Here it is, the story of how I lost my last job. I'm still not sure if I was fired, if I quit, or if I'm still employed there, because they never spoke to me again.
The setting: Farmers, one of my country's largest chains of general purpose retailers. The name says a lot about our history, but I digress.
The basement (childrenswear, appliances and crockery. Our clientele is mostly downtrodden femininity which I will never inflict on my significant other. hey, customer service is a bitch but bitches can teach you a lot about relationships), two days before christmas a year or so back. This woman comes up to the counter with a fairly well-laden trolley and everything goes smoothly, at first. I scan the goods, put them all to one side, and smilingly ask how she would like to pay (I longed, always, for someone to pick up on the semantics and say "Like? Not at all."). She pulls out a Farmers card (we had our own credit card, accepted throughout the country), and I do the business for which I was trained, using the maxim "the customer is always right".
Crappy. Hold on a moment lady, I'm new here and sometimes make errors (NO! WRONG! NEVER SHOW WEAKNESS!). Queue size: 2.
Rinse and repeat.
Hmmm, mysterious. If you'll just hang on a moment... I dial up the office, feeling worse and worse for making this prechristams thing just that little bit more stressful... they tell me to direct her to the creditline, as only the central digital brain can save her now.
I do so. At this point, I discover the woman is an idiot. If you go over to that phone over there," points at phone 3 metres away, "and pick it up, it'll put you through to our credit departnent in Wellington. They can help you. No, I can't, it's more or less illegal for me to touch your credit records ma'am." Queue size: 4
Five minutes later (I exaggerate by about one minute either way here) I have explained the concept to her to the point where she leaves the now 6-person queue and waddles over to the phone. I deal with another customer, then make room for her at the front of the queue as she has returned...
Challenging - "They say the card's overdrawn." I start to go insane. "Well ma'am, I'd say that's what is the case. Would you like to pay some other way?"
"You said it was a mistake you'd made."
"I was wrong, apparently." Ok, I get mildly sarcastic here...
"MINDNUMBING BLAMEREDIRECTING FLOOD OF BULLSHIT!" (I paraphrase. Then get extremely angry) Queue size: 7. This is getting out of hand.
"I'm sorry ma'am? YOU've overdrawn YOUR credit card and now you're blaming ME? What do you want me to do? GIVE you the money to pay off your debt so you can pay for all this? I can only offer you advice, really. Learn to budget. There's piss-all I can do for you, so why don't I just cancel these goods and get on to serving these people who can probably pay for what they want?" I felt like a dirty capitalist with that one, but it was still true, and the rest of the queue had suffered this woman's idiocy long enough.
"Well I never!" Good. Bitch. She's broken now, so I cool off. "I won't be needing this anymore," holds up card.
"Certainly ma'am. Would you like me to get a pair of scissors and cut that in half for you?"
She says yes, I do so, service with a smile. They had no work for me after that.