Go Ahead, Call Me That One More Time

One day, I got a bit backed up at the service desk, so I pressed the assistance button so that someone could come up and help me with my line.  Our AP Manager came up to help me.  She’s in charge of Assets Protection.  Pretty much perfect to come up to the service desk for those who are trying to scam us or steal from us.  She helps me and after a guest or two, she has a gentleman come up to return a standing oscillating fan because it stopped working.  I didn’t hear all of his excuses, but the next thing I look over to see as I’m still helping the guest in front  of me is the fan come out of the box.  He had actually taken it apart and managed to get it back in the box. 
I’ve seen sewers that looked cleaner than this fan.  Okay, maybe not quite, but the fan was absolutely disgusting.  He’d obviously used it in some messy environment and it had probably stopped working from the amount of grim and dirt and dust that it was covered with.  Whether or not he had a receipt was beyond me, but she flat out told him that she couldn’t accept it.  He got minorly defensive at first, asked why not, she flatly told him because it had obviously been used, so she couldn’t take it.
  Then he  got angry.  He started cussing at her.  Calling her a “prissy ass bitch” and telling her to stop getting an attitude with him.  She takes a step back and says “Sir, you’re the one getting an attitude with me, so please take this fan and leave the store before I call security.” 
Then he asks to speak with a manager. 
“Well, sir, I am the manager.”
“I want to speak with some other manager.”
  “I’m the only one here.”
“When does the next one come in?”
“I’m it for the night.”
This enrages him even more.  He continues to call her names and cuss at her, and she finally says that if he doesn’t leave, she’s calling the police on him, not store security.  She pulls out her walkie talkie and begins to yell to our security guard on duty to cal the local police department.  And this guy is still going.  He’s ranting and raving at her, and she has not only stepped back away from him, but is standing next to me now, putting a very good distance between the two of them. 
I think this guy just has small man syndrome.  Here’s this woman who is taller than you telling you that you can’t return a filthy fan.  Not only are you upset that she won’t take back the item you used, but she’s threatening your manhood by being bigger than you.
Finally, the guy rants his way out the exit door with the fan in tow.  She turns to me (all my guests are gone by now) and says “Don’t you dare even take that fan back if he comes back in.”  I looked at her wide-eyed and said “I planned on calling AP the second I saw him walk back in the door”  She smiles big at me and says “Good girl!  I like you.”
Where does he get off calling someone a prissy ass bitch?  Not only that, but where does he get off calling the manager of a store names even after he is informed that she is in fact a manager who has the right to tell him no.  Hell, she has the right to pick him up and boot him out on the parking lot in a heap.
  I once had a woman call her husband on the phone to curse him out for buying her Sunday school supplies at our store if we weren’t going to return it.  I had scanned the items that she brought it and they didn’t show up in our system.  Item Not Found, the screen gleams at me when I scan something that we either don’t sell, or something that has been salvaged out.  I inform her of this, and she informs me that she just saw a package just like it (I think it was Sharpies) on our shelf. 
  I calmly tell her that it could just be a new model of the same thing, therefore, it won’t show the same numbers as the one that she brought in.  Of course, she didn’t have a receipt or the card that may have purchased the items.  Her husband bought them for her.  She had originally just wanted to exchange for another, no prob, Rob. 
After I tell her I cannot return the items without her husband’s credit card as the receipt or the original paper receipt, she gets mad.  She tells me that it’s bullshit and that I’m being rude to her.  Then she calls her husband and is berating him over the phone and telling him to never, ever, ever shop at our store again because they don’t return anything.
I stand there and stare at my computer screen until she hangs up on her husband and grabs the markers from me and stomps off, still mumbling about our bullshit return policy.

