View Full Version : The Demands of Mrs Night. (long)

08-15-2007, 05:19 PM
This will be a long-running, requently updated saga. Mrs Night (not her real name) is one of our regular SC's and an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE to deal with, over the phone or in person.
She's never rude or agressive, just very, VERY difficult.

Todays Mrs Night story:

Me: Brainy, Geeky, Hot.
MN: Mrs Night
SM: Store Manager.
AM: Assistant Manager
In brackets are my thoughts and reactions.

The phone rings. It's awkward to get to, you have to sort of squidge yourself in a small space to answer it.
So I answer, with my standard greeting.
Me: Hello, This is *store**city*, How can I help?
MN: This is Mrs Night
(at which point I have to suppress a groan. MN has been plauging us for years, since before I started working there)
MN: I want to buy some stuff, my daughter will be in later to pick it up.

And then she gives me her shopping list. Yes, she rings up three or four times a week to DO HER SHOPPING FOR HER. Can't she just give her daughter her list if she;ll be in later? As if I don't have anything better to do than her shopping. It's not like she disabled and can't do it herself, either.

Then we get to the yoghurt. Oh god, her and her f***ing yoghurt.
MN: What yoghurts do you have?
Me: I'm not sure off the top of my head, but I can see quite a few strawberry, so plain and one or two lemon.
MN: No vanilla?
Me: No, the vanilla spot is empty.
MN: Are you sure no vanilla:
Me: Definately no vanilla. We'll get some more in tomorrow. Chilled and frozen delivery is thursday.
MN: YES! I know. Could you CHECK on the vanilla for me?
M: Sure (I strangle a sigh, clamber out of the small space, bruising my shin in the process, and check. No vanilla)
Me: No vanilla, sorry.
MN:Oh. What OTHER yoghurt brands do you have?
Me: We have Little Swallow and Alpro Soya.
MN: I don't want to soya desserts.
Me: Not the desserts. the soya YOGHURT, in the fridge. Comes in plain and flavoured.
MN: I don't want the desserts. I know you do another yoghurt...
Me: Yes, the soya yoghurt in the fridge.
MN: Not the desserts?
Me: No.
MN: What flavours?
Me: Urrrmmm... I'll go check.

On my way back after checking (been on this phone 5-10 minutes now) my AM stops me and asks me to go to the bank before her lunch-break, or we'll be short staffed.
Me: Sure, in a sec, I'm on the phone with Mrs Night.
She rolls her eyes.

Long story short, I am ordered by Mrs Night to get her yoghurts of the shelf 'before anyone else gets them' and put them in the chiller for when her daughter gets there.
I do so then go to the bank, and finish off HER shopping for her when I get back.
SM agrees with me that she;s a nightmare, and I grump to some other staff members about the assumption I have nothing better to do on delivery day than run around with her shopping list.

She calls at least twice a week, if not more, and is even worse in person.

08-15-2007, 05:22 PM
And you can't tell this person "no"?

08-15-2007, 05:25 PM

1) Does your store offer this "shopping for someone" as a service?
2) Does this customer spend some ungodly amount of money in your store?
3) Do you really have the staff and the time to do this?
4) You said she's not disabled - so is she just rich and lazy?
5) Why can't you tell her no, you don't have the number of staff you need to do her shopping for her and it's not a free service that you offer - and let her be some other store's problem?

08-15-2007, 05:30 PM
I'll bet if I called my local Publix and demanded they get my groceries together for me, they'd very nicely tell me to stuff it.

08-15-2007, 05:32 PM
Really, just say, "NO."

Explain that you don't have staff to do her shopping, and that you have to go now, as you have customers waiting.

Puh-leez. As long as you let her get away with it, it's only going to get worse.

08-15-2007, 05:34 PM
Management says no we can't tell her no. The one time someone did, she kicked up a stink. WHile we don't offer it as a service as such, we will do it on occaision if people can't get about easily. But she really pushes it.
I wish I could tell her no. But I can't. And when I say years, I mean years. Manager says at least five, and if anyone should tell her- politely- to stop it, it should be him.

08-15-2007, 05:37 PM
Yeah, this is bizarre. I can't think of a single grocery store, from the Mom & Pop outfits to the Huge megachains, that would do this sort of thing for free for someone who's not handicapped or disabled in any way. She's not even doing the shopping, she's sending her daughter, who I doubt is disabled either.

