Event vendor stories (2): Customer asks me to open on Public Holiday



(I’m the store manager to a fairly large nationwide pool supply company. It was Independence day.  I’m the only employee working due to labor cut backs so I’ve stopped answering the phones with our usual long greetings. Instead I’m answering with the company name, my name, and our hours, since that seems to be all anyone is calling to ask for. The phone rings while I’m ringing out a customer.)

Me:: “Thank you for calling [Store]. This is [My Name]. We are open until four today.”

Customer:: “Are you open today?”

Me:: “Yes, ma’am. We are open until four.”

Customer: “Oh, my goodness! How can they make you work on the Independence day? That's so unpatriotic!”

Me: “I don’t mind. We get to close early today.”

Customer: “What time do you close?”

Me: *while trying hard not to roll my eyes so the other customer doesn’t witness my irritation* “We close at four.”

Customer: “Well, your website says you close at eight!”

Me: “That’s our regular time, ma’am. Today we close at four.”

Customer: “Well, that’s just not going to work. Can you stay open an extra hour for me? Don’t you have stuff to do around there after close? You can take your time and I’ll be there around five.”

Me: “No, ma’am. I can’t stay open until five. We close at four.”

Customer: “Well, that is not going to work for me. I’ll be there at five.”

(She hangs up before I could tell her I won’t stay. Ten minutes before four I have three customers walk in so I end up getting stuck until 4:30 pm helping them and I don’t get to my car until almost five pm. As I’m putting my purse in the car an older woman approaches me and I recognize her voice as the lady from the phone earlier.)

Customer: “Excuse me. I was hoping you could help me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, the store is closed. I could maybe answer some questions?”

Customer: “No, I need some pool shock. You can’t just go back in and ring me out for a box? I’ll pay cash.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but the alarms are set and the cash is in the safe. I can’t go back in until tomorrow morning.”

Customer: “That’s just not right. I told you I wouldn’t be here until five! I know you helped other people after four! I saw you when I drove passed to go to the grocery store!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you would have come in at that point, before the doors were locked, I could have helped you, but since you went to the grocery store first my hands are tied.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! [Competitor] would help me!”

Me: “I think they closed at five today. You can try to see if they will still help you.”

Customer: “I can’t believe how selfish you are! I’m going to call your boss and let him know what you’re doing!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. The corporate number for complaints is [number]. Have a great night.”

(The customer stormed off complaining as I got in my car. Three days later my district manager called and asked if I had kicked an old woman out of my store before close on the fourth. I explained the situation and my company, staying true to who they are, gave the customer a N2000 gift card).

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