Those Sandy Shoes Just Can’t Come Back

A man came in early one morning as the store was opening and walked up to the Service Desk.  He was polite and asked me how I was doing, I showed him the same pleasantries.  And then he puts the bag on the counter.  Says, the shoes didn’t fit and he’d like to return them.  Alrighty then.  He had the receipt, I open the bag and unveil the shoes.
They were water shoes.  And they were covered and filled with sand.
“They didn’t fit, huh?”
“Yeah, she said they kept slipping off her feet.”
  “That’s a shame, but I can’t take these shoes back.  They are dirty and worn.”
  He stares at me for half a second before looking at me blankly and saying “Oh, I didn’t know that.”
                You didn’t know you couldn’t return shoes covered in beach sand or didn’t know that she had worn them half to death?
I stared back at him and said “Yeah, you can’t return shoes that look like this.  I can’t resell this.”
  He thanks me, grabs the bag and walks out, probably cursing me under his breath.  After I thought he was safely out the door and out of earshot, I let out a big guffaw.  Seriously?  How are you going to try to bring back shoes that are covered in sand, and even bent upward at the toe?
People never cease to amaze me with the shit they try to pull.
Just the other day, I had a couple come in with their kid and try to return some shoes.  Same excuse, too big/too tight, need to exchange.  Alrighty-do.  I take the shoes out of the bag and presto.   The bottoms are all kinds of dirty, there’s even some goo stuck to the men’s shoes and hairs coming out of it.  The kids shoes barely had the tread on the bottom left.  I take a look at the receipt.  Purchased over a month ago.
  “I can’t take these back looking like this.  You said they were worn once.  This is worn more than once.”
“But they didn’t fit.”
Well that’s just not the point, is it lady?  If they didn’t fit, you should have tried to exchange them before the two of them wore them around town for a month.  Sorry that you saw shoes that you liked better, and I’m sorry that little Junior’s feet grew faster than you expected, but I’m not taking back shoes that originally had white soles and now have patchy black and brown soles.  Just doesn’t work like that.
  The only time it’s an exception in returning your worn shoes is if within a few days or week or purchasing a buckle or strap or part of it totally falls apart, that is an obvious defect in the item and we can return that and defect it out of our system and let you get a pair that won’t have that issue.
The shoes you put on Grandma for her funeral won’t fly either.  Sorry, but if they come in smelling like embalming fluid, I’m not even going to try to tell you that you can return those things.  You can just take those right on back and trash them, or whatever with them.  I don’t care, but I’m not taking back shoes that the dead wore, even if it was just for an hour or two while she sat in a cold church sanctuary.
Now, one time, we did have a guest come in with a pair of heels that on the soles of the shoes and the box, and the tag, mind you, were all marked size 9.  However, if you looked inside the shoe, one was marked size 8 and the other was marked size 8 ½  Yeah, defective, straight up.  That was an odd manufacturer fault.  How something like that even made it through inspections is beyond me.  But hey, anything can slip through every now and then, right?  That’s what happens when you paint your nails on the conveyer line.
I’ve seen people bring in shoes that I know that they have probably worn once or twice or maybe just for a special event, but you know what?  They hardly look like it.  If there’s just a tad of dirt on the bottom, the kind that could be picked up from several people a day trying on the shoes in the store, then yeah, I’ll take it back.  But really now, if it looks like you ran them through the washing machine a few times to get them clean, then no, no I will not take back your fungus toe shoes.

