We’ve probably all had a customer threaten to call their attorney when they don’t get what they want and occasionally they threaten to call the police as well. For some reason they think this will intimidate us into giving them their refund or whatever they’re unreasonably expecting, but it has the opposite effect as we would be HAPPY if the police came and investigated the customer.
This story is from someone who had a customer who followed through, called the cops and got themselves arrested. Classic.
I’ve been working in a grocery/clothing/general merchandise retailer for about four years. Mostly I work up at the customer service desk, which entails printing up money orders, processing wire transfers, selling all the tobacco products, cashing out lottery, and primarily, returns and exchanges.
A year or so ago, during a slower part of the day, a man (probably in his mid-late 50’s) comes up to me at the desk with an xbox 360 to return. He said that he bought it a couple weeks prior (which was true, as he had his receipt still and I checked the date) for his son who decided that he wanted a PS3 instead. He said that they already purchased a PS3 somewhere else, and he just needed to return the xbox.
Unfortunately, even with a receipt, gaming consoles (in addition to all computer software and hardware, CDs, DVDs, video games, etc) are non-refundable once they’ve been opened. I’ve always thought that this policy was completely reasonable, especially since my store only deals in brand new products, not used. And we can’t ship it back to the manufacturer unless there is some kind of manufacturer’s defect, which in this case, there was not.
I calmly explained to him that once a console has been opened, we can do nothing but exchange it for an identical product (and that’s only in the case of a defect). He scowls at me and demands a manager.
Fine, AWESOME. I can see where this is going, and I don’t get paid enough to deal with the brewing storm of attitude. So I call up the electronics manager, and he comes over to talk to the customer.
The customer explains that he doesn’t want the xbox anymore, and wants his money back.In return, the electronics manager disclosed our return policy basically verbatim for what I said.
He demands a different manager, this time much, MUCH louder.
Wow, okay. So I give my direct manager a call and ask her to come over. She comes over, gets the spiel from the customer about how he wants his goddamn money back, and how we’re stealing from him by not giving him a refund.
She asks the electronics manager (who is still standing up here) what our policy is, he informs her, she looks at the customer and says something like, “Sorry, this is our policy. If there’s anything else we can do for you, please just ask hostile __17.”
The man explodes. Yelling and screaming about how he doesn’t want this fucking thing, and it’s ours and we have to take it back. There was some more screaming about how we’re dirty thieves and we’re stealing money from him, and how it’s illegal. Lots of yelling.
I called the store director. The boss’s boss’s boss. HE gets paid enough to deal with this bullshit.
The director (who is actually a completely rational cool dude) comes up and (after patiently listening to this guy’s ranting for about 10 minutes) gives him the same answer that he’s gotten from the rest of us. (Don’t you love it when your managers back you up after you’ve said no to an asshole customer?)
This is the last straw for unhappy customer guy. He claims that if we aren’t going to do something for him, he’s calling the police to arrest us all for theft. Yep. Theft.I’m stoked to see if he does, and apparently the managers are too, so they tell him that he is free to call the police if he wants to.
Dude picks up his cellphone, calls his lawyer (or at least claims to), and leaves a message detailing the situation. Apparently his lawyer didn’t have time in the middle of a work day to answer a call from one of her clients.
He makes a second call to the 6 o’clock news. He wants EVERYONE to know how shitty [undisclosed retailer] treats their customers, and screams at us about how we’ll all be out of jobs and that no one will ever shop here again!
It’s a nationwide chain, bro. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be fine, but thanks.
He makes a final call to the police. They were the only ones to answer the fucking phone. Hah. He says that the customer service bitch from [retailer] has stolen hundreds of dollars from him, and is being backed up by all her dumbass managers. He’s screaming at the cops over the phone. (I’m almost surprised that the police didn’t hang up on him, but, I mean, they are the cops. I don’t think they can legally hang up on anyone who’s dialed 911).
It takes the cops about 30 minutes to show up, during which time my managers have gone back to their jobs, and I’m filing away some paperwork, and this crazy dude has plopped himself on the floor in front of my desk (having some kind of sit it or something). Every time another customer starts heading my way, he yells and screams at them, “Don’t shop here!! They steal your money! Bunch of fucking thieves!!!” I’m fine with this. It’s hilarious, he looks like a bridge troll and I have paperwork to catch up on.
Eventually the police show up and the dude brings them over to me and has the most smug look on his face. It won’t last.He declares to the nice officers that I took his money and refused to give it back, which obviously puzzles them, as I’m a fucking employee and covered by like five cameras at all times.
I clarify that I didn’t take anything from him. He bought an xbox a couple weeks back, opened it up and played it, then wanted to return it. I also explained our return policy to them. I showed them the copy of this policy which was hanging by my desk, by the desk that the xbox was purched at, on our website, and on HIS receipt.
I can tell that the poor cops are just dreading dealing with this guy, but they give him an ultimatum.
He can either:
* Not get a refund from us and go home.
* Not get a refund and go to jail.
Angry customer: “I’D RATHER GO TO JAIL THEN LET THESE FUCKERS WIN! I’M NOT LEAVING WITHOUT MY MONEY!!!!!”I don’t think he was getting it. So the cops handcuff him and start heading towards the door, when I realize that his xbox is still sitting on the counter. I grab it and run after them.
Me: “Wait, sir! You left your merchendise at the counter.”
One of the cops takes it from me.
Me: “Have a wonderful day, sir! Thank you for shopping at [retailer]!”
I’m pretty sure he would have strangled me if he hadn’t been handcuffed. Haha.
Oh, and while they were cuffing him, he was like, “Wait! I have a bad back, and a bad neck, and bad knees, and you’re going to pull one of my muscles and….”
JUST TAKE YOUR PUNISHMENT, MAN. GAH.