36 thoughts on “June 20, 2017

    • In which case “double checking” won’t catch it. You have to touch the material and know the difference between satin and silk.

      The customer can do that. Retail employees have better things to go.

  1. “Certainly. Please hold while I check.” Then either hang up or put them on hold and go away for an hour or two. If they complain you can say “Oops!” for the first one or that you got sidetracked by in-store customers or other issues. Either way, you’ve answered the question, you’re out of this asinine situation, and maybe he’ll learn a little something. As a bonus, you get to be mildly rude to a customer and probably get away with it.

  2. You have to take a second to think about things they ask so they believe you are paying their request due attention. However, if you take two seconds they will accuse you for being dumb.

    Saying ‘no’ is even harder. If you say it to quick, they certainly think you are lying.

    Customers hate having their questions actually being answered!

    • My answer for that is, “I don’t think so, but let me check,” and then wait for five seconds, or, “No, we only have *slightly related item*.”

  3. Reminds me of when folks would ask “Is this real leather?” “You sure this isn’t that pleather stuff?”

    People inherently believe that retail workers are moderately mentally deficient and incapable of any substantial thought. That’s why we work(ed) in retail.

    • That can be entertaining though. I love that ‘deer in the headlights’ look in their eyes when I use a ‘Big Words’ to make an offhand observation.

    • While others think that retail workers know 100% about 100% of the items the store carries. When we learned about it by reading the package, which for some reason, customers can’t do.

      • I once got pulled over to help in a situation where a customer was treating my coworker like crap. (Said coworker did not speak English as her first language, but was perfectly capable of answering the customer’s question; the customer just didn’t like what she was hearing.) The woman wanted to know if any lead had been used in the manufacturing process of a particular ceramic cup. When I said, basically, that all our stock met Canadian import standards, and beyond that I really couldn’t say, she told me, “Well, go look it up!”
        “Um, look it up where?” I asked.
        “In your inventory, of course!”
        I’ve had people demand that I check the fantastical wonderland that is “the back” before, but this was the first and only time I’ve heard of one who believed that our computers could magically tell them exactly how a product was made.

  4. I’m solidly behind the customer on this one. Val is smart, and within the framework of the Grumbel’s world I understand her own frustration, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve called big box stores asking if they had XYZ, only to drive 30 minutes to find that I had talked to a cretin who had no idea what I was talking about and that they didn’t have it.

    The phone is supposed to be a time-saving device, but when talking to most retail employees it ends up being a time-waster – because they have no idea what’s on their shelves, and don’t give a rat’s ass about who’s on the phone.

    Case in point: Hallowe’en is coming up and I want some flicker bulbs – those little bulbs that look like orange, flickering candle flames. Call up WalMart around Hallowe’en time and ask them if they have flicker bulbs. “Yes, we do,” replies the perky-sounding associate. Drive down, look around. Nothing. Ask another associate. Blank stare. I explain what I’m looking for, and that I was told on the phone that they were supposed to have them. Associate shuffles over to the holiday lights on Aisle 27, shows me _flashing LED Christmas lights_. “Here you go.”

    Unacceptable. Visit customer service. Explain everything again. “If we have any, they’d be on Aisle 27.” “But I was told on the phone that you had them, and made a special trip.” Blank stare. “Aren’t your associates supposed to be trained, and know what you have, instead of saying whatever it takes to get a customer off the phone?” Blank stare. Exit customer, weeping.

    This is what shopping has been like for the last 20 years. Back in the day, you’d go into a store and ask for something, and the associate would take you down to where it was, or say immediately “I’m sorry, we don’t carry that… but I can tell you who has it, or order it for you.” Associates were intelligent and well-trained, knew what they had in the store, and were focused on customer service. Today, they hire morons who don’t know enough to find their elbow in a dark room and are just waiting for their shift to end.

    That’s why the customer is asking Val to double-check.

    • Well said. I’ve worked 15yrs at the same store, and I know my department like the back of my hand. When a guest calls with a query, I always physically check that the item is in stock, the price, size, colour etc. It frustrates me to no end when one of my dopey, moronic ‘colleagues’ assures a guest we have something, they drive all the way over to our store and, oops! , turns out we don’t even sell that item. I’m the one left to try and smooth things over and to try and salvage the situation. Just go and double check, sheesh.

      • This we agree on. I check the system and it says “One in stock” I tell the guest on the phone, do a store pick up order. Cause odds are either we don’t actually have it since its either wrong, due to purchase, theft, being destroyed or in a reshop cart.

