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The Worst Best Customer
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Old 07-25-2019, 12:27 PM
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Smapti Smapti is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Sparkly Vampire Land
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Default The Worst Best Customer

The Store is located near the south coast of what might be called a fjord if it were located elsewhere on the planet. This fjord contains several dozen islands of various sizes, some inhabited and some not. The geographically nearest island to the Store has a year-round population of about 1,000 people, but in summertime it swells to nearly five times that number due to various campers, vacationers, and other visitors.

This island hosts exactly one grocery store, which also functions as the island's only restaurant, caterer, deli, bakery, liquor store, bait shop, gift shop, gas station, U-Haul rental, post office, driver/vehicle/boat registry, hardware outlet, and video rental (because that's still a thing that exists on the island for some reason).

Guess where the owner of that store comes, at least once a week, to replenish their wares?

(points thumbs at self)

Most of the time, the owner shows up on Thursday. That's not a guarantee, though. Sometimes they show up on Wednesday. Sometimes, on Monday. We get no advance warning of when they're showing up. This is not a good thing, as dealing with them can require anywhere from 4-12 man-hours, which invariably get drawn from whoever's on the floor crew (and therefore has other stuff they need to get done during their shift). We've tried to encourage them to give us advance notice of when they're coming, but it's come to naught thus far.

We're not their only stop; they also stop at the Regional Bakery Company's outlet for bread, and a local butcher for fresh meat, but they hit us up for just about everything else; soda, chips, ice cream, hot dogs, lunch meat, propane, propane accessories, baking mixes, ramen, laundry soap, body soap, bug spray, ladies' needs, you name it.

The owner almost never brings anyone along to help with the transaction; they seem to expect us to just abandon all else to help them ring up, bag, and load this purchase into their U-Haul on our own. They're extremely particular about how their purchases get bagged, and we have several employees who outright refuse to work with them anymore because of it; if something doesn't get bagged the right way, they'll berate you about it as if you were their employee and not ours.

Often, they come in far too late in the afternoon to rationally complete their mega-purchase on time - the last ferry to the island leaves at 8:45, the ferry station is 14 miles via road from the Store, and they'll leave at 8:25 after finally loading up. (I don't know if they've ever missed the ferry, and I'm glad I've never heard about it.)

Why does management abide this?

Money, dear boy.

On an average trip, they can wind up spending anywhere from $2000-5000. It's so much that our POS software winds up hitting a limit on how many items it can process in one transaction, so we often have to do two or three transactions for them, all of them with separate business checks and tax-exemption documents. We, in fact, wound up with them because our sister location, which is closer to the ferry, is so much busier than we are that they weren't logistically capable of dealing with them.

They are, indeed, quite lucrative for us. We can make more money off of them than it costs us to expend the labor to deal with them, and one visit from them is roughly equivalent to 200 average transactions. I can deal with them because I've been in the service industry so long that nothing a customer says to me can hurt me anymore. The other employees who are able/willing to help her are either as old and weathered as I am, or so young that they haven't had a chance for this line of work to make them cynical yet.

Anyone else got customers like that?

Last edited by Smapti; 07-25-2019 at 12:44 PM.
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