"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Retro Retail

So, I've had one day back from vacation (by the time you read this it will be two, but I have to do this early because I'M GOING TO BEA TOMORROW [which is actually today to you or maybe even yesterday, depending on when you stop by] AND I'M SUPER EXCITED. I'm hoping to meet Rick Riordan and LEMONY SNICKET [ZOMW I think I might hyperventilate just a little] and get to see Melissa Marr again and tons of other fantastic authors and AHHHHHHHHH!!! And we're leaving at 4 in the morning, which is why I'm doing this post ahead of time) and not much of anything of note happened in that one 8-hour shift (except a LOT of Lost talk, because we're cool like that) so I decided to do a Retro Retail post (as you can tell from the title) so I would still have something up here :D

If you can untangle that sentence, you are amazing!

And this just made me smile, so I thought I would share:

Back in the day (meaning 4ish years ago) I worked for Eckerd Drug Stores. They no longer exist - have you noticed that? I left and the company went under (or so I like to tell myself :P).

But I have some pretty funny stories from my time working there. These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Enjoy!

Not The Brightest Crayon In The Box Award:

A customer came up to the register and handed me a bag. "I need to return this calculator," she said, pulling it out of the bag. "I've tried and tried and I can't get it to clear or enter anything new."

I look down and think, man, how am I supposed to do this without making her feel like an idiot. Suppressing a sigh I peel off the clingy plastic sample equation leaving the screen free. "Try it now. They put this on to protect the screen and show you the size of the font."

Woman takes calculator and starts punching things in giddily. "Thank you SO much," she gushes.

I honestly don't know which was worse - the fact that she couldn't figure out it was just a sticker, or the fact that she was so impressed that I figured it out so quickly...
Look! A poster for my AWARD! *does happy dance*
I don't know who originally did this, but THANKS!

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Retail Edition:

A woman came in looking for a specific type of makeup. I can't even remember exactly what her question was, but it's not really that relevant for the story. She was super nice and it was a valid question and we weren't busy so I didn't mind helping her.

We look back and forth at a few of the boxes and narrow it down from several options to a few.

We decide to call the 800 number on the back of the package. As we walk over to the phone the customer starts laughing - "I'd like to phone a friend, Regis," she said and I had to laugh with her. I called the number and it's... disconnected. Yup. By now we are both giggling and she says, "I guess we have to poll the audience!" She asks another customer and ends up deciding on which she wants to buy, but it was pretty funny that we had to use all of our lifelines...

Densest Customer Award:

This was actually a multiple offender award.

People would come into the store, march up to the register and demand to know where the batteries were. At which point we would point directly behind them to the giant 3-sided display of batteries about 2 feet from them. Most people would just kind of chuckle awkwardly or say something like, "Well, if it had been a shark it would have bit me."
Just. Like. This.

But one guy glared at me as though it were all my fault that the batteries were not hidden in some remote spot that he would actually have to be directed to.
It's your fault I can't see past my nose!

The Milk Lady:

We sold half gallons of milk - and at a REALLY good price. People would come in and stock up on milk like there was no tomorrow. It was kind of ridiculous.

But there was one woman who will go down in infamy amongst all of us who ever worked at that store.

I don't know how many times she tried to pull this off over the 8 years I spent there. She would wait for different cashiers so it took us forever to realize she was doing it like EVERY week.

This is how it would go.

ML (milk lady): (comes up to register with empty half gallon milk jug in a bag) Excuse me. I bought this milk yesterday and it was sour today. I poured it out, because it had like chunks and stuff. But I only bought it yesterday. You can see it's still within the date. Can I get a replacement?

Cashier: Yes, that's fine (which at the time, it was fine - we would do these occasionally, because with milk sometimes this happens.)

ML takes her new jug of milk and leaves.

Comes back a few days later to repeat performance.

Once we realized what was going on we told her she had to bring it in with the sour milk still in it so we could prove to our vendor that there was a problem. Thought that would take care of the problem.

Not so much. She starts bringing in half full cartons of sour milk for exchange.

At this point we're wondering if she realizes that you have to REFRIGERATE milk.

Then the delivery questions started.

For a while they were shuffling our delivery dates around, trying to find a good system to keep us well stocked with milk. She would call or come in ALMOST DAILY to find out when our deliveries were coming. Then she would rant and rave that none of us knew what we were talking about, that everyone always gave her different answers as to when the milk came. That she had to buy it as soon as we got it or it wouldn't last.

I think she needed a hobby.
Or at least this shirt...

Outright Bizarre Award:

I had a woman call on the phone (I think I might have shared this before, but it TOTALLY bears repeating!).

Woman: I'm looking for foundation and was wondering if you carry it.

Me: We have a lot of different kinds. What brand were you looking for?

Woman: I'm not sure. What brands do you have?

Me: Cover Girl, L'Oreal, Revlon, Maybelline...

Woman: I think it's Revlon.

Me: All right, which color did you need.

Woman: What colors are there?

Me: There's about twenty different ones.

Woman: Well, can you list them?

Me: (sigh) Hold on a second, I'll go take a look..... (I begin to list some of the different colors)

Woman: I'm not sure... (no joke) What color do you think would look good on me?

Me: (stifling laughter) I really can't tell over the phone. The best thing would be for you to come in and take a look at them yourself.

