Making the customer feel like trash won't boost sales! These employees clearly skipped orientation, as this is exactly what not to do to any customers! Fortunately, many of these nasty employees received swift karma for their bratty behavior! Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was headed toward the self-checkout at Walmart with just a few items. My three-year-old was in the cart, happily playing pretend by herself, totally oblivious to everything around her. I decided to get out my phone camera and record her to show my mother. She was so funny! Pretending that her hands were dinosaurs or some such, making up a voice for each one, and having hand battles.
Anyway, as I was fumbling with my phone, a young woman in Walmart uniform came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder. She'd been watching me for some time before approaching me. She looked deeply in my eyes and whispered something. I didn't catch it at first (maybe because it was so shockingly unexpected it made no sense to me. She repeated, 'Is she possessed?'
I looked around, expecting to see a crazy person talking to themselves. No one else was near, so confused, I turned to her and said, “Who?”. She then pointed to my daughter, who all this while continued to play by herself. As it sank in what she was suggesting, with an increasingly sick sinking feeling, I was thankful that my baby wasn't paying attention to the brief conversation. Then the woman did the unthinkable. She laid a hand on my baby, halting her blissful world and narrowing it on this woman. She then said, 'Stop, just stop, baby, you need Jesus.'
My child quietly looked at her with large confused eyes, then glanced at me, then back to her. I was now almost in tears, my world was spinning. The woman said a few more words to me that I didn't catch. I was too mortified to hear anymore or react. Looking at the ground. I picked up my baby and my purse then rushed straight to the customer service desk. All the while my baby was asking me what that woman wanted and asking, 'Mommy, what does 'possessed' mean?'
How do you explain something like that to a three-year-old? And we DID go to church. I was now at the service desk. I haltingly, holding back sobs, tell the lady what happened. Not having gotten the name of the woman who had approached me, I pointed her out to the lady. She then got my number and told me it would be taken care of. Then we leave. Now at my car. I strap my baby girl into her car seat. I get into the driver's seat, turn on the car, then let the tears silently roll. While I sit there for a moment catching my breath my phone rings. It's the manager of Walmart. The customer service lady must have contacted him immediately after I left! He asks for me to yet again relay what had transpired. I'm still trying to calm the hiccups from my voice as I tell him, my baby still inquiring over and over what 'possessed' means in the back seat. Finally, the manager asks what I'd like to have done about the employee in question. Instantly I think to myself I could have this woman fired. But, then I thought from the girl’s point of view, she obviously didn't think she had done anything wrong. She was very ignorant, but well-meaning, and obviously grossly unfamiliar with children. I chose mercy. I told the manager that at his next employee meeting he needed to go over how to treat customers with young children, and how to appropriately converse with them. Fast forward to today. My baby girl will be 8 years old next month. She doesn't remember that day, and I don't bring it up. It's not something I'll likely ever forget, though. I still frequent Walmart. One employee misstep shouldn't reflect everyone who works there. I've never seen that employee again. I assume she was fired anyway."
"It gets very cold in Michigan and I have a very large, down-filled winter coat. It's somewhat hideous, but it's very warm. Apparently coats like mine are great for shop lifting. You simply place a hole in the pockets and drop items that you've casually picked up and drop them to the bottom of the coat as you shop/steal. It's difficult to tell that you have stolen anything, because the coat itself is so large. I was shopping in a card shop a while back and the sales woman there accused me of shop-lifting, because of my coat. When I was at the register to pay for ALL of my items, she asked me if I would also like to pay for the items inside my coat as well. I smiled and I gently laughed and asked her, 'Are you kidding me?' I told her that I was a shop owner myself and that I would never steal anything from anyone. She looked at me in a slightly disgusted way and rolled her eyes. 'Oh. So that's how it's going to be!'
