Life’s little oddities.

So, where was I? That’s right, the last spot of property destruction was the workshop. I’m delighted to say that it is now back in one piece, sporting a new roof. It’s looking bonny. This week though, has seen the corner of the building, beside one of the delivery doors swiped by a car. There was a bit a agro from the wife (who wasn’t driving). Much gnashing of teeth, shouting and arguing from her, even though her husband did admit responsibility. Much yelling, “Why should WE have to pay for it?” I mean, really, if you ram someone’s property, whether another car or something else, is there not an expectation that you would have to pay something? The next cracker was a bus (local driver) reversing (badly) and ended up taking out a large chunk of our fence. The funny bit? The driver used to work for us, knows there’s a fence there and managed to drive off without realising he’d done it. Love CCTV, it definitely has its uses!

Midnight serenading seems to have calmed down, apologies made and boxes of chocolates handed over to make sure the ‘sorry’ was completely understood. In the meantime, we had a couple who applied for work and quite frankly, we should have followed our gut instinct and not hired them at all. It was pretty obvious that the lad was taking a step down from his previous job and was pretty gobby about it in induction. Now, let’s put it this way, had I been conducting the induction, I would have walked to the end of the training room and opened the door, especially when he declared, “I’ve never had to wear a name badge for any job in my life and I don’t intend starting now.” Really? There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the arse on the way out. So, he survived induction, and then went on to start his training. Now, all our departments involve money handling. By the end of the day he’d decided it ‘wasn’t for him’ and he wanted to ‘move to somewhere that didn’t have tills’. I wonder if he would have cleaned toilets? Nah, maybe not. Anyway, the following morning, knowing he already had issues, he was (apparently) poorly. So poorly in fact, he called in sick. Well, actually his wife emailed in that he was sick. What part of ‘pick up the phone’ did they not understand in their induction?  Not so poorly that he could get an emergency appointment with his doctor in Glasgow and drive there, only to get signed off work for 2 weeks. He’d worked for one day. See ya!

In the meantime, the rest of the 36 new recruits have been settling in well. They’re not without their different personalities and quirks, that’s for sure. I guess it’s up to us to adapt to them all and make allowances for the quirky scale. Some hit the top of the scale pretty well! All in all though, we are getting good feedback on their customer service, so as much as it’s been a hectic and stressful start to the season, I see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel! All jovial japes aside, I’m very proud of my hard working team, they’re special.

This morning, we (the office girls) were wondering what surprises were in store. The first hit was at 8.31am. Standing beside a wide open door, a customer asks, “Are you open?” Perhaps we should have a neon ‘open’ sign. Oh, we do.

Lunchtime today, there was a bloke wearing a denim skirt. Yes. A denim skirt. A bloke. I wonder what that was all about, he was with a woman who I presumed was his partner / wife. He was the upper end of 60+. Hmmm.

The biggie so far this season, has been a person, who for many reasons, I am not going to name. Let’s call him, Mr Screwdriver.Laugh. Love. Live.

The first time Mr Screwdriver contacted us, it was by phone. He gave verbal abuse to two member of staff, before he was passed to Edward. Good luck with that one. Edward advised him, if he didn’t calm down and stop shouting, he’d hang up. He didn’t stop ranting and Edward hung up. Then started a battle of wills. So, here’s the potted version:

Mr Screwdriver was bought a gift for Christmas. It was a fairly rare bottle of Macallan whisky. He didn’t like that particular whisky, so took it to Pitlochry and traded it in. Robertson’s, the shop there was happy to do so and advised Mr Screwdriver how much he had to spend on a replacement bottle. That’s when the poo hit the fan. Now, let’s get something straight here, whisky is not the only product on the face of the earth that can be priced differently in different locations.  Our bottle was £19 more expensive than that charged at Robertson’s. It’s not uncommon to find this, especially with collectable bottlings.

So, Mr Screwdriver ranted and raved on the phone and then resorted to email. How much stress can someone cause? At first he said his ‘partner’ had bought the bottle, then in a later email, his wife, then as the thread continued, his friend. Most of all, HE was not the customer, but was demanding a refund of £19. Really? Why on earth would we do that? Now, had Mr Screwdriver been polite and friendly when he phoned, we wouldn’t have had to tolerate his rude, aggressive, threatening emails; we probably would have sent him a nice half bottle of something to placate him. But no, he wasn’t nice about it, he was downright rude. By the time we got to Easter weekend, he was threatening to go on to social media – crack on with that, it would have only have given us more ammunition against him.