Woman: Oh no! I don't leave the house! Someone's coming to get it for me.

Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh! I thought of one more and then I have to run...
Drama Queen Award:

Two customers were getting milk. The male customer accidentally bumps the female customer's bum with the door to the case.

Female customer loses it and begins yelling at him for touching her bum and how dare he do that and yadda yadda yadda.

Male customer is trying to be apologetic, but obviously finds the whole thing amusing, because it was completely innocuous and accidental.

They both end up at my register. He is starting to get a little heated as she continues to rail, her voice escalating. But he keeps his cool while she looks like a complete nutjob.

Manager approaches the register and asks what the problem is. Happens to glance over at the male customer as he asks.

Female customer FREAKS OUT... "You're just taking his side, because you're a MAN!"
Actually, this is more how I felt, than how she looked.


Yup, pretty much wherever you work, the customers are INSANE! sometimes nice and sometimes nasty, but ALWAYS, ALWAYS insane!


Rae said...

After reading the stuff you put up with- you need 3 vacations! Funny!

aLmYbNeNr said...

I hope you're enjoying BEA! Well, not hope, cause I'm sure you ARE enjoying it!
My fave this week are milk lady and foundation lady HAHA!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Thanks for the laugh. Some people really are clueless. :D

Tessa Conte said...

Oh my you've just made my day ROLF!!!

People can be so weird (read stupid) at times.

ps have fun at BEA!!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

LOL. Wednesdays are awesome in your land :) haha. Foundation lady. Classic!

Falen said...

aww! I'm so jealous you get to go to BEA!

Mia said...

Hahaha, customers can be insane.

Oooog, have fun at BEA. I'm so jealous and also LEMON SNICKET!! THAT'S SO COOL :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Okay - I'm still laughing about the calculator one! :)

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Sooo much fun! BEA... drooool.... Lemony Snicket - awesome! My seven yr old just really got into the Unfortunate Events series. I've read them but we are on the third one together and she is LOVING them. Too bad her teacher keeps sending home boring chapter books for her to read (lol, I say that honestly, I am a teacher too) and we have to plow through those so we don't have as much time for awesome books as we would like. :) Yay for summer coming! Yay for Lemony Snicket! I am jealous!

Jessica said...

ARRGGHH instead of talking to you for 2 hours about Lost I should have told you my retail story...I will tell you on Friday...

Anyways I was hoping youd put the story in about the milk lady...that's a nutter!

Laura Marcella said...

I agree with the first comment: you need three vacations after putting up with everything you do! At least you see the humor in it all! :)

Have an awesome time at BEA!!!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

@Rae: Sometimes I do feel like it :)

@aLmYbNeNr: They both were SO ridiculous. Glad you liked :)

@Stina: Most welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

@Tessa: People ARE weird! And endless inspiration for stupid stories :D

@TAA: Awww.... thanks! Seriously. That's my all time favorite retail story to tell.

@Falen: It was epic. I'll share more soon.

@Mia: OMW! YOU HAVE NO IDEA! (but wait, you saw my Twitter, so you have a little idea, but wait until you hear the whole story!)

@Jemi: It was So ridiculous :)

@Lindsey: I am like the BIGGEST Lemony Snicket fan pretty much ever on the face of the planet. Glad you guys are enjoying them together!

@Jessica: I will get to hear it later :) And no. Lost conversation was MUCH MORE IMPORTANT!

@Laura: I have to find the humor or I would LOSE MY MIND! Thanks :D

Al said...

I am with you on the blind customers.
The number of times I got "do you have...?"
When they were right in front of the display. Mind you I do the same thing in other people's shops.

Medeia Sharif said...

This was hilarious. I was cracking up for a good ten minutes. It must be frustrating, though. These people waste a lot of time.

ElvishVampireHobbit94 said...

Poor you with the absurd (and not in the nice way) nutcases you must put up with.

I am so jealous of you btw (ugh. I just did one of those... *shudder*). Rick Riordan! Lemony Snicket! Well, have a great day =]

AchingHope said...

Haha... That foundation lady story never gets old. Makes me chuckle eveyr time :)

Simon C. Larter said...

FYI, I find it quite amusing to do random things to freak the employees of retail stores out.* Kind of like I say random things to amuse my blog readers and Twitter followers. I asked a gal at the B&N help desk once where they stocked the chocolate sauce. She said they didn't sell that, then I said, "I guess I'm not getting a mocha latte, then," and walked away.

I amuse myself this way. I think it's a sickness.

*Actually, I don't do this at all. I'm considering starting, though. It could be fun.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

@Al: I know, I know, I'm the blind customer sometimes, but I do at least TRY first :)

@Medeia: Aw, I'm glad to give you a laugh. At least I'm being paid for them to waste my time - though it's definitely never enough :P

@EVH94: They are absurd and I don't want you to be jealous, but it was seriously amazing to get to meet them all. Srsly!

@AchingHope: It really doesn't get old, does it. Kind of like UnAmerican guy that I totally have to post about sometime.

@Simon: As long as you are amusing. I love when people do random things. Just don't be ANNOYING. That is the key. And I HATE when retail people have no sense of humor. I'm like, lighten up, it's just a job!

queen-spork said...

I love how you always find the perfect picture for these posts. The LOLCat for the "foundation" story was hilarious.