Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can I get a price check?

This does not really fall under the category of "bad customer." These people were not rude in any way shape, form, type or composition. They just could NOT commnicate.

This falls squarely under the category of "We are a pair of fully functioning adults who have reached the fifth or sixth decade of their life and are completely unable to communicate their needs to anyone not already in possession of the Jim and Sue filter."

*le sigh*

Perfectly normal Midwesterners. Probably on vacation from Michigan or Illinois or Ohio or one of those other flyover states. He's wearing tan khakis and a pullover golf shirt. She's got a pair of navy slacks and an almost-ugly-but-not-quite white and navy print top. Girlfriend. Ann Taylor is Not. Your. Friend. Their stuff makes you look ooooooold. You've still got the figure for The GAP. Heck. You've probably got the cash for Banana Republic. But you're in the Wal-Mart. Old Navy is more your thing then.


"Can you check the price on these?" Which in the lingua franca of my Wal-Mart usually means "this was one price on the shelf and it rang up another price. Fix it. Now."

The aforementioned "these" turns out to be eighteen - 18! - sets of boys & girls shorts & shirts - matched by color. Green & green. Blue & blue. Yellow & yellow. Puce and mauve. Teal and chartreuse. Etecetera & etcetera. In sizes 8, 10 & 12. All on clearance for $1 and $2. Presents for the grandkids. How sweet.

LET'S PAUSE FOR QUICK RECAP. The customers put a bag on the counter and said "Can you check the price on these?" That is all the communication there was. NO MORE, NO LESS.

Their cashier did a very neat job of bagging all the items and even used one of our extra-large bags. All the items were lying in one big flat pile. The wife would fold back a shirt or a pair of pants, I would hit ITEM INQUIRY and scan the tag. Of the eighteen items, 17 rang up exactly what the SALE stickers said. The one that was a mistake, the cashier had voided and did a PRICE OVERRIDE for the correct amount.

I'd scan one, go "That's ringing up at $2. The tag says $2. That one is OK." And we'd move on. We did this for all eighteen of the shirts and shorts.

I tell the woman, "Ma'am. They're all ringing up right. The one that was wrong she fixed. What was the problem?"

She's peering intently at the receipt the whole time. I'm waiting. She looks at the shirts. She looks at the register. She looks at me. She looks at her husband. She gives her husband the recipt. He gives it back to her. She looks at the shirts. She looks at the buggy. She looks at me. She looks at the shirts. She looks at me again. She looks at the register, which has the last ITEM INQUIRY for $2.00 for a cute yellow boys soccer shirt.

So then the woman goes, "Well what is the new total? I don't think the one she gave me was right and I want a new one." She wasn't rude or mean - unlike most of my customers. Just completely clueless.

I'm like "Um. Um." And it really took me a second to get it together. It is not like this is a farmer's market or something where you bargain. I mean, I know this is Florida, we do keep counting until you get the result you want (presidential election, 2000), but this is the House of Wal.

I recover and I'm like "OK. You really needed to tell me that. I can't just "ring stuff up" to give you a "test total." If you want me to re-ring the transaction and see what is different, we can do that. I just need to know. But you've got to tell me how you need me to help you."

This gets a response. "OH." What a novel concept. Communicate!

So I take her pile of clothes and ring it up again. It comes out $2.12 less - which is the price of one set plus tax. I ask her for her original receipt and I look at more closely. Sure enough. There is one one there that got scanned twice.

It happens. The scan plates at the registers are large and very sensitive and the hang tags on clothes have huge barcodes. There has been more than one time when I've had to go run a register (HORROR) that when I've been trying to fold a pair of jeans or a shirt after I've scanned it that i've heard the register go *beep* and scan it again. If you're trying to get the thing in a bag and not paying attention, you could easily miss it. Nobody's fault. No one is trying to cheat you. It just happens. Come run that register for week and you tell me how easy/hard it is to scan and bag.

I explain what happened. They're cool. They get it. I refund the item that got scanned twice. That two dollars and twelve cents was totally worth standing in line for 20 minutes and then doing another fifteen minutes with me while I try to figure out exactly what happened and who made what error where.

Everybody goes home happy. Except me. I'm stuck there for five more hours.


Karen said...

Just wanted to drop a line to say I absolutely love this blog. Keep fighting the good fight against howler monkeys.

luckycanucky said...

My last shift is tonight. I got real full time employment in a different area at my other job so I won't need to work evenings and weekends anymore. Mega Sweet. I don't know what I did in a past life to deserve 6+ years under the blue yoke with a smiley face on it, but I'm glad my karma balanced out after all. Maybe it would have happened quicker if I hadn't spent every night envisioning ways to mutilate and strangle and humiliate customers too dumb to figure out a hanger.

I'll still read your blog, though, and pass it along to everyone I come across who might need it. Cheers.

Jim said...

I read your blog every day. I know your pain I used to work retail myself, keep up the great writing

Wry Exchange said...

At least no one assaulted your ears and eyes for the 35 minutes you spent with the clueless couple.

ShopGirl said...

I always count down the minutes of torture. Like now. It's 9:36am (PST) and I have 8 hours and 23 minutes of torture remaining.... oh, the life of retail and the stories it embeds in our heads.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand. You are such a talented writer. Why don't you have a better job????

grundes said...

The subject calls for a LOLcat picture!

Anonymous said...

I once photocopied a receipt so I could cross out the incorrect price and it's matching void, explaining as I did so that a positive $5.95 and a negative $5.95 cancel each other out.

That still got me a 45 second silence and a shrug as though they had decided to take my word for it