Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Another Day in the Trenches...

I was actually off today, but yesterday was an interesting day at work....

My favorite stupid customer...

I get a call from the cafe around 10 o'clock at night, and they say something about a guy trying to pay with an invalid card, so I head over there. There is a man and woman standing in front of the cafe counter, and the man is wildly waving around a Barnes and Noble gift card. He looks at me and says "These guys told me I can't pay with this. That is ridiculous when it is the same damn company!" I smiled, and tried to be as nice as possible and said, "Actually, we are two completely separate companies and we are no way affiliated with Barnes and Noble."

Now he's pissed. "You may be different companies now, but back before, Borders and Barnes and Noble were all the same thing!" Which is just completely untrue. Borders was founded back in the 70's by the Borders brothers in Michigan, and has always been it's own thing, in addition to owning all Waldenbooks and Brentanos locations. I smiled even bigger, thinking to myself that this guy is the biggest idiot of today and I know he's gonna make it on this blog. "Actually Barnes and Noble is our biggest competitor, and we have never been part of the same company."

"But I have returned books at the Beverly Hills store and I told them that I got them at Barnes and Noble and they said that was fine, so you must be the same."

For one thing, if its a book that Borders carries, any store will take it back. And secondly, we don't even have a store in Beverly Hills!

"Well, inventory is different than gift currency. Our system will not accept a gift card from another company, even though we do sell the same stuff."

Finally, he decided to pay cash for his items, and the total was 2.02. He handed the cafe seller $3, so the seller gave him back $0.98 in change. The guy slammed it down on the counter and yelled, "I DON'T WANT 98 CENTS. I WANT A DOLLAR BILL!" So the woman with him pulled out 2 pennies and put them down.

Perhaps there will be another fun story for you all tomorrow!!!

Monday, December 20, 2004

My Annual Holiday Rant!

So, in case you didn't all know, I work for Borders Books, Music and Cafe in Hollywood, CA. This time of year is what makes or breaks a company, or at least an individual store within said company. This year's holiday season is one that's making our store look awesome, with a HUGE volume in sales everyday. I enjoy working during the holiday season, because things get so crazy that before you know it, those hellish eight hours of customer service are over and done with.

Now here's my rant. I can't stand people who come in and think that they are the most important person in the world. I can't stand people who think asking to speak to a manager is going to help them in any situation. I can't stand people who don't realize that we - the people employed in these less than glamourous retail jobs - are people as well.

I recount for you a few tales from the trenches today.

After ringing people up at the register for nearly four hours straight today, I had a nice-looking elderly woman come to my register with a DVD. I asked her how she was and if she had found everything, and the transaction seemed pretty routine. When I finished the transaction, I said, as I had said to the fifty billion customers before her, "Alright, you're all set, have a great day!" She looked at me and said,

"Where's my thank you? Aren't you going to thank me for shopping here?"

I looked at her totally stunned. "Sure..... Thanks."

She threw me off for a good ten minutes. Was I really not providing the quality service that customers were expecting from me by not thanking them for shopping at Borders? We have greeters at the doors who's JOB it is to thank people for choosing Borders, is it necessary that I say the exact same thing?

Then there's the woman who purchased something from me, and asked for FREE giftwrap. I said, "Yes, we have a local charity organization on the other side of the store doing gift wrapping for us today." She scowled at me and said, "You expect me to walk to the other side of the store?"

"Well, that's where the free giftwrapping is."

She grabbed her bag and headed toward the door. "I can't believe this. I really don't have time for this," she said in quite an angry tone. I smiled and nodded as she walked out.

Finally, the winner for the WORST customer today...

I was ringing people up when a woman came up with some ribbon. I greeted her and started ringing up her few items when she told me that she had a large bag of merchandise that someone was holding behind the register because she couldn't possibly have carried it around the store with her. I looked around and found nothing, so I called the cashier at the other register bank, and he said it was up there. I informed her of this, and she said, "Who's gonna go get it for me?"

"Who?" I asked.

"Can someone go and get it for me, because I parked on this side of the store, and the guy that helped me should have brought it here."

Again, I was stunned, but told her I would take care of it. I went to the other side and picked up her stuff, and made my way back.

"Here you go." I said pleasantly.

"Some other guy had some stuff that he was going to bring over here for me, can you find it for me?" Of course I agreed, now internally fuming at this woman's expectation that now three different employees had devoted some substantial amount of time so that she had to put no effort in at all. I finally tracked down the employee that had helped her, and brought the merchandise to the register.

"Is there anything else I can help you with?" I asked in the nicest possible tone that I could muster.

"Actually I was hoping you could find another book for me." She said, as she is being rung up by another cashier. The line was starting to extend its way across the store as I waited on this single customer, but again I agreed to help her. So I looked the book up, but we did not have it in stock. She asked for another, which was also out of stock. She asked for a third - one she already had one copy of, but now wanted a second - but she had gotten the last copy. Overall she spent a fair amount of money, but the constant attention she demanded did not make it worth it. When she was finished paying, she asked if we did giftwrapping....

I swear....

So the moral of this tale is that I firmly believe that ever single person should be required by law to work at least one year of food service and one year of retail, so instead of treating us like we are customer service robots, they understand the hard work and humanity of the situation.

And John Forrest is my hero (Check out the first paragraph of the entry on 9/23/04 and you'll see why.

I can't wait till 9pm on Christmas Eve, then all of it will be over.

It's Been Way Too Long...

Things have been crazy. Work, getting ready for the holidays.... It's all too much.

Thank god soon it will be 2005, and a fresh start and less craziness!

A few highlights of the past month...

We went to Andrew and Jodi's wedding at the end of November, and it was beautiful. It was wonderful to meet adorable little Colin Flores, and it was so great to see everyone that we hadn't seen in a while.

We went to see the Ditty Bops, and it was awesome. You must buy this album!

I saw Eric Stoltz, Melissa McCarthy, Greg Behrendt, and Jerry Stahl at work recently. It was cool.

I'm on my lunch break, and I've got to head back to work.

Take care y'all and have a nice holiday!