Grin and Bear It

The foam retracts above the legible symphony.

This, among other things, are odd things I hear every day. At least in the form of excuses people give as to why they are returning items.

Recently we had a local rodeo come to town. Suddenly, people are returning cowboy boots and button down denim shirts. Well, lookin there, ain’t that a bee-utifull smudge of cow pie there on the toe of that boot!

Too bad I can’t let you return these. I know you bought these to wear to the rodeo and now that the rodeo has moved on, you don’t want to keep these clothes. What a cheap-ass.

You know, it’s not that I don’t know that most people don’t keep appropriate rodeo wear around, it’s that would you want to buy a pair of boots someone else stuck their feet into for a two hour show in a hot, humid outdoor arena, the smell of livestock ripe in the air?  No, you wouldn’t. So why are you bringing yours back to make someone else suffer?

Some of the same guests that complain that items they bought were clearly returned before they bought them are the same people who bring back used clothing.   I’ve had to refuse clothing returns before because of the outrageous rank scent coming off of the clothes they are returning. I had a woman try to return a pair of work out pants that she had clearly just worn as the waist band was still wet with sweat as was she.

It’s disgusting what people will do.

And this is why I always wash the clothes I buy before I wear them. Because its no longer certain if your brand new sweater is in fact brand new.


Yes, of course we will allow you to return that cooked steak that you didn’t like…

It should come as no surprise that people ask some of the stupidest questions.  Just the other day while trying to clean dried soap gunk off of my hands, someone calls up at the trusty service desk about a product she bought that was missing a piece.  This product was a set of mini blinds missing the switch to open and close them.  Does the guest realize this is missing before she installs it in her window?  Probably.  Does that stop her from installing it in her window?  No, of course not. That would make things a lot easier.
This guest wants to know what the store can do for her.  I explain to her that she would have to bring in the defective set of blinds and exchange them for new ones.
Cue the silent pause.
“But they’ve already been put up.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I can’t return or exchange them without the defective set of blinds.”
“Why can’t you just open another box and take the switch off another one for me and I’ll come pick it up later tonight?”            
I sigh and try my best to keep my cool.
“Ma’am, I can’t just tear another product apart for you.  You will have to bring in the other set to exchange for a new set.  It won’t cost you anything, especially since you said you have the receipt.”
She was silent for another pause, and I was finally getting the rest of the soap off of my hands from a busted bag of some new designer hand soap.  Finally, she sighs and speaks.
“But I already put these ones up.”
Here is where I had to resist the urge to slam the phone against the service desk repeatedly.  Was this woman serious?  Did she seriously think that I was just going to go back and find a box of blinds and yank out ONE piece and give it to her?  No, ma’am, that’s not how business works. 
“Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the only option that I can give you if you want to bring it back to the store.” 
“What can the manufacturer do for me?”
“I’m not sure, if you still have the box, you will have to see if there is any contact information on the box for the manufacturer.”
Finally, after some more round about on how she already installed the other blinds and didn’t want to take them back down to exchange them, she finally squeezes out a non-sincere thank you and hangs up on me before I could tell her to have a nice day and go hang herself with her broken blinds.
What really gets me, though, is not that fact that she asked what the store could do for her, but the fact that she asked me if I could just take apart another one of our products for her.  Who does she think she is?  I wouldn’t do that for any of my guests.  The only time we have EVER done that is when people bring in broken furniture.  Like for instance the woman who bought a lovely, three-tier glass entertainment center for their brand new huge flat screen TV. 
There had been a packing error, and the three glass pieces were packed with nothing in between the sheets.  So, can you image the rattle that box made?  Three sheets of glass just chilling up close, getting to know one another shard by broken shard?  In this case, she brought in the box of the annihilated glass, and we brought an entire new entertainment center from the back and just switched out the broken pieces for some non-broken and packed-correctly pieces.
Seeing as this was a store-brand piece of furniture, it all worked out because obviously it was at fault of our own store manufacturer and not some manufacturer with whom we have a contract to sell their products with.  We were able to defect out the one brought from the back, and the lady and her husband had the last pieces they needed to complete their entertainment center.  No harm, no foul.
So, you might be wondering why, now it is an issue to pull out a switch from mini blinds for this other woman.  Because, technically, the switch is attached to the mini blinds, so we can’t just detach (and frankly destroy) another product for one piece.  The pieces of the entertainment center were separate parts, not attached parts.  Make sense? 
This woman, though, is only one of many phone calls that I get on a daily basis that make me question the intelligence of the human race.

