True tales of customer service

Spare the Tongue and Save the Crow*

* That is, the crow you'll have to eat later. Avoid that sinking, sheepish feeling you get when you mouth off only to be proven completely and utterly out of line.

Customer (snapping at me): NO, I don't want any dessert and bring me a take-out menu to put this in!
» She meant a take-out BOX. It would have been messy to put the leftovers in a take-out menu.

While selecting the vegetables with her entree, a woman ordered the boiled cabbage. That wasn't available, so I told her, "Today we have lima beans." Trying to be very sarcastic (and thinking me very ignorant, no doubt), she declared, "It says right here Sunday's vegetable of the day is boiled cabbage." I responded as politely as possible with, "Today's Saturday."

Customer (trying to sound very grand and authoritative): I will have the grilled sourdough toast.
» Well, which is it? Do you want the bread GRILLED or TOASTED?

As we delivered the food to one group, a woman declined a dish. Clearly furious about the mistake, she announced, "I had the beef fries!" However, the only mistake was hers, as "beef fries" were nowhere on the menu. What the menu said was "steak fries," which are big French fries with a little skin on them. After hearing of that incident, a fellow server started casually mentioning to customers that there is in fact no steak in the steak fries.

Manager (to servers): People! It does NOT take a rocket scientist to make coffee!
» After he said this, he tried to make coffee; the filter backed up and made a huge mess. Does anyone know a rocket scientist we can call? ;)

One day my micromanager Boss Lady approached my desk oozing with quiet fury, as only she can. She asked, "Did ABC Corp try to contact us from July 1st through the 18th?" Why, yes they did, and since they are pretty important I decided to throw ALL of those messages away! (Sarcasm there.) I replied that they didn't. She said that they insisted that they've been trying to contact us and because we didn't respond, we lost a business opportunity. I said firmly, "Well, they didn't talk to me, or I would have told you." As if trying to console me, she said, "Oh, I know." *Does* she know? She proceeds to say again that they insist that they contacted us several times. Now, both they and I cannot be telling the truth, and I know I am. She appears a few minutes later having solved the mystery: they had been contacting another company with a name similar to ours. A ha!

Around the time of "Y2K," I was working with an inventory company. At one particular inventory, I was assigned to count high-dollar items with a store employee. It soon became apparent that this guy was one of *those* guys who considers it his duty to disagree with everything I say. Finally, turning to what I thought was an unarguable topic, I mentioned the software we were counting and said something like, "Well, at least computers are going to be around for a long time." To which the store employee replied, very seriously, "I don't know. With this Y2K thing..." In my mind, I'm flabbergasted: Now he's saying that computers are just a passing fad! At that point, it became clear to me that he was going to argue even if it made no sense whatsoever, so I gave up trying to make small talk.

A friend of mine worked in an accountant's office. Their business hours were clearly posted on the front door, including that they were closed for lunch from noon to one. Repeatedly, people would come to the door during the lunch hour and stand, looking in impatiently. They would later remark, a bit snippily, "Yeah, we saw you in here." Since the concept was obviously lost on them, she would explain without apology, "I was eating my lunch."

At the greeting card shop, a lady had bought the Panama tree frog Beanie Baby the day before. (It doesn't say it's a tree frog anywhere on the item, but that poem about climbing trees is on the tag.) She said to me "I think this is the wrong tag. Since when do frogs climb trees?" So I went over and checked all the others, and sure enough, they all said the same thing. She asked me to get the manager, who was in the back checking in a huge order. I informed the customer as politely as I could that the manager was very busy at the moment. I then said "I'm certain that this is the right tag because there is such a thing as tree frogs." She looked at me, perturbed, and I knew that she knew that I was right, but instead of saying so, she declared, "I don't care what you say. You better get your manager out here now or I'm going to report this." Well, I needed to walk away from her because I was ready to leap over the counter and strangle her! I walked to the back and told the manager that a customer wanted to talk to her. The manager went out and listened to the customer explain the problem before telling her the exact same thing I did: that it was the correct tag and there is such a thing as tree frogs. The manager offered a refund, but the customer replied, "No, that's okay," and left. Now, why when I told her that it was the right tag, she got all jumping ugly on me, but when a manager says it, she's okay?

Thanks to Michele for this one!

At the card shop, Kristin waited on a lady that had bought three cards, but she had four envelopes. So Kristin kept the fourth one, so that we could return it to its rack. Sometimes people accidentally grab an extra envelope, you know? Anyway, about twenty minutes later, the lady comes back in, all in a huff and demands, "Where is that envelope?" Kristen picks it up and says, "You mean this?" The customer snatched it out of Kristin's hand and barked, "Why didn't you put it in the bag?" Kristin said very calmly, "We don't give out complimentary envelopes."

Thanks to Michele for this one!

Before our ornament premiere at the greeting card store, we start arranging the ornament displays, but we cover the displays with sheets to show that they're not yet available for purchase. Can you believe that one customer had the nerve to lift one of the sheets and take a couple of ornaments? Like nothing, she takes them up to the counter and plops them down to be checked out. I said, "You can't buy the ornaments until Saturday." Um, why did she think the displays were covered with sheets? "Well, can you put these on hold for me until Saturday?" "No," because that would still be her having access to the ornaments before they are available. She just looks at me and clicks her tongue and then walks out.

Thanks to Michele for this one!

Snotty Thang comes walking over to the counter at the greeting card shop and says to me, "I'm on my way to a party. Can you wrap this for me?" (She had bought something at another store). I reply, "We don't wrap." Her- "You don't wrap?" "No, we don't." Hello? What part of 'we don't wrap?' didn't she understand? So she said in that snobby voice of hers, "Well, do you have gift wrap?" "Yes." I pointed to where it is. A couple of minutes later she came back up to the counter with a roll of wrapping paper, and asks, "Do you have any ribbon?" "Yes, it's right where you got the wrapping paper." Snobby asks, "Oh. You mean I have to pay for it?" Did she think that we would wrap her gift just because there was wrap FOR SALE in the store?

Thanks to Michele for this one!

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