Jane Not Following Her Plain Advice

| Manchester, England, UK | Employees, Extra Stupid, Ignoring & Inattentive

(I am shopping quite late at night in a large local 24-hour superstore that’s half a mile from my house. I find it’s better to go later because I miss the rush, plus there are no queues at the tills and it’s just all-round less stressful. I’m partly disabled and I don’t walk very well, so any reason to reduce stress is a valid one for me. On this occasion, I scan all my shopping through the self-checkout (the only ones open after 9 pm) only to realise I’ve forgotten my debit card. The trolleys (carts) are usually locked up in trolley bays, and either a £1 coin or trolley token will unlock one of them; I used a £1 coin that night.)

Me: *in a panic, totally embarrassed, to self-checkout assistant* “Oh, I’m so sorry, and I do feel so stupid, but I forgot my card. I’m going to have to go home for it and come back to pay, if that’s okay?”

Assistant: “No problem; you can leave your shopping trolley over there–” *points at an unused till area* “–until you come back.”

Me: “Thank you so much! I might be twenty minutes or so because I have to walk home and back and I don’t walk very well. Will my shopping be okay until then? It won’t be in the way?”

Assistant: *with a smile* “Yes, that’s no problem at all. We’ll wait for you; don’t rush.”

(I look at the clock; it’s 9:45 pm. I walk home as fast as I can, grab my debit card, and make my way back. I reach the self-checkout area again, completely out of breath, at 10:05 pm, to find a different member of staff standing there, and no trolley of shopping anywhere in sight.)

Me: *to New Assistant* “Excuse me, but do you know where my shopping went to? I had to nip home for my bank card.”

New Assistant: “No, sorry, I haven’t seen one, and I’ve been here for ten minutes.”

Me: “But the other assistant told me she’d leave my shopping over there for me.” *points in the area I’d left my trolley*

New Assistant: “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.”

(I’m furious now. Not only do I have to do my shopping again, and it’s a big store, but that missing trolley also had my £1 in it and I don’t have another. I grab a basket and start shopping again. Just as I start down the first aisle, however, I notice the first assistant putting something back on the shelf. Sure enough, it’s something I’d chosen earlier.)

Me: *to assistant* “Excuse me? Excuse me! I’ll have that, please.”

Assistant: *with a lovely big smile* “Oh, hello again!”

Me: “Why did you put away my shopping when you knew I was coming back? And when you said you wouldn’t?”

Assistant: “Well, store policy is to put away items that have been there for more than half an hour.”

Me: “I got back in 20 minutes and my stuff was already gone. Why did you do that when you said you wouldn’t?”

Assistant: “The manager told me to. We didn’t think you’d come back.”

Me: “Did you explain to the manager what the stuff was doing there? And about my disabilities?”

Assistant: “Yes.”

Me: “And?”

Assistant: “I still had to put it back. I’m sorry. I didn’t think you’d come back!”

Me: “Okay, who’s the manager?”

Assistant: “I am.”

Me: “…I beg your pardon?”

Assistant: “I am.”

Me: “So, let me get this straight. At 9:45 pm you tell me it’s okay to leave my shopping so I can go home for my card and not to rush, despite knowing there’s a 30-minute limit on that. Then, you totally ignore said limit and put it all back after 15 minutes. But before you do so, you direct a question to yourself about my shopping, and explain to yourself about why my shopping’s there, and you tell yourself it makes no difference, that the shopping has to be re-shelved anyway, even before the time limit’s up? Is that about right?”

Assistant-Who-Happens-To-Be-The-Manager: “Yes… I didn’t think you’d come back!”

(I check her name badge, that only has her first name on it (let’s call her Jane) and, sure enough, it says “Manager” underneath.)

Me: “I’d like a Feedback Form please.”

(She walks towards Customer Service and gets me a form, which I start to fill in right then and there. The customer service clerk is behind the counter.)

Me: *to Manager Jane* “What’s your name?”

Manager Jane: “Sue.”

(I hear the customer service staff member gasp.)

Me: “So why does your badge say you’re called Jane?”

(The manager’s face is growing bright red.)

Me: *to customer service clerk* “What’s her full name, please?”

(She tells me, so I write it down on the form. After I’ve finished writing out my ‘feedback’, including the part about giving me a false name, I read it back to them both and ask:)

Me: “Did I miss anything out?”

(Both of them shake their heads, and the poor customer service clerk looks extremely miserable.)

Manager Jane: *to me* “Er. Um. If you like, I’ll put that in our Feedback Box for you.”

Me: *laughing* “Oh, yes, I’m absolutely sure you will, ‘Sue.’ Is that Feedback Box dustbin-shaped, by any chance?”

(Manager Jane winces with embarrassment.)

Me: “So, where’s my £1 out of the trolley lock?”

Manager Jane: “Your £1?”

Me: “Yes. You took my trolley back to the trolley stand, I’m assuming? Where’s my £1?”

(She gives me the £1 out of her pocket, and I walk off to finish my second go at shopping. When I get back to the self-checkout and start scanning my items, Manager Jane comes over to me.)

Manager Jane: “Hello! I just thought you’d like to know the till you used earlier still has your sub-total on it, so you could just go there and pay if you like.” *she’s beaming at me as if that idea makes everything better*

Me: “So, not only did you not think I’d come back, only half way through my time limit that I didn’t know about, you decided to leave my sub-total on the till in case I came back? Do you know how much sense you aren’t making? At all?”

