My Worst Customer Ever! By Lulu
Thanks to XCashier for saving this one for us!
Hiya all, I've lurked for ages and finally felt inspired to relate this
tale of idiocy today!
So, a lil background on the situation, I work in a small independent
bookshop in a teeny weeny, open air shopping centre. We share the centre
with a WH Smith's and a supermarket that both also stock books and it's
far from unusual for customers to confuse where they brought things and
who they ordered things from. The town has a bit of a reputation for
having especially weird customers which I can assure you is completely
true! This particular situation occurred in Jan of last year and has
become so legendary amongst the shopping centre staff that it's still
spoken of now!
Now because the shop is a small one, there are only 3 members of staff,
the manager, me and a Saturday girl. I run the place on my own every
Monday. It was a normal Monday, nothing out of the ordinary up until
after lunch. I just got back from my lunch break and I see this regular
customer (frail little elderly German lady) coming up to the door, Safeway
bag in hand. My hearts already sinking because I just KNOW whatever
she's got in that bag she's going to want to try and return (it's January
remember, after-xmas returns at their peak) and undoubtedly I will have
to turn her down because she won't have a shred of proof of purchase
and the store policy is no refunds unless damaged/mis-printed, exchange
only with proof of purchase OR GET SACKED. This policy is CLEARLY marked
on the counter, and at xmas time, we ALWAYS tell the customers they
MUST keep receipts if they want us to exchange at a later date. The
management is VERY hot on this, and to be fair, I can see why, they work on
teeny margins and one or two books refunded could make a huge difference
to their ability to pay the bills.
Lady comes up to the counter, explains that she'd brought the book as a
present for her husband and he didn't like it, could she get a refund.
Was very polite and lovely as she always was. I explained that I
couldn't refund her, but if she had some proof of purchase I could exchange
the book for her or give her a credit note instead. Naturally, she had
nothing to prove it came from us, so I told her I'd ask the manager
about it the next day, took her name and number and said I'd call her when
I'd spoken to the manager, perhaps something could be sorted out for
her because she was a regular customer. She leaves happy and I assume all
is well, I'd talk to the manager, we'd sort something out.
About ten minutes later, I see this huge great bloke heading for the
shop with the same bag under his arm. He's got to be 6 foot something and
built like a tank, looks to be quite elderly, but still spry enough to
slam the door open and stomp up to the counter. He drops the bag on the
counter, tells me he understands I'd refused his wife a refund, and
that he didn't find the "contents of the bag amusing". He then went on to
rant a bit and demand that we refund his wife her £9.99.
Despite the fact that he's leaning over the counter at this point and
sticking fingers at me, pointing and getting into a strop, I tell him
that I'd explained to his wife that I couldn't refund, but that I'd be
happy to exchange with proof of purchase, I also went on to explain that
I'd told his wife I was going to speak to the manager and hopefully
sort something out. What followed has become legendary in my shopping
Him: "My WIFE brought me the book. She says it came from here. "
Me, already sensing upcoming fun: "Yes sir, I understand that, but I
need to have some proof of purchase so that I can process the..."
Him, cutting me off and thumping hand down on desk: "Are you calling my
wife a liar?"
Me, taking a step back so that he's not actually able to reach me over
the desk: "No sir, I'm attempting to tell you the store policy as it
was explained to your..."
Him, cutting me off again, brandishing the book and leaning on the
counter: "I demand to speak to your manager!"
I explain that the manager isn't in that day; she'd be back the next
day as I'd already explained to his wife, and that he was welcome to come
back and speak to her then. He fumes for a couple of seconds, still
brandishing the book.
Him, screaming by this point: "THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH! USE YOUR
INITIATIVE AND GIVE ME MY REFUND NOW!"
By this point, I'm getting kind of tired of being pointed and shouted
at, and the only other customer left in the shop was hiding in the far
end of the shop with her clearly scared small children. So I tell him
that I can't give him a refund and that he's welcome to speak to the
manager about the situation the next day if he'd like to, but I'd like him
to leave the premises now as his behavior was unacceptable.