Most stores would be happy to check to see if they have something, like yogurt or whatever, but if someone asked them to run around the store grabbing things and putting them aside in chiller space usually used for something else, the most polite answer I can see them giving is 'Well, I'm afraid we can't set aside items for customers. However, we've got plenty, I'm sure there will be some left when you get in.'

I suspect she started this by asking for 1 or 2 items to be set aside for her so they wouldn't be gone, and gradually scaled it up. Which is manipulative and evil. I'd ask your managers for permission to stop doing that.

08-15-2007, 05:46 PM
If your manager is the one saying you can't say "no", then your MANAGER should be the one to run around and gather her groceries for her....... at least that's the way I think it should be :) :p

08-15-2007, 05:49 PM
Oh, yeah, I wish it could be that way.
To be fair, he IS more hands-on than most managers and often will collect up her stuff- when he's the one that asnwers the phone. WHoever gets the phone gets her. I reckon she'll stick like a limpet to us till she finally pops her clogs.

08-15-2007, 05:50 PM
air914 kind of beat me to it:

My suggestion is that the next time Mrs. Night calls, hand the phone to the manager and walk/jog away quickly to the other side of the store/cooler/stockroom to take care of some "emergency" stocking.:angel:

08-15-2007, 07:08 PM
We have a lady like that at my store. She will call up dairy, ask them to set aside some products for her sun/daughter/cousin or whoever picks them up. She then hangs up waits a minute calls up grocery, tells clerk what she needs. If it is Peanut Butter we need to "open the jar and wipe off any PB that got on the seal." Store MGR will not allow this anymore for legal reasons, per the DM. Grocery clerk has to explain this each time, she will still whines about it. We don't want her to sue us because she claims it was open when she got it and had some bug or something like that in it. She will hang up wait a minute call Bakery, ask for the Dept. Lead. If dept lead is not in (it is because she left for the day or had that day off) she will usually tell the clerk what she needs, 99.999 percent of the time it is the same thing. Clerk tells her it will be ready. Any questions? No. Good, Bye. Five to ten mins. later she will call back ask for bakeshop Lead, repeat they she left for the day. She will than begin to panic that it will not be ready, tell her it will and when lead will be in. She then repeats the 2nd or 3rd call thing to every dept she has called. On the day her sun/daughter/cousin will pick it up begin frantically calling at 5AM, before the store is even open gets the appropriate message saying so. When the store opens at 6AM begins to call each dept several times to male sure we did not forget about her. Sometimes she will call so much that the MGR will tell the affected depts. to not answer the phone, let it ring to Customer Service, CS will park call and ignore it. When/if it rings back then put her through. After she picks it up she will usually call each dept to complain about it, the package looked different, the yogurt was cold, etc, etc.

with her if you don't keep control of the call you will be spending 10-20 mins on this lady. Supposedly her mother did everything for her so she expects the same in her old age.

08-15-2007, 07:54 PM
with her if you don't keep control of the call you will be spending 10-20 mins on this lady. Supposedly her mother did everything for her so she expects the same in her old age.

I'll bet her mother died a very miserable person.

08-15-2007, 07:56 PM
We had a customer like that years ago when I worked in a gas bar/convenience store. It was hard to decline her request for some strange reason I can't think of now but, I do remember that we'd have fun with the situation. We had two phones - one in the backroom and one out at the cash register. If anyone ever picked up in the back, we'd ask her to hold, please. Then we'd get the attention of the next available staff member "Hey Joe, phone's for you!"
This customer was an older lady who would always send a taxi to pick up her ordered items. The worst part about it was similar to the original post, she would ask us to go check that we did, infact, have the item she wanted in stock. Instead of giving us the list and letting us call her back she'd make us go check, come back to the phone and then ask about another item's availability. This could take up to 20 minutes sometimes.

08-16-2007, 04:43 AM
I'll bet her mother died a very miserable person.

I don't think many people die happy. I'd imagine quite a few go out with expressions of surprise, a number with curiosity about those entrancing strange shapes and funny noises from those interesting mushrooms, and I'd wager good money that many will be demanding a refund.


08-16-2007, 05:16 AM
I'd be asking management when I'd expect to see the bonus in my check for being a personal shopper. When I'd get the expected "there isn't any" reply, I'd get the chance to paraphase from my favorite movie and say "You know why? Because personal shopping ain't my fuckin' business!"

Would I get fired? Probably. Better that than be on someone's beck and call.

08-16-2007, 05:40 AM
This made me very, very, very angry at Mrs. Night and at your manager for allwoing you to do this! You ARE NOT a personal shopper. You are not paid to be. Until you are, you ARE ALLOWED to tell her to come and shop for herself. The bloody nerve!

