There are a number of reasons I remember certain customers. Some, it’s for their vehicles. That nice, classic Mustang convertible with the white leather interior or the vibrant yellow Caddy with the huge chrome rims. Some cars just turn your head and you remember, oh yeah, I’ve seen you before. Some are remembered by repetition. Christ, you come to my store more than I do, and I work here (not complaining for the most part, these folks are usually pretty laid back and decent.) Some you remember by necessity. I have one gentleman that comes in at least once a week on my shift. Gorgeous car, though I couldn’t tell you the make if my life depended on it, one of those classic 70s body styles, pure white and pristine clean every time. Has a nice 12 inch sub in the trunk, well-done visually and great sound. This particular gentleman is handicapped and requires a wheelchair. He brings his own. It sits up front in the passenger seat. He opens the passenger door, pushes it out and unfolds it in one quick, seemingly effortless motion, scoots over, locks the wheels, and climbs in. He then proceeds to wheel over to the nearest cart he sees, grabs it, and drags it along with him. Then he goes shopping, filling the cart with his weekly needs, with no assistance from anyone. He checks out, pays, and heads back to his car. He’s perfectly capable of loading up his trunk, but the first time I saw him, I offered to help. He seemed pleased and even asked if I’m allowed to accept tips (most don’t think about it, they don’t offer, or they insist, no, here, take this…I can’t.) I explained that I cannot and he remembers a day when it wasn’t even asked, you just gave someone a small bit for their time and no one took offense or threatened your job if you accepted such handouts. I’m not looking for handouts, mind you, that’s not what this is all about. From then on, I look for his car and he looks for me. Quick wave and I’m there helping him load his bags in, heavy stuff first, lighter stuff around the sub as not to damage it, but everything in his reach when he gets home. All the while we shoot the shit about this and that. Beautiful weather, music, movies, you name it. It’s cool and one of the few things I look forward to in my job. But sometimes you remember someone for all the wrong reasons.
We’re going to call this person Joe because he’s not worth the effort of thinking up a clever name for him. Joe Nobody. There we go, that’ll do. So one of the managers comes out and hollers that we’ve got a customer at the back that needs help. This is the area you go to when you’re too lazy to put an item together yourself and you pay us to do it. I’m not dissing, when I buy complicated shit from my store, I use the same damn service. I’ve got better shit to do than to sit around and tinker with something I just dropped a significant amount of money into. That’s not why Joe’s such a dickhead, no, it’s just every word and insinuation that comes out of Joe’s mouth.
I get back there and the poor girl who had to ring Joe out looks frazzled. She’s newish, started a couple months ago, and gets to (has to) float between a few departments, so I just assume it’s all the fun involved with that. So I get back there and ask if this is the customer that needs help as I noted another customer with a very large piece of furniture, still in box, disassembled, in a cart heading towards the front of the store. Sure enough, this is the guy, not the one who lifted that heavy ass thing alone and took care of his own business. But to each their own, right?
Joe pipes up. “Yeah, that’s me.” His woman (I only state his woman because I don’t know if it’s his wife, girlfriend, fiance, mistress, or what the fuck ever, don’t take offense…or do, I don’t really give a shit,) nudges him and whispers “Be nice.” I hand’t thought he was anything but at this point. So I ask my colleague what he’s getting and Joe answers for her. Now I’m starting to see. My colleague rolls her eyes and nods her head toward the side door and says it’s around back. I ask her what it is. He replies again. “A grill.” So I grab one of our larger inventory carts and ask if my colleague if she thinks I’ll need it… Again… He answers. “Yeah, you’ll definitely need one of those.” Fuck it, I grab the thing and bring it around back. Then I see the grill. Damn near the same fucking grill I own. Two big, sturdy wheels on one side. “Na, fuck that,” I tell her and I grab the grill, pick up one side, and begin moving it out. Effortlessly, mind you. This thing weighs very little and is well-built. So I drag it out and start heading up towards the front of the store and ask which side he’s parked on.
“No, no, man, put it on one of these,” as he brings the other inventory mover over.
I try to reason with him, politely, that resting the full weight of the thing on the two small cross-pieces at the bottom won’t be good for it, but, customers always right, so we end up setting it on the cart. Three times it almost falls off on the trip through the store. He’s saying “Excuse me,” to other customers as we pass, though they are no where near us, and finally, near the exit, does this one more time and adds “You’d think the guy in front would say it, but I guess it’s up to me.” Again, we’re no where near any of these customers from whom he’s seeking forgiveness, “Seriously man, say excuse me, appologize to that woman.” That Woman looks at him funny and says “No need, he’s no bother.” “Whatever,” he mumbles to her. I help him get it in the truck he’s brought, some old, duct-taped up piece of junkyard garbage (I was expecting something shinny from someone this fucking pompous,) and I ask his woman “You guys all set?” and he answers, as I’m starting to walk off with the cart “Yeah, you can run that back in for me now.”
First of all, fine sir, you’re lucky for three reasons: I have children, I need this job, and I have a clean record. If not for those three things I would have dragged you off the back of that truck, climbed up in, taken that grill and throne it as far as I could make it go. You’d be surprised how far that could be with the adrenaline pumping through me at that time. I probably wouldn’t have hit you, yourself, unless you swung at me, but you strike me as a bit of a pussy, so doubt you would have done anything but run and cry to my manager about that mean man and what he did to your grill. Cool. Here’s $200 and my resignation. There will be a full post on this soon, but the services you were just given are a courtesy. We don’t have to do these things. In fact, there are times when my manager has told me no, don’t worry about this one, they’ll get it. Right there in front of the customer. This is usually when the customer is being a complete dick in front of the manager and they’re able to spot it. Not very often, mind you, but satisfying as hell when it happens. No, this is a privilege, one you will not again receive in my store and on my shift. I will remember your smug little smile. I will remember your baby-fat, chubby-ass cheeks and horn-rimmed glasses (really man, the style does not work for you.) I will remember your face, your truck, the way you dress, your voice, your manner of speech. I will remember you and when next we meet, it will not be so friendly. I know the last three digits of your license plate and the shit-box of a truck you drive. When I see it and hear that page for a carry out, it will be me who shows up with my manager and it will be me who explains to her your behavior the last time you were here. The colleague who finalized your order will corroborate as will the other employee who stopped me later that evening to ask if ‘that one customer’ had ‘shown you some disrespect’.
Oh, and if you’re not here for a pickup or any other necessary service but I happen upon your piece of shit truck, yeah, don’t be surprised when someone leaves have a dozen carts scattered around your truck. Damn I’m gonna laugh when you see me and tell me to do my job and clean those carts up for you. Just going to take off my vest and inform you it’s against company policy for me to do any work at all while on break. Before I’m done with you, that is, if you ever come back, if you’re a local, everyone in my store will know your face and the despicable piece of shit you really are. You will get the full treatment.
We do our jobs to keep happy customers happy. We do our jobs to try to make disappointed customers fulfilled and pleased with our services. We do our jobs so that we can take pride in the state and workings of our store. We do not do our jobs to make some pissant little Napoleon-complex-having, douchewhore little prick bastard of a man feel more self-righteous than when he first came in. Eat a dick and choke on it.
Put’m where they go, damn it… yeah, right, like you fucking would.