Here’s a conversation I had with an asshole—I mean customer yesterday, at work.
SCENE: At the cash register. I was finishing a transaction with a woman who could not even muster up a response to my friendly greet. Apparently, reciting the words, “I’m good” or “I feel like shit” takes a lot of work when asked, “How are you today?” When people ignore me, after I make a friendly gesture, I want to say, “Look lady/sir, it’s not my choice to say hello to you. I can tell by your demeanor that you’ve got a stick up your ass and that, whatever grief the world has set upon you today, you plan to take it out on me. Believe it or not, I’m required to say “hello” to you and ask you about your day, the day that I don’t give two shits about, because there is this slight possibility you may be a “secret shopper” and god forbid I receive a “no on greet”, on the shop. Failing a shop is worse than being a worthless employee. Hard work is actually secondary at my job. As long as you kiss ass you’re on your way to retail success.
A man stood behind the pleasant woman.
Asshole: Those are on sale (He pointed to his fruit punch and orange Gatorades.)
Me: (I tried to ignore him because he was being rude by not waiting his turn). Okay
Woman: (She looked at me perplexed. She was unable to think sensibly.)
Me: (I wondered: 1. Is she a moron who can’t figure out which way to slide her debit card, 2. Is she annoyed by the asshole behind her, who keeps rambling on about Gatorade?, or 3. Is she trying to figure out if I’m a boy or a girl?)
Asshole: They say 10 for 10. They’re a dollar each. Does it matter if they’re different ones? Is this one (he held up the orange flavor) the same? Is it also 10 for $10?
Me: I don’t know. I’ll scan it and find out in just a moment.
Asshole: (He staired at me blankly. He was shocked I didn’t know the price.)
Me: I don’t know. I don’t know the price off the top of my head.
SIDENOTE: Do people actually expect us to memorize the price of every item in the store? Do they know how many items are on each shelf? There are like, 7 or 8 aisles, not counting departments. And I’m supposed to know every price? Do they know every week we have price changes? Which, by the way, while I’m on the topic of price changes, let me inform you on something. When you go into a store, and don’t see a price tag for an item, please don’t assume the employees are ganging up against you, deliberately taking the tag off the shelf because the item is so astronomically overpriced we’re just afraid to inform you of the real price because we’re worried you’ll leave and never come back again, or because it’s apart of our sleazy scheme to try and trick you into buying something you can’t afford. Why, as an employee of a greedy corporation, would I care to deceive customers about the price of a product? I don’t even care if you shop at my place of work. I don’t even shop there. If a tag is missing it’s because the scan coordinator never got around to hanging up a new tag because they have a million items to get to in the course of 8 hours. Or, maybe the tag just fell off the shelf.
SCENE: The woman left. The asshole stepped up.
Asshole: Do those ring up as 10 for 10?
Me: (I wanted to say: Give me just one damn minute to scan it and we’ll find out together.)
Asshole: I’ll go back and switch it if the orange one isn’t 10 for 10.
Me: (I scanned the fruit punch flavored Gatorade. It rung up as $1.69.) That one isn’t on sale.
Asshole: Oh, that one is the fruit punch. I’ll go back and get another cherry. The cherry is 10 for $10. It says so on the tag. It says it.
Me: (I scanned the cherry flavored Gatorade.) That one isn’t on sale either. It’s also $1.69. (I wasn’t surprised.)
Asshole: (He was visibly distressed). The sign said 10 for 10. (His voice raised) That’s supposed to be one dollar!
I was prepared for his accusations about false advertising, the “computer” (register) “ringing it up wrong”, or some other bogus bullshit indictment that he couldn’t back up with valid support.
Clearly, at this point, it’s already my fault. I think the growing line of people behind him blamed me too, because you know, the customer is always right and all that horse shit. Even though I work at the store and…well—whatever, they’re always right. They’re geniuses. What do I know?
Me: (I was exhausted and already over it) I’ll be right back. I’m gonna go check the price.
