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Working life
By Gedvondur (Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 04:16:59 PM EST) work, best buy, assholes (all tags)
Just a quick anicqdote from my days working part time (2nd job) at Best Buy in the 90s.

I've got a story about a fellow customer service rep at a Best Buy.

Back in the 90s I worked as a PC technician part-time as a second job. The pay was good the work wasn't too hard but the customers. Jesus Lord, the customers.

In our old store, the PC service area was contiguous with the customer service desk. So we worked pretty closely together with the CS folks. I worked with one lady, lets call her Donna, who was a long-time employee. Good attitude, nice lady, one of those can-do people with a no-nonsense edge.

Anyway, it was in December and we were slammed. People everywhere, store packed, customers coming in fast and furious. Things were humming along and I noticed that the Customer Service counter was getting way backed up. So I went over there to answer easy technical questions and help people who didn't need to do a transaction (like a return or something.)

I'm standing next to Donna talking to a gentleman regarding printer cables and general questions he had about his peripherals. The customer with Donna was red-faced and getting louder and louder. Pretty soon he's getting obnoxious.

"You fucking bitch I'm not going to let you fuck me out of this! You take back this fucking broken $Item or I'm gonna sue you and this fucking store...." blah blah blah This goes on for a minute. I notice the normally unflappable Donna has tears in her eyes and both her hands clenched into fists. Then he calls her a cunt.

I look at my current customer, (who has been edging away from the asshole) and say calmly "If you could excuse me for a moment?" He nods.

I slam my hand down on the counter in front of the asshole, palm flat with a noise like a gunshot going off. Immediately a hush falls over the entire customer service area with like 30 people in it.

I look him straight in the eyes and dial for my command voice. "If you can't act like a gentleman, then you can get out RIGHT NOW. Are we clear?" I say it loud enough to be heard over the entire area and leaned in his direction a bit. I'm 6'2 and a fat bastard but I can look intimidating if I want to.

Asshole goes a bit white and glances around furtively, noticing that EVERYBODY is looking at him. He apologizes to Donna and is now red from embarrassment, takes his broken TV and leaves.

I turn back to my customer and apologize to him for keeping him waiting. He actually shakes my hand and tells me "That was awesome."

Later, Donna got me a Pepsi and gave me a hug and said thank you. The store manager, hearing of the incident took me aside and essentially said: Officially - Bad employee, don't yell at customers. Unofficially - Good job, we don't need assholes like that abusing our people.

Was a wild day at the Buy.
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Automatic Asshole Correction | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)
Asshole customers by ucblockhead (4.00 / 4) #1 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 04:27:08 PM EST
Too few companies fail to understand that by not treating the asshole customers like the assholes they are, they may well be pissing off all of the silent, non-asshole customers.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
It's true by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 04:45:27 PM EST
Other customers are embarassed or intimidated by asshole customers.  If it happens when they are they, it discourages them from coming back.  Give the whole joint a negative vibe.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
The world needs more bouncers by tuscoops (4.00 / 5) #6 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 09:07:04 PM EST
Whatever happened to "We reserve the right to refuse service" signs you used to see? Most places seem so desperate to make a buck they'll put up with any and all shit from customers. I'd pay extra if I knew that if some stupid wench on a cellphone holding up a line would be told to leave the store, for example.

[ Parent ]
"The Customer is Always Right" by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 03:46:52 PM EST
I've got another little piece I'm going to post about this bullshit principle some other time.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Thos signs by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 08:59:18 PM EST
The "We reserve the right to refuse service" signs appeared after segregation became illegal. They were thinly veiled ways of saying that if your skin was too brown, they wouldn't serve you.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
VS2FP by ana (4.00 / 2) #2 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 04:30:26 PM EST
also, "woo!" from the peanut gallery. 

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

Nice by Oberon (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 05:09:05 PM EST
When I worked in a hotel, there was one manager who was great at dealing with bad customers, and I think actually enjoyed doing so. She usually worked in the back office, but could hear what was going on in the front (there was no door, just a screen) and would come and help if there was a problem.

I saw her deal with the screamy ranty ones a couple of times. If you wrote down what she said, it would look completely innocuous, but she managed to deliver it in a way which suggested that she'd prefer to be eviscerating the person on the other side of the counter rather than talking to them. It worked every time ....

How now, mad spirit?
Wow by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 08:07:40 PM EST
That's awesome. But it bespeaks a spooky amount of planning.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
I've probably told this story before by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 2) #7 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 09:29:59 AM EST
In like '98-99 I worked at CompUSSR here in Wichita as a break-fix tech. This overall was a really good job, someone paying me to do crap I would do on my own anyway. Broken computer comes in, you fix it, it goes out: Dream Job. But yeah, the customers.

I eventually decided getting a nice cushy state job would be better, so turned in my two weeks. The last day on the job I'm in there, generally taking it easy, doing a couple easy upgrades and such, when near the end of the day this family (dad, mom, son) comes in. Their computer is screwed up, it's a Windows problem, something that we're not supposed to be dealing with, since the solution is almost always a re-format/reload, and customers never want to pay us $90 or whatever god-awful price we charged to do that. But the sales manager wants someone to look at it so he doesn't have to do a return/exchange. It's my last day, and I'm feeling magnanimous, so I figure what the hell.