He stomps about between the counter and the doorway screaming his head
off about how the book is useless to him, he demands his precious
refund, I called his wife a liar, he was going to get me sacked etc. I'm
getting quite shaken about this mainly because I can't say to him what I
want to and secondly, because this guy was huge and leaning over the
counter really threateningly. I'm only 5ft 5, having some bloke who's 6ft
pounding on my counter makes me feel threatened...call me strange...
And then he came up with the clincher that made me snap...
Me: "Sir, I'm just trying to do my job, please stop shouting at me or I
will be forced to call security."
Him, literally SCREAMING, red faced and thumping the desk: "Well you're
not very good at it are you, you useless girl! I'm NEVER shopping here
I lost my temper, I'd been as good to the wife as I could have been, I
can't authorize exchanges without proof of purchase, I did my best for
her! I ordered him to leave right then and immediately called centre
security. He watches me on the radio, he's still shouting and screaming,
totally unaware of anything but his temper tantrum. I turn to put the
radio back on the receiver and just catch him out of the corner of my
eye as he picks up the book and literally flings it at my head. I move
JUST in time cos I caught him moving, and cos it's a hardback, it hits
the wall behind me and dents it he threw it that hard. It was close; I
felt the breeze past my face let's put it that way!
I think he finally saw the look of shock on my face cos he stormed out
after that without a word, I go after him with the security radio in my
hand and meet the guard at the door, point the guy out with a brief
rundown on what happened and that there were lil kids int he shop at the
time and I felt the guy may be dangerous in his current state of mind,
the guard follows him and escorts him from the centre, still throwing a
hissy fit. I call the manager and give her the full story, the guard
writes up a report.
Skip forwards a week. The moron's back. This time with a snotty letter
that he hands to my manager and orders her to read. She does, and then
asks him what she can do for him; he tells her nothing, that he just
wanted to show her the letter before he sent it to the newspapers. My
manager, who is amazingly fabulous, told him that he was very welcome to
send it to whoever he liked now she'd read it! He again demands his
refund, the manager, who is by now getting miffed at having to deal with
the idiot, tells him the very MOST he's getting is a credit note or
exchange since she could authorize them and I couldn't, which is exactly
what I'd offered his wife to start with anyway! He throws another hissy
fit in which he flat out tells me I'm a liar, that there was no one else
in the shop and he was in no way threatening me (bear in mind he's
shouting at me as he's saying this) and takes a credit note. We think
FINALLY all is done...we're underestimating morons here...
Skip a coupla days. The shopping centre manager appears in the shop
saying that the moron had been up to see him demanding that he have me
sacked, and wanting to know what I'd told the security guard about the
incident. The guard, with the centre manager's permission, showed the
moron the report stating that I'd had him kicked out because he was
threatening and there were small children in the shop who were clearly scared.
He goes off on a rant about how I'd had him "arrested" for being a
pedophile! The centre manager kicked him out of his office and banned him
from the centre!
There's not a peep out of either him or the wife for about a week. Then
my manager gets a phone call from the owner of the shop saying he's had
a letter from the moron, demanding that I be sacked and listing his
list of grievances as he'd shouted at me, and again saying that he'd been
"arrested" because I'd accused him of being a pedophile. The owner,
bless his heart, was calling because he didn't think it sounded like the
sort of thing I'd say or do and wondered if it was one of the local
whackos! My manager told him the situation, the owner wrote a beautifully
neutrally worded reply basically saying that I was in the right and the
shop policies had been carried out correctly.
A week later, the wife came back in and couldn't even look me in the
eye. She used her credit note to order a coupla books for her
grandchildren and whispers pitifully to my manager she wasn't "allowed" to pick
them up when I was at work because her husband her forbade her to speak
to me. Apparently she picked them up about a week later and hasn't been
seen since in the town. As for the moron, he seems to have given
up...though I STILL have no idea what he was going on about with the getting
The real joke here....the name of the book all this was over... "Grumpy
"I don't want any part of your crazy cult! I'm already a member of the public library and that's good enough for me, thanks!"