She didn't ask me about my store or attempt to apologize. She just stared at me. I had quite a large number of items that I did want to buy and I had been quite a regular customer there for some time. I was beyond insulted, but I understood her frustration, even though I was shocked. I took off my coat, gently put it on the counter, and opened my purse. 'Would you care to inspect my belongings?' I said in a calm and polite way. She patted down my coat and glanced in my rather small purse. She then slid my coat over and without apologizing, began to ring up my items. I let her ring up everything, staring back at her silently as I waited for an apology. Nothing. I didn't reach in my purse to pay. Instead, I pushed the items back at her gently and I told her, 'I'm sorry but I've changed my mind. Not about the items, I still want them but I think I'll take my business elsewhere, where my business is appreciated. There are lots of stores, exactly like yours.'
And I left. And I held my head up without shame or anger. But what I really felt was hurt. I went a few miles down the street to another shop that offered the exact same items, and I left that store with all of them. The bill was well over one hundred dollars. I understand that shop lifting is a problem, but honesty is not. I gave the first woman every opportunity to make the situation right, but I really felt that she did owe me an apology. I didn't think that it was too much to ask for, considering the insulting way that she had treated me in her store. I give all of my business now to the other shop owner. Yes, it's a bit further to drive, but I feel I'd rather go without than give the first shop owner even one dime of my hard-earned money. In my opinion there is no reason, whatsoever, to treat anyone like that."
"Have you been to Florida lately, because insulting and driving customers aware seems to be a common business training tool at many businesses down here. It’s really not fair to lump things that way, because there’s a lot of great folks down here who really do their best to make everyone happy and often without just rewards. It’s the bad ones who ruin things for all the good people because with so many negative experiences, one becomes automatically suspicious when interacting with any business for the first time.
Oh boy, where to start, how about with Sears? This took place in 2005, when I was looking to purchase a new kitchen range and before the refrigerator that Sears knew was defective but kept selling anyway nearly burned my house down. Yes, Sears was well aware of the defective components used in the refrigerators and freezers, which caused thousands of fires, but they kept right on selling those fire hazards to their unsuspecting customers and then denying all warranty claims. Anyway, I go into a Sears retail store where the sales employee boldly and loudly rips me a new one for touching the 'DISPLAY MODEL' range. Well, I told her where she could shove the range and the sale and walked out. I filed a complaint with Sears, who didn’t even bother to respond.
I will never again ever consider buying any Ford product. Of course Ford couldn't care less because they don’t bother to respond to customer complaints either, since they make it corporate policy to blame the customer for their substandard products. The final straw was a Ford factory representative accusing my 79-year-old female friend of 'street racing' as the reason her Ecoboost engine was burning more oil than gasoline with only 9000 miles on it. Yup, despite the thousands of other Ecoboost engines that were suffering the same failures, Ford categorically denied responsibility for the defective engine and insisted on blaming the customers. Well, take your Ford and shove it!
Nothing quite like the 'factory authorized Cummins engines dealer' insisting that the 555 Cummins engine is not a Cummins product. Yup, once again it was an Ocala, Florida location where the 'factory authorized Cummins engines dealer' employee said to me, 'How many times do I have to tell you that that isn’t a Cummins engine? Are you some kind of idiot or don’t you understand English?' Yeah, he said that as I read off the Model and Serial number from the 'Cummins' tag on the side of the 'Cummins' engine. I called the aftermarket parts dealer and they were thrilled to deliver $1800 in parts for the Cummins engine to me faster than a pizza would have gotten there.
Marathon gas station and convenience stores. I walked out of one a few months back in Plant City, Florida because the card reader on the pump wasn’t working and when I went into the store to pay cash, the clerk was talking on the phone and flippantly waved me off when I tried to hand him $50 for gasoline. Just yesterday I stopped at another one in Bushnell, Florida where the coffee was ice-cold and when I asked about it, the clerk said, 'Use the microwave.' Uh, nope! I’m not paying $2 for microwaved coffee. Last time I’ll ever set foot in a Marathon.
