as if they're immutable laws. You don't even have to be forceful about it.

Say: "I can refund you the grapes you're giving me, but there's no way I can refund ones you're not." in the same way you'd say: "I can make the elevator go up and down, but there's no way I can make it go side-to-side."

People will only ever take options that you make available to them. Maybe it's different on the phone than in person...

Anonymous said...

Dude... what I don't understand is why you care about Walmart's profits so much. Who cares if Walmart loses $5 in grapes?

Anonymous said...

I think it's more about the principle of it than about walmart losing money.

Just because it's walmart doesn't mean you should be able to lie and cheat and steal.

hockeyfrog said...

It also cuts into the stakeholder's bonus, which partially comes from sales, and is negatively impacted by returns and shrink issues... I do miss getting that bonus, I certainly don't miss the job though.

Anonymous said...

It's crappy that your managers don't back you up. How can you be expected to do your job well if the managers second-guess your judgement or if they don't allow you to use it?

kjbrott said...

That must be so frustrating for you! Why does the store even bother having policies on returns if the management is just going to ignore them?

Lindsay said...

2 lbs is a whole bunch of freakin' grapes! I bet that kid got what she deserved later aht day.... if you know what I mean...

Chunes said...

kjbrott, that is a question a lot of customers ask and even some of the less-bright service desk associates. The answer is simple. Service desk associates are to abide by policy. 75% of customers are cool with this. The remaining 25% of trouble-makers cry for someone higher up. At this point, it doesn't really matter what the policy is. Management will give them what they want more often than not.

The reason the system is set up like this isn't to make the service desk associate feel like an idiot. It's so that management isn't at the service desk all day dealing with problems. It's that simple. Good managers will always tell the customer that the service desk associate was doing his or her job if they choose to override the service desk associate's initial judgment.

Will said...

I can see I could not have a career at Wal*Mart, because I'm the type of manager who'll say, "Ma'am, you can only be refunded for the amount of grapes you have." My operational attitude is if you choose to shop at Target, fine--there'll be two more mutants to replace you.