Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scenes from a Mall, Episode I: Katrocket vs. Teen Sales Clerk

I was doing a little shopping at a large mall recently. It's rare to spot me in malls or "big-box" stores, as they are miles beyond my natural habitat and cause me great anxiety. The following is a transcript of one such moment:

[In a "fashion accessories" store, I pick out one item and proceed to the cashier to pay for it. The cashier is on the phone. She appears to be about 17 or 18 years old and her name badge says 'Jessikah'. She fails to notice me, in spite of the fact that I am not employing a cloaking device and I am standing directly in front of her.]

JESSIKAH: "Really????? GET OUT! He said that? NO WAY! Omigod...so what did you do?"

[Two minutes pass. The cashier turns her back to me. It seems she requires privacy.]

KATROCKET: (gently trying to get her attention between shocking teen revelations) "Hi! I...uh..."

J: (into the phone) "Can you hang on a sec? (sighs heavily, cups phone with hand) Yes? Can I help you?"

K: "I just want to pay for this."

J: (dirty look) "But you're not done yet."

K: "Excuse me?"

J: "Well, you only got that one thing."

K: "I only want this one thing."

J: "But it's 5 items for 5 dollars."

K: "That's alright, I only want this one item."

J: (speaking to friend on phone while coldly staring down Katrocket) "Can I call you right back? Yeah. This is gonna take a while. (sighs again) Tell me about it." (giggles, pause, more laughter, hangs up. Tries to concentrate on customer refusing "amazing deal") "But it's 5 items for 5 dollars!"

K: "I don't need 5 items today.. just this," (points to desired item) "And the sign says '$3.99 each or 5 for $5'"

J: "But it's cheaper if you buy 5 items."

K: "How is $5 cheaper than $3.99?"

J: "Well (speaking slower and louder so I get it) It just IS. You. get. FIVE. instead. of. ONE." (takes the item to scan the underside, and notices the price tag is missing.) "See?" (revs into super bitchy mode now) "There ain't even no price on this!!!"

K: "Well, like I said, the sign said '$3.99 each or 5 for $5' (points to sign on display less than 5 feet away) But if five items are five dollars, why don't you just charge me $1 for this?"

J: (sighs heavily again. She may be asthmatic.) "I can't be doin' that, ma'am. Do you want the item or NOT?"

K: "Yes, I told you I have no problem..."

J: (cuts in mid-sentence, YELLING) "SAAAAAAAAM!!" (smartass smile) "Sorry, we're about to change shifts so I'm cashing out."

K: "But you're going to ring this in first, right?"

J: "Well, it's after 4pm and since it took you so long to decide what you wanted, it will skew our sales data if I ring in an evening purchase during an afternoon shift."

K: (really angry now) "I don't think $3.99 is gonna blow your data, honey. And besides, I just wanna buy THIS, and you're giving me a really hard time about it."(notices that a line-up has formed. Two other customers that have been listening to our exchange nod in agreement)

J: (starts to ring in purchase. Phone rings.) "Arlene Accessories! JessiKAH speaking! (pause, dirty look) "Nope. It's still busy..... yeah sure.... alright... well, why don't I call you in about 20 minutes? I'm sure this disaster will have passed by then...yeah... ok... later!" (hangs up, cashier # 2 with name badge "SAM" arrives) "Sorry Sam, I've been dealing with this lady and I haven't had a chance to cash-out yet." (Other waiting customers check watches, sigh, look frustrated)

K: "Did you just call me a disaster?"

J: (eyes widen) "Uh... I was talking about something else."

K: "I would also like to talk to someone else. I'd like to talk to the manager."

J: "I AM THE MANAGER." (smirk, arms folded at chest. So there.)

K: (puts wallet away, takes item and throws back into sales bin, under the sign that says 'FIVE 4 FIVE!', strides back to counter) "That's surprising, JessiKAH. I didn't know that snotty fucking asshole kids were allowed to be store managers." (motions to other customers) "I think we're all in agreement that you've been a really difficult bitch for the past 10 minutes, and I, for one, will never shop here again. Thank so much for ruining my day, you useless cunt."

