International Writers Magazine: Christmas Karma
About nine years ago
I was at a best buy on Christmas Eve. I was in a long line waiting to
buy a video game for my sister. It was easy to tell everyone just wanted
to get home and the cashier looked as if she wanted to commit suicide.
Customer isn't always right
J A Laraque
Have you ever
been somewhere such as a store or a bank and someone in front of
you is getting all loud and making a scene about something that
is completely their fault? Doesnt this make you want to just
bludgeon them to a pulp on the floor?
A middle aged lady in front of me had a ton of various electronics, CDs
and DVDs. When the order was rung up and the total given she proceeded
to pull out her platinum card as if it were a gold medal in the Olympics
and gives it to the cashier. A few seconds later I hear the cashier whisper
to the lady that the card didnt do through.
You see they do this to save the customer embarrassment because the rest
of us have no idea why a card would be declined, but we usually pick the
worse reason so they try to keep it quiet. Well the lady did not take
it well and very loudly so everyone could hear says. "Well you must
have done something wrong! Run it again!"
The cashier shoots a few laser eye beams at the lady, but trying desperately
to remain professional runs the card again. "Sorry the card shows
declined." says the cashier in a soft voice. This didnt sit
well and the lady yells at the top of her lungs. "This is the day
before Christmas. I do not have time for your incompetence. You better
ring up my orders or find someone who can!"
As the cashier begins to look for a gun underneath the counter the store
manager comes over. "Is there a problem I can help you with?"
He says as cheerfully as possible. The lady points at the cashier as if
identifying her in a courtroom. "I dont know what kind of idiots
you hire her, but I am making a large purchase for Christmas and this
person cant even run my credit card correctly."
At this point the
rest of us in line and a few lines over are getting upset, but we are
also curious now as to what the issue is since the lady is so loud.
The store manager looking as if biting his bottom lip scans the card.
"The cashier was correct. Your card was declined. You will need
to pay with another card, or in cash." The cashier smiles feeling
vindicated. The lady however, just becomes more upset.
"Look!" She yells. "I have many lawyers on speed dial
and I know our local congressman personally. You find out what happened
to my card NOW! Or I will have all your jobs!"
Now I know personally from working retail that 90% of the time you let
the customer call the card company. The cashier use to, but they changed
how it is done so most of the time out of respect for privacy we dont
call ourselves unless it looks like the card was stolen or other evidence
The store manager gives the nod to the cashier to call it in. As she
was on the phone with the card company you could see a smile forming
on the cashiers face. The store manager noticed as well however, the
lady didnt. Then the cashier hung up the phone and the store manager
almost on instinct stepped in.
"Ms. If you can step this way we can clear all this up now."
I can only guess that hearing the store manager say this made her believe
it was them in the wrong and not her. So even though there was a high
probability that this would turn out badly for her she decided in her
infinite wisdom to take advantage of the situation.
"I cannot believe you have me standing here because you cant
do your job! I want to speak to the general manager and the president
of Best Buy. I belong to a large club of wealthy individuals who I will
make sure will never shop here again. I dont want to follow you
anywhere. You cannot hide your incompetence from me. Tell me what you
have done or I want a police officer here right now.
At this point the
cashier was holding back her smile and she looked at the store manager
who had an I give up look on his face and just said very loudly. "The
reason your card was declined was that your fiancee claims you did not
return his credit cards after your separation and that he had to call
in and remove you from a purchase rights on all of his credit cards."
The lady turn beet red. Some of the people in the store were laughing
and almost all were smiling. The lady began to cry as she ran towards
the door. "How could you make a fool of me like this? The cashier
smiled saying. "The only person that made a fool out of you was
you. About fifteen people applauded when she said this. The store manager
apologized to the people and with a giant smile on his face went back
into his office. The line moved quickly after that and cashier rang
me up and I was on my way.
I think it is always best to keep a cool head and not put yourself in
a place to look real stupid. If this lady played it cool she could have
walked out without anyone knowing anything. But because she had to act
so badly in public she ended up with a very public humiliation and the
karma circle is complete.
© J.A. Laraque December 2007
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