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Flattery will get you everywhere (warning: adult language)

I feel like a lot of my posts on this blog are starting to sound the same. But you know, if the same things didn’t keep happening, I wouldn’t keep writing about them.

A guy comes into the store, and I recognize him as having been here a few times but never very pleasant. He is complaining that his phone charger and battery are “pieces of shit” and he wants new ones. No, of course he doesn’t have his receipt, even though posted multiple places around the store, on the product packaging, on the receipt itself, and coming out of the cashier’s mouth whenever an item is sold, the return policy states that you must have a receipt. Yes some of the bigger stores can look it up by your debit card information, but we don’t even have a debit machine here. (All debit transactions must be run as credit.) We, as a small store employing 6 people, just do not have the means to process any returns without the individual transaction number that is printed on every receipt.

“So what you’re telling me is that I’m fucked.”

“Well sir, I can’t do anything without the receipt. I need it to make sure you are still within the return period or the warranty period.”

“I have been working retail 15 motherfucking years, and I’ve never heard of a goddamn policy like that! How long have you worked in retail?”

“I’m not anwering that question.”

“Fuck this! This is bullshit! Get me the goddamn manager!”

“Sir there’s no manager here right now.”

“Well call him up at home then!”

“Sir, I’m not calling my store manager at home. And frankly, even if there was something I could do to help you (which there isn’t), I’m not sure that I would want to because of the language and the tone you’re using while speaking to me.”

“I’m not doing it to be mean! I just hate getting fucked!” (I filed that one away for some later time, to snicker when I wasn’t being yelled at.)

He continued telling me his problem, and I offered to test both the battery and the charger. Sure enough, they both test as good. I tell him he may need to go talk to his phone company, because that’s something I can’t fix even with a receipt. He cusses me out one more time and storms out. By this time there was another customer in the store, so I turned to him with an exasperated smile and offered to help him.

More warranty grief

All warranties, no matter where from or what they are regarding, have a clause that says something to the effect of “warranty does not cover owner misuse or neglect.” This is to prevent people from abusing the system and getting things for free that they don’t deserve.

A guy came into the store claiming that his battery did not start his motorcycle. At first I thought he meant that we had sold him the wrong battery, so I looked it up and there were no alternatives. When I told him that, he said. “no, it used to work, but then I haven’t used the bike all winter, and now it doesn’t work at all.”

Here’s a technical sidenote that is important to this story: All batteries lose power over time. It may not be much, but depending on the conditions the battery is stored under (i.e. freezing temperatures like those that are found over a winter of non-use), the battery can lose enough power that it can no longer be recharged and thus, used.

So. Knowing this, the first question I ask when I hear a motorcycle battery no longer works after winter is if the owner has been using any sort of battery maintainer. This is a device you can buy that keeps the tiniest charge on the battery over long periods of sitting idly. It’s not enough to overcharge and cause damage, just enough to keep the battery “awake.” No, this guy hasn’t been using one of those. But dag nabbit, his battery doesn’t work and there’s supposed to be a warranty! In fact, since we never told him he needed to use a maintainer, it’s our fault his battery is dead and he should get a new one for free. You know, because of the warranty. The warranty that specifically says that it only covers manufacturer defects and NOT owner neglect. When I point this out to him on his copy of the receipt that he brought with him, he demands to know specific examples of what constitutes owner neglect. So I pull out one of the many thick books that contain our training information (remember that training to work in this store took about 2 months because of all the technical knowledge) and begin to look up the numbers. He storms off in a huff claiming that “he doesn’t have time for this.”

I go ahead and test his battery, since I’ll need the test results for the warranty anyway. Hmmm… the battery tests good. It tests better than new. But of course since he left, I can’t tell him that a warranty won’t replace a perfectly good battery and that just maybe there’s a problem with his bike that he has apparently no idea how to take care of. But something tells me he wouldn’t want to hear that anyway.

too bad, so sad

A man brought in a motorcycle battery for an exchange because he bought the wrong one. He didn’t have his receipt, but luckily on the bigger sale items like that, we list it under the customer’s phone number. He didn’t even have the box it came in, but it was our store brand and on motorcyle batteries the box isn’t important.

When I looked up his receipt I had to check the calendar because he had come in exactly 14 days after he purchased it, meaning today was the last possible day to do that. When I mentioned it, he told me that the man that had originally helped him said he had 30 days.

“No he didn’t.” I said, pointing to the numerous places in the store (and on the receipt itself, which he didn’t have) where the return policy is stated in bold – 14 days. “Oh, well, I didn’t see those signs. But he definitely said 30 days.” I asked who had helped him, but of course he didn’t know. (“I didn’t ask for his name or anything!”) No. Why would you.

It turns out that the correct battery he needed hadn’t been filled and charged yet, and I told him so. He said “I can fill it at home” and I said “No, I really can’t sell you something that hasn’t been filled and charged, for warranty purposes.” He didn’t care about the warranty – he’s never had to bring anything back to this store (well, before today, of course) and can’t he just sign a waiver or something? Nope, sorry. The world doesn’t work like that.

