It was just a regular day at my job at Walmart as a Customer Service Specialist. Today I was responsible for handling all the transactions at the customer service desk (courtesy desk). The only problem was, that I was the only working there for the next couple of hours, as they did not have enough associates trained for the courtesy desk. It can get pretty lonely out there sometimes, when there are no customers to nag because the registers are farther away, so there is no one to talk to. Usually, associates get away with minor chit-chat while they are cashing a customer out if the customer is not interested in talking or is on the cell phone. Moving along with the story, I don’t mind working at the courtesy desk because it definitely beats out working as a cashier; scanning and bagging items, not to mention maintaining a healthy scanning speed. Anyway, as I said before, today I was responsible for managing transactions at the customer service desk. I was one hour into my shift, and everything going fairly well. Customers were doing their usual job of complaining about an item, before getting their money back and walking away with a smile once they get their money. At this point, the store was not that busy, and as previously mentioned I was the only working there. Now at this point, you may think I can just stand there and wait until a customer arrives..nahhh! That can never happen; this is Walmart, if the supervisors see that if you are not working, they start to bug you and tell you to do some random shit. To avoid that situation, I was sorting all the returned items by their department, which the customers left at the registers. I guess, I was so concentrated in sorting that I did not notice this lady who was waiting at the desk for me to serve her. I finally saw her, when she raised her voice and yelled: “Is someone going to come here to help me or not??”. I immediately jumped back and went to help her, and I apologized as well as this was clearly my fault.
I guess she did not care for the apology as she immediately started unloading all the items that she wanted to return. In like a minute or so, my exceptionally clean desk was full of five different items she wanted to return on three separate receipts. Customers with multiple receipts are always a nightmare, especially if they paid by a different method for each transaction. Luckily, this customer was smart and used the same debit card for all three receipts. Now processing these items for return was relatively easy because the receipts were within the return policy and the customer was kind enough to keep the price tags along with the bar code. (Side Note: Always keep the price tag and bar code when returning an item, it makes it so much easier for the associate to process your return and you to get your money back). I was able to complete her transaction with a minute or so, and I’m hoping the money was deposited in her bank immediately as she was using a debit card; credit card takes 3-4 business days. She signed the slipped, which authenticated that I processed her transaction and she got the money back. Just as I thought she was done and about to leave, she pulled out another item from a plastic bag. It was a pair of sandals, and they were pretty worn-out from the stains and scuffs on them. I was going to deny her the return based on the condition of the item but first decided to take a look at the receipt and hear out her reason. She handed over the receipt saying that “these sandals broke in a couple of weeks after I brought them.” After listening to her reason, I thought to myself, “Yeah, that can happen, sometimes they break easily without even trying. So, we will offer her to exchange the item instead of returning her the money.” As soon as the thought completed in my head, I looked over to the date to make sure that I can process this in the system. The date on the receipt was from 2014, and I did not bother to look further as clearly this item was not “purchased a couple of weeks ago.” I told her straight up that she cannot return this product or exchange it because the receipt is over two years old and gave her back the receipt. She was not able to comprehend the fact, that she cannot return an item whenever she wants as her immediate response was “Is it too late to return this product??”. I answered “Yeahh, Kinda” quickly but politely. To which she responded “But this is Walmart. I heard you guys accept anything.” I was baffled by that response, and said: “Yeah, we do as long as the item and the receipt scans in the system and within the return policy limits.” I knew she was not satisfied by the look on her face, but she knew the fact that even a manager cannot help her out because she is two years too late to return the product. She quietly took the sandals back in her plastic bag and went along her way.
After she had left, all I kept thinking was how in the world was she able to save a receipt from 2014. I guess this just proves the fact, at what length some customers are willing to go to get their money back.
I will have many other interesting customer service stories in future, if you want to read more; please like, comment , and follow.