Author Topic: I'm an honest person, but....  (Read 7620 times)

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AmyBird85

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I'm an honest person, but....
« on: January 05, 2012, 06:10:34 PM »
Had one of the most tackiest customers come into the store I work in today and just had to share this story!

[BG] I work in a well known British clothing store, which also has a catalogue (directory) from which you can order items that we may not carry in the store. However, even though we are the same company, the store and Directory are separate. If there is a fault with an item the customer has bought, they would need to either send it back via courier, or bring it to their local store and we process the return and send it back to the Directory's warehouse, and the customer can reorder the item if necessary. [/END BG]

So, a lady comes down to the shoe room where I am working, and approaches me. She explains that she bought a pack of two multiway bras online, but one of the straps on the bras is faulty. I tell her that she is able to return the bras now at the cash desk and I will refund her as long as she has her receipt. She tells me she is wearing the other bra right now. I say, no problem, next time she is here just bring them in and I will refund her and offer to order another pack of bras. I check to see if there are any available to order, but because it is now a sale item, that particular line has sold out.
I tell her this, and she then asks me: "Can I not just take a strap off of one of the bras you have here?"
I politely explain that we simply cannot take parts off of a garment as it would make THAT garment faulty. Once again I say that she is more than welcome to a refund.
Her reply? "Oh well, that is stupid. I mean, the bra is faulty and it's out of stock. I'm not saying it's your fault, but surely it would be okay just to swap them over?" This is accompanied by one of those sickly sweet smiles- like a child would when asking for sweets from its mother.
"I'm really sorry," I reply, "but I cannot just take a strap off of a bra. It is against the store's policy."
What she said next just totally bemused me more than anything.
"I'm only asking you if I can because I am an honest person, I could simply just walk over and take a strap off a bra without you even knowing, but I'm not like that. If I return these bras then how would the Directory be able to re-sell them? They wouldn't? So you would be losing TWO items instead of just one."
Despite this, I stand by my decision. She asks to see the manager so I call her down, and she reiterates what I've just said. I have to go and serve another customer, so I leave them to discuss the issue. 15 minutes or so pass, and I am at the till unpacking some delivery. I then see the same woman approach me with a bra in her hand.
"I just took a strap off of this bra, I hope you don't mind, but your manager said it was okay." she says. I am horrified. Surely my manager wouldn't say that?
Once again, she gives me THAT smile. She leans in close over the till point and says in a hushed tone, "I know it's not right, but I'm an honest person and I am letting you know before I take the strap. Your manager just said, oh take it. I feel guilty, but seeing as I cannot order it again..."
I feel sick. There is a camera right above the till and I'm thinking this must look seriously dodgy. My conscience tells me to speak up.
"I'm afraid that I cannot let you do that." I say, boldly but politely. "To do something like that wouldn't be so honest, as you say."
I can feel myself shaking, but I know what she is doing is not right. If she took the strap, our store would lose a sale, and that camera would catch me.
She sighs, and takes the strap she has removed from the bra off of her bra and puts the dud one back on. "You know what, I won't. Your manager is making me feel guilty and you're making me feel guilty..." She takes her things and leaves.
My colleague, who unbeknown to me had been observing and listening in on the whole thing, turned and said to me, "good on you, you did the right thing. She could buy spare straps."

I just couldn't believe that someone was willing to steal a bra strap!

NyaChan

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 06:18:21 PM »
Wow.  That woman was just too much!  Just to clarify, had your manager told the woman she could just take a strap?

AmyBird85

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 06:19:56 PM »
I really don't know, but I believe that she would have told me that she said it was okay. I cannot believe that she would have said no then suddenly just given in like that!

chibichan

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 09:13:08 PM »
I picture the following response to your "honest " customer :

" Madam , may I clarify ? You have informed me that you are stealing . You have implied that you were given permission to steal and stated that this will make you feel bad about yourself .