Asshole: (He babbled on some more about 10 for 10 and Gatorade. I couldn’t make out his words. He started to trail off. He began to shift his body with discomfort. Soon he’d express his rage and fury with long, exaggerated sighs and immature insults. If there were no consequences of getting kicked out of the store, he probably would have broke some shit. People like him don’t really care about making a scene. I personally would be embarrassed, but they’re so cocky, and sure of themselves they don’t mind being loud, opinionated, and boisterous in front of others. It’s incomprehensible for them to think how silly it is to overact over something as minute as Gatorade. The price difference was 69 cents. 69 cents! Why did it have to turn into a mini non-carbonated sports drink crisis?
I took a jaunt to the juice aisle where I found the Gatorade. In my head, I was hoping he was wrong because I love proving assholes wrong. Yep, there it was, the Gatorade he selected. The tag, which was directly under the product read: $1.69. Exactly what I suspected. A foot to the left were two tags that said 10 for $10. The tags were underneath the Gatorade G2. G2 is the key word here. It’s a different kind of Gatorade and a different size. The Gatorade G2 was not even remotely close to the regular Gatorade. (Sometimes) I can understand when people mistake the price for products when they sit next to each other, but those drinks were far apart. He was either a complete dumb shit or he was trying to scam me.
I grabbed the G2 for proof that I didn’t make it up. I always need something tangible. I know customers. They won’t believe me unless I present them with a visual. 99% of the time they still don’t believe me because they’re stubborn and can’t admit they’re wrong. You wouldn’t believe how much denial people go into when I show them the tag. I take them to the aisle and point. I say, “Look, right here, see it? You want to touch it and make sure it’s real?” They’re still baffled. Their mind is a roller coaster of mixed emotions. I’m sure they’re thinking, “What? I’m wrong? That can’t be! I’m always right. I’m a human being. I’m incapable of fault. I think an extraterrestrial snuck in here and changed the tags. It’s the only solid explanation I’m able to form. I’m just…I’m just flabbergasted. If Robert Stack was still alive I’d submit this paranormal phenomena to Unsolved Mysteries.”
I walked back to the register, but for the sake of the story, pretend I’m skipping with a big swirly lollipop in my hand, wearing pig tales and a little bo-peep dress, happy and blissful in my defeat of the Asshole.
I appeared back to my check stand, hair windblown from the mini jog, and slightly winded because I don’t exercise enough.
Me: (I was confident and in high spirits) The sign for those say $1.69. All of the Gatorades are $1.69. You were looking at the Gatorade G2, which is 10 for $10. (I showed him the G2 like one of Barker’s Beauties, showing off an appliance, on The Price Is Right.)
Asshole: (He was slightly bewildered and exasperated) No, those said 10 for 10. They say so right on the tag, in the back.
Me: No, the tag for the Gatorade says $1.69. The tag that says 10 for $10 is for the Gatorade G2, which is this (I held up the drink again).
Asshole: (He shook his head. I could tell he hated being wrong and was trying so hard to think of some excuse to prove he was right) I saw it on the tag. It said $1.00 each.
Me: No, it doesn’t. Do you want me to take you to the aisle, and show you on the shelf where it says $1.69? They’re not even next to each other. It clearly says $1.69 for these Gatorades (I moved my hand in a circlular motion above the Gatorades that he assured me cost a buck) and these Gatorade G2s are 10 for $10. I’ll go show you if you want, and point out where the price is. The tags are right under the product.
Asshole: (He knew he lost the battle). Take ‘em off. This is ridiculous. (I was surprised he didn’t say, “I’m never shopping here again.” Just because he didn’t know how to act like a civilized adult and accept the fact that he, the customer, was wrong and I, the employee, was right.)
Me: (I voided his Gatorades) The total is $…..
Asshole: (He was pissed off and infuriated) What?! Why didn’t you put the others (Gatorade G2) on there?
Me: Because you didn’t tell me to. Do you want those?
Asshole: Yeah, I want those. If I can’t have the other ones.
Me: Well, you never told me to add them on. You just told me to take off the others.
Asshole: (He walked away from the check stand) I’m gonna pick up my other two.
Me: Make sure you get the right ones. The regular Gatorades aren’t on sale.
I wanted to send the courtesy clerk to spy on him because I didn’t trust him.