        I just wish we had staff we could do more than check the system..

      • We have a manager who will tell a customer we have something, print out a hold slip, hang up, and then go look for it. We keep telling her that’s the wrong order, but it’s “easier” so she keeps doing it.

      • This is different, when you have the time in to know what your store carries, as long as the turnover in stock doesn’t change too often. However, staff rarely has time to to “double Check” for every request. If one won’t accept the answer a staff member will give them, why ask to begin with?

    • That’s why if I don’t know what a person is talking about I say no. Better to lose a potential sale than get screamed at.

      A large part of the problem is when a company insists on employing an army of people for 16 hours per week or less and always being at minimum staffing. No one sees everything that comes in or the displays they don’t set up themselves. We’re all rushing to get the projects we’re personally assigned done and no one has a chance to look at anything anyone else did. Unfortunately it’s self perpetuating, because when sales drop, it’s easier and faster to cut hours than to figure out what the real problem is.

    • Supposed to be trained on what the store has??? In a place like Walmart?? Are you freaking serious? Have you worked a day of retail in your life?
      Big box stores carries literally hundreds of thousands of products that is revolving weekly, and you expect us to know about every single product?
      Small, local, specialty shops, yes… they should know.
      Big box retailers? Not a chance in hell when the staff is paid the bare minimum wage and is is about 50% students and the staff turnaround in constant. Staff are trained to do their actual job, whether it be running the till, stocking, cleaning, etc. There is no man power to train the staff to know all the details on all their stock.

      • Not to mention the stock turnaround- just because they carried something last week doesn’t mean they still do. And it should be noted that people who answer phones might not be ALLOWED to ‘go check’. If there’s only one service desk worker, they can’t leave. The best they can do is ask someone else to ask someone in that department to check and see if anyone knows…
        Yeah, nothin’ gonna go wrong with that system.

    • Schmuel Koch,
      Spend a summer working for Walmart and you will find out quick why Walmart employees don’t know anything.
      1) they aren’t trained
      2) supervisors and managers aren’t helpful. If you ask questions you’ll get yelled at or reprimanded or written up or any combination thereof. You’re supposed to know the answer. If you ask a co-worker, you’ll get yelled at, reprimanded, written up for talking on the clock
      3) leaving your work area to help a customer can get you fired.
      4) leaving your area to learn the rest of the store can get you fired.
      If you want helpful employees, shop in stores that allow and enable their employees to be helpful.

    • Gotta love how you equate intelligence with being well trained and having the appropriate resources!
      Surely the associates who don’t get proper training because the company cuts corners on every turn are MORONS for not memorizing the store inventory in all the free time they have while attending the register, answering endless questions. straightening displays and cleaning!

  5. Since the advent of the interwebs, I will check the store’s website to see if they carry it, if the specs are what I want and if possible if they have it in stock. If the count is one or less, I’ll call the store and ask them to physically check their stock (please?). Saves time and frustration on both our ends.

    • I just wish that department stores would get that, even if they aren’t going to offer, online shopping, they should let us research products online. (I mean, I wouldn’t trust the inventory, but knowing what they theoretically carry is useful.)

  6. Of course the customer is only asking if they sell silk pajamas, not whether or not there are any in stock and what colours and what sizes. I guess that’s next. In the end they’d have Val making 3 or more trips.

    • Cordless phones. The store needs cordless phones. I worked in a very small store (not big box) and we had cordless phone. Saved endless trips back and forth when people had more questions. It would be even more useful in a large store.

      • The problem with bigger stores is that cordless phones may end up getting lost because someone puts it down and then forgets to pick it up again. Corded phones, while a pain, prevent that.

  7. A customer can ask me to double check if it’s something like “Do you carry certain brand of —-”

    But it gets annoying when I get asked “Are there bathrooms/changing rooms/parts of the building that do not get moved?”

    when i answer “what you are looking for is on (floor we are not currently on)”

    they ask “Are you sure? Is there anyone else you can ask?”

    That’s when i walk away quickly

  8. It is JUST possible that some employees may actually know the correct answer to a question like this, but customers are never satisfied, and many of them just want to be “right.”

    I work for a newspaper. A co-worker took a call from a person (why is it always some old fart?) who asked what counties we deliver to. She told her. The caller said, “I don’t think that’s right.”

    Really? Which one of you is the employee, idiot? My CW worked here 37 years. She knew that stuff inside and out, but some old dope had to question it because it didn’t fit what she THOUGHT she already knew. And if she did know, why did she call and ask?

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