I set it up on a counter we had out front for this sort of thing, and the dad/son combo are there "talking shop" with me as I look at it. Turns out the son had tried installing IE 5 or maybe 6, whatever would have been the hot new browser at the time, and it had been downhill since. I spent maybe an hour or so tinkering with it, trying to get it booting properly into Windows, and all the while there's the mother, rotating between hovering around me working on the computer, and going to talk to a sales manager, who was doing his very best to avoid her. Seems Mother was convinced that it was the computers fault, and had decided that nothing less than a new computer on return/exchance was going to satisfy her today.

Too late it dawned on me what was going on here: I was being thrown to the wolves. Sales Manager did not want to do the exchange for obvious reasons, but he also didn't want to deal with this witch, and was nowhere to be seen. I don't recall what exactly I did to get this computer up and running again, but I was making headway, while this harpy would just swoop in every once in a while and bitch about why I wasn't able to fix it, and why I couldn't just give her a new computer. The way Dad and Son shut up every time she came around, it was clear who ruled the roost.

So finally I manage to fix the problem, and whatever it took, I can remember being pretty damn proud of myself. In some ways, CompUSA was the height of my tech powers: Sure, I've learned a lot more about networking and such since then, but just from the perspective of "get the computer fixed", I was pretty damn good at it by late '99. Anyway, I get Windows and the browser working properly, and can demonstrate it to Dad/Son/and most importantly Mom. Nope, not good enough. Since she still can't find the sales manager she stands there and reads me the riot act for like 10 minutes about how this is unacceptable, it's just going to break as soon as they get it home, they've been back here several times and it never works, she wants a new computer/refund, and a printer thrown in for her time, blah blah blah. The entire time I'm desperately scanning around for any sign of any manager at all, to no avail. Finally she takes a breath and I tell her that I'll go find a manager.

I walk back into the tech shop and there sits the sales manager, yucking it up with my tech manager, thinking it's just the funniest thing in the world that I'm out there taking his heat. I kind of lost it at that point and just chucked the pen I happened to have in my hand as hard as I could at the metal tech bench, where it somehow made enough noise to get everyone's attention. I may have said or grunted something as well, don't remember, but suddenly the entire back area was quiet and all eyes on me. I semi-yelled to the sales manager that Harpy wasn't happy with the repair, and he needed to go talk to her, which he finally did.

It was like 4:00 by then and my tech manager made some comment about "Maybe you can knock off early since it's your last day and all". I gave him the most disgusted look I could muster and said "Yeah, I think I'll do that" and left.

Awesome by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #8 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 03:44:20 PM EST
Heh, that shit went on at Best Buy too. People would buy the SHITTIEST computer in the universe without a clue as how to operate it, fuck Windows into the dirt and then badger everyone and their brother for a new machine.

Best Buy was really hard-assed about full returns/exchanges if it wasn't an obvious hardware issue.  Most walked away with their machine reloaded (on the house).

They put me in the sales department for about two hours one day because the tech bench was slow.  I sold three IBM Amber systems in that time on the strength of telling them that the Acer, Compaq, and Packard Bell units we had were absolute shit (they were) and that the IBM was the only thing we had in a desktop that even resembled a decent system.  When management found out about it they put me back at the tech bench.  :-)

Ah, the stories you get from dealing with the public.....priceless.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
CompUSSR was the exact opposite by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 01:55:05 AM EST
Those sales managers had no backbone at all, they'd exchange anything, assuming the fool had bought a printer/cable/paper/extended warranty. You know those big metal shelves-on-wheels you often see in IT shops/restraunts? At one point we had like three of the mega-sized ones full of refurb Compaq's, all of them returns.

[ Parent ]
Sure I've told this one but apropos by johnny (4.00 / 5) #11 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 09:06:11 PM EST
I was once stuck in a Chicago airport. Due to weather & thus & such, connecting flights were canceled. Nothing to do but wait.

So there were these two Type A I AM VERY IMPORTANT young bizniss execs there, taking turns giving unreasonable amounts of shit to the poor women behind the counter -- as if it were their fault that the weather turned bad and the flights got canceled. They were carrying on as if by being more obnoxious they could cause her to cause an areoplane to appear.

So I went up to one guy & stood in front of him very close & said, "You think you've got problems, buddy? I've got 'Monkey Gone to Heaven' by the Pixies stuck in my head, and I CAN't GET IT OUT!"

The assholes then left. The women said thanks. Eventually I got wherever I was going.

I've very proud of my conduct in that situation. Not only did I do the gentlemanly and correct thing to do, and not only was it successful, but also I was pretty fucking funny, I hope you'll agree. Or even if you don't agree, I still feel that way.

Your response to the asshole customer, it goes without saying, was perfect. Congrats.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

Some Haitian rioters attacked my police station by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #12 Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 09:25:53 PM EST
so I shot them. The end.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

you have a way with words. by garlic (4.00 / 2) #14 Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:21:57 AM EST

[ Parent ]
My people are dour and taciturn. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 09:42:52 PM EST
Also, we beat the latin hand-talking nonsense out of our children while they're still young and malleable.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Automatic Asshole Correction | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)