Manager Jane: “I… er…”

Me: “Look, just leave me alone. I’ve started scanning already, and I wouldn’t use that other sub-total now anyway, in case I forgot something that I had before. Just go away and leave me alone.”

(When I got home, I updated the Feedback Form, plus I emailed the head office. When I next went to that store, Manager Jane’s badge read, “Assistant.”)

Security Has A Lot Of Baggage About Baggage

| Devon, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Employees

(My husband and I, who are in our early 20s, are quickly going to our nearest supermarket for a few essentials, something we do fairly often as the supermarket is only a ten minute walk away so it’s quite convenient. Just as we’re about to walk in, a security guard appears at the door.)

Security Guard: “Sorry, you can’t come in.”

Me: *confused* “Sorry, why not?” *checks watch* “You’re not closing for another two hours.”

Security Guard: *points at my husband’s backpack* “He’s got a bag; you can’t come in with your own bag.”

Me: “I have a bag, too.” *I gesture to my handbag* “It’s how I carry my purse, so I can pay for the shopping I’m about to do. My husband carries his things in his bag, and we actually put a lot of our shopping in his bag, so we’re not using plastic carrier bags. It’s never been a problem here, or in other shops.”

Security Guard: “You can’t come in if you have a bag with you.”

(At this point I notice other shoppers inside with their own bags, and I can’t be bothered to continue with this security guard.)

Me: “You know what? That’s fine. I’d rather shop somewhere where I’m not pre-judged before I even set foot inside.”

(We shopped elsewhere from then on, and I never heard anything from anyone I knew about not being allowed into a shop with your own bag.)

Extra Closed-Minded Management

| NJ, USA | Bosses & Owners

(It is about nine pm on Black Friday. Realizing I am going to need some things for the morning I take a spin around to the big chain supermarket a couple blocks from my house. When I get there, the lot is near-empty and both sets of entry doors are locked, but all the lights are on in the store. Considering the entire front wall is a row of windows, I clearly saw a couple dozen people meandering around still shopping, workers at the register, etc. A little confused, I get out my cell phone and call them up, knowing it’s answered by the Customer Service desk which I can see from the entryway.)

Customer Service: “Hello, thank you for calling [Store]. How may I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, I was wondering what time you were open till tonight?”

Customer Service: “We’ll be open for about another hour, sir.”

Me: “Really? Because I’m standing at your entrance and both sets of doors are locked.”

(The lady did a double-take to where I was standing, a big smile on as I waved at her. I hear her yelp over the phone before dropping it and trotting over to unlock the door, which sets me off laughing.)

Customer Service: “I’m so sorry about that, sir! I don’t know why they were locked!”

Me: “Don’t worry about it. It was probably just a—”

Manager: “[Customer Service]! What are you doing?!”

(We both spin around in shock to see an extremely pissed-off manager storming up.)

Customer Service: “Oh, I was just letting a guest in. Someone locked both sets of doors instead—”

Manager: “I know! I did!”

Me: “Wait, what? You completely locked up?”

Manager: “Of course! We’ve been open since two hours earlier than usual. I’m not staying open just to let a couple stragglers in!”

Me: “Were you specifically here since seven this morning?”

Manager: “Of course not.”

Me: “Then quit your b****in’ and let me go buy some eggs and milk for the morning.”

Manager: “You don’t know what kind of shape this store is in. We’ll be here another two hours just cleaning up!”

(I did eventually get all the way into the store. It was no worse than on any given “slightly busier than normal” day. Needless to say, the next day I called back, talked to the morning manager, and put in a complaint.)

Caught In A Sherry Trifle

| Yorkshire, England, UK | Employees, Lazy/Unhelpful

(I go to the supermarket to get sherry for my mum. There’s a big overhead sign in one of the alcohol aisles saying something like ‘Spirits, Sherry, Liqueur.’ I look up and down the aisle for the sherry, but can’t find it anywhere, and I don’t know what the bottles look like. I stop an assistant on his way past the aisle.)

Me: “Hi, could you help me, please? I’m looking for sherry, but I can’t find where it is on this aisle.”

Assistant: *points at sign*

Me: “I know it’s on this aisle, but I can’t find whereabouts on the shelves it is.”

Assistant: “It’s on this shelf.” *points at shelf in general, with is at least 20ft long*

Me: “Yes, but whereabouts? I’ve been looking on this shelf for several minutes, but I haven’t found it. I can see the whisky, brandy, liqueurs and stuff… but no sherry.”

Assistant: “It’s on the sign. It’s on this aisle. Why do customers always ask me things like this?” *points at sign* “Sherry! Right there. Sherry.”

(I walked off to the end of the aisle and decided to look at every bottle until I found it. Eventually I did, at the other end of the aisle, and there was only a few bottles of it there. I made a mental note of what the sherry bottles look like in case something like this happens again.)

No Point Crying Over Unsold Milk

| Ireland | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Employees

(Sample stands aren’t terribly common where I live, but every few months a major brand will have one for promotional materials. I spot the stand for a rather expensive brand of milk which I don’t buy unless it’s my only option, but having already found the coupons being given out in my trolley I don’t go too close. The stand worker comes up to me when I am very clearly looking at the shop’s own-brand cartons…)

Representative: “Excuse me, would you like some coupons for [amount] off [Brand]?”

Me: *politely, but not making eye contact* “No, thank you.”

Representative: “Okay. Just wanted to save you some money…” *walks back to stand*

(How she thought that passive-aggressive comments would help convince someone looking at milk that was less than half price — and just as good as what she was flogging, without useless additives — is still beyond me…)