I realized, belatedly, that I was sure I had seen the woman before, and I was sure that it was on People of Walmart. From her stencil-applied blue eyeshadow and blush, to her tightly curled old lady mullet pulled up at the sides with combs to keep her wrinkles from covering her eyes…Yep, she belonged in a Walmart somewhere, terrorizing Walmart people. The sign outside does not say Walmart, it says “(beer store)”. So what was she doing here?
Backing up about a week… we get this email from head office announcing to all the stores that the Bud and Bud light Cheladas that every Canadian over 40 has tried in Vegas or Arizona or Florida and is now addicted to (Budweiser beer, a little Clamato, and a big jolt of METH) have been detained at customs because some fool did not inspect them for Canadian Labelling Requirements… And since (Beer Store) was so excited, they’ve already put them in the upcoming flyer! And for the first time in remembered (Beer Store) history, we’re going to issue RAIN CHECKS! (and every (Beer Store) employee in all the land collectively groaned and smacked themselves in the forehead)
So, our Mary Kay’d party-in-the-back Walmart Shopper (I’m gonna call her Lemonface) and her keeper (a nondescript tallish gentleman of apparently better breeding) have come to (beer store) to hunt the Elusive Chelada Dragon. Now, if a customer asks for the Cheladas, we say “Sorry, nope don’t have them yet”. We weren’t volunteering rainchecks unnecessarily. But Lemonface was on to us. She barged right in and demanded her raincheck. My boss and I made our best polite faces- you know, that customer service face that you make and you can hear the enamel on your teeth fracturing through your most sincere smile?- and wrote out one rain check. She snatched it out of my bosses hand and said “Well I need more than one!” The boss says “Sorry, we can only give out one per customer”. Lemonface screeches “Well my husband is also a customer!” and then in her excitement tips her hand- “The other stores are giving out as many as we want”… Boss and I exchanged looks (no, they sure weren’t giving them out like that) and she went to get one more raincheck slip from the office, filled it out and said “Sorry, we are only able to give one per customer, so now you each have one”
Lemonface was hardly finished with us, and demanded to know exactly when the Cheladas were due to arrive.
“We’re hoping for Tuesday, that’s when they are supposed to be here”… not good enough
“What TIME on Tuesday!?” she wants to know. ”
“Whenever the truck arrives” says Boss
“Why won’t you just tell me when they will be here?” spits Lemonface
“They will be here sometime on Tuesday, I don’t have an exact time, I don’t have control over the delivery schedule” says Boss.
I can see Boss’ patience wearing down, and Lemonface seems ready to move in for the kill. But she must have had other people to go and terrorize, so she left us, muttering on her way out about shitty customer service and false advertising.
“Can’t hardly wait for Tuesday!” I announced cheerfully, and we spent the rest of the day handing out more rainchecks to Chelada(crack) addicted customers and making fun of them when they went away.
The weekend was as usual not long enough, and I spent Monday at home, while the beer store crew fought off impatient Cheladdicts who thought we must have been hiding them in the back and wanted the inside track on the coveted first flat.
And then Tuesday happened. I arrived at opening time just as the delivery driver was leaving. Boss had a moment’s lapse in attention to take a phone call and was unable to stop the delivery driver from barricading the pallet with the Cheladas behind everything else- and whoever packed the pallets in the first place must have hated us, they were stacked on the lower third, meaning even if we jockeyed the other pallets around (we didn’t have room anyway), we would be scrambling to unpack all the other crap just to get to them. Yes, it’s our job, but it was early, and we just weren’t quite that eager yet.
Our first one or two customers were fortunately there for other things. And we picked away at the delivery until about 11:30… the bitching hour… Lemonface…
In her best bedazzled acid wash jean-jacket and fresh coat of war paint she parked her broom against the brick wall outside and blew in as the lights flickered and the temperature dropped several degrees in the store (okay okay, maybe overdoing it a little bit- I think they drove up in a Buick)
I turned to greet her, realized who she was and before I could actually say anything
“I’m here for my Cheladas” she barked at me, and again, before I can reply
“I want them at the sale price- I have rainchecks!”
I ran into the back- grabbed the boss, and practically shoved her out onto the sales floor and said “I am NOT dealing with her”. I just didn’t have it in me. That, apparently, was the ultimate mistake. But wait, there’s more!
So I’m busy minding my own business and building a giant fort out of Corona- back and forth from the back, seemed like every time I emerged with another cart of beer, Lemonface had escalated to a new level of agitation and nastiness. And the Boss was caught up in it like fly in a spiderweb- she couldn’t break free, and I couldn’t see any way to jump in and rescue her without becoming entangled myself.
What happened, more or less, is we went ahead and risked life and limb to extract several flats of Chelada from the skid, and carried them to the front checkout for them, where Lemonface and her husband could only produce one of their original fistful of rainchecks. Rainchecks which clearly state we will honor the sale price to a maximum of four units per customer. That’s one flat. She demanded the sale price on all of them, and then tried to forcibly snatch the raincheck back from the boss, insisting that she could so apply them to all of her purchase. And as politely and patiently as the boss could muster, she refused.
