The Customer is (almost) Always a Frittata

This is completely out of character for me, as I am a fairly non-confrontational person.

Today, I couldn’t handle it.

I went into Target this morning to pick up a couple necessities. Due to the rain it was a ghost town, which was awesome cause I’m thinking, “I’ll be able to get in and out of here in no time!” Shopping in an empty Target is equivalent to running up and down my own private beach on a tropical island.

But no.

I get in line behind a woman who is clearly at the point of paying for her merchandise, and start putting my few selections on the belt. As I’m unloading my basket, I overhear the woman arguing with the cashier in front of me,

Cashier: “Yeah, but these are the same coupon. You can’t use both of them.”

Woman: “Yes I can, I’ve done it before. Sometimes they have to get a manager to do it though.” (For those of you who have never worked in retail, this is customer speak for, “I know I’m wrong, but I’m gonna keep bitching until somebody caves, and I get my way.”)

Cashier: “Well… yes, you can use more than one coupon, but not the same one for the same thing.”

Woman: “I don’t understand. I’ve used them before when I’ve bought laundry detergent and paper towels…” she proceeds to tell the cashier how to do her job.

Cashier: “Yes, I understand that. But, these coupons are for five dollars off thirty dollars of women’s clothing. If you want to use the other coupon, you would need to purchase an additional $30 worth of clothing.”

I finish unloading my items and look up, unsure of whether the woman is just stupid or trying REALLY hard to save five more dollars.

Oh, GOOD GRIEF! I recognize the lady. She is this B of a soccer mom who regularly pulled this same shit on me and my cashiers when I was working at Sears. Nothing infuriates me more than when a customer gives an entry-level employee a hard time, especially when the customer is so obviously wrong. I can’t count the number of regular assholes that would come into my store and act like complete shit-shows for no apparent reason.

Woman: “But I have two coupons, so I want to use both of them.”

Cashier: “But this is a web coupon, you can only use it for five dollars off thirty dollars of clothing. You would need to purchase another thirty dollars of clothing to use the second five dollar off coupon. Basically, if you want to use both, you need to purchase sixty dollars worth of clothing.”

At this point, I’m still not sure if she truly doesn’t get it, or if she’s just continuing to fight because she’s already balls deep in this battle. This continues between the two of them for another two or three minutes. In the meantime, the cashier has requested the presence of a manager who has yet to arrive…. and I can’t take it anymore…

Me: “If you really believe you should be able to use both of those coupons, why didn’t you print six of them? Then you could use all six and everything would be free.”

I see, for a brief moment, the lightbulb go on in her head… although I’m not sure if it was because she realized the flaw in her logic, or if she was pissed that she didn’t print six coupons. She gives me her best “stink-eye” and says,

“Well, I guess we’ll just see what the manager says,” in the snottiest, snobbiest voice she can muster. Her frustration is mounting, and I’ve clearly provoked her. I pray, and pray, and cross my fingers, hoping the manager will stick it to her.

The manager arrives. She does not appear much more intelligent than the idiot customer. The cashier and manager go back and forth discussing the situation, all while the woman interjects her worthless concerns. As per usual, the manager caves and gives her another five dollars off as a “shut-up” credit. What happens next is the kicker…

She gives me this smug look that says, “I told you so!” and THEN SHE WINKS AT ME! As if to say, “I win!”

It took every ounce of will power I had to not put my clenched fist straight into her throat. Clearly she doesn’t realize I’m capable of pulling off a homicide.

Watch out, you B. I'm coming for you.

Watch out, you B. I’m coming for you.

The B pushes her cart away, as I fantasize about tackling her to the ground, or following her outside and making a different use of the eggs I was purchasing. Instead, I look at the poor cashier and say,

“She owes me five bucks for wasting my time.”

So glad I will never have to deal with this retail bull-shit again.

Save Thanksgiving! A rant about America’s retail industry

I’m a little upset with my employer right now.

About two weeks ago, we were given the notice that our stores would be opening at 8:00pm on Thanksgiving night. Even worse, I found out about it through an article on CNN, not through the usual corporate Email that is sent to the store’s management. You’d think they’d have the decency to tell the employees first, and not the national media, but that is just another testament to their greed. They care more about letting America know their plans than their employees.

Yeah, I’m salty about this, ok?! What happened to Black Friday? Why has it quickly become Black Thursday? When I first started working in retail, 13 years ago, Black Friday started at 6:00am. We were always one of the first stores to open. A few years later it became 5:00am, then 4:00am, and now 8:00pm on Thanksgiving and staying open overnight through 10:00pm on the following day. 26 straight hours of Americans pushing and shoving each other to save $5 on a sweater (don’t get me started on how rude some customer’s can be on Black Friday. You had to wait in line for 10 mintues? Get over yourself. You chose to join in this madness. Don’t blame us for your stupidity. Didn’t you know you could get most of these things online for even cheaper on Cyber Monday? And you could’ve done so on your couch, in your pajamas, with a cup of coffee.).

I know that many other folks have to work on Holidays. Those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, emergency personnel such as police and fire fighters… but these are essential jobs that are 100% necessary on any given day of the year. I know I’m not the only one that feels for these folks on holidays, and appreciates their services.

Retail, however, IS NOT an essential function on a holiday. Why is it so important that retailers open a few hours earlier every year? I know it starts with one company trying to beat out the competition and others following suit to stay competitive and not lose sales to these other stores. If no one opened on Thanksgiving night, this wouldn’t be a problem, but last year a couple retailers did it, and now you have Sears (my employer), Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us all opening Thursday night.

It’s disappointing that the majority of my cashiers will not get to fully enjoy the holiday they so rightfully deserve, because of corporate greed. Do you think those working in the corporate headquarters who made these decisions will be working Thursday night? Nope. They will be enjoying their holiday with their families and have a great night sleeping off the wine and beer they drank after dinner, rolling out of bed at their leisure on Friday morning. What really set me off this morning was a quote from a spokesperson for Target, “Most of our employees are exited about working Black Thursday/Friday.” Yeah, right. Did you poll 4 of your associates who work at headquarters and have the day off? Last NBC reported that your employees had created a petition to stop the early opening, and within three days had over 200,000 signatures. I think your quote is more than a little skewed, sir.

Now I know retailers are trying to survive in a struggling economy, but I really feel like this is going too far. Everyone in my store will be working double shifts that day, and afterward going home to sleep off the madness only to do it all over again on Saturday.

I love Thanksgiving, mostly because I love good food. Sitting around the table with an enormous amount of food and chatting with family is the best part. Having a few glasses of wine and trying a piece of 3 different kinds of pie… it doesn’t get better than that. Can’t we preserve what Thanksgiving is really about? Nope. Instead of being thankful for what we have, I get to spend the day serving the greediest of Americans who will be out supporting this monstrosity.

What also really ticks me off are the folks who say, “Too bad! If you don’t like it, get a different job!” Yeah, ok. After 13 years in retail, I’m just gonna quit and become a lawyer or an accountant so I don’t have to work holidays. It’s not that simple, assholes. Then again, those who have this opinion will the be ones out shopping Thursday night.

Save Thanksgiving! It’s about families getting to spend time together and enjoying each other’s company, not about “what kind of shit can I get $5 cheaper by waiting in line for 3 hours?” It’s about the love and attention that goes into preparing a wonderful meal, not about, “how early do we open and capitalize on America’s greed?”

End rant.