Sometimes I meet a person who makes me think “What the fuck is wrong with people?” and, as you might expect, this happens a lot in my line of work. This is just one of many examples.
This week the store has been particularly busy in the morning hours, which means long lines that don’t seem to end and customers of varying degrees of patience. On the one hand, time seems to fly by. On the other, customers can become self-centered jerks fast.
Around midweek we had an encounter with a customer who didn’t feel that she should have to pay for what she was actually ordering. That is, somewhere along the line, someone on my side of the counter told her she should “order such-and-such because it’s basically the same thing but it’s cheaper for you.” While this might be true, it’s wrong on many levels.
A) It’s not in our best interest as a business to encourage people to spend less in our store. No, it does not mean they will keep coming back and we’ll make it up in more sales. It just means they’ll keep paying less and expect every store to charge the lower price. It also means that we have to work harder to make sales goals, which can result in fewer hours for us to work, thus smaller paychecks, and raises… well, forget raises if we don’t meet goals.
2) We’re encouraging them to take advantage of us. This is dumb. I suppose this is simply a plain statement of A) above, but I’m all about ranting right now.
iii) It’s part of what’s wrong with the world today. People don’t understand the value of a thing (“I want that, but it should be free!”) so nothing has value at all. Sure, some things seem overpriced, and maybe they are. But they are priced so because either they are expensive to create/market/sell, or they have a perceived value that allows you, the buyer, to justify the expense. In any event, devaluing these things is not in anyone’s best interest. Unless what you want is junk.
Anyhow, that’s a different rant for another time. Today’s rant is about Miss Bitchypants and Her Special Drink.
She first appeared on my day off, but since she showed up the following two days I got to witness her assholishness. On that first visit, my manager noticed the transaction in progress and afterward asked the clerk how it had been rung up.
Clerk: “Well, she told me that she is charged for a Small Tea with Soy Milk Creamer, but it really seemed like a Large Tea Latte to me…”
Manager: “Yeah, no. She doesn’t get to tell us what to charge, especially when there is a drink on the menu that is exactly what she’s ordering.”
And that’s the thing. She’s ordering a drink that’s on the menu, though she’s getting a single tea bag in a large cup, in which case we would indeed charge her for a smaller drink. And because she’s getting half of that cup filled with steamed soy milk, it’s a tea latte, not just a tea with creamer added. Again, this is a case of some idiot clerk thinking they were being nice be showing the customer how to cheat the system. (For the record, yes, she has nice tits. That’s still not a good reason.)
So she came back the next day and I saw her do this with the clerk at the register.
Miss Bitchypants: “Okay, so, like, my drink is really weird… it’s one tea bag in a large cup with steamed soy milk. So you just charge me for a small tea and add steamed soy creamer.”
Clerk: “So wait… this is a tea latte. Yeah. Half the cup with tea and then steamed milk… that’s a tea latte.”
Miss Bitchypants: “NO. I pay for a tea with soy creamer.” This is a dead giveaway that she’s been coached: she knows our language.
At this point the barista/supervisor, who was also on duty the previous day, looks over and says “Yeah, tea latte. For sure.” and goes back to making drinks.
Miss Bitchypants: “I have been going to the same store for ten years and they’ve always charged me this way.”
Clerk (noting the long line behind her, gives in): “Huh. Okay. Seems not right but okay.”
So let me get this straight. If I paid $1.39 a gallon for gas ten years ago, I should still be paying $1.39 a gallon? Or maybe my rent should still be $735.00 a month? While it sounds nice, it probably means my wage would… hey, wait a minute. I’ll take my wage from ten years ago!
So then there was a discussion with the manager, who confirmed that we could–and should–be charging her for the tea latte. In fact, this is what he instructed us to do. I love my manager. Sometimes we just have to hold customers accountable, and not all managers are willing to lose a tiny bit of potential business and instead let shitty customers take advantage.
The following day, yesterday, she came back. I was making drinks when I saw her at the register. At first I didn’t recognize her, but then I heard her say “Okay, so, like, my drink is really weird… it’s one tea bag in a large cup with steamed soy milk. So you just charge me for a small tea and add soy creamer.” Funnily enough, all the employees on shift had dealt with her in the past few days and were all aware of the situation.
I look over and she’s got her phone up to her ear as she gives her order. The clerk recognizes it and begins to explain that we have to charge her for what she’s actually ordering. She isn’t paying attention, until the clerk gives her the price.
Miss Bitchypants: “No. That’s wrong. I just pay for a tea with soy creamer.”
Clerk: “Right, I know. But my manager has told us to charge you for the tea latte, since that’s what you’re getting.”
Miss Bitchypants (getting visibly angry): “What? That’s not right. That’s not what I’m getting at all. This is ridiculous. Where’s your manager?”
Supervisor (same one as yesterday): “The manager isn’t on today, but I’m the supervisor. I spoke to him about this myself. What you’re ordering is, in fact, the tea latte. And he’s told us to charge you accordingly.”
Miss Bitchypants: “Are you serious? You’re just now telling me?” She gestures to the very long line behind her (the one with the customers obviously both amused and annoyed by her display). “So I just stood in this line and now you’re telling me I can’t get my drink?”
Supervisor: “Well, I’m telling you what we already told you earlier this week, and what my manager has told us to do. The drink you’re ordering costs this much, not the lower price you’ve paid in the past.”
Miss Bitchypants: “So, you can’t do it just this once?”
Errm… you mean for the third time in as many days, right?
Supervisor (noting the line and wanting desperately to get rid of her and help the nice customers): “Alright, I’ll do it this time. But not again. This is it.”
Miss Bitchypants: “Fine. I just won’t come back here again.”
Protip: When you’re a shitty customer who continually takes advantage of us and throws attitude around, threatening to take your business elsewhere is not only not hurting us, it’s exactly what we want you to do.
Observation: At no time during the entire exchange did she lower the cellphone from her ear. I feel really sorry for the person on the other end.
While it would have been more satisfying to stand ground and make her pay up, it was in everyone’s best interest to calmly tell her our store’s policy in this regard and to avoid an even bigger scene. With luck, she won’t be back.
Maybe she’ll go to the competition.