We at ________ Store are dedicated to making our valued customers feel good about themselves , so it is both my duty and my pleasure to tell you that No , you may not steal this item . You can leave here with your head held high , knowing that you are still an honest woman , despite the temptation . "
The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

amylouky

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 10:51:13 PM »
I'm sorry, but I think that the customer had some very valid points. She obviously liked the bras that she ordered, other than the defective strap. As that style/model wasn't available any more, she wouldn't have been able to replace it, so even if refunded would have had to get a different one that maybe didn't fit her as well.  I also see her point (even if it's not store policy) that if she returned the two bras, your store would be out the sale of two bras, instead of the one that she removed the strap from to make hers usable. I bought a bookshelf once that it turned out was missing one of the shelves. As I already had the thing mostly together, the store clerk gave me a shelf out of another package, and said he would return the other one to the manufacturer as defective.. I don't see that this situation is much different.

I also think that you should have verified with your manager whether she did or did not okay the woman taking the strap, before scolding her about honesty. I think if I were the manager, after the woman explained the situation and I realized I couldn't have gotten her a replacement bra in that style, I'd have let her take the strap. I don't think you can assume she was willing to steal it.. obviously she wasn't if she asked you about it, then again after she said that your manager okayed it. Actually, her approaching you again makes me think that it's more likely your manager DID eventually okay it, because really, that would be easy for you to verify.

I think that if it is possible to order new straps, you or coworker should have offered that as an option, and ordered them for her. It's not her fault that your merchandise was defective, after all.



Midnight Kitty

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 11:33:47 PM »
I thought the bras came in a pack of two, so whether one or both was defective, she is required to return both of them to get credit.  If she vandalizes one strap, then the entire package is not saleable.

It would be so much easier if the stores were either completely separate or coordinated.  Then the obvious solution is for the brick & mortar store to give her a replacement strap if they are available for sale separately.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

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FlyingBaconMouse

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2012, 07:12:30 AM »
I don't see any reason to trust someone who comes up and announces that they almost stole/messed up merchandise. She might have been legit, but the thought process might also have been: "I don't want to get in trouble, so I'll see if I can use this bad impulse to extort cooperation. Hmm...I see the clerk is calling her manager. Therefore, I must be able to do this with manager permission! I'll come back tell her the manager said it was okay."

Admittedly I seem to have worked in an unusually nice retail environment, but my manager always made a point of telling me if he'd made some kind of deal with a customer. I certainly wouldn't have instantly taken a customer's word for it!
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Mental Magpie

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2012, 12:03:57 PM »
I'm sorry, but I think that the customer had some very valid points. She obviously liked the bras that she ordered, other than the defective strap. As that style/model wasn't available any more, she wouldn't have been able to replace it, so even if refunded would have had to get a different one that maybe didn't fit her as well.  I also see her point (even if it's not store policy) that if she returned the two bras, your store would be out the sale of two bras, instead of the one that she removed the strap from to make hers usable. I bought a bookshelf once that it turned out was missing one of the shelves. As I already had the thing mostly together, the store clerk gave me a shelf out of another package, and said he would return the other one to the manufacturer as defective.. I don't see that this situation is much different.

I also think that you should have verified with your manager whether she did or did not okay the woman taking the strap, before scolding her about honesty. I think if I were the manager, after the woman explained the situation and I realized I couldn't have gotten her a replacement bra in that style, I'd have let her take the strap. I don't think you can assume she was willing to steal it.. obviously she wasn't if she asked you about it, then again after she said that your manager okayed it. Actually, her approaching you again makes me think that it's more likely your manager DID eventually okay it, because really, that would be easy for you to verify.

I think that if it is possible to order new straps, you or coworker should have offered that as an option, and ordered them for her. It's not her fault that your merchandise was defective, after all.

