Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Barbie Crazy Lady

I'm at the lobby, minding everyone's business because that's my job, when in comes a lady with two large bags of returns.  This happens from time to time.  In fact, it happened twice, once with an employee's spouse, of all things, with Christmas lights.  When I thought about it the second time someone brought back bags and  bags of lights it started to make sense.  You buy 10,000 Christmas lights or, in one case, twenty, and you only need eight to do the roof, so you bring back the other twelve.  
Anyway, by now you've guessed that the lady was bringing back Barbies, not lights.  Three Barbies with horses, and four smaller boxes.  I started having bad thoughts, and they immediately became worse thoughts when she declared, "I have just been all over town, Walmart, Target and Fred Meyer, and nobody would take these back.  I'm never shopping there again.  They have the most ridiculous return policies.  They require a receipt!" 
Imagine that, I think sarcastically.  That they would require proof that you purchased something before they allow you to return it.  The nerve!  "Well," I say soothingly, "It's probably because of all the fraud."
"The fraud?"
"People returning things they've stolen and stuff like that."
"Well I can't imagine anyone stealing stuff like this.  It's too big."
"Oh, you'd be surprised," I told her.  "People are shameless.  They hide it in their baby carriages or strap it to their legs under skirts.  It makes it hard for everyone."  I look at her.  "So I guess you don't have a receipt."
No, she doesn't.  So I call my boss over and start scanning things.  Imagine my surprise when it's actually ours!  When I look more closely, some of them even still have the store price stickers on them.  My internal sarcasm withers in shame and hides.  They still might be stolen, but I never believed that.  I had been pretty sure they simply were purchased somewhere else on extreme sale and were being returned for regular price here, but those thoughts retreated and I started filling out the refund slip.  "Looks like these are $15.99 and these are $11.99."  
She was absolutely sure that she'd paid about $40 for the big dolls, so away she goes to the toy aisle to check.  Meanwhile, my boss takes one of the boxes to go look for a receipt on the system.  
What he finds, and what unfolds, surprises us all.
"That's the lady," a coworker who works the floor tells me excitedly in passing.
"What lady?" I say.
"That lady who bought $900 in Barbies.  I remember her!"
And then the boss emerges.  "I found her receipt.  Look at this!"  It's three pages of receipt, totalling to $900 of Barbie stuff.  The floor worker remembered right.
Suddenly we're all over helping her.  After dealing with so much return fraud and ridiculous things like returning a bar of candy, it's such a pleasure to handle even a big return for an actual customer who brings our store business.  I'll be nice to just about anyone, even people I know for a fact are stealing from us, but I'll be actually happy to help someone who shops our store because they like us and they appreciate us being around, even if they never buy another thing.  It's the reaction a retail employee has to good customers.  We can't help it.  We love good customers because they're such a contrast to the bad customers who normally (and unfairly) get all the attention because of the chaos they create.  Good customers normally fend for themselves very nicely so we don't always get a chance to go out of our way to help them.
So now the barbie crazy lady has an entourage.  The boss hand delivers her return at the register.  She decided to buy something, another barbie, of course, apparently one that she didn't have.  The boss makes her a copy of her receipt so that now she has one, and everyone's happy.
Wherever you are, Barbie crazy lady, thanks!  You made my day.  I hope you enjoy your Barbie.  I know I'll enjoy fantasizing about your house, and your Barbie displays, and your fabulous ebay Barbie business, and fabulous you.  
Signed, Kami, the crazy writer lady

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