Target store Clermont, Florida. I wait in a long line and after more than 20 minutes, I finally get to the register with probably $250 worth of items I’d just moved from the buggy onto the belt line, and the middle-aged employee at the register blasts out, 'I’m closed!' I look completely astonished not only at her nasty attitude, but when I look at the supervisor standing a few feet away and ask if someone else is coming, with just as much nasty attitude as the cashier has, she says, 'No! Y’all needs to go to another register!' Meanwhile, the light is still on at this register and there are at least eight people with buggies in line behind me. So I replied to the supervisor, 'How about I just go to a different store like Walmart?' and I walked out, as did most of the people in line behind me. Yeah, Target Corporate was as disinterested in losing business as their store employees.
Steak-n-Shake in Tampa, Florida, this was before me and several friends got serious food poisoning from another Steak-n-Shake and were blown off by both the local store where it happened and Corporate. Anyway, I place my order, paid, and then waited in line for the take out. When I check my sack to make sure they put everything in, one item was missing and the others were literally just thrown into the sack with the fries spilled and the burger out of the wrapper. I handed the sack back to the clerk and asked, 'Does that look acceptable to you?' She flippantly replied, 'Take it or leave it. I don’t care,' to which I said, 'Fine, give me my money back.' She said I would have to talk to the manager. I waited over ten minutes for the manager to finally emerge from the office to the counter, where she was completely disinterested and argued with me for at least five more minuted before returning only part of my money, claiming she could not refund the State Sales tax because the order was completed. Yes, I tried contacting Steak-n-Shake corporate several times about this and the food poisoning incident was completely ignored, so I ignore them too.
Bed Bath & Beyond Orlando, Florida, where I was trying to find a particular product a friend saw in one of their ads, and when I tried to describe it to the sales clerk, she looked at me and said, 'Well, if you don’t know what it’s called, how am I supposed to know what you want?' With that, I didn’t even reply. I just walked out the door.
Home Depot in Lady Lake, Florida. There was a line of people trying to check out backed up well into the merchandise isles. One register open and count them, four employees standing around talking to each other behind the one checker who was working her butt off. One customer yelled at them, 'Hey, do you think you can give this lady some help or open another register?' to which one of the employees replied, 'We don’t work the front. If you can’t wait, go somewhere else.' That’s when most of us waiting in line dropped our stuff on the floor or left the buggies sitting and walked out. That was a good move too, because not only did I save about $15 buying the stuff at Lowe’s down the street, but they gave my service dog a bottle of water too.
Bonefish Grill in Gainesville, Florida. The experience started when I got a very snarky look for walking in with my service dog, nonetheless I said to the lady, 'I don’t mean for this to sound rude or pushy, I’m just on a tight schedule between doctor appointments and was wondering about how long it takes to get an order since I’ve never been here before?' Half turning away from me she replied, 'If you’re in that much of a rush, why didn’t you go to McDonald's?' Yup, walked right back out the door and haven’t gone back and never will.
RoMac Supply in Leesburg, Florida. I walk in and wait in line while the employee yaps with someone on the phone for quite some time about nothing related to business. Finally, I get to say, 'I need pricing on steel roof panels and trim,' to which the counter clown replies, 'If you have to ask for pricing, you can’t afford it.' Nope, didn’t waste any more of my time, walked right back out the door."
I was accompanying my mum at the jeweler's (she was looking for a gift for my cousin's wedding), and witnessed an exchange between the store employee and an elderly gentleman dressed in clothes that were a bit shabby. He couldn't speak the language very well and was stuttering a bit. He may not have been local. At first, he patiently waited for assistance by the help desk. The two unoccupied helpers behind the counter pretended not to notice him and continued their conversation. Finally, at the glare of their supervisor, one of them, a young assistant, reluctantly approached him to offer help. She showed him several pieces. The guy seemed a bit confused at the feel and weight of the gold pendants. He muttered something about them being overpriced. The employee was getting fed up because the guy wanted to take a look at each piece before making up his mind. After a while, he narrowed the search to three but couldn't seem to make up his mind. Now I don't fully understand why the attendant was getting impatient, it was her job after all and there were few customers at that time of day. The guy took a while to decide. Then he gave up and asked to check a different pair behind the counter. The employee finally snapped and said something along the lines of, 'If you can't afford to buy these, please stop wasting my time.'
