Friday, June 24, 2011

I Am Officially The Crazy Customer

I worked in retail my entire life until I had the strokes last year. That is a solid 17 years. High-school, college, career. All in retail. Working with the general public is something I had become well accustomed to. From that vantage point I was poised to observe a motley crew of odd behaviors, with a few true gems thrown in for extra viewing pleasure. Please don't get me wrong here, I loved many aspects of management and makeup artistry and enjoyed thousands of wonderful encounters with truly delightful people through the years. But 6 years in downtown San Francisco beckoned some of the most amazing displays of humanity I ever thought possible. And some of those were my employees! Oh how nasty and vicious women will become over a free gift with purchase! Being pushed in the stomach forcefully by a little old lady right after she told me I should lose weight. A man walking up with a receipt totaling hundreds of dollars, yelling that it should have been a credit, not a charge. Oh you name it, I have seen it. Homeless drenching themselves in a perfume tester or smearing lipstick all over their face. Tourists from every country imaginable, relentlessly negotiating prices in a corporate department store. Folks returning face cream only to discover the jar is empty or full of a different product when we go to damage it out. There is not enough room for all the stories I could tell. People are crazy! Amusing, but crazy! So I found myself in utter shock and horror yesterday when I realized I was that crazy customer.

Shortened logistics: Bought some things at T.J. Maxx. Was charged 2x for an item. My husband notices it on our way out the door and they give us a credit for the overcharged amount. A few days later we decide not to keep this item so I went back to T.J. Maxx to return it. The salesgirl tells me it has already been returned. What? Oh yeah, I remember, we were charged twice. The credit slip is stapled to the original receipt she is holding in her hand. But the clerk tells me they are different sku #'s, the items were the same price, but had different tag numbers. Therefore, what was that item we were actually charged for and where was it? She calls the manager. I am so confused, and it is only increasing by the second. The manager looks up the un-returned item number. It is not the item I am trying to return. So what does your girl over here do? The confusion and pressure is mounting, and I am well aware I look like a scammer, trying to get one over on the system like I had seen done so many times before. So OF COURSE I start to melt down. By brain morphs into a puddle of misfiring neurons and synapses. I get so flustered I am babbling incoherently and I feel that inability-to-problem-solve-in-a-heated-situation problem I have been having lately take over. I have to explain to the manager what is wrong with me, for my reaction was overly intense, and I am losing it over something one would  simply not normally lose it over. I tell her I had strokes last year and don't deal well in stressful situations. My face is trembling and red and I am trying with all my might to hold back tears. I ask her to pull the security footage so they can see I am not running some sort of swindle operation. I am utterly confused and call my husband, trying to get his recollection of the original purchase and why this was happening. I think she starts to feel bad for me at this point because she starts being nice. She jots down the receipt information and tells me she will call me the next day when she has had time to pull the security reel and sort all of this out. She reassures me they will take care of me and I should not be upset. 

I feel like a total moron, not only for all the confusion, but my poor reaction to it as well. I leave in a daze, clutching the item in my hand and not completely sure about what just happened. As I make my way out to the car it slowly starts to dawn on me...was the item in my hand actually paid for? We had bought 2 items with the same price and I am beginning to realize maybe we never should have received that credit, for we were never overcharged in the first place. Did I technically go into that store to return something I did not own, they did? I climb into my car in the 113 degree heat and sob and cry, as I try with all my might to make sense of this. As I am driving away I mentally accept and practically confirm the store owns this item and debate turning around to take it right back to them. For heaven sakes that is the only right thing to do, especially after making such a major fuss! But I am spent, worn out, and want to check tags when I get home to verify this dawning realization is indeed true. It is. Oh my. So I called the manager and told her I will bring the item back this weekend while shamefully hanging my head. And the stress of all this has pushed me into that flare I was teetering on the edge of. And best of all, if I had not gone in to return it, I would have had a free bag I never even knew I did not pay for!

Thanks for joining,


  1. I am soo glad that I am not the only one that goes thru these crazy kind of situations! <3

  2. OMG - you too - so tired I can't even relate similar story. Smiley Face!

  3. That's confusing enough even if you don't live with chronic pain!

    Hope you feel a bit better just now.