I love hearing about the questions that customers ask bookstore employees, especially ones like “I read a book when I was 8, and it has a blue cover with a flower. Do you have that book in stock?” You know, the kind of questions that the phrase *headdesk* was invented for. Sadly, I have found that this phenomenon is not limited to bookstores.
I’ve been working in a video game store for about 10 months now, and over that time I have heard/witnessed some awe-inspiring displays of… shall we say, less-than-intelligent behavior from my customers. Today, I’d like to share some of my favorites with you. (In order to stay with the Penny Story Thursday theme, we’re going to consider these One Cent Comments.)
1. What a Charming Child.
Me: Welcome to [store name redacted]. How can I help you today?
Customer: We’re looking for Wii games.
Me: OK, they’re over here. Any particular game in mind?
Customer: Well, what do you recommend for a boy my son’s age?
Me: Mario is always a best-seller, and there’s a new Mario Galaxy game out now.
Customer’s son (a charming boy about 9): Mario is a f****** f*****.
Customer: So what else do you recommend?
2. I’m Not Tech Support.
Me: *answers phone* Thank you for calling [store name]. How can I help you?
Customer: Yeah, I’m trying to set up my Xbox, and it says there’s not enough… Ns?
Me: That’s a network overload issue. Are you on wireless?
Me: Ok, try resetting the router. That might fix it.
Customer: The router? I don’t think one of those came with the room.
Me: Oh… um, are you at a hotel?
Me: Ok, then you’ll have to call the front desk for help, sir.
Customer: I can’t do that. They don’t know I’m here.
3. Silly Rabbit, Girls Don’t Play Video Games.
Me: *answers phone* Thanks for calling [store name]. How can I help you?
Customer: Yeah, can I speak to someone about Call of Duty: Black Ops?
Me: Are you looking for a price on the game?
Customer: No, I need some help. Is there someone there who has played the game?
Me: I have played the game.
Customer: *long pause* But, you’re a girl, right?
4. Bad Connection.
Me: *answers phone* Thanks for calling [store name]. How can I help you? (You’d think I’d learn to stop answering the phone.)
Customer: Yeah, I was trying to see how much you’d give me for my DS Lite?
Me: Ok, we have to see the system in person before we can give a quote.
Customer: Yeah, but how much is it worth?
Me: That depends a lot on the condition of the system. We have to make sure it turns on, loads games, doesn’t have scratches, that sort of thing.
Customer: Yeah, I want cash for it. How much?
Me: Well, you have to be over 18 to get cash, and we still would have to see the system in person before I could give you a value.
Customer: I’ll send my momma. (No joke- the kid said “momma”.) Ok, how much would you give me for Call of Duty?
Me: I’d have to see the game in person too. Trade-in values are all about the condition of the game or the system.
Customer: Have you heard of the game?
Me: *patience wearing very thin* Yes, I have heard of Call of Duty.
Customer: Ok, how much for it then?
Me: I. Have. To. See. The. Game. First.
Customer: Ok, fine. I’ll call back later and talk to someone else.
5. Burning Down The House.
Me: *Answers phone* (we all know where this is going.)
Customer: Yeah, I just bought a Wii game there and it doesn’t work.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that. If you bring it back with your receipt, we’ll be glad to replace it.
Customer: Here’s the thing. I’ve bought pre-owned games from you in the past, and they never work.
Me: I’m very sorry to hear that.
Customer: *cuts me off* Yeah. So, I’m going to bring this game back and you’re going to replace it. And if I get home and it doesn’t work, I’m going to burn your house down.
Me: *hangs up, turns to manager* I’m going to go take my break now, ok?
6. In Which I Finally Get To Use A Sweet Home Alabama Line.
Customer: *storms in, slams game on the counter* I bought this here last Saturday and it doesn’t work.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that. I can replace it for you. Do you have your receipt?
Customer: *stares coldly* No.
Me: That’s ok. Do you have a membership card with us?
Customer: *still seething* No.
Me: Oh. Well, I can’t return the game without a receipt or a membership card. Would you like to tra-
Customer: *slams hands on counter and leans into my face* Are you s****** me?
Me: You know, I’ve never understood that phrase, but no, I am not s****** you.
Customer: *grabs game, storms out of store* I’m never coming back here again!
My manager: We’re going to really miss having him around.
7. Just Pull A Bit Harder.
Customer (note- a fully-grown man): *walks up to counter, hands me a Wii remote box, still hanging on the magnetic locked display rack.*
Me: Um, what happened?
Customer: *shrugs* I couldn’t get it off the rack.
Me: *glances across the store at the new large hole in the wall* Oh, ok. *Grabs magnet, unlocks rack*
Customer: Oh, so that’s how those work.
8. The Kinect Is Not For Everyone.
Customer: Can I get the controller for the Xbox? I have my Driver’s License. (An ID is required for getting the display controller.)
Me: Oh, we have the Kinect on today. You don’t need the controller.
Customer: No, but I want to play the golf game you have on today.
Me: Yes, it’s a Kinect game. You just stand in front of the TV and swing like you really had a golf club in your hands.
Customer: *look of deep distrust* Can I just get the controller, please?
Me: I promise you, you don’t need the controller. Just stand on the mat in front of the TV and wave your hand.
Customer: *stares* Whatever. *walks away*
Me: I swear, I’m not messing with you!
9. We’re Not Babysitters.
Customer: *opens door, shoves child inside* Stay here. I’ll be back in an hour. *leaves*
10. We’re Still Not Babysitters, Unless You’re Willing To Pay.
Customer: *opens door, shoves child inside. Looks around and spies employees at the counter* Hello! I’m just going to be a few doors down, ok? I’ll be back in twenty minutes!
Coworker: That’s fine. Childcare is $20 an hour.
Customer: *stern look at child* Don’t you break nothing while I’m gone. *leaves*
(Sadly, the child immediately went after his mom, and my coworker and I never got our $20.)
Finally we have my all-time favorite customer interaction. It’s been implied so many times before, but last week I finally had a customer come right out and say it.
11. You’ll End Up Like Those People
Child: *brings his mother two video games*
Child’s mother: No, you get one.
Child: But I just traded in one game.
Mother: Yes, and you’re only allowed to have two video games at a time.
Child: C’mon, mom, please?
Mother: No! Too many video games will rot your brain, and you’ll end up working here like those people. *points to me and my coworker.*
Me: *represses urge to smack her with my Master’s degree* (also, I should add that half the store has Master’s degrees, and the rest are either in college or hold Bachelor’s degrees. We’re also all gainfully employed. I can totally understand why someone wouldn’t want their child to end up like us.)
And there you have it. That is the kind of stuff I deal with for six to eight hours, two to three times a week. Don’t get me wrong- I do really enjoy my job. I get paid to talk about video games, and it gets me out of the house and among people two to three times a week. But sometimes, I just have to wonder if common sense is really so common after all.
For those of you who have shared the horror of working in retail, what are your favorite customer interactions? Leave me a comment and we can commiserate together. Also, if enough people like this post, next week I’ll tell you about the time I worked at a skating ring and a customer threatened me with a knife over the price of a Slushie.