So, I’ve recently been promoted to night-time supervisor at the drug store I work at. I’m still pretty new, so every now and then a matter comes up in which I have to call my manager at her home. She’s super cool about it and doesn’t mind helping me out if it means less work for her to deal with in the morning. Since I’m still pretty new to supervising, I am extremely hesitant to do anything that even remotely resembles being outside of store policy, so sometimes I end up calling her just to confirm that something is outside of the policy before I tell the customer that I can’t do it.
We have two large racks of gift cards available to buy at our store. They range from iTunes cards, to prepaid credit cards, to restaurant gift cards, and they are non-refundable once they’ve been paid for and activated because we’re stocked by an outside company. This is clearly marked on the shelves, and yet we continuously get people coming in trying to return them for one reason or another, and almost every single time, the card is not the issue; the customer is. They’re either not registering the cards online (which some companies require and in which case it is clearly marked on the card itself) or in the case of iTunes cards, they’re typing the code into iTunes wrong when they try to activate the card on their account.
It is one hour before closing time, there is one cashier in each department, and I’m the only supervisor on duty. I’m cashing out my till for the night when I get called out to the front by the front end cashier. I ask what the issue is. It seems a lady bought a $100 iTunes card a couple of hours earlier, but it’s not working for some reason. So I ask to see the card, the receipt, and the activation slip. All of which the lady has with her, so I look it over. The card number matches the number on the activation slip, and the card does appear on the receipt, so I know that the cashier has done her job correctly.
I’m not sure if she wants a new card, or a refund, or to just figure out what the issue is, but in any case, we’ve done everything we can do. The card should be working, because thanks to the activation slip, we know without a doubt that it has been activated. I try to explain to her that we can’t really do anything, but she asks to see the manager. To which I reply that I’m the acting manager tonight, but if she wants to speak to someone else, she can come in tomorrow when the front end manager will be in.
She says, “No. I can’t, because now I’m out $100 and my husband is waiting to use this card.”
(Dude apparently can’t wait one day to download some music…)
So I reluctantly agree to go to call my manager at home. She says exactly what I expected her to say. We’ve done our job; there’s nothing we can do; the problem is not on our end; maybe they entered the activation code into their iTunes account wrong.
I relay this information to the customer, and she assures me that the code has been entered correctly, because she texted it to her husband, who then tried to use it, but it wouldn’t work. The remainder of our conversation is as follows:
Me: Are you certain the code is being typed into iTunes correctly? Maybe there was a number or a letter left out of the text you sent him, or maybe he’s misreading it?
Customer: No, it’s exact. I made sure. Here, you can even look at the text.
She pulls out her phone and shows me the code that she texted to him. I compare it to the one on the card, and immediately see the issue.
Me: Okay, I see that there’s a mistake here in the text. Right here on the card, there’s a 'J', but in the text, it’s an ‘O’. It was possibly just a typo.
Customer: No, he tried the 'J' but it didn’t work.
(Not sure how he could have tried the ‘J’ already when it clearly said ‘O’ in the text she sent him. Some kinda ~telepathic magic~ I guess. Because that’s obviously the only possible explanation…)
I stand there trying to figure out how to possibly convey to her that we’ve done everything we can and the problem could only be that her husband is typing it into iTunes wrong. In the meantime, I can feel the rage radiating off her the longer we stand there.
Customer: Well, you said I could come back tomorrow, right?
Me: Well you could, but there’s really nothing they could do for y—oh, okay.
She walks away from me before I’m even finished speaking.
Me (genuinely apologetic): Sorry!
Customer (turning around): Your manager is going to hear from me. Because I’m out $100 now, and that is unacceptable.
Me: I literally just got off the phone with my manager about this. I don’t really know what you’re expecting.
The customer then proceeded to scoff at me before walking out.
Me: Have a good night!
Sorry lady. We’ve done our jobs; it’s not our fault you can’t type. Had a good laugh about it with the cashier after, though.