Blubbering Mamas and if Looks Could Kill

Guests don’t typically break down and sob in front of me when I refuse their return or exchange.  Normally, they (rarely) gracefully accept the fact that those are the rules and that’s that or they will rage at me until steam is coming out of every orifice on their bodies.
But that changed the day that a pregnant woman with two kids under five in tow came into my store one morning.  She wanted to exchange her digital camera.  Okay, does it not work, I ask her politely, waving at her children who are running around slamming their hands all over my registry kiosk keyboards.  She replies matter-of-factly “I want the upgraded version of this one.”
I take a look at the box, open it up, it’s clearly been used.  So, I tell her that I was sorry, but since she opened and used this camera, I can only authorize a return for this exact same camera, model and everything.
“But I don’t want this camera.”  Tears started to well up in her eyes and immediately I wanted to run away.  Was she really about to do this to me?
“I’m sorry ma’am, but that’s all our return policy allows.”
She starts blubbering.  Red eyes, red cheeks, tears spilling out of her eyes, snot dripping out of her nose.  She keeps repeating how much she doesn’t want that camera, she wants the new one.
Oh.  God. Save me now.
I try my best not to sound annoyed with her.  She’s pregnant, she probably can’t help the fact that she is having a total emotional breakdown in front of her kids and a stranger over a digital camera.  I backed up a little and gave her a moment to collect herself.  I apologized again and told her there was still nothing I could do and she collects the camera and her children and pushes their cart off toward the exit doors.  I thought maybe she was going to leave or head off throughout the store to shop. 
No, she hung out at the cart well near the exit doors crying for another ten to fifteen minutes.  Every now and then she would sneak a pathetic look at me and I would pretend to not see it out of the corner of my eye.
I felt more embarrassed for her than angry that she was trying to go against our exchange policy.  I wondered if I were to ever become with-child (not exactly likely) if I would ever be that bad.  I can get pretty bad when the monthly package comes around, so I can image I would only be a million times worse pregnant.  I hate crying in public.  I will cry my eyes out at home, or in the car, but I will do all I can not to tear up in public.  I don’t want anyone else to come up to me and ask me if I’m okay, even though I’ve got snot bubbling out of my nose, and my eyes are the size of a puffer fish.  Obviously I’m not okay, but that’s okay, because the next store might have that triple chocolate fudge brownie whipped cream ice cream that I just really, really wanted!
Finally, she must have left because when I sneaked a look again, she was gone.  I didn’t think anything of it, and someone came to relieve me for my break.  I went and grabbed my purse out of my locker and got on the phone with my girlfriend to tell her about the sobbing woman I had just encountered.  As I’m walking through the store and just about to round a corner, I see her.  Oh god.  We met in the center of the shampoo aisle.  Our eyes locked for a split second, and oh if looks could kill.  I hurried out of sight as quickly as I could.  I really thought she was about to grab me and try to choke me with the hair accessories.
Maybe I should have been nicer and let her exchange it.  Just let her return the old camera, and then buy the new one.  But I couldn’t resell the old camera because it had clearly been used, some of the paint had even been rubbed off of it and it had been originally purchased only two weeks before.  Maybe I could have kept her from breaking down and crying and humiliating herself.  Thankfully, there were no other guests around.  It was just me, her, and Timmy Junior and Tabitha Junior.
But come on, crying?  Aside from being five and crying because mommy wouldn’t buy you a little dolly, when was the last time that crying got you what you wanted.

Sorry, we don’t sell that particular box of rocks in our store, I can’t accept this

So, unless you’re returning things to Wal Mart or Kohl’s, you can’t return just anything at every other store.  Most stores have morals and values and actually respect their products little bit more than to just accept back those thongs you bought to wear for you sexy night gone wrong.