I think the old guy didn't understand, because he repeated his request again politely. She rolled her eyes and shook her head, 'Immigrants,' she muttered. Then the assistant rang for security to take the guy out. The poor man looked even more confused when he was told to leave and was taken out. I wasn't going to stand for that. And neither did my mum. She stared daggers at the employee and dropped the stuff she was planning to buy and said, 'I'm not purchasing your goods if you can't afford a decent level of respect to all your customers.'
The supervisor came out to see what happened, and while the employee hastily justified her actions, I interrupted and told the supervisor that she was being rude to the old guy who, by now had already left the store with the officer. My mum insisted that they cancel her purchases. We got our refund and left the place while the supervisor apologized and offered vouchers. But we didn't accept. Outside, we found the old guy, and with a bit of luck understood he was looking for a brooch or pendant to give his wife for their anniversary. We gave him directions to a different jeweler's place and bade goodbye. A year or so later, I found out that the store had closed down because someone found out half the stuff they were selling were fakes and lodged a complaint to the authorities. I guess the old man was right after all."
I used to love shopping at Ross Dress For Less. My fiancé and I went there after we were at the gym, about an hour to closing, to look for a suitcase for my stepson for an upcoming trip. We went over to the luggage, didn’t find anything he would like, and proceeded to look at other items. We found some new running shoes for my fiancé and then split up to look separately. My fiancé went to the men’s clothing and I went to the athletic wear. While browsing, I received a call from my dad. He wanted to talk about an unfortunate event that took place earlier. It was a private conversation, so I moved to the women’s shoes, since nobody was over there. I had noticed a blonde employee had moved over there and was re-racking items. Well I noticed that she kept following me. The event that took place was really upsetting to me, so I would walk around while on the phone and kept looking at other things to keep me from crying. Well each isle I went to, she followed. I noticed that she kept staring at me. Each time I looked at her she had her eyes wide opened and right on me. I was getting nervous because, who wouldn’t?
I also noticed that they kept saying 'rotate cameras' over the store intercom. I walked to the back of the store from the side to look at other items and she continued to follow me. My blood pressure rose and caused me to burn off all the sugar in my system. I am diabetic and started having a low blood sugar, which causes me to be shaky and weak. My fiancé came over to me with purchased items. I informed him of both issues, the blood sugar and the employee. He proceeded to the front to get me something. I followed and the employee was still watching me, along with many others. I went up to one of the employees at the front and informed her of what was going on. The blonde came up to me with a nasty attitude. I asked her what her issue was, and she told me that I was 'a person of suspicion'.
I was furious. I got a little loud, asking her how I was and if browsing was an unusual act in a store. She told me yes, and to get out or else she was going to call the cops. I proceeded out of the store and she had followed me nearly to my car. I yelled at her that I was going to inform the higher ups about her causing my diabetic issues and preventing me from treating myself. She clearly saw me checking my blood sugar and saw that I was having a hard time standing, but instead of offering help, she forced me to stumble to my car.
I called corporate the next day and received a call from their lawyer, who told me the bare minimum. She wasn’t even the manager and had no right throwing me out when I did nothing wrong. I am furious with Ross and will never shop there again. I wish I would have brought the ADA into this matter and threatened them better. I never received anything from that store, not even an apology. The next few weeks were actually pretty stressful for me. I found it hard to go into any other store, out of fear that me being my normal self would throw suspicion somehow. I really do encourage people with disabilities to not shop at Ross anymore. Next time it might be you."
