Oh the joys of retail.

You know how it goes. You work retail, you help a bunch of customers, make a few people smile, stock some shelves, answer the phone.

And the someone threatens to get you fired.

So it went like this today. I was have your typical retail day. Some good customers, some rude ones, and all the ones in between.

Then I had a young man come in want to buy something that has an age requirement. I asked him if he was og age and he said no. I asked if his parent or legal guardian was here and he said no. He said he had his mother’s ID and that she said it was ok to sell him whatever he wanted.

Dont they all.

When I refused he then asked if he could put his mother on FaceTime and give permission that way and, while being a new one I hadn’t been asked, I said no. He then called his mother and told her the situation. He then said that she wanted to talk to me.

Oh joy of joys.

I answered the phone and was immediately greeted with curse words and bitching (cause that helps everything). I explained that this was something I could not override only to be told that I was being a jerk and just didn’t want to sell her son the item (and not make money evidently). She explained that she was a peace officer who had a disability and couldn’t come up there and that I should just sell her son what he wanted. I refused.

She then asked to speak to my boss, who isnt at the store, and i told her I would ask for her sake but it probably wouldn’t change anything. I called, my boss agreed with me, he reaffirmed that I would lose my job if I did do it and I picked back up the other phone.

Once again I explained that I could not do it and that I would lose my job only to be interrupted with how horrible of a person I was and that I would be fired over this injustice and she wanted my name, my boss’s name, his boss’s name and the number for my corporate offices. I, in her mind I guess, was the worst person in the world.

I gave her all the information she asked for and even managed to suggest that she go online to order the item so it could be shipped to her house but that was not good enough.

Some people just can’t be pleased.

Sigh, hug a pony friends. My head hurts. 

The eve of vacation

Twas the day before vacation

And all through the store

People were crazy

There was nothing to bore

The phone was a’ringing

People screaming aloud

Wanting their toys

All boastful and proud!

When along came a customer

Who raised such a clatter

I had ran across the store

to see what was the matter

“Why didn’t you hold it?”

He said with a cry

“I told you you idiot

I hope you just die!”

The item in question

was no where to be found

The man snorted and yelled

and stomped on the ground

He left with a huff

and left me a mess

I looked at the clock

and saw with distress

I was late for a meeting

with my boss and his too

and the big boss above

what was I to do

I raced and I sped

 My pedal to floor

I needed to help

My neighboring store

I arrived just in time

And the visit went well

Both my peers

Did really swell!

I then rushed across town

An manager await

An interview for his guy

Who was waiting his fate

In my speed did I find

A horror did appear

The belt on my van

Was no longer here!

The shreds of the belt

I could see on the road

What more could happen

What terrors abode

Through toil and tear

And the help of a friend

My van did repair

Would this day just end!?

Then did I go

To the first good news this day

The cards made for business

And look what they say!!!

image

And this story does close

This horrific day ends

I am doing much better

HUG A PONY MY FRIENDS!!!

PS I will see you all at AKON!!!!!

Basic reading.

Ah, retail. How you make me feel so loved. I honestly feel like shopping brings out the worse in people. Be it from the people who tell their children to not say please or thank you to me because I am there to serve them (true story). Or the people who think they should be the exception to every rule and I should be glad they gave me a chance to fix an issue (also a true story).

Or my personal favorite at the moment, “You should have told me about this.”

“But Ma’am, we sent emails and let 2 phone messages and the automated calls went through for everyone else”

“Well you must not be trying hard enough!”

Still, we enter a scene were I was told we did not inform the customer of when an item was coming out. And play:

“Excuse me sir, My son said he cannot have the item he put money down on a while ago. Why won’t you let him have it?”

(Me) “Let me see sir. Ok the item he is wanting is not out yet, It was delayed by a few months and won’t be out for a few months.”

“That is Bull****, he wasn’t informed of this. Why didn’t you tell him?”

“Well sir, I just believe I did. I am sorry I don’t have the item. If I did, I would be glad to sell it to you.” (And come on, what retailer wouldn’t love to sell more stuff? “No please, I don’t want your money”)

“Well what are you going to do now?”

“Well sir, I can refund your money, no problem.”

