Kevin McGuire and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ever have one of those days where you sort of wish you had just stayed in bed and called out sick? Of course you have. Well today was one of those days for me...

Now, I've had worse days in my life mind you, but today I just feel like venting a little bit. Perhaps you'll read this and think "He's just over reacting," and if you do, that is fine with me. However, I feel that I do a darn good job of staying positive in just about all situations at work and feel that if I keep my cool, everything will run smoother. Today it was kind of hard to do so.

It was a weird day at the office supply store in which I work (they're not paying me off the clock so I'm not mentioning their name - no free advertising in this blog!). Today is Tuesday so it was a day for a truck delivery. Never mind the fact that I skipped my lunch in anticipation of the truck coming during my normal lunch break. The truck came about an hour and a half late. Normally what we do is unload the merchandise from the truck and into our back room, and then if the truck is taking our returns to go to the warehouse, we'll load them up afterward. Well today we had an issue. Our store was supposed to send back two floor scrubbing machines (we were sent two new ones and told to send the two older ones back). Nobody told the truck driver and he refused to take them for fear he'd get in trouble for transporting stuff he wasn't supposed to be taking. I tried telling him that we received authorization and he fought me saying he couldn't do it. Finally he threw out the "Do you want to call my supervisor and see what he says?" line. Accepting his challenge I said "You bet!"

What a mistake that turned out to be.

The supervisor at the warehouse said he hadn't seen any paperwork for it, at which point I told him I could get our copies and fax it to him if he wanted. Right here let me teach you all a lesson; if you're going to rely on having paperwork to back you up, you better be sure there is paperwork. I was under the impression and was told that one of my managers had organized the authorization through our corporate office. Of course, said manager is on vacation, and said manager is known for not filing papers properly. Thus, I could find no paperwork and was looking like a jerk and a fool all at once to this truck driver and his supervisor. Luckily for me, the supervisor was willing to help me out and set up a new authorization.

Then there was "Little Ms.. Daisy" who called to tell me about a problem she was having with a safe, which she purchased at my 1999 (remember that key fact right there). She told me the whole story about when she bought the safe. When she purchased her safe she was told that if anything should ever go wrong with it, if she had her receipt that we (the store) would take care of it as our guarantee. A little time passed and she started having trouble closing the safe. Ok, no big deal, that can be taken care of. But she told me that someone from my store went to her house and fixed it for her as a way of backing up that earlier guarantee. Now, she doesn't remember who she talked to or who did that for her, but today she started having the same problem, and she was ready for somebody to come out and fix it for her.

"Mamn, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm not authorized to send any of my associates out to someones place to fix a safe."
"But they did it before. The guy said if I had the receipt that they guaranteed you could fix it."

This loop went on for about five minutes. It went so far she said that her lawyer said that if somebody here guaranteed such a promise, then she could make a case out of it. I have no clue who she talked too, nor does she, but I know my store's philosophies and policies a lot better than most people I guarantee that. We never have put ourselves in a position to go out to customers' homes and fix things for them. Never. Whoever did that before, if it is even true, was violating policies and procedures.

I gave Ms. Daisy the customer support number for the manufacturer. Maybe she could blab their ears off for a while. But she called back twenty minutes later to say she had been on hold with them the whole time. I'm thinking to myself at that point, "so you got off of hold, to tell me that?" Mind you, she started calling the store asking for me directly now. She started to throw the lawyer card, threatening to take me to court over this "guarantee", given by someone who probably isn't even with the company anymore for all I know. She started giving me her address so I could stop by and take a look at it. The first call I was ok with, I've had this kind of issue before. But now she's starting to bother me. While she has me on the phone this second time a line starts to form at the registers, I'm being called up for a manager override, and I simply can't get off the phone. I'm now in the middle of the store trying to jump and wave my arms to grab the attention of someone else to go help out at the register but to no avail because I can't make eye contact with anyone until it gets really backed up up front. Finally I get the lady to try calling the manufacturer once more. Relieved, I sprint up to the front to find that someone has gotten up there to help out with an issue at the register, but now find that my customer service associate and the customer are being snippy with each other. The customer was agitated because of waiting so long and the associate was trying to apologize but getting frustrated with the bickering form the customer.

At this point I'm getting relieved that things are slowing down.

In comes a private investigator. A what? That's right. This guy approaches me and shows me his PI badge credentials and starts asking me about Joe Schmo who worked here from 2002-2003. At this point I'm wondering if this former employee was giving out guarantees about safes. He also asks to see our employee files and wants to know what I know about this guy. I flat out told the guy I'm not going to answer any of his questions or let him see anything because he has to go through human resources for anything that he wants. PI man seemed irritated and starts asking me where the human resources office is and the corporate office. I gave him that information and he jotted down my name and he went out the door. Thankfully that was the end of that.

RING! RING! "Thank you for calling 'said office supply retailer', this is Kevin speaking, how may I help you?"

"Yes, Kevin? I was just on the phone with you about a safe and I just wanted to tell you the people you gave me the number for were able to help me. The safe closes now! Thank you very much!"

Yeah, I'm serious. This lady called me to tell me it works now. Thanks, because I wasn't going to be able to sleep knowing your safe from 1999 wasn't closing. What a relief! And it would have been ok, if she didn't call me as I'm about to head home for the day. Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, that would be her fourth call of the day. I might as well give her my home and cell phone number at this point so she can reach me 24/7.

This time she is inquiring about a new safe and asks me for a price range and the space that each of those have. This is simple enough, I do this sort of thing just about everyday. So I grab a couple price tags and get back on the phone and tell her the prices and how much space is in each one.

"Is that with or without sales tax?"
"Without mamn."
"Oh, how much is it with sales tax."
"Oh, I'm not sure, I'd have to calculate that."
"Ok, I'll wait."

Oh, wait she did. It's simple math, although I admit I still had to write it down. Instead, I walked all the way up to the front of the store, told my manager what was going on and how this lady just won't leave me along, and then I grabbed a calculator and added it up for her. Then I walked into the office and took a sip of my drink. I wasn't in much of a hurry to be honest with you.

Then I got back on the phone and gave her the prices...with sales tax.

"Is that $230 one bigger than my safe that I have?"
"I couldn't tell you mamn. The safe you described to me is one we don't sell anymore so I'm not sure how big yours is."
"Well, is there anyway you could check it out for me?"

At this point we were right back to square one where she wanted me to come to her house and look at her safe.

I eventually got to a safe point where I could safely exit the building without fielding another call form her. It wouldn't surprise me the least if she's called the store again by now or will call at some point this evening. I am thankful for one thing though, and that is my patience. I can tell you that few people in my store could handle what I had to go through with this lady. But I just hope that if she decides to come in and look at our safes, that it's when I'm not there!

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