"Let me start off by saying that I’m polite, I smile, I say please and thank you, and I worked with the public for many many years, so I understand how it is to deal with rudeness and ridiculousness on a daily basis. This happened about 10 years ago, and I still haven’t been back to that store or any other of their stores and will not for as long as I’m alive! I used to shop quite frequently in this Family Dollar store. My mom was bedridden and living in a nursing home, so I always brought her little gifts. Since her items seemed to disappear quite often, I didn’t want to spend a lot, so if it did get stolen, then I wouldn’t be out a lot of money. That particular day, I was browsing around looking for something to buy for my mom. They had these cute little jewelry that was shaped like a tree, and you could hang bracelets, earrings and necklaces on them. There was two in the clearance aisle for little to nothing. I assumed that another shopper had put them there and that they probably cost more. So I grabbed them both and as I was walking to the counter, I noticed a whole shelf of them. I still thought I’ll still see how much they are, doesn’t hurt to check, right?
I walked up to the counter and asked the lady if she’d please let me know how much they were. She did and they were full price. No problem. I figured they were, so I asked if she’d like for me to put them back as I was going back by where they were. She said yes please and thanked me. I put them back on their correct shelf and proceeded to shop and browse other items. About 10 minutes later, this guy comes up to me. He was the manager. He also said that he had been notified that I was shoplifting. I laughed and thought he was joking. He wasn’t. He said, 'I’m going to have to look through your purse.'
Mind you, I had about $100 worth of stuff in my cart. Was he serious? He said that another customer in the store told him that I was putting items in my purse. When I realized that this was no prank and this was indeed really happening, I became livid! I opened my purse and showed him how ridiculous his statement was, he went to put his hands in my purse and I said 'Nope! You can call the police if you want but you’re not sticking your hands in my purse when you could clearly see that I wasn’t hiding anything in there!'
He said that wouldn’t be necessary, and I said my business would no longer be necessary either! I have never ever stolen in my life!! Perhaps the man didn’t know that, but I showed him the inside of my purse and there clearly wasn’t anything of their store’s items in there! It was all in my cart that I was going to PAY for when I was done shopping. It still makes me mad when I think about it!"
"I needed a new mouse for my computer. It just happened to be be on a Saturday night, less than one hour before the store was due to close. As a result the staff was busy putting the new price tags up for the Sunday ad that started the next morning. After finding the mouse I needed, I noticed it was on sale for half price, SCORE! So I took it to the register. I also picked up a pack of batteries and a few more things. The cashier rung it up and the price was more than double what I was expecting. I then told the employee that the mouse was on sale for less than $30. He then walked over to the item on the shelf and pointed to the tag, where the dates stated the sale starts tomorrow. Well I knew this was incorrect for several reasons. First, in my state the law says the price the item is marked at is the price you pay regardless of the dates. Second, the company's policy is the employees are not supposed to put the new prices out until the store has closed, but this group was trying to get ahead of the game so they could go home sooner. Third, the company's policy is if a price is displayed incorrectly, the customer gets the lower price and the dates are only there to tell them when to put up and remove the tags. Finally, I knew all of this because I had been a manager at that company and managed that exact same store for 3 years. However, by this time the staff had completely turned over, and no one there knew who I was.
When I told the cashier that he needed to honor the lower price, he just told me there was nothing he could do and I should come back tomorrow, or I can pay full price now. I then asked to speak with the manager. Well a young girl with 'assistant manager' on her name tag came over and told me again the sale starts tomorrow and they can't change the price on the computer. Again I knew from experience this was incorrect, and I suggested they get in contact with the actual manager. I was then told he was on vacation and would be back in a week. Again I knew this was incorrect as when a manager does go on vacation, a manager from another store is placed 'on call' if there are any questions or concerns the staff is unable to answer. At this point I was about ready to identify myself and inform them as to why I knew their company's policies better than they did, but this is when things took a turn. The young lady with the assistant manager name tag on told me if I paid her in cash she would sell it to me for the price on the tag and she could then ring it up in the morning when the price changed. I could come in later that day and pick up my receipt.
