Today's episode of "Behind the Counter" will feature a bit player sure to be well-recognized by faithful watchers of BTC's adventures, the infamous "woman of a certain age." Despite calls to make this a recurring character, producers and directors prefer to pay day wages and rely on Central Casting to send over talented and supremely bitchy old-lady actresses to fill out the WOACA roles.
The casting director decided to dress today's fat and frumpy suburban grandmother in a fetching shade of lilac-fading-to-puce (striped blouse, solid pants and knit jumper) and douse her liberally in White Diamonds. Add a straw hat with a purple ribbon and some sensible Keds and the outfit is complete.
ME: "Can I help you ma'am?"
WOACA: "I certainly hope so! I want a manager." She waves a receipt around. See. You can already tell that there's no way this ends well.
ME: "OK. Just tell me what happened and we'll see if I can do something to help."
WOACA: "This girl on register whatever overcharged me a dollar and sixty-some cents for some Tide detergent." And this is a federal case? Lord, I hope you never get into something major.
ME: "Okay. I can take care of that. Can I please see your receipt?" And she won't let me have it. Control freak.
WOACA: "This always happens to me."
ME: "Ma'am. I'm sorry. I need to see your receipt to fix the price of the detergent."
WOACA: "The last three times I've come here something has rung up wrong." And yet, you come back and buy some more. Using that logic, if I slapped you upside the head every day at 3 p.m., you'd come back tomorrow for more?
ME: "Ma'am, you can watch as she scans the items. If you notice anything is the wrong price, the cashier can fix ANY item if you let them know before you cash out. You can also request a printout before you cash out and look over your total. You have to do it before you cash out though."
Because some people don't know they can get a printout and look over it. Look. EVERYONE involved would rather you fix it at the register than stand in another line at Customer Service. But it involves either paying attention as the girl scans or requesting a printout. Wal-Mart is stupid for not having the right prices. Customers are stupid for handing over money and not knowing exactly what the hell they're paying for.
WOACA: "Well the bags come off that little round thing so fast ...." Point of interest - she had five bags and the guilty bottle of Tide detergent in the cart. And if the girl moved slow you'd complain about that.
ME: "Just ask her to stop and give you a printout when she's through. She can correct the price of ANY item right there."
WOACA: "This happens all the time."
ME: "If the cashier won't correct the price, ask for a supervisor. You should not pay for something you don't think is the right price anyway."
That finally shut her up. Geez. Take some responsibility. Wal-Mart is a gigantic sucking hole of stupidity and incompetence. The stores are staffed at the minimum possible level to keep product on the shelves and maintain customer throughput. You consistently reward that behaviour by returning to spend money even though they screw up day after day after day.
ME: "Ma'am, I can give you the detergent for the correct price. You'll also get three dollars back because of our pricing policy."
WOACA: More crickets. Dunno what the hell she was thinking, but it has obviously gotten through to her that she's getting nothing but detergent and a price adjustment.
ME: Finally manages to pry receipt from Miss Havisham's hands. Mash buttons. "Here's your refund."
ME: "Can you sign this for me please."
WOACA: Gives me a death ray glare.
ME: "You have a nice day ma'am."