The gentleman grumbles and hands me a receipt. I process the transaction and give him his son’s money back. As I am handing him the money I notice his old receipt.

“And here is your full refund. Also sir, I wish to point out that on the receipt itself it shows a date of June for your item. It printed out the date when you put the hold on it”

The man looks at me.

“What? You expect me to read that? Why would I read that?”

*exasperated sigh

I am hugging a pony……

It is always darkest….

I hit a rock bottom for me today. This was a low of a low today. Dark could not begin to describe my mood or my whole day.

Today started with me still in pain from not getting my medication due to the pharmacy issues. Me, being foolish, decided not to take my dose before going to bed and woke up in serious pain. I had slept horribly.

Not a great way to start the day.

I had not been in pain like this for weeks, since I started the new meds. I had forgotten how bad it was and I was reminded in the worse way possible. I realize now how bad it was and is and can be.

But I wasn’t the one hurting.

My wife has had a few car accidents in the past. Her family also has a history of spine and neck problems. There are days that it acts up. There are bad nights were she sleeps on it wrong. This was one of the dark days were it was bad. She woke up crying from the pain. She had been up most of the night. The pain was so bad, she had thrown up a few times. Any medication, food, even water she could not keep down. It was a bad moment.

I don’t do well with family being in pain. I can help others and deal with other people, but the moment it is my immediate family, it becomes different. I was not able to help her in this. I still had work and asked her if she wanted me to stay home. She told me no, that she would handle it. I got ready for work and on the way out told my daughters to behave and be good for mama.

I went to work feeling horrible and proceeded to have the same result there. Massive amounts of returns (almost half of that days sales to be exact) the same rude customers and more. I tried to pick myself up, the meds started kicking in, and I was struggling to deal with everything. My wife called me later that evening. She informed me that she had to get out of bed because my girls were tearing up the house, screaming, fighting, and becoming uncontrollable. She asked me to talk to my oldest daughter and calm her down.

I sighed and stepped into my backroom and proceeded to try and calm my daughter down. She is uncontrollable at times and this was one of those times. I have what is called their “getalong shirt” were I make them fit into one of my shirts with arm holes cut out and they have to do everything together.

They hate it, but it teaches them (hopefully) to get along.

She would not listen to me. I tried to talk but she kept interrupting me and would not let me talk. I snapped and told her I would be home in 5 min (I live very close to my store) and that she and her sister was in the biggest trouble they could imagine. I hung up on her, clocked out for lunch at work and drove home.

What awaited me at home was rock bottom.

I came home to a locked door that I could not open. I banged on the door when the key only unlocked the one lock. My oldest answered with the nervous scared look on her face. I told her to go to her room and I would be in there in a moment. I looked around to a disaster of a house and went to check on my wife. She had thrown up again and still couldn’t keep things down and she could not help with the girls. I came out and could not find my youngest daughter. I turned to my oldest and asked where she was. She told me she had told her sister to hid.

I was confused.

Why did you tell her to hide? Where is she? What is going on?

My daughter told me that when I had hung up, she had told her sister to hid so she wouldn’t get in trouble and that way I couldn’t hurt her.

I was dumbfounded and hurt.

Let me be clear, I have never hit, punched, kicked, or maliciously hurt my children in ANY way. There has never been a moment in anger where I have deliberately hurt them. There was no justification that I could think of that would provoke this thought.

I asked her to go get her sister and called them both in the living room. I had one of the hardest conversations in my life. I asked why they thought I would hit them. They told me that they had heard it. I asked where from and they couldn’t tell me. I told them in very clear words that I would never do that. I would protect them and that I loved them and that they could always come to me. I told them that it hurt my feelings that they would think that.

This was a new concept for them. Hurt daddy’s feelings? We talked about that and what would happen as punishment. I took away the TV privileges, the few video games and anything electronic. This was two-fold as I believe even the shows I allowed them to watch and kept an eye on what they were watching, was teaching them bad things. I asked them to get along for mommy’s sake. We spent a few moments crying and talking through things.

I then had to go back to work as I was late getting back. I left them instructions, and checked on the wife and went back to work. The pain that I had been avoiding all day decided to hit me once again, reminding me that, yes it was still there. I finished the day and could not wait to get off.

