Customers from Outer Space

The Top 3

I'd be happy to help you.

Part II

At The Chain, I have a down to earth relationship with the majority of my supervisors and store managers. On a typical weekend night, just as we're an hour from closing, a couple of horrific doubts begin to resurface as we're gathered around the customer service desk—waiting.


"We have about an hour left. Another night, another night."


"So it's almost 8:45 PM."


"Don't jinx it. They came last Sunday and today's only Saturday. They would've already been by now."


"Do you think they'll come?"


"Lo and behold. Look what the cat brought in."

Behind me, my supervisor frowns and stomps a foot. We mouth "damn" at the same time as our worst nightmares approach the customer service desk to return two weeks worth of spoiled vegetables that we're pretty sure they bought somewhere else. If we sell it and we most likely do at a sky rocket price, customers can return things with or without a receipt and we're not allowed to question them on the reason they're bringing it back. Thank you corporate for haunting my dreams with all the things I wanted to say and couldn't. From worst to worst, these are the top three most irritating customers we've experienced at The Chain:

3. Mother and Daughter—Original

The customers from the depicted (and true) conversation above are known to us as just "mother and daughter" or sometimes we like to call them "mother and daughter: the original ones." God only knows The Chain is an odd ground for bizarre and plain crazy mother and daughter pairs, but these two take the prize at nightmare level. Starting with their seemingly reasonable time of entrance to the store, these two will take a forever tour and additional 15 minutes after we've closed to finally check out and try to get one or two items for free. That's over an hour and 20 minutes of squashing fruits in our produce section to tell the manager we don't sell good products and you want some kind of discount. Of course we have security cameras...that don't serve a real purpose because the fact that they've been loyal customers means more to the company and thus, greater is their chance to get away with things we wouldn't "normally allow." At the time of checkout, suddenly every product in their shopping cart is priced lower on the shelf than is ringing up and be sure to pack those bags as light as possible, not forgetting to apply their twelve coupons along the way. It's way past closing. We'd just like to go home.

2. The Hypochondriac

Over the years my parents' health has drastically declined and it's made me more compassionate towards those who have chronic illnesses. In the case of our regular customer Tina however, chronic and illness have become subjective terms. Since I've worked there, Tina has suffered from a cardiac condition that prevents her from lifting anything heavier than an a potato or an pear so the entire store is turned upside down when she graces us with her presence. We are encouraged to help her because of her heart condition. And her asthma. And back problems. And her four new ailments each and every single time she checks out. Due to her inability to lift, one item is packed per bag in the most expensive bags we offer: the medium size which are a mere $700.00 a box. Each bag wasted bag comes from our budget as a team, in other words my paycheck, so it's redundant to point out how much priority the customers receive compared to the employees. In the four years I've been there, Tina has never shown signs of recovery but from time to time she has enough strength to squeeze the life out of an avocado and suckle it throughout the store. Peel and all. She also drives.

1. Effi

She hasn't yet approached the desk and my partner for the day is already mimicking what's about to come out of her mouth. Slowly and enunciated he says, "Can I have a rain check?" The answer is NO, you can't have a rain check for 18 bags of lemons. Still, this doesn't stop her from coming on a weekly basis, despite us constantly repeating that we're not allowed to give rain checks for items on the sales flyer. No matter what we say or how many times we say it, her response for everything is confusion and a staring contest. "I don't can give it to me right?" Of course we can. It's all about politics at The Chain.

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