Well if he didn’t just throw a fit. “This is already my second trip back here, and I live 30 minutes away! I called last week and they said they had this battery, so I said I’d be down that afternoon!”

So let me get this straight: You have to make a third trip down here because initially you bought the wrong thing. Then you waited until the last possible day to come back and return it, but you didn’t have the receipt or even the box it came in. You say you called last week to check stock. These less common batteries we don’t fill until they are paid for, so just seeing if we have it does not mean that it’s filled (and I know you would have been told it needed to be filled). Then, you said you would be by that day, which you weren’t. For all I know, they did prime a battery for you, but since you waited so long to come get it (and it hadn’t been paid for) they sold it to someone else. And I’m sorry that you live 30 minutes away. The next closest store of this type is an hour in either direction, so depending on  where your 30 minutes is, it might be 3 times that. But yes, you should probably demand to speak to my manager. Who isn’t here because it’s after 5pm.

When that didn’t work, he turned to one of my coworkers for help. That guy has been here less time than me, but he’s a man, so he probably knows best. But guess what? he said the exact same thing, because neither of us has the authority to change store policy, and to be honest, I wouldn’t anyway because you’re a jerk.

He eventually decided that he needed the new battery badly enough to warrant another trip (le sigh). I told him it would be ready tomorrow and his retort was that he “might swing by and get it next time he’s in town.” Dude, you’re the one that needed it soooo bad AND paid for it. Doesn’t affect me in the slighteset when you come back for it.

When I gave him his new receipt, he asked me to write my name on there “since we’re so interested in who helped him before.” I circled where my name is printed on the receipt, and reminded him that if he had his old receipt he would have seen who helped him then, too. “Oh and the reason I wanted to know who helped you before is that it seems they have given you some misinformation. If we know who it is, we can correct them so this doesn’t happen again.”

“Oh sure, because I’m just a big fat liar! I’m the biggest liar in the world!” In my head, I agreed with him, because he is. Out loud, well I didn’t actually say anything – just raised my eyebrows.

 

When I vented to my coworker about the encounter later, he said “some customers just need to be pampered.”
But I don’t WANT to pamper him! I want him to know he can’t always get his way!

No, I won’t hold

Apparently I lost a customer (read:sales) by putting her on hold.

Now, sometimes there is a literal store full of people and four lines ringing at the same time. Sometimes there is only one employee to handle this rush. This was one of those times.

When we can’t assist the people on the phone right away, they get put on hold. Generally we finish up with the person that actually took the time to come into the store, then before helping the next guy in line, we answer the phone. (Otherwise the phone makes a really annoying beeping sound until we answer it.) Usually it works out ok, because phone questions are 95% a question of 1) where we are, 2) what time we close, or 3) do we have something in stock. And I’m not disparaging this practice at all – I’d rather take the 2 seconds to answer a phone question than hear “I drove all this way and you can’t help me!”

This time started out like any other. “Thank you for calling <the store>, can you hold please?” I always wait for the ok because sometimes they go ahead and ask their quick question now rather than wait. That is acceptable. So the person said ok and I put them on hold. Not 30 seconds later, the phone rang aggain. We have caller ID, so I saw that it was the same person calling back. So I did the same thing – answered and asked them to hold. I didn’t tell them this, but there was already another person ahead of them, since they got impatient and hung up only to immediately re-call. This time when asked if she could hold, she said “I don’t think so. And I won’t be shopping there.” And hung up.

Well, no skin off my back. If you’re that impatient, I don’t want to deal with you in person anyway. And as your reward, you’ll either end up paying more for your product, or getting a shoddy product that you order for cheap on the internet. Obviously we are busy enough that we don’t need you. (And chances are very high that you wouldn’t be spending a lot of money, since if you were really “in the market,” you’d know that we are the only specialized store of this nature for at least an hours’ drive in any direction.)

non-repeat customer

A guy brings an old battery in under our warranty policy, which is one year from the date of purchase. In order to satisfy the warranty, i.e. justify handing out brand new product without taking in brand new money, we have a series of tests that the battery must undergo. It usually takes about 24 hours.

When I walked in to work today, this guy called to check on the tests. I didn’t know how long it had been there, but the tests were still running so I told him it wasn’t done yet (true). I told him he can call again tomorrow, otherwise we’ll call him when it’s done. He didn’t say it was urgent, he didn’t sound mad, he just said he was “in the area” and thought he’d check on it.

He didn’t like my answer, so he called back to get our corporate phone number, which the store manager gave him. Not 20 minutes later, the battery finished testing. It was bad, so we prepared a new one for him to come pick up. However, he had already called corporate on us, and while the store manager was leaving a message for him, corporate was calling me. I explained the bad timing, and the message was relayed to him (twice). When he came in, he snatched the new battery away and said “Well you’re never getting any of MY money again!” Of course, he didn’t say that to my face – he said it as he was walking out the door. Maybe he thought the door was already closed behind him, I don’t know. But I gave my reply that I didn’t want any of his attitude either, and since the door still  wasn’t shut, I’m fairly sure he heard me.

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