View Full Version : The Bird Lady (and others)

07-10-2006, 10:01 PM
In my time as a Wal-Mart peon, I've had to deal with several crazy/sucky/rude customers. It's always nice when we get a polite, understanding customer to balance the odds. Here're a few of the ones I can remember (and just so people don't think I have nothing but horror stories from my time in retail).

The Bird Lady

Or it might have been "Bread" Lady. I can't remember exactly. But she was this sweet little old lady who came into the store once a week to do her shopping. As far as I could tell, she lived alone, but she didn't let that make her bitter. She'd always come in and buy several loaves of bread, several rolls of ground turkey, and a few other things, so if I didn't remember her face, I'd certainly remember her purchasing style. The cashiers quickly learned that we couldn't bag too heavy on her (only five ground turkey rolls or two bread loaves to a bag), since her wrists couldn't handle the strain. She always greeted us cheerfully, and would try to give us a handful of candy at the completion of the transaction. Now, Wal-Mart has a "no gifts or gratuities" policy (which includes gifts of candy), but there was no telling this lady no. If you tried to politely refuse, she'd keep insisting until she'd finally dump it on your register scanner and walk off with her purchases. The CSMs and higher-ups finally had a standing policy that we could accept the Bird Lady's candy, and just share it with other front-end associates.

The Stealth Compliments

I never figured out which customers did this, but I once had a CSM come up to me to let me go on break, and she told me that a customer had come up to the service desk after finishing at my line just to tell the cashiers there that I had given them great service. Another time, one of the service desk cashiers told me in the break room that one of the customers confided in her that she (the customer) always came to one of two lines--mine or the service desk cashier's line--because we were always so cheerful and just made her day. I even once had a customer tell me this to my face, which was nice.

The Attempted Tip

While still working in the Toy department, I once had an older couple come in to do their shopping. They wanted a pair of bikes for their children (or grandchildren, I can't remember), and since Toys covers the bicycles I helped them pick out a pair they liked and got them down off the rack. They'd already finished a hefty amount of grocery shopping (two full carts and everything), and couldn't manage both bikes alone, so I helped them take the bikes up to the register, and helped the cashier get the barcodes for scanning. The couple then asked for help taking the bikes out to their car, so I offered and wheeled them out (with the help of another associate). After we helped them load everything in their car and offered to take the cart back for them, the husband tried to give us a monetary tip. As I already mentioned, we're not allowed to take gifts or tips from the customers, so we had to politely decline, despite his repeated attempts to tip us. I think we finally convinced him when we told him we could get fired for it. They thanked us profusely, though, and went on their merry way.

05-23-2007, 11:47 AM
I think it sucks you can't accept tips but I suspect its because you could be like me and get taxed on them.

That's right... They add in the tips that the customers give us into our paychecks and tax us on them!

But back to the topic it nice to see that not all customers are sucky :)

06-08-2007, 07:39 PM
I, too, thinks it sucks that WM does not permit tips. I know for a fact that WM employees are underpaid and wayyyyy under-benefitted. I was a deputy sheriff, and spotted a car on the side of I-10 between Picacho and Picacho Peak, Arizona. I pulled over and offset my patrol car to provide protection from the traffic,and activated my emergency lights. Turned out it was an elderly gentleman who had his family and belongings in his car, moving to Texas, and he had had a blowout. I helped him get the spare on, but it looked pretty ratty. I told him to drive slowly to Picacho Peak, where he could buy a new tire. We made it to the Chevron station there, and I told him all would be well, and wished him a safe trip to Texas. The Old Boy tried to give me a twenty dollar bill, and I told him I had already been paid by the citizens of Pinal County, but that if he felt that strongly, he could write a letter to the Sheriff. A couple of weeks later, I was called into the Sheriff's office, and fretted about what I might have done wrong. Turned out, the Old Boy had sent the Sheriff a glowing letter, saying I displayed the hghest ideals of public service. I felt ten feet tall.

06-13-2007, 10:29 AM
I have scared a fair number of Jamba Juice/Quiznos/random-place employees by asking for a customer comment card, because normally that only happens when people want to complain - but I wanted to put in writing how pleasant their service was. The best was at Taco Bell, when one employee was being coached on his greetings by the AM and there was lots of teasing going on between the employee, the AM, and myself...and then, to the utter horror of the employee, I asked to speak to the manager. The manager comes out from the back, and I tell him that I was very pleased with employee's service. He looks at me wierdly, asks if he was called to the front for that, and then wanders back into the rear of the kitchen. After that, the AM, employee and I all had another laugh.

06-15-2007, 05:39 PM
I used to get tips when I flew. There were quite rare as most of the time I didn't bother to be nice to people!