It was a terrible day.

I needed my pony.

I have a follow up to this post coming soon, I ask that you hold any questions about how we are doing. I have taken a day or two to compose my thoughts on this so I am writing it after the fact.

Aftermath

I felt like a kid in that doctors exam room. I let things out like I have never have before. I couldn’t speak at times because speaking would be admitting I had a problem. I push the words out as best I could. I held and stroked my little Fluttershy so hard, I felt as if I would rub a hole through her.

The doctor was patient and took her time. I told her I was not a fan of doctors and told her why. She agreed with me that I would have no reason to trust doctors after what I had been through. She told me my options and prescribed some medication for the pain/depression and recommended therapy.

The first day after was great. I had lived so long with the pain that I had no idea what it was like to not have it anymore. It was almost intoxicating. To move and walk and talk without pain or to not have that constant ache that wears me down. It was beautiful.

Then came the next day.

I started off with a headache and took my pills and waited.

And waited

And waited

After the 2nd hour it was getting a little fuzzier but still that constant ache was like a faded memory. Soon after another side effect kicked in.

I itched.

I itched all over.

I ended up scratching and rubbing my nose so much, I looked like a crackhead. Did not help improve my mood.

Then today happened.

I went into work after a VERY rough night of me or the wife not sleeping and started going through my routine. Everything was going good until I opened and 7 different groups of people came rushing in. I spent the next hour being yelled at, screamed at, threatened, cursed out and treated like less than human.

Not a good day.

I will say the medication was nice in the fact that I could roll it off my shoulders for the most part but at the end of the day, I still went home with that same disappointing sadness and depression that I have known all too well.

Still, I will press on. I am going to try and relax and let this work. I am only 3 days in and have about a month to go. I can only hope that I can get better.

Hug a pony my friends. It may be the only thing going for you at the moment, but grab anything that can help.

Rough Weekend

So work was killer this last week. I have so much going on, it is not even funny. Let me list this out for you.

1.My RD (regional director, My boss’ boss) left the company. This was a man who I respected and who gave me a lot of encouragement. He had been with the company for over 26 years and had come up through the ranks and took care of us. There is much fallout to be had over his leaving and, not only a new person, but a Vice President of the company now is over us.

I am worried.

2. One of my employees broke down crying on Saturday. People just don’t realize that we are humans in retail.  She had a customer in our store doing a difficult transaction for 2 hours only to be followed up with the general mad rush of a weekend day, and then topped it off with a customer who, I believe, is crazy.

This final gentleman had a son who traded in some items to put toward some other items. He told my employee that his son did not received all the items he had purchased and that we needed him to give him his sons items. He also said we need to give him $40 in exchange for the items that he had brought in, along with the credit those items were given for the purchase he made. He also did not have a receipt or know what day his son did this but we had better take care of him.

My employee made it to the back room before breaking down on the phone crying with me, asking me to come back to the store to help her take care of the customer. My assistant manager was stuck on the highway, due to the highway being shut down, so no one else could help her.

I come in and talk to her and calm her down. She tells me whats going on and I approach the customer. The customer tells me a new story that involves his son buying a item, us not giving his son his item, and us telling his son we would hold his item for over 2 weeks until his other item that he had a special order for came in and we would give him both.

And we owed him $40 for the credit on the items his son traded in.

And no, he did not know the date or have a receipt.

And we better take care of him.

After a long process of looking through days of receipts, I find his son’s original transaction, and show him that: We gave him the proper credit for his items, his son placed his order and paid it off, we gave him all the games he purchased, and that we did not have any items for his son. The gentleman looked at me, smiled, and said that is exactly what he wanted to hear, turned and walked out without me saying another word.

I still do not know what crack he was on.

3. We ran a contest at work to promote growth in an area of business. Simple right? Hit this certain dollar goal, and all the managers in the store get a bonus.

AWESOME, right?

So, me and my team attack this with a vengeance. It is difficult because the contest runs through the holidays. We enter January just a little behind goal. We have to the end of the month to hit it. The dollar goal is $98,467 for what we are tracking. We enter the final week and I get an email about how much we are short.

$847

We got this.

We bust our butts and go all out to hit this goal. End of the week comes.