I'm going to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and say she probably would have ordered more if she could have.  Yes, I understand why the customer was upset, but it was very obvious that the people in the store could not rectify it in a way she found suitable.  She needed to take it up with corporate.  The manager and the OP have to follow policy.  If the manager had truly told the woman it was okay, why would the woman stop and tell the OP about it?  She could have just walked out of the store and be done with it with no more interaction.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Danismom

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2012, 12:23:14 PM »
I think the manager should have handled the transaction if indeed she said it was okay.  If the manager didn't confer with the OP, then the OP was completely right in her actions.  Honestly, if the manager wanted to make things right, she should have just offered the customer a pack of bra straps at no charge or reduced charge.

AmyBird85

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2012, 04:05:56 PM »
Quote
I also think that you should have verified with your manager whether she did or did not okay the woman taking the strap, before scolding her about honesty. I think if I were the manager, after the woman explained the situation and I realized I couldn't have gotten her a replacement bra in that style, I'd have let her take the strap. I don't think you can assume she was willing to steal it.. obviously she wasn't if she asked you about it, then again after she said that your manager okayed it. Actually, her approaching you again makes me think that it's more likely your manager DID eventually okay it, because really, that would be easy for you to verify.

I wouldn't say I "scolded" her, I did not use a nasty or abrupt tone, I spoke in a very calm, steady manner. I am positive that if what the woman said was true that my manager would have told me she gave her the okay to take a strap, which is why I believe that she was not telling the truth (referring to FlyingBaconMouse's comment). Besides, my manager reiterated what I had said, and it is indeed against the store's policy to simply remove part of a garment to fix another. Why would she then suddenly change her mind? Doesn't quite ring true.

Quote
I'm going to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and say she probably would have ordered more if she could have.  Yes, I understand why the customer was upset, but it was very obvious that the people in the store could not rectify it in a way she found suitable.  She needed to take it up with corporate.  The manager and the OP have to follow policy.  If the manager had truly told the woman it was okay, why would the woman stop and tell the OP about it?  She could have just walked out of the store and be done with it with no more interaction.

I went through every possible option with the customer. The style of bra was a basic design, plain multiway, one black, one white. We sell that type of bra all the time, but when the seasons change they'd re-launch the same bra but might make a slight design alteration, say, adding a little bow or something. The only difference would be the price, she bought a sale bra and I could only offer full-price. Saying that, I did offer to telephone the Directory and see if they could locate the same bra (or replacement straps) and send it to her local store or home address if she preferred (this would have been free of charge seeing as it was faulty)
Apart from that, there was not much else that the manager or myself could do. I certainly didn't fancy getting into trouble over a bra strap!

O'Dell

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 09:13:47 PM »
So basically she said "I'm an honest person so it's okay if I steal!" super-sweet icky smile? Yuck. And I know what you mean with that sickly-sweet smile. When I worked in retail, that was the surest way for a customer to ensure that I didn't go out of my way to help them. I wouldn't be rude and I would do what I was trained to do but no more than that. Reasonable people, even angry people, I'd work hard to make them happy if at all possible and I really would go out of my way. But the manipulative leading statement and sickly sweet smile...no way.
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artk2002

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2012, 10:13:11 PM »
My rule of thumb is that if someone feels the need to tell me that they're honest, they probably aren't.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Ceallach

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 10:19:43 PM »
My rule of thumb is that if someone feels the need to tell me that they're honest, they probably aren't.

I Concur.

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BeagleMommy

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2012, 12:44:44 PM »
Something tells me that if the OP had let the customer's comment that "your manager said it was okay" slide and then the customer was stopped by store security the OP would have been blamed.  The customer would have said "Well, I told that woman at the till (OP) that I was doing it and she said it was okay.".

AmyBird85

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Re: I'm an honest person, but....
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2012, 05:09:00 PM »
Quote
Something tells me that if the OP had let the customer's comment that "your manager said it was okay" slide and then the customer was stopped by store security the OP would have been blamed.  The customer would have said "Well, I told that woman at the till (OP) that I was doing it and she said it was okay.".

This is why I really didn't want to risk it- I value my job too much for that! Such a small thing that could have created a big fuss. Totally not worth the risk.