(now, just for the sake of saying, we aren’t total assholes, and had Lemonface been at all decent and polite- and I mean at all– we might have just given her all her stupid crack-in-a-can at the sale price! Head office didn’t track how many rainchecks we issued, and we still had a stack of them in the office, but no, it was beyond that, and the boss was running out of patience)
The Keeper, wanted to run home, look for more rainchecks and see how many Cheladas the neighbors wanted, and decided to leave Lemonface to wait in the store and make a menace of herself, Which is exactly what she did. I like to describe the situation as “it was like leaving a rabid pitbull in a room full of bleeding bunnies”- except pitbulls are cuter.
She started following the boss (who was putting out boxes of stock) up and down the aisles complaining about the price, and why they put limits on the rainchecks and hit on a new track- “I called the store FIVE times this morning to see if the Cheladas were here! Why don’t you answer the phone?”
“We answer the phone… I’ve only had 3 phone calls this morning” says Boss
“No, I called and it just rang and rang, why don’t you answer the phone here?”
“Ma’am, I’ve been here since 8:30, and received three phone calls, all of which I answered- are you sure it was our store you called?”
“I’m not stupid, and you’re lying. I called THIS STORE and you DID NOT ANSWER” and she emphasized her point by pushing her cart at the boss- who took a step back and a deep breath (I was spying from behind my Corona pile like a coward, unable to tear myself away from the safety of it to help)
“we have voice mail…” I hissed in boss’ direction
Lemonface’s super jacked up hearing aid heard me too and she whipped her head around a full 195 degrees to face me and started to say something but Boss cut her off “Ma’am, it couldn’t have just rung like that, we have an answering machine- you must have the wrong number for our store”
But she wouldn’t have it, “I looked it up in the phone book- now tell me why you don’t answer the phone!” and pushed her cart at the boss again.
…somewhere beyond the hum of the beer cooler compressors and the radio in the background and the hissing of rusty dust shifting through Lemonface’s spidery varicose veins, I heard the faintest of snapping sounds. The Boss’ Last Nerve…
“You need to leave”. She said very quietly
Lemonface took a step back and her perpetually surprised orange eyebrows went up even higher. “What did you just say to me?”
Another deep breath “…You. Need. To. Leave.”
Lemonface turned an interesting shade of purple- Underneath the orange eyebrows, turquoise eyeshadow and dusty rose blush, it was quite an effect. “I’m not leaving until I speak to your manager!” says Lemonface, to which Boss cheerfully replies “I AM the manager, and I am telling you to leave my store”
and at this point, it goes beyond surreal. Lemonface wants to know “WHY?” and “No! I’m not going anywhere! My husband is coming back!”
“You can wait for him outside. You are being rude and abusive, and I have the right to ask you to leave.” explains the Boss… “Leave. NOW.” I can hear by her tone of voice that she’s about 3 seconds from totally losing her shit on this woman. “Just get out”.
Lemonface decided the battle was lost (but not the war) and turned to head for the door, but stops and turns back and announces “I’m about to have diarrhea. Show me to your bathroom”. Actually. That is exactly what she said.
(we don’t have a public bathroom. It’s in the stock room. Add to that, the toilet wobbles on the concrete and the seat is broken- so I’m imagining Lemonface barely making it in there and the light doesn’t turn on right away and planting her crusty ass on the seat only to be launched off sideways and breaking her hip… that’s where I lost it and broke down into a “coughing” fit)
and the boss says “The bookstore next door has a public washroom, you will have to go there”
“You are refusing to let me use your bathroom?” shrieks Lemonface “You can’t do that!”
and says boss “I have already asked you to leave, and we do not have public facilities”.
Finally, with more flickering lights and a rumble from the very depths of hell (or maybe Lemonface’s bowels), she stormed out of the store.
We couldn’t even move for a minute. Boss stood there shaking with adrenaline and rage, and I tried a few times to open my mouth and say something, but strange enough even for me, nothing came out. We slowly thawed out and started to pick away at whatever we were doing when Boss suddenly straightened up and shouted “WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED!”
Our awkward shock thus broken, she went off for a few minutes shouting and ranting and I nodded and made agreeable noises- there wasn’t anything for me to say- in my experienced opinion, it was one of those customer service nightmares that was out of hand the second Lemonface walked in, and try as I might, I couldn’t see where Boss might have recovered the situation. The customer is always right, except when they’re WRONG, and some people aren’t happy until they’ve ruined someone’s day. And that she did.
We lurked around for awhile and spied out the windows to see when The Keeper would return- I wasn’t going outside for anything. And eventually The Keeper did return… he said nothing until after he purchased 3 more flats of crack-in-a-can… at full price… and then just before he was leaving says “I can’t believe you treated my wife so badly”.
Boss replied “I had no choice but to ask her to leave, she was rude and abusive”
“That doesn’t sound at all like my wife!” he said, and actually meant it… which leads me to believe he might be head-injured… and he announced that they would be lodging a complaint to our district manager and left the store shaking his head in apparent dismay.
It took the better part of the next 2 hrs for the Boss to calm down. I exercised due diligence and suggested calling our district manager in a preemptive play, but Boss decided to throw caution and sense to the wind, saying she doubted they would actually follow through. That was the second big mistake….
this post is already horribly long. If you’ve stuck with me so far, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post “You can’t fire me! I Quit!”