Confessions of a Disgruntled Retail Manager (Just One of Many)

Working for a high end retail store, as I did, seemed ideal at first. The store was clean. There weren’t any dead, decaying people lying around and I didn’t have to drive around in the middle of the night all through the ghetto in search of a crime scene.

On the other hand, working for a high end retail store, was at times my worst flipping nightmare. There were days when I would walk through the store, shaking my head and saying, aloud, “I miss dead people.”

As it turns out, transitioning from working with the dead to the living can be trickier than imaginable. I had plenty of patience for people screaming at me because they were in shock over the sudden loss of a loved one and absolutely no patience for customers who would scream an yell because we didn’t carry the shoes that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in either of the Sex and the City movies.

My only saving grace from those really bad days where no matter what I did it wasn’t right, was Jeff Dunham and his very good friend, Walter. Every time my text message alert sounds I have the distinct pleasure of hearing; “Welcome to Walmart. Get your shit and get out! (Pause) Have a nice day.”

For the lack of a better transitioning here is just one example of the customers I had to deal with.
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On a bright and sunny day, the kind of day where the sales associates all seem to develop the exact same mysterious illness that prevents them from coming into work, I received a phone call from a really big pain in the ass, err, very special customer. Truthfully, she is a very special customer. She spends a lot of money in this store. However…….wait…..keep reading…..you’ll figure it out.

“Yes hello, Allison,” she said. “This is Bethany.”

(Eye roll) It’s my lucky day.

“Hello Bethany. How are you?”

“Not good. Not good at all. I need to return that purse I bought.”

(Total blank.)

“You remember the one. The wine-colored clutch.”

(Total blank.)

“Sure. Of course I do. What’s the problem with the clutch?”

“The rhinestones on it ruined my evening gown and my husband’s suit.”

Complete confusion.

“Oh. That’s not good.”

“No it’s not. Now I feel bad about this but I need to return it.”

“Okay,” I sighed. “Bring it in and I’ll see what I can do.”

“Oh thank you, Allison. You’re too kind. I feel bad but you know I never make returns, ever and I am a very good customer.”

The next day, Bethany brought the hand bag in. Is there ever a time when it’s acceptable for a retail manager to scream at the customer. ‘Cause, wow, I really wanted too. Especially when she handed me the clutch.

The wine colored-clutch had rhinestones on one side and was satin on the other. Now, I realize the irony of this considering that I work in a high-end, fashion store, but I in fact, no DICK about fashion.

Mother fucker! The only two words that managed to roll around in my mind. She’s got to be kidding me! If one side has rhinestones on it and the other side is satin. Doesn’t it make sense that you would carry the clutch with the satin side toward the clothing and the rhinestones facing away?

“Once again, Allison,” she said. “I do feel bad about returning this clutch but I can’t use it. It ruined my dress and my husband’s suit and…you know I am a very special customer and I never make returns.”

Then she handed me the receipt. It was from six months ago. SIX MONTHS. She had a clutch that she couldn’t use for SIX MONTHS and was just now returning it. REALLY? SERIOUSLY? OH MY GOD!

“Do you know,” Bethany said, “That I put this bad down on a towel this morning and it destroyed the towel?”

“Oh that’s awful,” I said.

Why would you do that to the poor towel? Were you mad at it? Have we not already established that the clutch has a history of violence toward fabrics of all kinds?

“Bethany,” I said. “Our return policy is very clear. All returns must be made with in 30 days of the purchase. I’m going to have to get the store manager to approve this before I can give you a refund.”

“Oh I do appreciate that,” she said. “After all, I am a very special customer.”

“Yes,” I said.

Yeah and you’re never gonna let me forget that are you?

“And you know I rarely ever return anything.”

I nodded.

Of course not. Well, except for that blouse you returned last week. And the two designer skirts you returned three weeks ago. Ooh. Let’s not forget about the four purchases you made on Black Friday that you then exchanged for three different items the day after Christmas. Then, you returned two of those three items in early January. But then, who’s counting.

Sadly, the return was approved by upper management.

Bethany grabbed her return receipt and headed out the door.

“Oh thank you again. I really appreciate it. But then, after all, I am a very special customer.”

Correction. You were a very special customer. Now you’re just a pain in my ass who dumped a $3000 return on me during a business day where the entire store probably wouldn’t have pulled more than $10,000 in at the very beginning.

Thanks for shopping!

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