Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Work-related: everybody looks bad

This post is a little over two years old. I ran into it during the recent blog maintenance, and I was initially surprised that I hadn't posted it, because it looked like it was more or less complete: the pictures were already present, the code for the footnotes (usually the last thing I do with a post, because it's awkward to change once in place) had been done. It's rare for a post to reach this stage without getting posted.

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Zinnia 'Profusion Mix.'

Ouch. The first Saturday of May should not be sunny. It brings out too many customers all at once. It wasn't necessarily terrible to be busy, though I did something to my back early in the day, which hurts, and which would probably heal up just fine if I could rest it, but I've got (as I write this on Sunday morning) two more days of work, and then I have to water all the plants at home, so that's not looking too likely.

(Just FYI, though: the first Saturday in May is probably the weekend you want to show up to shop, if you live around here: our actual last frost date is May 15, give or take, but if you want to be able to buy before we're sold out of things, a couple weeks earlier is about ideal. And actually the first Friday is probably even better, if you can manage it.)

For as many as there were, the customers on Saturday were very well-behaved (better than the co-workers, anyway: one of the co-workers is closer than s/he realizes to being beaten to death with a shovel1), with one exception:

One lady waved me over to the succulents while I was watering and asked for a price on a $9.95 Adenium obesum.

I told her $9.95.

Tagetes patula 'Little Hero Yellow.'

Oh, she said, well someone told me it was only $5.99.

I don't know what to tell you, I said back. The prices go by pot size, that's a 4-inch pot, therefore it's $9.95.

CUSTOMER: But someone said $5.99.

MR_S: Well, um, we do have $5.99 plants, but That. Is. Not. One. Of. Them.

[long pause]

CUSTOMER: Okay, well, thank you.

Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost.'

So then a couple hours later, one of the front counter people comes back to the greenhouse for something or another, and while s/he's back there, s/he says, so -- what's the price on those plants that have the big bulb thing at the base? Are those succulents or tropicals or what?

MR_S: Which ones? These? [pointing to a Beaucarnea recurvata]

FRONT COUNTER PERSON: Maybe. I'm not sure.

Then it dawned on me why s/he was asking, and I pointed to the Adeniums, and s/he was like, yes, that one. What price are those?

MR_S: $9.95.

Osteospermum 'Summertime Red Velvet.'

FRONT COUNTER PERSON: 'Cause I had a customer insist that somebody had told her $5.99.

MR_S: Yeah, I know which customer you're talking about. I told her $9.95 repeatedly.

FRONT COUNTER PERSON: Wait -- you'd told her $9.95?

MR_S: Repeatedly.


Bracteantha bracteata 'Firey Orange.'

MR_S: Why? What price did you give her?

FRONT COUNTER PERSON: Well she kept saying someone had told her $5.99, so we wound up giving it to her for $5.99. [pause] You know, I don't mean to talk bad about [customer's ethnic group],

MR_S: [cringes in anticipation]

FRONT COUNTER PERSON: but . . . [proceeds to talk bad about customer's ethnic group]

MR_S: *facepalm*

Only 20 days left.3

Osteospermum 'Summertime Sunshine.'


1 Exaggerated for dramatic effect, but s/he has about a 50-50 chance of getting the verbal equivalent of being beaten to death with a shovel, whatever that would be, before I'm done with the job. S/he would be wise to stay out of my way. Tragically, s/he is not a particularly wise person, and probably will not stay out of my way.
2 Also exaggerated for dramatic effect. I don't remember exactly what s/he said.
3 Unless I come back for June. Which I said I might do. Not looking real probable at the moment, though.

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For what it's worth, the one problematic co-worker didn't get beaten with a shovel. Still deserves it, though.

I'm not certain which front counter person was in the story -- my personal journal doesn't record the interaction -- but if it's who I remember it as being, then yes, s/he still works there.


Caroline said...

Love. It.

Liza said...

I wish I'd read your blog back when you were working there. It sounds like you had lots of interesting moments.

Jenn said...

Ugh. Forgetabout the ethnic group, price cheats of all spots and colors annoy the fuck out of me.

I like to shop the thrift. I was looking at a sparkly bracelet and was tempted enough to check the price. 11.99. Too much for that day, I put it back.

Not three minutes later, I'm still browsing the pretties, some lady hands it to the cashier and asks 'how much for this?' The sparkle caught my eye. Same bracelet. No tag. "OH," I said, "I just looked at that, it was tagged 12.99."

Never even looked at the potential customer. Just at the cashier. Very helpful like.* Customer walked away.

Man, it's a thrift store, with a CHARITY attached. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

People piss me off. I love my plants.

* (Ha ha ha, Bitch, what're you gonna do about it? Tell me I'm wrong and it was only tagged 11.99?)

danger garden said...

Oh the stories that those of us with a retail background could tell...thanks for sharing this one. It reminded me of the "good ole days"...

Aralia said...

I've heard from my friend who works at our local nursery, that the most used excuse to get the plant for less money is that it's soil is dry. If you tell them that you are more than willing to water the plant before they take it home, they get angry and start yelling... And no, the plant has not suffered from the lack of water. Do those people think that the soil should be soaking wet all the time, or are they just cheap?

Plowing Through Life said...

Ha ha...loved the story! I especially liked the being 'beaten by a shovel' part. I can think of a couple of people I know that could use a little of that.

Tom said...

Blargh. I used to have to put up with the same thing. So glad to be out of retail!

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

Me too! Four and a half years in a garden center was enough for me!

Pat said...

In a previous job I ended a conversation with a customer along the lines of:

"I am sorry, we give discounts to people who save us time and effort by buying lots of stuff in one visit. Buying twenty quidsworth (about $30) of stuff is not enough for a discount and you have just spent ten minutes arguing with me about this while I could have been doing real work. I should charge you a 'count'. How would an extra 10% seem to you?"
"I visit here all the time, you should give me a discount."
"How about I get the manager over to tell you that you will not be getting a discount?"

Ivynettle said...

Oh the joys of the first Saturday in May...

Pat, I'll be so tempted to say that to my customers.
There are some customers who make me want to add an "AH charge" to their total... they don't need to know that "AH" stands for "asshole", right? I think my boss's wife would totally let me, too. The boss himself, I'm not so sure, but he'd understand, at least.

FLGardenGuy said...

Jenn's story is the best! But seriously, that's why I don't work retial anymore. I would be in jail right now. Like the customer that that got really mad when we were out of flash drives that were on sale. I told him, "I'm sorry but the sale has been going on for 7 days and you got here on the last day." He replied with "well, I drove alllll the way from Cape Coral for this!" To which I said: "I drove all the way from Cape Coral, too. It's only a 10 minute drive."