Now we were in a completely different ball park. She just committed several errors in that one sentence. First, you never tell a customer you are going to give them a better price for paying in cash, at least at this company. Second, this means she would have to leave undocumented cash in the register overnight, again a big no no. Finally, it also means she could have pocketed that cash and there would be no record of it other than a discrepancy in the inventory. The number of ethic violations in that one sentence was amazing, but it didn't stop there. I decided it was best not to identify myself and my previous position with the company and just let her dig her own hole. I should point out I was planning on paying with a debit card and only had about $10 in cash in my wallet. I made the argument to her that a debit card is the same as cash. This is actually company policy. I also told her she should just modify the price on the computer, as this was state law. She said she would get in trouble if she did that. I asked her to call another store's manager to get approval, again quoting company policy, hoping she would figure out her error and maybe she was dealing with someone that had a clue. She flat out said she was not going to do that and she wasn't going to do anything that would get her in trouble. At this point I had enough. I told her she was already in trouble. She told me she didn't see how. I just left the merchandise on the counter and walked out.
On Monday morning, I called the district office and told them I needed to speak with the district manager regarding an ethics violation. Turns out he was in the field visiting other stores, but they would have him call me ASAP. Well I got a call back within 30 minutes. I explained to the district manager what happened and who I had spoken to on Saturday night. Also, at this point, I identified myself as a previous manager with the company and at that exact store. The district manager was in shock after I explained what happened and he agreed with me that I should have received the price as marked. The assistant manager was incorrect that she would get in trouble if she changed the price. She did have a manager she could and should have called if there was any doubt about a company policy. However, asking for cash in order to get a lower price was a major violation and could be considered a criminal offense. The district manager was also in agreement that I should not have identified myself as a previous manager. His concern was if she had made this type of offer to me as just a regular customer, it was possible she was doing the same thing to other customers as well.
At this point I don’t know what happened between her and the district manager, but about a month later I saw her again working at another retail store. Part of me was feeling a bit guilty, as I likely caused her to lose her job, but then again maybe she learned something very valuable about working in retail. At least she landed on her feet and found something rather quickly. Oh, I did eventually buy that mouse. I visited a different location a few days later where the manager there and I were old friends."
"My wife and I went to Walmart once about ten years ago. We bought a small plastic tote with lid, and we filled it with five or six small items like shampoo and deodorant, and several one liter bottles of carbonated water. When I was in line and it was my turn to put my items on the conveyor belt, I put the water on first. The second the belt started to move they fell over. So I set them on their side. The cashier said, 'I don't know what he thinks he is doing,' to the woman in front of me. But I thought that maybe I had misheard her, so I didn't say anything. I put all the small items in the plastic tote and waited. When the cashier got to the water bottles she started throwing them into the bag. Then she took the plastic tote and just dumped it on the conveyor belt. And she did it dramatically. She lifted it about as high as her chin and just turned it over. I was completely shocked. All through this, she hadn't said a single word to me. By this time my wife had joined me, she didn't witness the bottle throwing but she saw her dump the tote. I paid, and my wife said, 'Have a nice day,' and the cashier said, 'You too.' My wife replied, 'You didn't need to be so rude to us,' and this employee said something along the lines of that she was sorry and didn't realize that she was.
So I went to the service desk and asked to speak to a manager. The manager said that the cashier was probably just having a bad day. But I stood there and watched her laughing it up with the customer in front of me. She obviously had some kind of problem with me, and to this day, I have no idea what it was. I am never anything but polite to service workers because I spent a long time in their shoes. Since I was at the service desk already, I just returned everything that was in my cart. It wasn't much of a statement for me to make, but it was all I had. The manager said that I didn't have to do that because he was going to take care of the problem, and I told him that I didn't believe that because he was already making excuses. This happened about ten years ago. I saw her in there occasionally for about the next eight, and I always avoided her line even if it meant having to wait longer. I haven't seen her for about two years now. Hopefully she found a better job."
"I went in to an antique store in Spokane one day with my family. There were signs on the door saying they bought used items. A skinny man walked in and politely asked the clerk if they took used appliances. She very rudely told him, 'No! We don’t buy junk!'
