The day all retail workers fear. The day the crazies come out. The day you work until you can’t stand and then work some more. One year I was on the long graveyard shift for Black Friday. I came in at 4AM and worked until 2PM. At 5AM, one of our point-of-sale computers freezes for no discernible reason. Aww jeez. We have a line out the door and around the corner, and the store is packed and sweltering. We really can’t afford to be down a register. No me gusta, amigos. Suddenly, another computer freezes. FULL RED ALERT!
So we’re running on half as many registers as we should be for Black Friday, things are getting bonkers, and the villagers are restless. It takes a half hour to get the computers back up with the help of corporate tech support, which doesn’t sound like much time, but is actually infinity when you have a human sardine can situation in a tiny retail store.
The only customer interaction I distinctly remember from that day was this lady who wanted to buy one of our Black Friday console bundle deals. Great! No problem. She puts half on a credit card, which maxed out her card. She goes to pay the rest on another card, but it declines. She tries another, it declines. Got cash? Nope. Now that’s a problem. We ask if she has another form of payment. She barks “No, cancel it!” then promptly turns and walks out before we can respond.
Because her first card was already charged, then the transaction was canceled, there is a 24-48 hour waiting period for the funds to be transferred back to her card by her bank, which is common for any kind of credit card return or transaction cancellation.
Unfortunately she did not stay at the register long enough to anyone to explain that. The cashier tried, but she cut him off as she walked out. We did not have the ability at the time to suspend the transaction and keeping it open prevented us from ringing up purchases there, and there was NO way we were going to continue on Black Friday down a register waiting on her. So as she asked, we canceled it.
You see where this is going?
A few hours later the woman is back again after waiting in the long Black Friday line for a second time and she wants the bundle she tried to buy before. She brought enough cash to cover the rest of the previous transaction, but…
When she tries to swipe the card from before, it declines due to the funds being in refund-limbo for a day or two with her bank. No, we cannot rain cheque Black Friday sales, no exceptions. This is obviously our fault and “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME!”. Well, we tried to, but you walked out mid-sentence on us!
Our general manager stepped aside with the lady to discuss the situation. She was not happy. Understandable to some extent, of course. But after it finally sunk in that there was nothing we could do about her credit card, she started shrieking verbal abuse at us and accused us of racism. I don’t even remember what our manager had to do to get her out of the store, it was so busy. This is why. This is exactly why we can’t have nice things!
Man I do not miss retail.