Saturday, May 19, 2007

Temper, temper

It never ceases to amaze me that grown men and women will throw a temper tantrum and act like complete fools when someone - particularly someone THEY perceive to be lower on the socioeconomic scale - tells them one simple word - "NO."

Wal-Mart allows customers to return items without a receipt three times in a rolling 12-month period. Certain exceptions are made for wedding or baby registry gifts. Every service desk associate gives "the speech" about keeping up with receipts when we see that a customer has reached two returns without a receipt. And warn "this is your last one" when the third one is approved.

On rare occasions, usually when the returns are small - single items and the total is less than $50 (that's the benchmark used at my store) managers and supervisors will approve a fourth no-receipt return. I've never seen a fifth no-receipt return approved - until Saturday night.

This couple came up. They were dressed in lower-middle class normal. She had on khaki shorts and a faded blouse. He had on some sort of running shorts and a sports jersey type shirt. They wanted to return a shirt she had bought for him that didn't fit.

No receipt, so I tell them they can get a store credit. I do the return and then the paper with the list of their no-receipt returns spits out. The man sees this and goes "Get a manager because we've had this problem before."

I look and there are FIVE returns on there. All no-receipt returns approved since February. One big one for $145 and others ranging from $20-$45. These peeople obviously never save receipts - even though they've been told to.

I'll say you've got a problem. Several of them. One - you shop at Wal-Mart. Two. You don't save your receipts - even though you are a serial returner. Three - you've got an attitude and you are obviously all too used to getting your way.

I call for help and get someone with a spine. Thank god because this gets real ugly real quick.

The supervisor looks at the slip and tells the couple "I'm sorry, but we can't return this. When you find your receipt, we'll give you your money back or exchange it."

So the man starts yelling, as if that is going to help. "This is bullshit. You better take it back. It still has the tags on it."

"Sir, if you find the receipt, then we'll take it back."

So the man goes "What am I supposed to do with it now? Throw it away?" AND HE THROWS IT OVER HIS SHOULDER ONTO THE GROUND.

"Sir, we're not going to take it back. Here's your bag. Here's a paid sticker for the shirt. Have a nice day."

I thought the man was going to blow a gasket. He was really red and you could just see veins popping. And he just could NOT believe that someone dared tell him no even though he was yelling the house down. I hope he never comes back. Of course, he will though. He's too lazy to drive across town to the Target.


Songbird said...

I'll bet he wants an Oompa-Loompa, too.

I don't know why, but I laughed out loud at the mental image of the man tossing the shirt over his shoulder to the floor.

afurrica said...

The lack of personal responsibiity in this country is so depressing.

I've been in his situation. Not with the yelling and being an asshole, but with the "Dang, this doesn't fit and I didn't save the receipt."

I think the appropriate response is to shrug, make a mental note to be more mindful of your receipts in the future, donate the item in question to charity and then move on with your life.

He wasn't mad because the policy wasn't fair or wasn't being fairly applied, he was just mad because it wasn't unfair in his favor.

Erin Bradley said...

I think some people are born with the instinct to blame themselves when something doesn't go their way vs. other people.

Oddly enough, they're also the people who have good jobs, good karma, and are treated kindly by the people are around them.

Anonymous said...

I had a incedent a while back in which I tried to return a lamp without a receipt, I was denied because apparently I had reached my max of returns without a receipt. I was given the slip indicating all of my returns (like 5 or 6). The problem was that I knew I had never returned without a receipt. A little investigation on my part revieled all returns had occured in different stores across Alabama and Florida (I live in North Texas) After calling Walmart HQ they explained that there was nothing they could do. I just have to be extremely vigilant in keeping my receipts : ( (BTW I never yelled or lost my temper, I knew it was not the fault of the woman behind the counter)

Tenacitus said...

The sad fact is the idiotic retail doctrine that says "The Customer is always right," though a radical misconception and woefully inaccurate (and no doubt created by someone with absolutely no retail experience), is blissfully embraced by the Unwashed Masses as unwavering canon. Telling someone "No" is an abomination akin to taking away their cell phones or their crack.

Chimera said...

Does it ever occur to anyone at the management level to post a sign regarding returns policy -- in really big letters and words of one syllable? And to have this policy posted right at the exit doors? That way, no one can complain that he wasn't aware of the return policy.

Then have all employees enforce the policy. No exceptions.

Mind you, that would make sense. It would also pretty much put paid to your reason for blogging, so maybe I'll retract that idea...

Dawne said...

oh, please! everyone needs to learn to accept responsibility for their actions. I know if I can't find the receipt, I'm stuck with whatever it is. I usually make it a gift for someone else.

afurrica said...

The problem with the idea of posting policies is that there are too many of them, and woe to you who must enforce the policy not written in blood above the desk.

At my job, we get to tell people that they can't do X. "Why not?" Because it's in violation of federal law. "Where is that written?" Dude, it's a federal law. Look it up. It doesn't say 'Don't fucking kill people, you miscreants' above our doors, but you probably shouldn't do that, either.

At least is says "No shirt, no shoes, no service," but frankly, that's just an invitation to the pantsless.

Anonymous said...

At my job we deal with the IRS codes everyday. When I get a snarky customer, who wants to know "where it says that" I just point to my multi-volume IRS codes series and say "knock yourself out" or its polite equivalent.

Anonymous said...

what a perfect way to end my day! And it's so great because this just reminds me of what happened to ME today:

A 13 year old (not completely sure but I think it was a girl) came to my counter. She had a hose attachment and plopped it on the counter and said, "I want my money." I asked if she had the reciept and she said, "No." I asked her if she had any ID. "No." I told her that I was sorry, but there is nothing I can do without reciept or ID. She demanded I turn around and read the sign behind me, "Our goal is to satisfy our customers... Exchange or Refund." I repeated that I was sorry but there was simply NOTHING I could physically do. She grabbed her attachment and stormed off Yelling,"Fuck You!"

I stared in simple amazement.

Five minutes later I see her standing at the end of my line. Buggers. I slowly helped every customer in front of her, and then she plopped the attachement on the counter and tossed someone else's ID on the counter. I asked the CSM if I could use it because it was not Hers, but a much older woman's -I'm guessing her mother's. The CSM said yes, this once. I reported back to her and let her know that we would do this only ONE time, next time the person with the ID would have to come do this for themselves. "She's handicapped and can't come up here," she yelled in my face. I slowly put the refund on a gift card for her, in which sparked a dirty look she gave me. Then she turned around and said, "Thanks. NOT." I love immaturity. So I called out, "Have a nice day Young Man..." and the devil flashed in her eyes. The nice lady waiting behind her laughed and said, "You're awesome!" Made my day.

Anonymous said...

at my store its 3 no receipt returns in 90 days ....