So I'm a long time lurker here on 'temp but occasionally, just occasionally I will engage with the community with a pertinent post or two. Last night was one of these nights when I chimed in on Is it racist to say "black person"? Where I recounted a couple of experiences from my days in retail.
So I just got thinking about old times and things that happened over the course of my retail working life and thought that maybe, just maybe a couple of 'tempers would get a kick out of hearing some stories.
Time for a bit of context. I worked for Argos. For those of you not familiar with Argos they are a catalog shop, so rather than having a huge store with all the items on shelves, you just have a big book with everything in ( or as it became know - the laminated book of dreams ) at several stations around the store and find want you want right down the 7 digit code ( XXX-XXXX ) check its in stock with the stock checkers ( later they introduced a tablet at every station where you could browse and check the stock at the same time ) write down the code and had it to a cashier who would promptly tell you the item is out of stock because you didn't check the bloody right item and send you back to do it again. Assuming you did get it right you'd pay for the item, given a number and told to wait while another member of staff got your item and sent to out to the shop floor.
As simple system that works pretty well, unless it's the christmas period then it all goes to hell and it's a free for all.
Above are the slips you write down your codes on. As you can see filling one of these slips out isn't rocket science. Right at the top you have a place for reservation numbers ( we will leave these for another day ) and then the regular cat. codes. Put the number in the box, job a goodun. Nope I have seen these filled out in some funky ways, like there was some secret esoteric way to put the number in that make the item always be in stock numbers written vertically down the page, vertically up the page, diagonally round the edge, so illegible you would swear it was an alien language. I've seen these things written in crayon, eyeliner and once in what i hope wasn't blood. I mean I really can't criticize other people's handwriting, mine is like a spider that's fallen in ink then found bouncing on a trampoline in the middle of an earthquake, but sweet lord jesus people know how to take it to extremes.
So the town I worked in was a University town, so every september or there about we would get an influx of students. These would rank in the top 5 of annoying customers types. They never used the stock checkers at all so they would come up to you with hand fulls of the slips, full of items that were out of stock because everyone else in the town were after. Then you've managed to get them the 50 items they want, you put the order through, the items come down the magic lifts from Narnia annnnnnd they if we can deliver them. Back when I worked there you couldn't do deliveries direct from the store. So you ended up refunding the order, starting again for home delivery order and 99% are out of stock at the warehouse because ..... every other student in the country is trying the same thing, but then a miracle happens and everything is instock at the warehouse... then you have to explain to them that it will be dropped at the uni security because their simply isn't access for the lorries. So then in either they will leave with nothing, having just wasted a good 20 minutes of my time or wanting to take the stuff that they had sent down the first time ... which have already been returned to stock and sold to someone else and they don't really understand why. But again if by some miracle the items are still there they will turn to you and say " Can you call me a taxi?". No, i cannot call you a taxi. You have a phone in your hand right there that you have been playing flappy bird on for the last 20 minutes and i have other people to serve.
Then you have returns. When I say returns, returns are fine. Argos has a 30 money back guarantee, so as long as the item is unused, in it's original undamaged packaging we'll take it back. Unless it's excluded, which you will be informed of in the catalog and when you pay for it ( Woe betide you if you get caught not reading out one of the statements out on a mystery shop ). Exclusions are usually for good reasons like personal hygiene products, video games ( we did trade ins at one point what a effin nightmare that was ) anything with consumables. You would always get chancers. You would have people bring back hair clippers and razors covered in hair, Xboxes with the wrong serial numbers, Tv's with the wrong serial number and one of the best ones i came across a copy of call of duty ( cant remember which one ) opened and inside a dvd with a printed label and underneath the label you could just make the words "The Matrix" and now i have this guy swearing that, that's how he received it. So i check the receipt, it was bought at my store and just for my sanity I check to see if we have ever had any returns for the game that a colleague may not have check properly and we hadn't so this guy was 100% a billy bullshitter. I explain that I cannot take it back and when those words leave my mouth the 20 minutes of abuse start. How I'm gonna lose my job, how he is gonna write to head office. Blah blah blah blah. I gladly supply him with our head offices contact details and send him on his way never to be heard from again.
Sorry this has been a little more ranty than actual tales from the book of laminated dreams but if you want some actual tales then you'll have to wait till next time
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