New Favourite Customer Service Experience.

19 Jan

One time, I was shopping in Zellers for windshield washer fluid. I searched the automotive section high and low to no avail. I accepted my own incompetence and approached a nearby employee for help.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you have any windshield washer fluid?”
“Like Windex?”
“Um… no. It’s for your car…”
“Ohhhhh, like Armor All?”
*shoots employee baffled look* “No. The blue stuff?”
“OHHHHHHHHH! Windshield washer fluid!”

I looked squarely at him and made that face that looks like this o_O Yeah, the one you normally do behind peoples’ backs. I felt no shame. He deserved it.

For the longest time, that was my favourite customer service story of all time. As of today, I have a new favourite.

My in-laws gave me a $50 gift certificate to Aldo so that I could buy some new shoes for work, as the soles were quite literally peeling off my old ones (they were probably trying to run away from the smell. What?). So, on my break, I decide to go make use of my gift card. I poke around in Aldo for a bit; nobody acknowledges my presence. After a few minutes, I settle on a pair of sequined flats with bows on the toes, because they remind me of Michael Jackson. I pick up the demo shoe and approach the salesman…

“Hey, do you guys have these in a size 9?”
“I can check for you.”

He flips the shoe over and exclaims that in fact, this very shoe is a size 9! I reply to him, “Good, that bodes well.” He asks if I’d like him to go find the other shoe. I consider saying “No, I’ll just buy the one,” but reconsider because I’m not sure he’ll understand that I’m joking. So off he goes to the back room to look for, I presume, a pair of size 9’s.


He quite literally meant he would go find me the other shoe. The mate to the shoe that’s been sitting out on the shelf, gathering dust and being manhandled, with a price sticker stapled to its sole.

Fine, whatever, the demo shoe is in good enough condition and I don’t really care about the state of the sole (it’s not like it won’t get all scuffed up the very first time I wear them anyway), so I plop them down on the floor and try them on. Great. Perfect. I’ll take ’em. Where the hell is the salesguy?

I wait for a few minutes. It’s getting to the point where I’m wondering what would be less embarrassing, to just give it up and walk away, or to walk away with the shoes in hand to see if he even notices. Eventually Skippy returns and asks me if I’d like to buy them. I’m wondering if the fact that I’m standing at the cash with my wallet out is what tipped him off to that possibility. I say yes, I’d like to buy the shoes.

He tells me to hang on a sec.

Then he disappears into the back room again.

Then I hear the music change as he is clearly shuffling through songs on the store’s ipod. He settles on “Stellar” by Incubus (???) and reappears before me to sell me my shoes. They ring up at $50.85. I tell him I will need to break a 20 to give him the change. He says no problem. He opens the cash drawer. “Oh…,” he says.

Then he says, “Do you have any change?”

I have never wanted to punch somebody more than I have wanted to punch this man in this moment. I say “LET ME CHECK” in the tone of voice that matches those capital letters, and I plonk my giant red potato sack of a handbag down on the countertop and rifle through in hopes of finding change. I find nothing. “NOPE.”

“Uh, I only have 20’s and 2’s for change, so I’m going to have to give you all twonies. Is that okay?” Well it sort of has to be at this point, doesn’t it? So I say it’s fine and he hands me a stack of two dollar coins and makes a wisecrack about how I can enjoy spending them at the arcade. I tell him I’ll probably just change them down at my store because we, y’know, have tens and fives.


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