You have better things to do, I am sure, than telling her flavors of things and I assume, prices. You need to tell your manager that if she calls again with her shopping list, he needs to tell her "no". You really don't have to do it.....seriously. Unless it is a company policy...I would tell the bitch to do her own shopping. Shame on her and her daughter. And double shame on the manager for allowing it!

I would even write a letter to your manager for you, that's how mad I am!:D

08-16-2007, 05:44 AM
Maybe you could just hang up and say that the phone got disconnected?

I wouldn't tolerate this shit with my crew. I'd tell the customer that we have a store and other customers to take care of and she can come in just like everybody else.

I'd tell her that it isn't fair to the other customers to withhold items either. Nor would I care if I lost her as a customer. One less pain in the ass, and it doesn't affect me as much as it affects the store owners, and they lose and gain customers all the time. I doubt it would be a big notice for them.

08-16-2007, 06:57 AM
my trouble is I'm too nice. We all have to deal with her, not just me. Although, when I next have her I'm tempted to inform her we have a website and a maild order number 'if she has problems getting into the shop'.

Or just getting someone to write them on her receipt.

Oh, I do wish I could do what people suggest. But I DO care if I lose this job- me and my boy are 10k in debt, and I actually quite like the job. It's perfect for me and what I want to do later on.

08-16-2007, 08:44 AM
You really should start charging for it. As far as I know, personal shoppers cost extra. It's a service.
Also, I agree with other posters - Manager says it's ok to do her shopping for her, so give HIM the phone. Maybe once he's done it for her for a month, he'll change his mind. It's easy for him to say "Oh yeah, sure, do it for her" coz he knows someone else will almost always do it.

08-16-2007, 01:34 PM
I say unless you're sitting up in an old hearse with your dead, rotting conjoined twin hidden behind a curtain, you come down here and get your stuff!

That crazy, old Mr. Byrd.

08-16-2007, 03:09 PM
does the store have a fax machine?
If so then and the Manager has decided that for Mrs. Night that special services will be allowed. . . .
Present a new idea to the Manager. Explain how you understand his loyalty to this customer . . .but could a new system be tried . . . .
Have it where she will have to fax in her order if she wants it filled. With the understanding that if a requested item is not available - she will recieve a fax back with her options of other choices or when that item will be ready.
It will cut down on the phone time and will provide documentation that you are providing her exactly what she wants.
(you mentioned online - but if she is more mature she may not have the skill set to online order)
Also, as far as disabled goes . . . you may not see it, but she may have challanges. It isn't always a visable thing . . .their are breathing issues, phobias, muscular, and nerve challanges that people have to find a way to live with.

08-16-2007, 03:48 PM
I'm agreeing now w/ the "charge for it" idea. Maybe you could present it to your manager - he could get on the phone and explain that you appreciate Mrs. Idiot as a customer, but don't have the staff or resources to continue doing her personal shopping for her. However, if she would like to pay for a personal shopper, you'd be glad to "hire" one on. Then you could charge her a monthly fee or something. Or just add it to her bill... and see when she notices... when she calls up to ask what the extra fee is for (although the receipt could say Personal Shopipng), tell her the store has decided to start charging for personal shopping........

Maybe you can just print this thread and give it to your boss?? I don't know how well that would go over - but if you're really nice and/or shy....... but you shouldn't have to put up with this customer. If she was spending $1000 a week on groceries, I'd say just go ahead and do it.... but I have a feeling she isn't spending that much and she isn't worth the trouble.

08-16-2007, 04:52 PM
Does your corporate office (or owner, if not incorporated) know how much time you guys are spending on one person?

I bet if you gave them a list of how many people it takes to personally shop for this one person, along with how much she spends (she sounds like your average shopper to me, at best), they will tell you to stop doing it. Corporate types hate to see manpower wasted on things like this, which is why the cell phone companies recently gave a lot of problem customers the boot.

08-16-2007, 07:18 PM
It's worth a shot: But head office are notoriously bad at doing stuff that's logical and will make the job easier for us and more profitable for them. They (500 stores) haven't even installed CCTV in any stores that weren't set up in the last year, and it takes them months to fix simple problems. But I'll suggest to the manager that he suggest to his managers that we start a 'personal shopper' service for customers.

08-18-2007, 01:58 AM
If your manager is the one saying you can't say "no", then your MANAGER should be the one to run around and gather her groceries for her....... at least that's the way I think it should be :) :p

But that would make sense, and (say it with me, if you'd like) that's not allowed.