Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back Behind The Velvet Ropes, Please

So on Monday, an older female customer came into the store and selected a couple of very inexpensive photo frames that had been on sale on Saturday, but went off-sale Saturday night at close. Unhappy that the employee she was dealing with wouldn't give her the discount, she of course summoned for me. The conversation went like this:

CHEAP CUSTOMER: I was in on Saturday and these were on sale.
ME: Yes ma'am. However, that sale ended at closing on Saturday. We have a new sale that started on Sunday and these frames are not part of that sale.
CC: Well, I'm a very good customer and I think I deserve to get the sale price.

Aaaah, that feeling of entitlement. The ol' me-me-me. Mind you, I don't think I've ever seen the woman in my store before, and the two frames in her hand total about $20 before the aforementioned 30% discount. A good customer? Those of you who read my blog will recall a prior entry regarding a woman who said she was a good customer and proceeded to say "blah blah blah" in my face. A good customer would be my gentleman who just spent $1400 to have his Thomas Kincaid's framed. A good customer would be my woman who owns a studio and buys crapload of canvas off of me. This woman? Not so good. So all of the following go through my mind when I hear this old woman say "I'm a very good customer":

You should have been less of a good customer of mine and a better customer of your plastic surgeon.

If you can produce the receipts from your last ten transactions, I'm sure we can do something for you. But they'd better be big receipts.

Do you shit as big as your ego?

But nay...I refrain and merely reply:

ME: I'm sorry, but that's not how it works.
CC: Well then, I guess I'll go buy my frames somewhere else.
CC: Your loss.

My internal responses:

Not really. I'm already $2000 over plan for the day and don't need your $20 (before discount).

A really good customer wouldn't leave, would they? Wouldn't you at least want me to know your name?

Is your husband aware of the fact that you're a stuck-up, cheap, pretentious, frigid bitch? Cuz right now, my whole store knows it.

Nay...I merely answered:


Just another fun day in retail.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Excuse Me, I'd Like To Buy Five Poison-Me Elmos

So according to an article today, Fisher Price has had to recall nearly one million toys created in China, due to dangerously high levels of lead in the paint. This isn't the first recall in recent weeks for products from China.

I recently had a conversation with my district manager over the fact that so many of our frames and canvas are manufactured in Asian places: Taiwan, China, Vietnam, etc.. The main reason given is that these countries produce a higher-quality product at a lower price than American-based companies.

Mind you, I felt a thud in my heart while watching Michael Moore's Roger And Me, about the closing of GM plants. I get pissed off when I call in for technical support and I get some guy in India who has a great recipe for tandoori chicken but barely speaks English. I got mad when Asian companies began buying up Times Square.

It's not that I'm necessarily the type of person who says "buy American or else." I mean, c'mon, let's be realistic here. Have you BEEN to Wal-Mart? There's a LOT of crap there. Not nearly as much as at your typical Dollar Tree (most of which is made in China), but crap nonetheless. I just think there's GOT to be a few decent companies in the US that are worth buying from and supporting.

I really started looking around the store to try and find things that were made in the US. You know what? Couldn't. Even our damn flag cases, with an American flag on the paper insert, are made in China. I mean....what? Are you kidding me?

So it's interesting to me now that all of the reliance on Asian manufacturing is starting to hurt American companies. Fisher Price and Mattel are REALLY going to feel this recall, especially this Christmas. Maybe it's time to find some nice American company to paint your toys? Maybe if we sucked it up a little and said "OK, we'll be a LITTLE less greedy, pay a little more for American quality and keep the money in-country," we'd be a bit better off.

I Have My Own Saliva, Thanks

Had a truly insane customer dealing with one of my employees today. He brought in a movie poster from The Simpsons Movie. Of course, recognizing the value of the piece, he had put it up on his wall with packing tape in each corner.

To be honest, I don't know what really happened with my employee and him, but it appears that there was some misunderstanding about whether or not he wanted custom framing or ready-made frames. All I know is it eventually led to this idiot screaming at M so much that she came in the back and said to me "I need you to go deal with this guy, I can't."

I went out all sugar and spice and sickening sweet, but the guy had driven past the great town of Rational about 30 miles back. He was ranting and raving about how we had wasted his time and how little of it he had. How we refused to listen to what the customer wanted and he was going to go somewhere else. He kept telling me that he was going to call my district manager (who, ironically, happened to be in the back room at the time and was rather amused).

Why is it that when people say they are going to call your home office or your district manager, they think that's some kind of threat? Fine, make a phone call. Feel free. I'm still gonna have my job tomorrow, buddy...trust me. If you REALLLLY think they're going to fire me because some psycho didn't communicate how to frame his trashed Homer poster...boy, you must really think you have a lot of clout.

I did what I could, but of course the guy had no real interest in listening to anything I had to say. He didn't really want the situation resolved. The one thing that really disturbed me was that much like a large dog, he produced an adequate amount of slobber the more worked-up he got. Unfortunately for me, I got in the path of said slobber. And, of course, he didn't apologize for that.

Have a nice day, Mr. Psycho. Thanks for the bath.

Gee Buffy, Sorry I Miffed Ya

Ah, the rich. You know, as much as people try to tell me that they are just like everybody else, I can reassure you on a daily basis that this just isn't the case. Take, for example, my run-in with a certain woman from the wealthy area known as Los Gatos, who I had the misfortune of having in my store on Monday.

Said rich-bitch arrived in her tennis shorts, tank top, overdone tan and visor. Shudder. Yes, visor. As if as soon as she got done selecting frames, she was heading out for a game of tennis with Muffy, Buffy and Clarissa.

The first thing she informs my assistant is that she wants three of the same frame, and she EXPECTS us to honor three coupons from her. We currently have a coupon that states it's good for 40% off one item, one per customer per visit. She of course tells my assistant that she'll be happy to walk out the door and come back in three times, but she WILL use all three coupons. My ASM tells her she can't, and of course she blows a gasket.

D'jever notice it's always the rich ones that want to save as much money as humanly possible?

So my assistant comes into my office and asks me to intervene. I come out to the sales floor where said woman is looking at frames. She tells my ASM that she's found her three and she will be using all of her coupons. I very calmly explain to her that she can't use all three, and that the intention isn't to print as many coupons as you possibly can to use. In fact, if our home office wanted the entire store to be on sale for 40% off, they'd just have a 40% off the entire store sale.

So she looks at me, puts her finger to her lips, and says...."Shh. You're embarrassing me."

Mind you, the only three people in the whole damn store are me, her and my assistant. Who am I embarrassing her in front of? The frames? I'm sure those 16x20s were thinking to themselves, "Damn! There's no way I'm going home with that bitch!" Hell, I was embarrassed FOR her, with the way she was carrying on. So, I took the moral high road, turned, and went back to my office.

Flash forward half an hour, and her HUSBAND calls me on the phone, to chew me out for how terribly I treated his wife. How she was so humiliated and came home in tears. How I was a terrible manager. I then proceeded to tell him my side of the story, since he wasn't anywhere nearby. He then asks me if it's true I told his wife she was never allowed to return to the store. Hey, let me tell you. She may have been a bitch, but I'm a money whore. The last thing I'd ever do is tell a customer not to come back when I can get more dough out of their wallet. I got pretty upset at that one. He decided he wanted to call my district manager and I happily gave him the number.

I called my DM first....and he LAUGHED. Thought it was really funny and said "Don't you just love people?" Actually, I don't most of the time. I much prefer animals.

If karma exists though, this woman's next plastic surgery and spray-on-tan session is gonna go MIGHTY wrong.