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It’s a trap!

As a store that only sells batteries, we also have many different battery testers for store use, so when someone walks in and says “This is not working, can you test it?” we can. We also have some scruples, so if their battery is working just fine, we don’t sell them a new one.

A man walks in with his car key fob (the little button that locks & unlocks power doors) and says “can you test this?” I say sure, get the battery out, and test it.

“This here’s a dead battery.”

“Really? Because it still locks my car.” He said it as a challenge, like I was calling him a liar.

He wanted me to test a new battery, so he could get all up in my space and see the result, clearly convinced that our battery tester is rigged to fail everything. Well no, the  new one tested good. Like new, even. So he wanted to test both batteries himself, in case I was using some sort of battery-fail magic. Nope, he got the same results I did. I guess his battery wasn’t working well enough for him (which is what brought him in here in the first place, I assume) so he bought a new one.

Ha ha ha! It was all a scam! I got your $4, sucker!


listening skills

I understand that not all customers are going to listen to every word I say. Sometimes I’ll say “good morning” and I get a “good, thanks” in reply. That’s fine. Inconsequential. But some of the things I say to them are things they actually need to listen to, be it warranty information or how not to blow themselves up. Since I say many of the same things to every customer, it’s so ingrained in my speech that I can’t help BUT say it. So later when they complain I never told them that, I am confident that no sir, I really did tell you.

A man was buying motorcycle batteries. One of them we had just gotten in stock, so it was not filled or charged yet. This is a process that can take several hours so we usually have the customer come back the next day. I mentioned this fact to him 3 separate times throughout the transaction (which lasted probably 7-10 minutes).  I never really got a defintie response from him regarding this pertinent information, so that’s why I kept mentioning it. When he went to leave, he started to take the empty battery with him. I said “sir, you can’t take that yet. We need to fill and charge it in order for it to work.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“I actually did. Three separate times.” My coworker nodded in agreement.

“Oh, I thought you meant that I needed to charge it.”

So he returned the battery and got his money back. The thing is, I still wonder what the heck he was paying attention to during the entire conversation. Sure, he had his young daughter with him, but she was running amok unsupervised. She was literally running through the store knocking lightbulbs off shelves, and opening various doors repeatedly (such as the door to the stock room which is not where customers are allowed, and the front door, which makes a chiming noise every time it’s opened). So I know he wasn’t distracted by the feat of wrangling his brat. And I was the only person talking to him, the only customer in the store. Yet somehow he missed me telling him multiple times that he would have to come back for his purchase.


Communication is key

“Do you install watch batteries?”

“Yes, they’re $8.99.”

“But do you install them?”

“Yes, that’s what the $8.99 is for…”

“But how do you know what kind you need?”

“When I take the old one out, I’ll see what type it is.”

“And then you’ll put a new one in?”

“Yes, that’s the definition of install – to put a new one in.”

“And it will be the right one?”

Learn something new every day

A guy comes in and buys a single battery. Then he comes back in a few minutes later wanting a refund because it turns out his lamp is broken. I offer to test his old battery just to be sure, and he hands me two batteries.

I say, “you only bought one battery, did you need two?”

“Well I put the new one in but the lamp is still dead.”

“Sir, your device takes two batteries…. both of these are dead. You need to put in two new ones for the lamp to work.”

“Really? I thought the other one was just a spare, like a flashlight bulb! Well you learn something new every day.”

So I sold him another battery.

product error

A guy comes into the store to return an emergency jump-start pack. It’s past our return policy time so I test it out. It works fine – it is putting out the exact amount of power that it’s supposed to.

“But it didn’t start my truck! Well ok, it worked once, but definitely not the second time! And I was told there was a year warranty!”

Yes there is a year warranty, through the manufacturer. See it says here in bold DO NOT RETURN TO THE PLACE OF PURCHASE.

But  maybe you do need a new battery, which would solve the problem of needing an emergency backup at all. So I go out to test his car battery. For you non-car types, we test what is called Cold Cranking Amps. This is basically the surge of power needed to give the car the initial “oomph” required to start. The battery in his car was supposed to supply 530 CCA. It was only giving 350. According to my computer, which is all-knowing, his particular car is recommended to have at least 675. So that’s why he couldn’t start his car, and probably why the emergency pack didn’t help the second time.

“You’re the second person to tell me that this battery is bad.” Hmm, maybe that’s saying something. Especially since I don’t work on commission or anything. I just do my job, and YOU SAW the battery test bad. Oh and your car doesn’t start.

But the guy didn’t want to spend money – he just wanted his money back from the pack. Which I didn’t give him because it wasn’t broken. But then when he couldn’t leave because his car wouldn’t start, well, he begrudgingly bought the new battery, muttering that he “still has his doubts that the battery was the issue.”

Funny, I didn’t hear him complain after that. Maybe because his car started up successfully and he drove away.

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