We were as polite as we could be, but it was getting boring. He had no rights what so ever to money back. A comment to him included,words to the effect of: “If your friend went into Tesco and bought a pack of Tetley Tea Bags and then went to Asda and found the same tea bags cheaper, would you rant and rave at them on someone else’s behalf? If you bought petrol in one petrol station and then the next fill up find cheaper fuel, would you go back to the original garage and complain?” No?

In the meantime, we have got it through to him that we were in no way obliged to do anything, as he wasn’t the customer and anyway, we’d seen no proof of purchase at all. Enter stage left, the ‘partner / wife / friend’. Let’s call her Mrs Judge. Again, had she been nice and polite, explained things fully, provided proof of purchase it would have been oh so different. Nah. She wasn’t quite so rude, but nearly. Mr Screwdriver called in the middle of lunch on Easter Saturday. When Edward couldn’t take his call, he ranted and raved all over again. Just to be sure, he backed it up with another rude email.

Sorry, excuse me. Let me just stop the world spinning for a minute so we can listen to your gobby nonsense all over again? There are about 5 members of the team who took verbal abuse from him. I was ready to send Mrs Judge a Scottish £20 firmly glued to a compliment slip to shut her (and Mr Screwdriver) up. I wasn’t allowed to do that. So, we compromised, whilst still getting threatening emails of the actions he was going to take. The last email was advising us that he had been  in touch with the Sheriff Court in Stirling and Trading Standards. Good luck with that. We wasted so much time on this idiot. We then said that we would as a gesture of goodwill, donate £100 to a charity of Mrs Judge’s choosing, she sort of accepted it, however, we were to send her a £20 cheque and one for £80 to the Dog’s Trust. HAWD ON A MINUTE!! When did it become £20?? Eventually, they caved, realising that we were not going to budge in the slightest. After so many abusive emails and a cheque was posted directly to the Dog’s Trust. Matter closed.

What’s wrong with people? Had Mr Screwdriver been nice about it we would have been delighted to swap his whisky. FFS, not so long ago, a customer brought an opened bottle back and said he didn’t like it. What did we do? We gave him an alternative bottle without even batting an eye. Happy customers.

It’s a very British thing, sadly, that people don’t know how to complain. Firstly, do it at the time. Secondly, don’t lose the plot, you’re getting yourself and the other person upset. If the Lentil soup is a bit salty, tell us. Don’t whine when you come in the next time and say, “I’m not having the lentil soup, it was too salty the last time.” I have replied in the past by saying, “Sorry, that was 2 weeks ago. That 25lt pot of soup was probably finished that same day. Please let us know at the time, so we can make it right for others.” Then of course the really brave souls just do the social media thing and report on that shitty website about their experience. They would have no need to spend all that time writing and venting had they done the right thing in the first place; telling us about it.

On a finishing note, one of our team had a bit of a phobia of spiders. He’s a bitty gangly and a bitty loud, so when he needed to remove a bag covering a box of bananas, he freaked. He ran through from the store, looking like a younger version of Basil Fawlty, saying “Help, I can’t do it!” I asked what his problem was. He told me about his phobia. By the time I calmed him down and said I’d sort out any scary spiders for him. We went back to the offending box of bananas and there was Fiona, (the other one, that’s worked with us for about 20 years) bending over, undressing the bananas. It worked. His outlook now is, “If a pregnant lassie can deal with it, then so can I.”

I was reminded of a customer many years ago who had a really bad stutter and was looking for country and western music. His stutter issue, unfortunately, was getting out the word ‘country’……. Yep, you imagined it correctly. It took a few tries then the team member had to help him out, whilst keeping a straight face.

I love my job. The diversity of it, the people you meet, and yes, I even enjoy dealing with the occasional idiot. Oh yes, we did get another complaint the other night from people who had parked up in their camper van at the back of the business. Quite frankly, I don’t know why people choose to spend the night in our dusty car park, they have all that gorgeous scenery on the west coast, but hey ho. Anyway, they were great, they reported to us that a bus had drawn up and the lads that got off the bus were obviously bursting and couldn’t walk around to the front of the business to the rather lovely loos in either the Filling Station or the Snack Stop. So, they pissed on the flowers, the walls, the fence and the door. That’s nice. You see, it is diverse

Just to finish, don’t you just love customers. Ban chewing gum. chewing gum present

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