[Katrocket flips her the bird and leaves the store, followed by two other customers from the queue, who ditch their items in solidarity.]

OLDER LADY CUSTOMER# 1: "I've never seen anything like that before..."

KATROCKET: "Oh, I'm so sorry...I apologize for my language... she just really made me mad, and..."

OLC # 1: "Oh, not that, dear. She deserved THAT. Gosh, I was thinking about punching her. Customer service just isn't what it used to be."


pistols at dawn said...

Wow. That is some of the most piss-poor "service" I've ever heard of. I understand wanting to seem cool and detached, but you're in a mall and your job requires you to wear a nametag. There's nothing remotely cool about that, Girl Who Can't Spell Her Own Name.

And the "disaster?" Did she think you'd never permeate her clever code? "What? How could she call me out on that? Does her cell phone come with an Enigma machine?"

It's like trying to buy a TV set at Best Buy. You'll wait 45 minutes for the one guy in that department, get angry, ask the four salesmen sitting around looking at a video on one's cell phone, they'll all say they don't work in that department (why not hire a second guy to work in the busy departments instead of eight clerks to not sell people cell phones?), you'll finally grab him from another customer, he doesn't know anything about TV sets ("Are there any advantages to any of these brands?" "Well...which one do you like?"), you punch him in a rage and aren't ever allowed into a Best Buy again, but the jail's got a pretty decent TV set, so problem solved after all, unhelpful jerks.

T said...

You are my hero.

Headline: "Small-Town Girl Inserts $3.99 Wine Bottle Opener Into Un-Suspecting Mall Clerk's Rectum"


Leonesse said...

Do you know how often I want to do this to a customer? You can't flip them the bird and walk out, unfortunately.

Maybe that is their diabolical plan. To drive me insane and rob the store whilst I am running naked down the street throwing pretend snowballs and the drunks. But somehow I don't think that will get too much attention down here. Just par for the course.

Leonesse said...

That was AT the drunks, but I am sure I could get a following going by inviting a few along. If you ever see a headline about a Naked Imaginary Snowball Fight on Main Street, that would be me and my drunken posse.

Snooze said...

Kat, you rock. I love the fact that other customers walked out with you. I will never shop there either - you just have to tell me the mall!

katrocket said...

Snooze: Ardene Accessories (sorry I misspelled the company name in the post) - Downtown Eaton Centre, (lower level, near Queen Station exit). To be fair, I've had great service in their other locations around the city.

Bert Bananas said...

There's a sacred Laztheist scrule (sacred rule = scrule) that says: No one ever wins a fight. It goes for confrontations, too.

Not that I wasn't thrilled with your story; I was, I was!

But JessiKAH has written her blog post and her story has a slightly different slant to it. She and all her friends are laughing about how she devastated you and you walked out crying, while she stood there, haughtily looking down her aquiline nose at your retreating form.

This is why I contend that there is no such thing as non-fiction writing.

But it does boil down to the fact that I'll buy your book and not hers.

You're welcome.

CoffeeDog said...

Cloaking device! LOL.

You go girl.

Birdy said...


Steve Caratzas said...


Keeping it real for the consumer!

The Guv'ner said...

If I had a cent for every time a similar pouty teenaged mutant had done this to me, I'd have about 450 cents. AND THAT'S ALMOST TWO BUCKS!


It used to be I'd calmly stand by seething and not say anything but now? Oh no. I'm a New Yorker now baby. Even I don't recognize half the colourful words that come out my mouth on those occasions.

Dale said...

I kept thinking Older Lady Customer #2 would come to the rescue!

Excellent handling of the situation Katrocket, Jessikah clearly should have had that phone rammed down her fucking throat. I'll buy you a $3.99 whatever any time you like.

Beth said...

You're my hero, too! Will you go with me next time I have to battle the mall?

pistols at dawn said...

When you don't update for a while, you make Baby Jesus cry.

Wait, that's probably an incentive for you.

katrocket said...

Oh Pistols.

Beth: I'm the Ultimate mall-thug, but I'd be honoured. I also rock at fist-fighting people for parking spaces.