Retail Rant #3: Morons and Misconceptions

I’m fascinated with misinformation. Specifically, I’m fascinated with the concept of misinformation spread over large groups of people. I want to know how it is that people start believe that glass is really a slow moving liquid, or how everyone simultaneous decided to adopt the same set of incorrect rules for the game of Monopoly?

But some misconceptions are quite literally the bane of my existence. Wait, maybe not literally. What exactly is a “bane” anyway? Whatever.

I’m talking about misconceptions I run up against every day in my wonderful retail job. They’ve been frustrating more for years and today I’m gonna dump all that frustration out into your eager upturned mouths.

Thus follows, the three worst misconceptions I’ve seen in retail.

1. A Bag Constitutes a Proof of Purchase

Here’s the scenario. A customer comes up to the checkout with a pack of fishing hooks. I ring the customer up, he gives me the money, all seems right with the world. Until I ask this one vital question: “Do you want those in a bag?”

Now before we proceed, let me make one thing perfectly clear. We’re talking about a pack of five fishing hooks.  This is not a bulky item. This is not an expensive item. There is no reason why you should need a bag for this one single tiny item.

But invariably the customer will answer back with this phrase: “Yeah, you better. I don’t want to get caught going out the door.”

I repeat. That. Exact. Phrase.

Here is what I would like to say to everyone who uses that phrase: Are you a moron? Are you insane? ‘Get caught going out the door’? Get caught doing what exactly? Leaving with the item that you paid for? Good God, no, not that! What if your neighbor saw? What if your kids found out? Can you imagine the damage to your good name if someone saw you leaving with YOUR OWN PROPERTY THAT YOU JUST PAID FOR NOT MORE THAN TEN SECONDS AGO!? The HORROR. Put the item in your pocket and walk away. If you get tackled by the people greeter with no legs, all you’ll have to do is disentangle yourself and show him your receipt. He’ll let you leave. Really. It’s that easy.

2. Any Open Box Contains a Defective Item

I tweeted this one a few nights ago, but it bears repeating. A woman came into my story to buy a deep freezer. So I went to the back and got a cart to carry it out on (I could carry it across my shoulders, but I don’t like to show off). When I got back with the cart she was looking at the deep freezers with a concerned expression on her face.

“I think this one has been opened,” she said, pointing to one of them. “It has some tape where someone closed it back up.”

“Well, we can get the other one if you prefer.”

“I think that one has been opened too.”

“Ma’am these are the only two freezers we have in this size. But I’m confident that they haven’t been damaged.”

“Can you open the box and check?”

She wasn’t joking. I checked.

And if frustrated me to no end. Because, come on, we’re talking about a deep freezer. Whether is has been opened before is completely immaterial. You’re going to open it when you get home and somehow, some way that deep freezer will survive the incredible stress of being taken all the way out of the box.

Trust me on this one. I know some deep freezers. They’re tough.

3. The Customer is Always Right

People say this to me on a regular basis and it has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. The customer is not always right.

When a customer comes up to me and tells me, “I’m looking for a box of frangible ammo. I know you have it, because my cousin came in here and bought some about a week ago,” that customer is wrong. Provably so.

When a customer comes up to me and tells me that President Obama wants to put a four hundred percent sales tax on all ammunition, that customer (and his six hundred friends who came up to me and said the exact same thing, even though the NRA clearly and completely debunked that rumor on their website) is wrong.

And when a customer tells me that Walmart’s competitive ad match policy applies to non-advertised prices on ammunition at other Walmarts, that person’s name is Captain Ron and he should be aware that I will fight him tooth and claw, bone and marrow, soul and spirit, until Doomsday if need be. The management may override my decision a hundred times, but when time number 101 rolls around, know that I will still oppose him even then.

Also, his hair is stupid.

That is all.

For now.

4 responses to “Retail Rant #3: Morons and Misconceptions

  1. Thanks for clearing up that solid-glass-as-liquid thing. I’d heard that so many times I believed it. I mean, quarks and quantumly entangled states exist, right? So a solid as a liquid doesn’t seem so far-fetched . .

  2. Gotta love people sometimes. I was a waitress for awhile. That showed me a very interesting side of humanity. I won’t even go into my years working in a hospital. 😀

  3. I swear…I swear…I swear…this is the last comment I will flood onto your blog posts today.

    I share your pain. I do not work in retail, nor have I ever been a waitress. Being the clutz that I am, that is a good thing. So, I do not have experience with the consumer public. Instead, I work with corporate clients and in some ways, they are scarier than consumers. They have their own language, so in addition to trying to comprehend the moronic misconception, you have to do so in a different tongue. It is called “corporate speak” and when combined with “marketing speak” takes you to a whole other universe.

    My kingdom for a consumer.

  4. A tasty rant 🙂

    (yah-but – more than once I’ve been burned by the “open box” thing – especially at home depot – where an open box means someone has pilfered some random but vitally important part from said box and I won’t find out until 11 pm when I’m still fixing the plumbing on the toilet..)

    Just saying..

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