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Customer Blackmail



Customers come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. I had an opportunity the other day to meet a gentleman(term loosely used) who I now call the Blackmailer. This is the type of customer who believes so fervently in the "Customer is Always Right" attitude that they believe that they can leverage it against you to get anything they want.

Mr. Blackmailer came into the store the other day seeking out a lawnmower blade. Now, anyone in retail knows that stores are usually a couple of months ahead of the season. Hence the reason you will see Halloween in stores from now through October and why you saw back to school items just as school was getting out. The basic thing is you have to have time to sell through the old season to make room for the new. Mr. Blackmailer didn't get this no matter how I tried to explain it to him.

Mr. Blackmailer did notice that we had some lawnmowers left over and at this point it came out. "You want to make me a satisfied customer, give me the blade off that lawnmower." The thought went through my mind of course Yeah, I'm going to deface a $200 machine to get you a $12 part. I told him I couldn't do that and let him know that he could likely order the part through the company that made the mower. Of course, Mr. Blackmailer only pays for everything in cash.

It was at this point I let him know that I would search for it at other stores, but because it was the end of the season I didn't think there would be much luck. I also let him know I would try to order the part and it would be at least two weeks before it came in. His reply to me was 'This isn't treating me right and I know BigBox Store is supposed to take care of me. I've got a big truck with a big tailgate that is perfect for telling people exactly how you treated me today and I travel all up and down the coast. If you don't get me that part, that's what I'll do."

Unfortunately, I'm not able to find a part. When telling this story to the other people in my store they laugh and roll their eyes much the same as me. Some people just aren't happy unless they're being miserable, I guess. I feel sorry for Mr. Blackmailer and if you see a pick-up truck with a sign explaining poor customer service on the Maine coastal routes, well...now you know the story.


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You are soooo right. There are those "types" out there who are looking to be miserable. People who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions, or in this case their lack of action. He knew his blade would eventually become dull. He could have bought a spare. Could have taken it to have it sharpened. Could get a debit card so he can buy online. And a half a dozen other actions he could have taken.
When I was young I actually enjoyed working in customer service, now I dread it. There are no longer manners or morals in the general public. By-gone days, so it seems. People now regularly switch out products putting their old used POS in the box they just bought and then attempt to return it. I would never have considered doing such a thing and was surprised when a store clerk opened my factory sealed return to see that it was the correct, unsued item inside. From what I have observed this is now standard operating procedure here in Southern California.
How low will people go?
Pretty darn low, so it seems. I'm sure there is a blogging website dedicated to idiot customers. (I know there is one for sharing wait-staff's customer related horror stories)
Thanks for sharing this story. My heart goes out to you, having provided excellent customer service without blowing your cool. I'm glad you have a positive attitude about it, not letting this jerk-wad get to you.
The world needs more people like you!

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Yeah Thurisas that Mr. Blackmailer was a real piece of work. Here's a dandy lil story I think you'll like.

I used to work at a large private camping club that sold individual campsites. One morning we got a call from a member who had lost their electric power and asked if we could come out and take a look.

I was sent on the call. I got to the site and attempted to access their power box in the usual fashion. My path was blocked by a tangle of bicycles so I had to walk around to the back. There were clothes, toys, tools, black pipe and broken or just discarded crap everywhere you looked. You could NOT walk 10 feet without stepping over or around something. As I walked up to the power box I could smell electrical smoke lingering in the air. I had flipped the main on the street off already. I opened the weather lid. Here's what I found.

Each site is served with 30AMPS. Their 5th wheel was fairly new and had a 75AMP setup. They had put a 30amp adapter on a 75amp hookup, turned on too many appliances and burned up that plug. Then they put a 20amp adapter to the 30amp adapter and finished burning up the box. I mean every single component in the box was fried. The buss bar and common bars were scorched and arc welded/melted. The helper/short wires were burnt up and no longer salvageable. The 2 breakers were fused/melted and both receptacles were wasted.

At this point I talked to the owners. I told them their power could be fixed but it would not be free. They were a bit upset. I told them what I thought happened and that they were responsible for the damages. They should have stopped hooking up adapters before they fried their 20amp receptacle. They disagreed. Since they were not willing to fill out the initial paperwork to get the job started I picked up my tools and wished them a good afternoon and left.

They were in the office the next morning with the paper signed and wanting their power fixed 5 minutes ago. Unfortunately we were swamped and had just half our usual crew. I was sent out later that morning after our morning chores were done.

I set to work. When it came time to swap out the box I found that we did NOT have a spare rebuilt box at the shop! I was new at working with electricity and had to have help rebuilding a 30amp power box. So me and Micah feverishly rebuilt a surplus box. That took a couple hours. I just barely got everything back together, safety checked and power restored before quitting time. I told the (new) owners that if they tried to run too many appliances they would burn up their box again.

I had 4 or 5 hours on the job plus Micah had 2 hours @ $50 hour. The new electrical parts were $100 plus some incidental parts to finish the job per our usual SOP. With tax they were on the hook for around $450. I found out later they howled and whined so much they were charged only $54. Our $54 power service 'check and clean' job that included 1/2 hour labor and some parts.

On a good note these folks lasted less than a year. The park I worked at was somewhat hoyty toyty with mass rules and regulations. (Almost like having the government breathing down your neck.) I guess they thought the rules were somewhat oppressive.

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