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28 December 2005 @ 06:55 pm
Wrote this post for a forum; figured I'd paste it here as well since I haven't written in a while.  
Last night I had a difficult customer and, while I can understand why she was upset, I thought I handled things as well as I could. But she's almost certain to call our store manager Thursday to complain, so I wondered if you guys might know of something I could have done differently, for future events.

"Lisa" came in yesterday night, saying that she had put a brown croc bag on hold the night before and was returning to purchase it. Unfortunately, we were out of croc bags, save for one that was on hold for another customer. I told Lisa this, and did a stock check, even though I knew we were out. Naturally none magically appeared, so I called the closest store to our location and put one on hold for her, with that store's condition that she pick it up that night, because these are in high demand. I returned and told the customer that unfortunately we were out, and this was the best I could do for her. At first she was willing if the bag was shipped to Oakridge, but unfortunately we can't do store-to-store transfers if only one item is involved. She would have to go to Valley Fair if she wanted the bag.

At this point her daughter pointed out that she would never use the bag anyway, she didn't really need it, etc. and the woman agreed - but now it was the principle of the thing and she had to have it. But it's not like I can pull one out of my ass - all the stores in our district have had extremely low inventories on this item for weeks. I agreed that it was very bad, and that it was terrible that we had failed to properly put one on hold for her, but she asked for a number to call my store manager. I did have a higher-ranking manager in the store at the time, but I didn't want to pull her into the situation because she was busy with returns/exchanges and I couldn't think of any way she could help the situation by magically producing a brown bag, so I gave her the store's number and the next time our store manager would be in-store.
Finally, I told her that I had checked the website this morning and the crock bags had definitely been in stock on-line, in both red and brown, so if she still wanted the bag she would definitely be able to get them online. Lisa still walked off in a huff, and while I understand her disappointment it was human error, and I don't know what else I could have done. I did find her two alternative ways to acquire the bag, so it wasn't as if she couldn't have gotten it if she really wanted it; but there simply wasn't one in the store so what could I do? I did stay polite and properly apologetic throughout the entire conversation.

What would you have done in this situation?
captured: ...capuu on December 29th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
No, I say you did the best you could do, too. Plus, you gave her alternative means of obtaining the bag, when /seriously/ few in sales are willing to help farther than telling the customer "It's not here. We're sorry."

If she does call the manager and honestly retells the situation, you still wouldn't be found faulty for your performance. Many customers are simply unhappy when they don't get what they want nownownow.

On the otherhand, when I worked in a Gamecrazy, and suchandsuch game was on hold for Person B but Person A was there NOW, in demand for the sales of that day, I would ask the manager if it was okay to sell Person B's game to A, then I would casually call B to remind them their item was there. Usually, this triggers B into telling me when they'd actually be there for their item.

So, if B would be there later i.e. not that day, we'd sell to A and find a way- some way- to get that product back in again by tomorrow. This usually involved the in-person pillaging of neighboring stores via gas we would never be compensated for.
katydid_canuk on December 29th, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)
I don't think you could possibly have done anything different, and I can't imagine you getting in trouble over the situation (unless possibly you were the person who neglected to put the first bag on hold, and even then, not that huge of a deal). I don't see why she was so upset if she didn't want the bag that badly *and* there were two alternatives offered. Honestly, some people just can't be satisfied.
blackmage runs with daggers.ruien on December 29th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
you're just feeling bad because you couldn't magically fix it for her, but none of it was your fault and i think she understood that, eventhough she left unhappy. it just seems to me that if she had been upset at you she'd have asked for the manager right there. I'd just remind myself of the subway guy and remember that i'm not him. bastard.
Suzik00kaburra on December 29th, 2005 06:47 am (UTC)
She did ask for the manager right there - I was that manager. :-p
blackmage runs with daggers.ruien on December 29th, 2005 09:23 am (UTC)
i was thinking your manager... but see, everything you did was way better than subway guy anyway, so that's all that really matters.
seaturtle84 on December 30th, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
Gold Star
I think you did the best thing you could do for the situation at hand. If she really wanted the bag, then she would have been willing to go where to she needed to obtain it. I would have done just what you did. So good job! *pins on a gold star*