Every day, I have at least one person who will verbally assault me on how ridiculous our return policy is and how it’s ‘bullshit’ that they can’t just return the GPS device that they bought just to get home from Tulsa only to return when they got home.  Sorry, homie, but you opened it and used it, and managed to get ketchup all over the screen while you tried to scarf down that triple decker with cheese and drive.
We keep it simple, and quite frankly, don’t hide any loopholes from any of our guests about our return policy.  Not only do we have it written in small print next to the door at the service desk what our return policy is, but we also have it in very large letter right behind the heads of those working at the service desk.  And, on the back of all receipts in our return policy.  Oh, and not to mention, you can view it on our website under the link titled “return an item.” 
Such a mystery, no?
Right up front it says we will attempt a return.  This means, we will use everything in our system to try to return.  But if we scan the item and it says “item not found” and you are without a receipt, you are screwed, bucko.  This means that the item has been salvaged out of our system and it is of no worth to not only the store, but to you.  So, this means, that it is worth exactly $0.00 to you and the store.  We cannot return an item with $0 worth.
Not only that, but check out this wording ‘Most unopened items in new condition can be returned within 90 days will receive a refund or exchange.  Some items will have a modified return policy that is under 90 days.’  Those items are pretty much anything bought in the electronics department.
‘Items that are opened or damaged or do not have a packing slip or receipt may be denied refund or exchange.’  Thank you.  So many people who bring in items without a receipt argue with me over this.  Its written in plain English behind my head.  Now, we have plenty of guests who don’t speak English, and we find a team member who does speak their language so that we can explain the policy to them.
And clearly spelled out on our website it says that opened movies, music, and electronic items cannot be returned, they can only be exchanged.  So, if you bought a movie or CD and didn’t like it, you can’t return it.  Why?  Because most people will make copies of these movies or CDs and then put the fakecopy back in the case and try to return that to the store.  Plus, we aren’t your personal shoppers.  Sorry that the movie sucked, maybe you should have tried renting it before buying it and spending $30 on the blu-ray of it. 
And if you just want to try and bring it back to return, well, sorry honey buns, you can only exchange it for the exact same movie.  No, not another title, the same movie.  Here, you want me to try it.  Sure, sure.  I’ll scan the movie you brought it as I process it as a return.  Now, let’s try scanning another title.  Oh, lookie there, the system says “Not same item, cannot approve this return.  Must exchange for like item.”
Timmy didn’t like that DS game you bought him that he just wanted oh so bad?  Why don’t you try GameStop or the pawn shop.  They will buy back your used games, but we don’t.  However, our store’s mobile center does buy backs, but you will only get store credit for it.  We do sell used games, but we don’t take them back at the service desk.
My favorite thing is when people bring in things without the receipt.  My automatic question to them is if they purchased it with a debit or a credit card.  Most of the time, the answer is no.   In that case, I will have to use your ID which you are limited to only $75 worth of returns per year.  And that year starts from the day you return the items, not calendar year.  And in doing so with your ID, it can only be returned to a store gift card.  Meaning, without the receipt, you only get store credit.  We are not the first, nor the only store that has this policy in place.  Most places will only give you a store credit that is good for a certain amount of time and at that specific location.  At least we are nice enough to put it onto a gift card that will never expire, can be used at any of our hundreds of stores, and can be used on our website.
Once you hit that limit on your ID, you can only exchange for items in the exact same department that equal up to or more than the amount of the item you are returning.  Why?  Because people who shoplift try to come in without their receipt (obviously) all the time to get money back for things they never even paid for in the first place.  This is our way to allow people to return things (and yeah, some of them are probably stolen) without a receipt (because sometimes Grandma Pam insists she doesn’t need a gift receipt for that awful pair of pants she got you) and still get some sort of credit for it.
But once you’ve hit that limit, no more free gift card money for you.  You have got to exchange it for something in that exact same department.  So, if Little Benny outgrew his 5T clothes but you don’t have a receipt… sorry, but little boys’ clothes are no longer in the infant and toddler section.  You’ve got to exchange for other infant and toddler clothing items.
Sounds rough, but that’s how it is.
Most people are so used to being able to return a box of rocks to Wal Mart for cash money that they expect the same treatment at our store. 
Yes, Virginia, I am going to open the box holding the 55” TV to make sure the serial number matches the outside of the box and to make sure that everything is in here.  Why?  Well, you see, people try to return boxes of rocks, or a Magnovox TV in a Visio TV box all of the time.  We are just ensuring that no one pulls one over on us.  Don’t like it, too bad.  If we find out that not everything is in the box, or that the wrong product is in the box, then we reserve the right to hand it all back to you and have a nice day.
Not to mention, all of our receipts have the expiration date printed on them for convenience for our guests.  This is exactly 90-days from the original purchase date of the item.  What this means is that after that expiration date, your receipt is no longer valid, therefore you cannot return the items for full value.  You will either have to settle for a store gift card or keep the item if it has been salvaged out in those three months.
Three months is plenty of time.  Really.  So, for you people who are trying to get some gas money from your Christmas sweater return in July, sorry, but no go, I can’t even give you a gift card for that one.
We aren’t hiding behind loopholes.  We give you plenty of chances to return things with or without a receipt, and we spell it out that electronics cannot be returned if opened, only exchanged.   Sure you can speak with my manager, but I bet my bottle dollar that he’s just going to tell you the exact same thing I just told you, so why waste your and his time?  But, whatever floats your boat, tubnuts.