$3,259

About four times what we needed. We celebrate and cheer and wait for the money.

That never comes.

Two weeks later, we get an email saying we did a great job but that we fell short of our goal. Confused I ask my boss about it (who was also keeping track of everything) and we looked into it together. Turns out the goal they gave us was the wrong goal and that, while we did amazing for having one of the highest overall goals in the area, we fell short $347. The final week goal of $847 was an approximate amount and not an accurate number.

$347 out of $98,467

My team was crushed. I was crushed.

I went out and took $60 bucks and bought a $20 dollar gift card for each of my managers from my own personal money as a thank you. Still, it was hard looking back and kinda feeling like we got the rug pulled out from beneath us.

Rough week for me overall. Time to hug a pony.

Quick shot 3

“Can you help me with my service?”

“I can do my best ma’am. What is the issue?”

“Well my daughter’s service is not working, the bill isn’t due, and we don’t know whats wrong.”

“Well, I will not be able to assist you with that. Here is our support number and they should be able to take care of you.”

:Five minutes later:

“Yes I just called and you said you would help me with my service.”

“Yes ma’am, did you get it fixed?”

“No, no one would help me. Can’t you just fix it for me?”

“Ma’am, I have no way to troubleshoot your problem.  What did they say the problem was?”

“Oh, it was an automated system and I didn’t want to do that.”

“Ma’am, you have to go through that system. I cannot assist you. Did you not hear support options?”

“No, I hung up after it asked me to press a button. I didn’t want to go through that to speak to a person.”

I am trying to not bang my head against my desk right now….

Hug a plushie, hug a plushie, hug a plushie, repeat.

First day back.

So I have been enjoying some time out of my store, both with my vacation and with helping out some other stores with my manager mentoring. I had enjoyed my time off immensely and was looking forward to coming back to work.

I should not have been so excited.

All in all it was a good day. Numbers for everyone was good. We were very busy but we were handling it well. I was training a new person, saw an old manager of mine.

You know, a good day.

Should have been my first clue.

It was about an hour to close and I was helping a regular customer when the phone rang. It was from a private number. Now, if you remember a blog post I did a couple of weeks ago about the prank calling through a private number, you know I am always a little leery. I answer the phone and am immediately greeted by an adult male who is upset to the point of yelling. He asks for one my other key-holders who is not working at the moment and I inform him that they are unavailable. I ask them what the call is about and he interrupts me and says he can only talk to one of the managers. I inform him that I am the store manager and asked if I could help him. He tells me that his son came in a few weeks ago and bought an item from us that requires an ID to purchase and that his son is not of age and was able to purchase the item from my employee without being carded.

Now the employee in question is one of better employees and has never, EVER not followed this policy.  He is one of the better ones.

So I ask him the date of the purchase and he says he doesn’t know. I ask for the receipt and he says his son lost it. I then go to ask him another question and he interrupts me again and tells me to stop stalling and to help him. I told I was trying to and asked how he paid, and he said cash. He then asked why I would let this happen. I told him this was not store policy and I would be starting to look into it but I needed information, only to be interrupted once again by him saying that I was trying to just to protect my employees and that I must approve of the practice of selling items to minors. I told him that was not the case and that we took every one seriously but I needed to do an internal investigation. He asked if I was calling him a liar, to which I was confused and said that I was correcting him on the statement that I do not approve and take the matter seriously.

He then started to demand his money for the game back. I told him I would do everything I could to take care of him but I needed to know some information. He told me that his son had bought it in September (different date now) and that he paid case so there was no way for me to look it up. I asked if his son had a loyalty card with us and he starts YELLING at me that his son was under age and that he was not old enough for a card. I informed him that you only have to be 13 to be a member and he heatedly told me that they did not have a membership. He then insisted that I give me the cash back for the game and that my employee fired.

Now, it has been 15 minutes on the phone. I have a line of customers waiting, a new person on the register wanting help, and a customer that I am in the middle of ringing up waiting patiently. I have been yelled at, called a liar, and told I have to do something because a customer wants it.

Did I mention that I had had a good vacation with no headaches?

