#StoriesFromTheStoreFront - Episode #7
"Off the Sauce"
The adrenaline is not wearing off, but the enjoyment is.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays!
I'm dismayed by the disparities in those who are ordering. The comfortable New York man in his 50's who called yesterday, looking for a fur coat for his wife. The elderly and poor New York woman, born in 1939, who called today to buy a shower curtain liner for as low price as possible because she needs it delivered - can't get out of the apartment. (I waived her shipping.)
I'm bummed out by how many words I say, and how little people actually listen.
"If you don't buy this shoe right this hot minute, it will probably be gone because things are selling out while I've even got them in the CART!"
"Yes. Really. And these shoes you want are called 'Final Sale' shoes because they're almost sold out already."
I give the puffer fish ornament example to indicate just how critical the grab-it-now-and-return-it-later solution is.
"OhmyGOODness!" she says. "Isn't that SUMthin'!"
"Don't THINK about buying," I say to her, just buy it now and return it later if you don't want. You'll lock in the sale price and get them before they're gone."
"Oh! Wow! That's ah-MAZ-ing!" she says.
My hand is poised over the Purchase key.
"Hmmm..." she says. "So...WHICH of the culluhs do you have, now, in size 8? ... oh...hmmm...'Wine'? What cullur-is that? Huh. Is it suede, didju say? Yes? Oh...wow. ...I'll bet that isn't watuhproof, is it? No... Hmmm... Well...lemme see..."
I find myself sick of people buying things lmostly sick of them for not buying EXPENSIVE things...from ME! To top off. this magical day, a lovely young woman calls to buy TWO Apple 4 watches - that would be like a $1,000 purchase, thanks! - but only if they're the stainless steel ones. "Plus," she says, "I have a relative who wants to buy some too."
But we're sold out.
I could have made over $2,000 in about an hour. Shit!
I almost cry.
God help me, it's because I've forgotten that this is a service job and I've gotten fixated on not having high-ticket items selling lately. Put my ego in check? No, no! Why be peaceful? I'd rather rag myself out on these calls, rail against nearly everything, and then go home. The Stressed-and-Idiotic Light is on in my own head and I need to go home. I BADLY need to go home.
Meanwhile, the store has decided, it would seem, to do The 12 Days of Christmas! They have started giving us daily gifts. Yesterday it was a set of phone earbuds to use to listen to music, talk to your friends. Whatever. Today it was a small tin with M&M's in it. Maybe tomorrow it will be a bigass check! "Dream on! Dream on! Dreeeeeeam aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-aw-nnnnnnn!" (Thank you, Steven Tyler.)
Woman calls to tell me she bought a pair of pants that she is going to have to take 6 inches off of at the bottom because they are so long. Plus they are too tight. So she wants to get a bigger size to solve the tightness problem. No prob - I'll order 'em for her. But no. She wants the store to waive the shipping cost because, she says, "The store knew that there's 'a problem' with these pants that are so ridiculously long."
"You tried the pants on at the store, is that right, ma'am?" (I feel like an attorney with that phrasing.)
"Yes, and they're TOO TIGHT! And they shouldn't be THAT LONG! I mean, I'm not that TALL! The store KNEW they were a problem."
[...] um [...]
I have to pause because if I don't, I'm going to say something like, "Are you fucking KIDDING me?"
Instead, I say, "No ma'am, the store will not be waiving the shipping cost in that situation." My tone of voice is dry. Sahara dry. Don't-fuck-with-me dry.
She doesn't fuck with me.
I look at the colleague sitting beside me. She looks as bewildered as I feel. I tell her my tale of woe, and she says, "Oh, you should hear the woman I'm on the phone with right now." I can see that she has the woman on Mute. I wonder if the customer is telling some long-ass story that has nothing to do with anything other than eating up time, but I don't really care enough to ask. Fifteen minutes 'til quitting time, and what I care about is that there is no wine at home.
Is this really the holiday season?
I'm so so so so SO lucky that I get to spend my birthday with Nancy T. and her family. To me, that is where Christmas lives: in the conversation, the food, the movies, the laughter, the dogs, the friendship and the love.
There truly is a spirit to the holiday season. Today though, at work, I'm not feeling it. M&M's and ear buds can't touch this, and my ego has passed on the chill pill.
Tomorrow is another day.
I can't wait.
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Working for a retail store should come with hazard pay. Especially when you're in a Call Center.