Years ago, I worked in a cellphone store that was located in a large mall in Vancouver, Canada. This is a story about the worst customers I’ve ever encountered.
Now our store had very specific instructions as to how everything was supposed to be displayed. Each demo phone had an assigned place on the wall and each demo phone had specific accessories that had to be hung below it. This wasn’t complicated but it was something that we had to do properly and it took a lot of work to make sure that everything was always up to date properly.
One day, a woman came in with three kids between the ages of three and five and a baby in a stroller. She needed help because her phone had stopped working. As I tried to explain that her phone wasn’t working because it had been dropped in water (there were drops of water in the screen and the battery was wet), the kids took turns pulling/pushing each other around on a mini skateboard. I looked up just in time to see one being pushed past our accessory wall with her arm outstretched. They were taking turns to see who could knock the most items from the shelf. I kid you not. By the time they left, literally every item was on the floor and a lot had been pulled from their packaging. Only two of us were working and it took both of us three hours to have everything sorted and put back.
A few days later, I’d found out that a family friend had died. We were short staffed and I needed to stay so I was in the back room getting myself under control while my coworker managed customers. I heard the sound of kids having a great time and thought nothing of it until I heard a crash followed immediately by howling.
That family had returned. One of their kids had somehow managed to climb up the side of our alarm sensor and literally snap it off its base. Thankfully, they landed on top of the base and not the other way around. We had concrete floors and those sensors were two inch thick plexiglass so they were heavy!
Were the parents concerned? Nope. They kept arguing that they needed a free replacement phone. Meanwhile, the kids had started climbing on top of the boxed satellite TV units we carried. At this point, other customers were angrily demanding that these parents start watching their kids.
But where had they gone? The three and five year olds had gone to Starbucks to get free drinks and the four year old? A customer returned to the store to tell the parents that he had just followed their son to the sky train platform and that they needed to come and get him NOW.
The mom returned a few days later with a family friend to demand a free phone again. They left pretty quickly when I pointed out that our cost to repair the sensor was over five thousand dollars.
I’ve attached pictures of the sensormatic for you to see. They’re solid plexiglass with parts inside and to this day I cannot imagine how a child managed to climb one. 1125-16
Oops, I accidentally deleted those pictures because I couldn’t figure out what it was and made no connection to this email submission.