Now that the Holidays are over, things are slowly starting to get back to normal. And let me tell you, we are all very ready for this to happen.
Last year, I was a newbie. I was a cashier. I didn’t know anything about anything in the store. Sometimes, I barely knew how to do cashiering. This year I was at the service desk and doing training for a slightly higher position. The stress was high, and I am still feeling a lot of the after-effects of it. I believe the Holidays not only made me more knowledgeable of my own job, but definitely a lot crabbier.
But crabbiness isn’t always a bad thing, is it?
I can look back now and pick out some of my favorite moments of this past season. One of those moments was technically after Christmas, but it is still pretty high up there on my list.
About a week or so ago, a woman came in with her two young daughters. She had a bag and inside was a package of Squinkies and a whole kit of Squinkies and a little house or holder, or whatever the hell those things are called that you keep your Squinkies in. I’m not a kid, I don’t know these things.
Anyway, I pull out the package and it’s half-opened and the cardboard logo that is in the package is missing. I then pull out the big box of Squinkies. At first glance, it looks just fine. And then I notice that the lid is taped back on to the holder/tank thing in the box. Then I see that all of the Squinkies are taped back into the box here.
“Ma’am, was there anything wrong with this?”
“No, no, no.”
“Well, it’s obviously been opened and used. I can’t return this if there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Now, I must point out now that this lady didn’t speak English very well, so it was hard for me to understand her.
“My daughters, they play with it, and didn’t like it. So I put it back in. I just taped it. It was like that. Just like that.”
“Uhm, no, I’m sorry, but I can’t return this because you’ve opened it and taped everything back together.”
“I didn’t open it!”
“You just said you did. It’s all taped up.”
At this point, one of my supervisors walks over after she is finished adding a change order and steps in to argue with her. We go through the same process with her again. She got mad. She was scowling at us and telling us how there was nothing wrong with it her daughters just didn’t like it so she was bringing it back to get them something else.
My supervisor bagged her stuff back up and pushed the bag towards her and told her to have a good night. To which the lady snatches her bag up and says “I’ll just take it to the other store! They always take my stuff!”
“I don’t care, you do that.” My supervisor says back to her as she stomps off angrily with her two daughters.
Like, really? She thought she could just bag it back up and bring it back? You could see the scotch tape in there.
I just don’t understand people a lot.
Something else that boggled my mind during the entirety of Christmas was the sheer amount of people who came in to ask if we sold Christmas lights. Well… yes? Why wouldn’t we? It’s like when people ask if a movie theater as a bathroom. No, dipshit, you have to go around out back and take a piss by the dumpster. Of course a store this size sells Christmas lights. We sell anything from grocery items to patio furniture. Granted some of our locations are small stores and only carry limited merchandise.
I actually got into a fight with one guest. She completely instigated it, too. She was already irate while standing in line at the service desk. When she came up to me, I asked what I could do for her. She spits out “I need a Green Machine and you have three of them!”
Slightly confused at her hostility, I looked at her and said “Okay, would you like to check out with it, or are you looking for more…?”
“I need it! You have three and I need it now.”
She had slammed down a piece of paper that I recognized as a merchandise locate slip. So, I went into the proper functions on my register and typed in the store item number. It showed that we had three. She had kept blabbering on to me about how she needed one and we had three and someone better bring her one. Just as I was about to call the backroom to see if they could bring me one, one of our backroom team members starts walking toward the area with one in his arms.
“Look, he’s got one right there. That’s mine!”
“Well, let me just verify with him that it’s not for another guest first, and then we will go from there.”
“It’s not! It’s for me! I CAN GUARANTEE YOU THAT IT’S NOT FOR ANYONE BUT ME!”
Jebus, lady, calm the frikken frack down. At this point, I started feeling really pissed that she was yelling at me. I had no idea what was going on, and I was trying to help her. She was obviously really pissed about something to do with this product. I tell her again, trying to be calm, that I wanted to make sure with him since I didn’t know the situation and then she went off on me. She started telling me I needed to stop arguing with her and just do my job. She then started to tell the other team member that she would appreciate it if I stopped arguing with her.
Slow down, bitch. I didn’t do anything to you so fuck off. I wanted to slap her really bad. The urge was burning in my veins and I found that I was clenching my fist out of her view. Why was she treating me like I killed her kid? I tried to calmly tell her that I wasn’t trying to argue with her, that I was instead trying to help her. Still, I didn’t know the situation.
Finally the Bellowing Bitch explains to me that someone she talked to at the store earlier in the day told her that we didn’t have any of the items she was looking for and thus essentially sent her on a wild goose chase throughout the metroplex searching for all of these items. When she finally went to her last location, they didn’t have this Green Machine and their search said we had three so she came back to our store. She was already incredibly pissed off that she had to go to so many different stores and waste so much gas. Okay, that’s understandable. I’d be really pissed off, too. But I wasn’t the person you spoke to this morning. I’m not the person who told you to go to a store an hour and a half away. Don’t treat me like it’s all my fault you blabbering butthead.
She really pissed me off. She demanded to speak to a manager, so I called one over the walkie talking in a voice much louder than usual. I wanted to make sure the entire store knew there was a situation at the service desk. Possibly immature, but I didn’t care. This woman had way overstepped her bounds with me and I really was ready to start a screaming match with her if necessary. I apologized that she was sent all around and explained that I didn’t know the situation and that I was doing the best that I could do for her without having known that someone sent her in the wrong directions to begin with.
This woman had no right to treat me like this and if I’d been a little calmer, I would have called someone else over to deal with her. I understood that she was upset. I understood that she wasted a lot of time and gas going back and forth. And it was really shitty that she had to do that for only a few items. But I wasn’t the one who lead her wrong. I wasn’t the one who didn’t make sure we couldn’t help her in the first place. I hadn’t even been argumentative or hostile toward her until she started being totally disrespectful to me.
However, I think one of the best moments of all the holiday season was Christmas Eve. I was set to close and closing was going as well as it can on Christmas Even with the service desk full of defective items and abandons. When closing time rolled around, our manager did not hesitate to kick people out less than politely.
Two hours before closing time, she asked our store operator to make the overhead announcements every half hour until the hour before we closed. Then she wanted it every fifteen minutes. Guests couldn’t even try to pretend that they didn’t know what time we closed.
9:01 PM came and our manager made an overhead announcement.
“Attention guests. It’ is now 9:01PM and the store closed one minute ago. The registers will be closing exactly at 9:10PM. Take your items up now or you will not be able to make a purchase. Merry Christmas and have a good night.”
Just a minute later, she started to yell across to a woman shopping in the girl’s department that we were closed and she needed to leave now.
She wasted no time in trying to get us out of there.
And thus we ended the Christmas season and could sigh a bit of relief.
You know, until the weeks of recovery that come after Christmas in retail. The weeks of trying to make the store look good. Defecting out the copious amounts of broken product. The weeks of struggling to live on the teeny tiny hours you are given.