Saturday, February 10, 2007

Can you tell me what I bought?

Yet again with the women of a certain age! This time, it's the Jessica Fletcher-wannabes who wait until they get home and put everything away to go over the receipt line-by-line and then call the store to say "I don't know what this is. Can you tell me what I bought?"

This has happened multiple times in the past two weeks. It is ALWAYS old white women who are sure that the girls on the registers are scanning stuff and hiding it to steal later. The thought that they're too stupid to know what they bought never crosses their mind. Instead, the checkout girls are obviously thieving crooks.

The first time this happened, this one biddy with a face like a beagle trotted up and whipped out a receipt and said "I've got a bone to pick with you." Who uses phrases like that anymore?

I roll out my best "What can we do for you ma'am" and flash my pearly whites. It's a thousand-watt smile that has melted harder hearts than this. She deflects it with a wave of her gnarled hand and starts waving the receipt. "I just don't know what all the things on this receipt are. I don't think I got all my groceries."

I'm groaning inside, because we have a recurring problem with people "forgetting" bags at the checkout. Either they're in too much of a hurry to get all the bags or they are lying to get stuff for free. Either way, we can't call them stupid or liars. And that magical "ITEMS LEFT AT REGISTERS BOOK - forget it. But I grin and bear it and try to answer her questions.

Really, I can see where some people have problems. There are only twelve characters for an item "description" and then the 12-digit barcode. There are roughly 100,000 items in a Wal-Mart and each item has to have a unique description - using only the 26 letters of the alphabet, the letters 0-9 and a space.

So "COKE" is easy. "BTFNGR STIX" is harder (Butterfinger Sticks candy). "AW MSHDZL P" is completely incomprehensible. (It's a pair of mesh drawstring pants.) But the barcodes are just numbers. Children can see if the numbers match.

And first off, the receipt is from two weeks ago. So I want to tell her she's just SOL for trying to come back NOW and tell me she "forgot" something.

"Ma'am, is there anything you have a specific question about?"

She starts up - "Yes, this, what is this?" I punch in ITEM INQUIRY and the numbers and it comes up Department 02 - Health and Beauty.

I tell her that it was something like soap or shampoo -- something from the Health and Beauty Department. And the whole time I'm talking she's totally not listening, convinced that Wal-Mart screwed her out of this $1.96 item.

For whatever reason, I'm determined to win this one - probably because I hate old women. So I go to the computer and look it up under merchandise options and find out it is toothpaste. So I get sort of bitchy and I'm like "Ma'am, it's toothpaste. Did you buy toothpaste?"

She stops her "No I didn't buy any of that..." crap and starts to flush. "Oh, I forgot about that." Lying cow.

The one tonight was even worse, because she actually got home and then called the store. The person that took the call told her to look at the barcodes on her items and then the numbers on the receipt to see what she bought, but she was obviously too stupid to do that.

So they handed the phone to a CSM.

So at 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, with a line ten people long, two of us are standing on a register at Customer Service listening to this woman read off numbers on a receipt.

One thing comes up Department 30, which is clothing. "Oh, I didn't buy any clothes." So I go over to the computer and look some more. It's a push-up bra. My CSM tells her "That's a bra. Did you buy a bra? Or a pack of bras?" Of course she did."

And then she reads off another number. This time it is washing powder. And of course now she remembers buying it. HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW YOU BOUGHT A FREAKING GALLON OF DETERGENT?

For the detergent, it even had the brand name in the product line. If you didn't know what it was, you are too stupid to shop at Wal-Mart -- and that's saying a LOT!


FARfetched said...

Yeesh. I go away for a while trying to get my computer fixed, and things just get... surreal.

I'll admit, I've been tempted to drop some random item in the cart of the person in front of me when they have a lot of stuff, but never actually did it. But even a crazy old lady should realize that they wouldn't have bought that item, and just return it.

yellowdog granny said...

hee hee, I love your description of the old lady....

Chunes said...

Hah, this happened to me a week or two ago. Except it was a man! :o

The Mytons said...

The description for animal crackers was ANIMAL CRACK when I was in high school. We got a big kick out of that--God, we were stupid...

Anonymous said...

Sooo.. what's wrong with beagles? Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey there,
Just found your blog and I wanted to say I think it's fantastic -- really vivid stories and an interesting perspective. Thank you, and keep it up!


Anonymous said...

I had a man call me once about two items on his receipt that were rung up that he didn't want or get, and we were going to pay for his gas to come back to the store to get a refund. Turns out that it was two gallons of milk and he did get them.Boy was he embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

In our store our front end assistant always uses the date,time,and register no. off their receipt and checks the video before he gives a customer items that they say the cashier did not give them and it wasn't written down in the log book.Only 3 times since Dec. have customers actually left their stuff and we have them call every day saying they left things.

Anonymous said...

At my Wal-Mart, the cashier always places the bags in the carts. Last weekend, she forgot one bag, and I didn't notice it until the next day when I was making dinner. They graciously replaced the six produce items from that bag, despite the fact the clerk didn't fill out paperwork for it. I really appreciated it, and that is why I continue to do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart.

Kasia said...

In fairness, I don't think the odds are in favor of the woman having lied. I think she just forgot, and then jumped to the worst possible conclusion. Not admirable, but it happens.

And for the record, I use the phrase "I've got a bone to pick with you" with some frequency. I do not, however, use it with complete strangers and/or store employees. I think it's too familiar for that.

Rob the Webkahunah said...

You know, I use the "bone to pick" phrase too... as well as "pick your brain" "when I was a kid" and "not for nothing"...

I feel so old.

Anonymous said...

Land-O-Lakes Butter rings up as

LOL Butter.

ha ha