So I proceed to tell the customer to bring in the game and I would see what I could do but that I needed more information to start an investigation. The customer told me that that was not good enough and that he want my employee down there, the employee to apologize, me to fire him, and have his money returned in cash. I told him the that I would have to look into the matter before I fired ANYONE. He then demanded his money back. I told him to bring the game back I would see what I could do. He then told me that was not good enough and that he wanted me to say that I would give him his money back. I told him that, Yes I would give him his money back. He then hung up.

Now for the rest of the night, I am stressed out. I am depressed and cannot focus well. My head starts to hurt me and I look at every person who comes in my door with fear in my eyes, waiting to be yelled at some more. At 9 o’clock we close and I start to think it really was a prank call. I think back at how I was torn down. I think about how horrible it is that someone wanted someone fired, and it was a “prank”. How time was wasted and energy spent and people hurt for what? A prank call.

And there are no repercussions.

People are horrible. I see them everyday. I weep for those around me. I rejoice at those who give me a smile because I know how rare that is.

Tonight, I will be clutching a pony for comfort. I will try and unwind and relax enough so my muscles don’t cause me grief tonight. I pray that I can relax enough to sleep. What is sad is I am now dreading tomorrow. I now look at it in fear of what will people say next. All that time off wasted.

Hug a pony my friends.

Attack on me.

I cannot stand being called a liar, an idiot, stupid, and other derogatory remarks. Being told off by customers is never fun but is part of the job (of customer service) they say.

Why is it part of the job?

Who says its normal?

It is not normal to call someone names over the phone. It is not normal to threaten someone that you will get them fired because you feel slighted, even if you were!

Why do we accept it?

How come we just stand there and take it? Why do we let people attack us over and over and look at them with a forced smile and say “Hey a nice day” after it all is over?

People are terrible.

This comes about after I had this altercation with a customer today. I had someone calling to look for a new product for something that is over 20 years old. I told the customer that we do not carry said product, new or used, and that I know a store that possibly carries it. Before I can even tell the customer the name, he calls me a liar. He said he just saw the product being sold new a week ago. I told him I had not seen anything and that we still did not carry it. He then asked about accessories for the 20 year old product. I told we did not carry anything for the product and that he would have to find a retro store for it. He then asked for specific items and told me to look them up. After each item, I asked if it was for this same 20 year old product and he said yes. I told him after each one, including one that he couldn’t remember the specific name for, that we do not carry the product and I would not be able to assist him. He then asks for a made up item that has never been made before. I inform him that we would not be able to help him further and hung up on him.

He calls back several times while I am busy and I am unable to get to the phone until 15 minutes later. I answer with my company and my name. He asks me to repeat my name and tells me he just called me and I was extremely rude to him on the phone. He asks why I would hang up on him, and I inform him that I would not be able to assist him in finding items we do not carry. I told him repeatedly that we do not carry these items. He said I was the rudest person he has ever spoken to in his life. He said he was just looking for a not so hard to find product that we actually do carry that has all the stuff he wanted. I told him that I would be able to look that up, but he cuts me off and says that I was rude and an idiot and he didn’t want to talk to me anymore and he wanted the manager. I informed him I was the manager. He told me that my company were idiots to give me a store to run and he had no idea how I could be a manager. He wanted my district manager’s name and number. I told him my DM’s name but said I would have to take his phone number and have my DM call him. He said that wasn’t good enough and that I was refusing service. He asked for my customer service line and that he wanted a local number to call. I told him it was a 1 800 number and that there was no “local” area coded number. He told that I was being rude again and that he now had enough to get me fired. He then told me he would do what he could to get me fired. I told him if there was nothing more that I could do, that he could have a nice day and he hung up.

Now I know most of you would say “Hey, pony guy. This was just a harmless prank call.” I beg to differ.

I have handled my share of prank calls but this one was different. The person attacked me personally. He threatened me and said he wanted to take away my livelihood. I don’t care who you are, you just don’t do that.

So now I am at home, being fed a delicious sandwich by a loving wife who knows that bacon is one way to make me happy. I have my pony and coffee as well and am calming down. I still feel angry at the whole thing. And I know that people will be say I am too sensitive but I don’t understand why we accept this kind of behavior.

Hug a pony my friends. Feel better. I will try as well.