Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22171 – 741:
As my title implies, I have found yet another story from the archives from the job at the first big blue box store. When I found this small cache of stories I figured I would share them with you and also keep up with blogging. A win-win situation in my estimation. I think I will end the series (for now) tomorrow with how I left and went on to other things.
Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes and Family,
Here’s something I don’t get. There are seven of our stores within a twenty-five or thirty-mile radius of Colorado Springs. Since the town sprawls about twenty-five to thirty miles from end to end, more if you count the suburbs, why would you go to the branch that you hate and despise? And then spout off about how much you hate this particular branch?
I was working what is supposed to be a “Speedy” checkout of twenty items or less. Those are stories for a different day. Does anyone learn to count to twenty in First Grade anymore? Anyway, a guy comes up to my line with a gallon of milk and a mouse, $2.78 for the milk and $39.88 for the mouse. He looks like he knows how to dress and appears to be reasonably intelligent, but that just goes to prove that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
“Your total is $45.45.”
“What?! There’s no way in **** that comes up to that much. That mouse is $15!”
“Um, no, it rang up at $39.88.”
“Well, that’s wrong! You need to change the price to $15.”
I push the button that calls the Customer Service Manager, “I’ll call a manager for you.” I’m tired, it’s the end of my shift and I always seem to manage to get one of these as my last customer. Well, not always, but it feels that way at the moment. My co-worker, a black woman, is in the line behind him, waiting, while he is just standing there cursing and complaining.
“I don’t know why I come to this store. Every time I come to this store…”
“What’s going on Herb?” The overworked CSM has sent one of my fellow clerks to see what is going on and fortunately it is one of the guys who has been around the block a time or two. He takes the mouse and heads to the Electronics department on the other end of the store.
“I hate this place. I don’t know what’s wrong with this store. I buy that same mouse all the time at the Briargate store for $15.” The co-worker who has been patiently waiting in line and I exchange a glance that says the obvious, “Then why don’t you go there then?” The store he’s mentioned is in a better end of town and he may be able to bully and bluff his way around up there but we have seen an awful lot and his shenanigans aren’t hard to figure out.
“Where is that guy? He’s as slow as a turtle.”
“Well, he had to go to the other end of the store to see if he could figure out what the problem might be.”
“It would be a lot easier if you’d just change the blankety-blank price now and give the mouse to me for $15.”
“I’m not going to sell you a $40.00 mouse for $15 without some good reason.”
“I should have just skipped it and went to the North store where I usually go.”
“I can void this transaction if you’d like.”
“I just don’t even know why I came to this @#%&$!% store. Every time I come here it’s like walking into * expletive *#$&#$)(@ Little Mexico.” Co-worker behind him steps away. Probably to keep from strangling him, I would guess. She is not the type to suffer fools gladly. Our store is not in the best, most highfalutin neighborhood and is derisively called by some “The Ghetto-Mart.” Our average customers are hard-working, good, honest folks who have more respectability in their little finger than this guy has ever had in his life.
About this time he catches a glimpse of my other co-worker coming up the aisle with the guy from Electronics who had waited on the jerk and they have a different mouse in their hand. My customer curses at me and says to forget the whole &*$(#@ thing as he walks out. The mouse they have in hand is the $15 one of course, which is the one the customer was originally shown and he knew it. I finish ringing up my co-worker whose only comment, aside from various remarks about the previous customer’s dubious antecedence, the questionable character of his ancestors and the personal habits of his parents, is, “That man was a racist.”
Herb “Mr. Customer Service” Thiel
I wonder why he buys mice all the time over at Briargate? “Hi guys, nice to see you again. Yeah, I’m back. Need to replenish my supply of Ritz crackers, mice and toilet paper. You know, the usual.”
Hahahaha! Yeah, actually I had that similar thought at the time. How often do you buy a mouse?
Really how often? Oh my….
Really. They don’t break or wear out that often.
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It’s wonderful he didn’t get away with it. What a horrible man! He’s probably gone through life bullying people into giving him what he wants most of the time. Anyway, chalk one up for the good guys.
Well, he was one of the most unpleasant people I’ve met and our store is not in a neighborhood where your word is as good as your bond, we needed proof.I knew right away what his game was but someone has to obey the rules. I just wouldn’t give in and as I remember I offered more than once to cancel the transaction but you’re right, he was a bully and figured that if I had a long line I would get anxious and not want to wait it out.
I worked at a terrible call center in the Springs for about half a year before ending up at the Big Blue Box. Even when I somehow managed to pull off a good day the rest of the day, that last customer would show up on the phone and of course take forever. The center was (is?) run as terribly as possible, so of course the people who were actually best on the phone were also the best at weaseling their into short days (I mean, at least they were consistent about being weasels). I still don’t even understand. It’s still the only job I’ve had where employees were given a consistent opportunity to write their own hours. I mean, shouldn’t anything at all make sense? I mean anything? At all? And maybe all call centers are like that, because everyone knows what a terrible job it really is, because it’s the one job stupid enough to be at the complete mercy of…whatever is supposed to be happening on the other end. And this particular center just kept insisting its terrible system worked just fine, which again I’m sure is consistent with every other call center. This is exactly how terrible jobs of literary every extraction keep happening. The people in charge have no real concept of how terrible the business runs. They keep their jobs. They make lots of money. And they literally couldn’t care less. I don’t understand a system that says this is okay. I don’t think it’s necessary to abolish the system. But make it make sense. Put limits on the stuff management can get away with. Checks and balances. Maybe make it somewhat clearer that even management is really just a different sector of the same basic unit of: employees. I don’t know…
(Literally every extraction…)
I knew what you meant.
I’ve worked at several call centers and there were some that are exactly like you describe but there were a couple of good ones, too. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted much about call centers I’ve worked at. There is a lot of fodder there.
Love the story This is why I truly believe God created ahes so we could all get a good laugh.
If I ever make it to Colorado, we have to sit down and compare stories
Keep a smile in your heart and laughter on your lips
That sounds like fun. It’s a beautiful place.