He then inquired as to what items they did buy. She told him the store didn’t buy things. He said, 'But what about the sign on the door?'
Mind you, he was being polite and seemed befuddled that she was so rude to him, and he never got nasty or rude with her. The guy looked like he was down on his luck. He didn’t look homeless, but he looked like he was in a bad financial situation and he had his kids (and I assume wife) with him. This rude witch was treating him like garbage. She didn’t act like she actually knew him, but I could be mistaken since he did not seem the least bit familiar, but I got the impression she was judging him and being nasty because he looked poor.
I decided to try to be helpful and I mentioned to the guy that I saw a store down the street that said it bought used appliances. I started describing the location and signage when the clerk turned to me and snapped, 'Shut up! I can take care of my own customers!' Then she turned to the guy and screamed, 'Get out!'
He looked taken aback, and I thought he was going to cry for a moment. He politely nodded to me, thanked me, and left. I glared at the witch a few more seconds before calling out to my family and said, 'Let’s get out of here, we’re not going to buy anything from this rude troll!'
The woman gasped in surprise, and my parents and brother all filed over and saw me having a glare-off with the witch. They filed out of the store and I told the employee that I was going to make sure to do a review of her shop online and tell everyone about what how nasty she was, as well as make sure none of our friends or any of my blog readers ever went there. My parents had been about to buy something from there, but they decided it wasn’t worth it. When I told them what she said, my mother wanted to go back in and yell at her, but I said it wasn’t worth it and we could shop somewhere else. I no longer remember the name of the shop, but I still remember the look on that woman’s face. She was no longer trying to glare and actually looked worried."
"At this point, car dealerships stories are so common that they’re practically cliché. Even so, I’ve certainly got one of my own. You see, I was in the unenviable position of needing to get two cars in a very short time frame. First, I got into an accident with my truck and totaled it, and my wife’s car was mere days away from giving up the ghost as well (though I didn’t know it yet). Cast your mind back to Thanksgiving 2017. The day before the holiday, I got into an accident that meant that my rock-solid, paid-for car was no longer going to be my reliable form of transportation. Between you and me, I wasn’t overly fond of my old car, but it was incredibly reliable and, well, did I mention that it was paid for? Well, now faced with the unpleasant task of needing to replace my truck, I had decided that should anything happen to that car, I would go for a full-sized pickup. Living in Texas is different from living in most urban areas, and where I live, there are lots of reasons to use a pickup. Now, I’m a researcher. After spending many many hours looking at reviews, videos, and building my own 'dream' truck, I had narrowed it down to a Dodge Ram or a Ford F-150, with the former edging out the latter by a smidge. So, I steadied myself for quite a few test drives, and a high degree of probability that I was going to have to lower my expectations-per-dollar when reality set in.
So, bank loan approval in hand (no dealership financing for me, thank-you-very-much), my wife and I stepped out to do a Saturday’s sojourn into the wild, wacky truck-buying adventure. I had no vehicle, and I needed a vehicle. Due to some travel obligations starting the following week, I needed to buy a truck that day. The good news was that there were several Thanksgiving Day/Weekend sales on trucks going on. The bad news is, you guessed it, there were several Thanksgiving Day/Weekend sales on trucks going on. The pressure in every dealership was going to be on.
The first place I went was actually quite near where I lived. The reviews for the dealership online were decent, and their selection looked good enough that I was sure that I would be able to find a truck that I liked. But would I find one that I could afford? I looked at everything in my price range. The sales guy we met up with was nice enough. He was, in fact, only a sales person for a couple of days, having been moved to the front office from the mechanic’s bay less than a week before. He was friendly, and (mostly) knowledgeable about the trucks, but boy was he not a salesperson. For one thing, he didn’t know any of the details about any of the trucks I test drove, which was about 7 or 8 of them - mostly because aside from ooh, that one is pretty, he couldn’t tell me anything about them. Actually, I’m not kidding about that. When we first met, I told him I did not want a white pickup truck. From that moment on, he seemed to have a fixation on trying to change my mind about white pickup trucks. 'It’s cooler in the Texas summer,' he would say, or, 'We’d have a lot more to choose from if it was white,' or even, 'The resale value on white pickups is really high right now!'