Say It Ain’t So: Craft Fairs and Retail Workers

Maybe it’s just the fact that I work in retail and I see the things that people will drop money on in a big retail store or maybe it’s the fact that I’m put off and butt hurt from the fact that we had a craft fair just recently and just barely made back what we paid for our space rental.
Now, I know, I know, this isn’t totally related to my job, that’s okay.  We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly.  This is just a weekly bonus. 
My girlfriend, her aunt, and I recently decided to go in on a booth at a craft fair at a local church.  Now, this is a pretty big church and the fall festival they have every year is supposed to be pretty popular.  But boy, were we wrong with that.  It would make me feel better (in an odd way) to say that we didn’t sell hardly anything because our stuff sucks.  Nope, not the case.  Our stuff was good, great, and so were the wares of all of the other people there.  Barely any of us sold anything.  The ladies selling jams and jellies did pretty well as did the typical Avon and Scentsy representatives.  But the rest of us?  Well, let’s just say most of us stared at each other most of the day.
It was a sad, sad 6 hours for us.  My girlfriend’s aunt did the best (and by best, I mean, made more than us) with about $50, my girlfriend made $13, and I squeaked in with $7.25.  My mom contributed items to our table and made $5 coming up last.  Pretty sad, huh?
Now, if you think about the fact that this was our first craft show together, that’s okay, right?  I mean, it definitely wasn’t good, but it wasn’t totally terrible either.  I really wish we had done better, though.  It was disappointing and upsetting to say the least.
But I think what irritated me the most is the fact that you will see people drop $50 on an oil burner with a teeny light bulb to melt their Scentsy wax things.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Scentsy, but are you friggen kidding me?  You will spend $50 on that when other tables offer you some handmade, unique items for half that price and you still won’t do it?  People want handmade for nothing.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Let’s not think about the fact that machines make most of the items you get in stores.  Let’s not think about how much longer it takes to sew a pillow by hand or make a piece of jewelry by hand.  Let’s not think about the fact that buying materials at retail price as an individual seller can cost you an arm and a leg.  No.  Let’s just think about the fact that boy oh boy!  Scentsy has that liver-shaped oil burner on sale for $35!
Okay, so maybe I am bitter.  But so what?  We all worked hard on our items and to have these people come by, coo over what we have, ask the price and then deposit it back on the table because they don’t want to pay our prices for handmade goodies.  They’d rather spend their money on the known items.
That being said, I’m seriously thinking about getting back into business with Etsy.  I used to do it a few years ago.  I didn’t have too much success with it, but I think I’ve got some more business savvy going for me and I think I can make it work.  So if any of you are interested, keep a weathered eye about, I’ll post about it from time to time to break up the monotony of my service desk ramblings.

Money laundering and Other Loopholes we Closed Up (Sorta)

We sell pre-paid Visa and American Express cards at our store.  They have our store logo on them, but they can be spent anywhere just like any other reloadable debit/card card you can get at the bank, or gas station.  And since we sell these, people also like to buy them with fake money.  In other words, we have experienced a lot of money laundering with these cards.  It’s become a huge issue, so we have had to come up with ways that will keep people from essentially taking us for hundreds of thousands of dollars if not much more.
You can only buy up to five at a time.  This does not mean per transaction.  You can only buy up to five per day.  Which, still has people getting a lot of them, but not more than a certain amount per day.  You also cannot purchase them with store gift cards.  Which means, if Aunt Tilly and Uncle Waldo got you that gift card for Christmas and you just hate shopping at our store, you cannot transfer it onto this card to be spent anywhere.  That also falls under the guidelines that gift cards cannot be redeemed for cash.
This rule of our store makes people so angry.  And I’ve found that the only ones that get truly flustered about it are the ones who are trying to use fake gift cards.  These are the people who buy gift cards on credit cards that never get paid off, or credit cards that are stolen, credit cards that are fake.  These are the people who are somehow making their own store gift cards.  How they do that, I really don’t know, but one day I’d like to find out.
Also, when purchasing these gift cards, if they are just the Visa ones, we must see ID with every debit or credit card.  Because people like to use other reloadable debit or credit cards that have no name on them to purchase these cards, too.  Cue the money laundering supreme.  These people look suspicious the moment they step up to the cash register.  Shifty, sometimes with a twitch or the slight smell of alcohol or other chemicals on them.  They will get defensive about having to show their ID and come up with excuses like “It’s in the car.” Or “Well, my husband has it right now and he’s in another state.”
And all I want to say is “I hope you get pulled over you sack of lies.”
But, I don’t, I just smile and say “I’m sorry, it is policy that I see your ID with this purchase.”
Usually they will give up and walk away. 
Then there are the people who try to buy the reloadable American Express cards.  These ones you can put as much or as little as you want on them (up to a certain amount, I believe it’s $5,000), with one flat fee.  The Visa ones only come in $25, $50, and $100.  However, the Amex cards have a nice big catch to them.   They must be linked to a specific person.  As in, when you purchase them, you have to enter your name, social, and a few other personal details to buy them.  It’s something to do with these can be linked to your own name and some other weird Amex rules.  To be honest, I’m not sure why, I just do my job and tell them this, but people still seem to get overly upset about this before just walking away from the register.
Most people get angry that we have such strict policies about buying these pre-paid gift cards, but they wouldn’t be in place if people didn’t abuse the hell out of these cards.  In most cases, what people will do, is in the past when we allowed you to change your store gift card into these prepaid cards, people would then, turn around and buy store gift cards with them, and then manage to get insane amounts of money onto these gift cards that now have ghost money on them, and use these high dollar amounts to buy electronics like iPads, Beats, TVs and the like.  Because, really, who goes out and buys their relative a $800 store gift card?