This Job Makes Me More Cynical and Cranky

I’venoticed that the more I work in retail (or work in general) the more cranky Iget.  The more pessimistic and the moreuntrusting of people I get.  Especiallywhile at the service desk.  I honestlydon’t like to think of each person as a potential threat to the assets of thestore.  I don’t like to have to open allboxes and check for all parts and check to see if they wore and washed theclothes, etc.  Basically, I don’t like totreat everyone like a criminal, but in a way, I have to.  I still treat them nicely and with respect,but I have a process I must go through anytime they bring anything to return.
I havemore faith in humanity than that.  I liketo think that most people are inherently good. Now, there are some bad seeds out there, but I don’t think they shouldhave any effect on the good ones, but they do, so that’s that.
Especiallysince getting moved to the service desk, I’ve become more untrusting of people.  And I see myself applying it outside ofpeople’s returns.  I see it when I’mshopping in my store, or in other stores. Just the other day, I got upset with my girlfriend’s mother for gettingugly with the cashier at a party supply shop. There were some unclear sale signs and instead of her mother politelytelling her “well, that’s what we saw, so we didn’t know,” she was like “well,then your signs are wrong and you should do something about it.” 
Evenbefore I worked in an area where I heard these complaints 70 times a day, thisirritated me, but now it irritates me more. That cashier may not have been the one who placed the sign there in thefirst place, they just know what they were told about that particular sale andwhat it applies to.  There’s no need toget ugly and mad at the cashier. 
Because,trust me, I hate when sale signs are wrong and it’s on something that I wanted,then it really upsets me, but I don’t take it out on the worker there.  Accidents happen.  It’s happened at stores I’ve worked at.  Sometimes signs are confusing and that’s notthe individual store’s problem (unless that store is separate from it’scorporate owner).  Usually, each store issent the ad signs they are to put up and where they are to be put.  Sometimes, each store varies in product andwhere items are placed, so the signs don’t always make sense.  Now, you would think that the people who putthe signs out would just not put that sign out if it’s confusing, but theydon’t always catch that.  They should,but they don’t always.  Most people whodo ad set in stores are on a time crunch and have to get certain areas done ina certain amount of time as they have a small crew to set the whole store.

Iknow, I know, it sounds like I’m just making excuses.  And maybe I am, but I just want toexplain.  I’ve come to the decision thatmisplaced or wrong store sales signs are just a part of life.  One of those First World Problems of life.  Nothing we can really do about them iscontinue to complain about them and see where it gets us.

I Turn My Camera On

I think it’s important that one finds the good things about their job, especially if it’s not the job you wanted, but the job that you have.

We all have our complaints about our jobs no matter if you’re the garbage man, or you’re the CEO of some company (though, let’s not count those guys, eh, they’re probably sippin’ spiked lattes in their offices all day firing the little people like us).  So, I would like to take this time to list the things that I like about my job:

  • I get to tell people no on a regular basis.  At the service desk, I have a bit of a say in some things, and I can tell a guest no if I think they’re trying to pull one over on us or if I think they are rude or something.  Maybe that’s just me being power hungry?
  • I get to people watch.  Yeah, yeah, kinda creepy, I know, but I’m a creative soul, watching people is how I really connect with others and myself.  I put what I see in real life into my work.  Not that I’m published or anything, but maybe one day, heh?
  • People come up with some funny excuses as to why they are returning things.  “My daughter is a fatass.” is probably my favorite so far.  Not because she was bold, but because it shows how much people in my generation don’t need to have children.
  • I get to sort things.  I really, really like doing this.  Maybe I’m just a weirdo, but I do like it a lot.  It’s kind of like a methodical therapy for me.  It’s both soothing and keeps the store running.  Okay, so me sorting shit really doesn’t make the store run more smoothly, but it keeps my service desk clean and I can at least attempt to get things back out on the floor as soon as possible.
This is me trying to be positive on the blog before all the negativity starts.  Because, you see, the real reason this beauty exists is so that I can get these all out of my system, and I think other people will actually enjoy reading it.  And so far I seem to be right.  I’ve had a few people laugh at the idea and after I sent them the link.
So, go out there!  Go return some stupid shit to your local retail store.  Come up with some dick reason as to why you are returning it.  And no, wearing it to a wedding and bringing it back the next day isn’t valid.  Get back with me and share your return stories.  Maybe I’ll make a post just about you.

Hello, how are you today? And Other Bullshit Phrases I Have to Say

Working in retail is its own adventure.  And when you work for a very well-known retailer, it’s even more… exciting.  Not always in the good ways, either. 
I started out as just a cashier, the first job where that was my only position, where it was my main position.  I’ve worked retail before and worked on the sales floor because I absolutely abhor standing in place waiting for people to come to me when there’s so much other work to be done elsewhere in the store.  Standing or sitting still has never been my strong suit.  Just ask my mother for the stories of when I was still at home in the womb. 
But I’ve enjoyed it.  It’s been a wonderful break from being a sales floor worker.  It’s a different pace, though sometimes I will still feel this twinge of guilt as I see my co-workers rushing around to finish this task or that.  I don’t envy them, but I don’t feel sorry for them, either.  Maybe that’s just because of the experience I’ve had in retail.  It’s true what they say, retail is hard and unpredictable work.  Anyone who tells you that it’s easy is either a supreme over-achiever or is an absolute imbecile.
Here in this blog, you will get to read about my adventures at my job.  Maybe you can relate, or maybe you will have a different side to it.  Or maybe you will learn things that you never knew before.   I won’t divulge which retailer that I work for, nor will I ever use real names of those that I work with or encounter.  It’s all in the name of privacy and respect.  Even though I will rant 98% of the time in this blog, I love my job.  While I don’t think I get paid enough for it, that’s life, I have to live with it since I’m not quite qualified for the jobs that I’d really like to have.  Aside from novel-writing.
But that’s not the point.
I love my job working at the service desk.  I like sorting all the abandons throughout the store, I like defecting things out, I like keeping things neat and organized (at my job, but I can’t seem to get this to work at home).  Working at the service desk, I’m a bit more important than a cashier, but I’m not so important that I have a ton of responsibility sitting on my shoulders.  It’s quite nice.
So, I hope that you enjoy reading all of my stories.  I hope that this can bring a smile to your faces, and that you can find something within my words that will tie you to another human being with the same complaints as you. I will try to update at least once a week, so feel free to nag me if I’m not updating weekly.
These are my Trials and Tribulations of [being] a Service Desk Jockey.