The poor guy just couldn’t take a hint, let alone direct discussion. He did the right thing by asking about us as we were on one of the test drives, where we told him that we were swing dancers and had met dancing. The next truck we drove had an enormous space in the back seat, so my wife tried to help him out.
'This is a huge back seat area,' she said.
'Yeah,' he replied.
Pause. 'It’s so big you could even dance back here.'
'Yeah,' he answered.
I saw my wife in the rear-view mirror. She just shrugged. This guy couldn't notice any social cues. All in all, my wife and I spent 5 hours at the dealership with him. The last hour and a half, we dealt with him and the sales manager trying to make a deal, and just not quite coming to terms on the price. I had done my homework, and I knew what the trucks were worth, and we were simply too far apart on the price. Worse, he seemed to have no idea just how much the trucks were worth, as he wanted me to tell him how much I wanted to pay before he told me how much the truck costs (there were no sticker prices on the trucks). So, I deliberately low-balled him.
'Well, for that used pickup, I believe I pay right now, out the door, $32,000,' I said.
He nodded, and said, 'That sounds pretty good. Let me go check…'
Yeah, not even close. The truck we were talking about stood at $45,000. Mind you, he had asked me what my budget was (and I had told him), he simply had no idea how much his own trucks cost. And so it went. My wife and I were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he was new, and because he was a nice guy, we actually felt a little bad for him. But we weren’t going to be suckered or bullied into anything just because someone was nice and fumbling around.
So, it came time to part ways. There really wasn’t anything that we could do anymore, so we thanked them for the time and moved on. Now, here’s where we get to the purpose my rambling. Remember when I said that this was Thanksgiving and there were all kinds of sales? Well, it’s useful to note that Thanksgiving is at the end of November, and sales guys need to make their monthly numbers. It’s also useful to note that I needed a truck, and I was going to be buying a truck that day. I told him this as well (with 5 hours, you can believe we did a lot of talking about why I was getting a truck and what my needs were), but for some reason he just seemed fixated on the color of the truck. We also mentioned that I was keen on coming back to test drive a Charger because there would come a time very soon when my wife would likely need a new car. I saw that they had some models on the lot, and I was very interested in learning about those some other time. Whoooosh!! All of that - right over his head.
Still, when we left, I got a very nice text from him which made me quite appreciative of the effort. Following up with the customer is always a good sign, especially when he devoted quite a bit of time to us, which is why I wanted to thank him for spending the time. Fast-forward 5 days. It’s now Thursday, the end of the month. Crunch time. Gotta move those models off the lot. Ready to wheel and deal now, right? Unfortunately, I had already purchased a truck (which I said that I would do when I had first met him), so I was no longer in the market for 'making a deal'. Nevertheless, he texted me this: 'Our managers are trying to make magic happen. After the time we spent together, I sure would have appreciated a chance to earn your business.'
Um, yeah. The five hours we spent on Saturday was your chance to earn my business! I have to confess - I was gobsmacked. This was not the return text I was expecting. What I was expecting was something along the lines of, 'I understand, and I hope you like your new truck. I remember you saying that you wanted to test drive the Charger for your wife. Let me know if I can help out with that!' or something to that effect.
Thing is - and I had no way of knowing this - but my wife’s car died the very next day. Had this sales guy played his cards right, he could very well have got me and my wife back to take a look at that Charger. After all, we liked him, and we didn’t really have any major complaints about the dealership. We just simply couldn’t come to agreement on pricing. Instead, I got a petulant, juvenile response that made it clear that it was a very good thing that I did not buy my truck from him. I can only imagine what kind of service I would have gotten ever since."