January 7, 2018 - 72fucked
Seasonal Price Check
I just got fired today because of customer complaints. I worked as a cashier for 3 months and was also in guest services a lot. I had a few problems with getting to work on time because of a long commute and mixed up my schedule to get a NCNS, and I would have understood if they had to let me go for these reasons. But what really happened, I don’t understand.
I worked Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day, along with the other crazy days in between. There were a lot of sales and promotions and the store I worked at was in dire need of an update. The computers were the original ones from when the store opened in 2001, I believe, but one of my superiors thinks there may have been one update since then. Anyway, we did have a lot of problems with items ringing up correctly when they went on clearance or on sale. I guess that made the guests used to arguing their price all the time, and since I got called aside for almost every price adjustment, I started using the Target app to search the prices or a MyDevice when it was available and used those prices, which seemed to be fine with any superiors or coworkers. However, the guests argued all the time with me because I seemed to be the only cashier/guest service person concerned with price accuracy. We were also understaffed for a lot of the busy days and I was left to cashier and cover guest services at the same time, so when guests argued with me and said “I’ll just go to guest services,” I just explained to them that I was guest services but we could certainly change the location of the transaction if they wanted. I had so many people argue prices with me, because people working in other areas of the store grouped lots of items together with sale signs that only applied to two or three things, or when other team members reshopped they were left unequipped, or plano wasn’t up to date, or they just didn’t care to look around more or ask for help. And the last reason is that any clearance section, and many places throughout the store, people pick things up and put them in the wrong places because they find a cheaper item, decide not to buy it, or were trying to make their kids forget about buying whatever item.
So all of these things- old machines, lack of resources, understaffing, a messy store, etc- account for the reasons I believe so many price adjustments were argued (on top of it being the holidays and living in the Midwest with entitled rich people). I repeat, I seemed to be the only cashier concerned with price accuracy, so whenever I refused to adjust a price, people complained. I have had issues with customer service in the past, but I firmly believe that I have improved and I retained my composure many times through a lot more than I would have in the past.
One man picked up Christmas lights that cost $11.89 online but $11.99 in the store. They were Phillips brand but someone stocked them on top of the label for Wondershop lights costing $8.99. This is when stuff started to go on sale so I knew it was a mess back in seasonal. When the lights rang up, the man said, “I thought those were $8.99.” Me: “They’re ringing up as $11.99, but there might be cartwheel that brings it down to that price. I can check.” I looked at cartwheel and the price was $11.89, which I showed him and told him I would adjust. It was 9pm and we were closing at 10, so I was the only cashier left and the GSA was on her last 15. It was just me at the front. He said “They are still $8.99, that’s why I wanted them.” I didn’t have a walkie to call for a price check. I had people in line so I asked him to go take a picture of the sign because with proof I would adjust the price for him. He stood there and said he didn’t want to go all the way back there. “I’m sorry, I can’t call for anyone and the only other person in the front is on break. I can’t adjust the price without proof.” Everyone else is impatient in line but he isn’t willing to move. I am getting frustrated because I am a human being and I feel terrible when people are waiting and get frustrated when people argue that much over a few dollars. I don’t have much money myself, but I don’t argue that intensely over a few dollars. He just will not move so I ran back, leaving the check lane because I just don’t know what else to do. I admit I could have handled that better but I was all alone and didn’t think clearly. I found the lights and took a picture and showed him it was the wrong brand when I got back. He was upset that I left even though I was just trying to do my best to be fair. I said “Fine. These lights were in the wrong spot and it looks like an employee put them there (which should have been overstocked, but I didn’t say that), so I will adjust the price.” I was in a rush and adjusted the price but only on one of the boxes of lights simply because I was in a rush, not to spite him. He said “I thought it would be more than that,” under his breath and left. None of the other guests had a problem and I thanked each of them for waiting. When I got fired today, I found out that he complained and in his complaint talked about seeking a lawyer to get his other $3 and change.
A few weeks later, Christmas pajamas went on sale for certain brands at 50% off and some at 25% off, but they were on the same rack. I don’t know what the signs looked like or what they said, but this man bought like $200 worth of stuff and when his pajamas rang up at $15 instead of $10 he immediately got angry. He just looked at the screen and said “What the hell is that.” And I said “What…?” With so much anger (and his kids are right there, maybe they ticked him off, I don’t know. I try to have perspective.) he says through his teeth, “They’re 50% off.” I checked the original price ($20) and said, “I’m sorry, they’re only ringing up at 25% off . (and I’m kind of shaken because he’s a big guy and I’m underweight and pretty short and young and as a girl have been in shitty situations with guys before.) Maybe it was in the wrong place or the sign was wrong?” Him: “It was on the freaking rack that said 50% off.” Me: “I can check cartwheel to see if there’s a coupon for this brand on there. (There wasn’t.) I don’t know why they’re ringing up that way if they’re supposed to be 50% off, but even the online price is $15 and that’s usually cheaper than in store if anything.” Him: “Why the hell would the sign be wrong?!?!” Me: “I’m sorry, I’m just a cashier. I don’t put the signs up, I don’t work in clothes. I just ring things up.” Him: “They’re supposed to be $10!!!!!” I’m really intimidated and again this transaction is later at night (I think it was around 8 so the other cashier was there but getting carts or something and the GSA was not nearby, and again I didn’t have a walkie.) so I just took the $5 off, almost crying. He ripped his receipt out of my hand. The next guest in line looked at me sorrowfully and was normal and pleasant but clearly felt bad for me. The next day, the LOD pulled me aside and talked to me about doing random price adjustments and to not do them anymore without proof (which was a policy I always followed but they didn’t give me a chance to explain my side.) I do not know if this guest complained.
The policy at Target for alcohol is to scan every drivers’ license as I’m sure you all know. I had trouble with guests complaining about getting their ID out a lot, so I started typing in the birthday of my ex-boyfriend who was of age because it was just easier. Again, they talked to me about that, so I stopped doing that and I seemed to have fewer problems. On Christmas Eve, this lady who was clearly of age bought a few bottles of wine and I proceeded as normal. Me: “Hi, how are you tonight?” Her: no answer. Me: “Can I have your birthday for the wine, please?” Her: “Are you serious?” (in a very snotty tone). Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we have to ID everybody.” Her:”That’s ridiculous.” Me: “I’m sorry, we ID everybody.” Her: “Can’t you tell I’m old enough?” Me: “I’m sorry, we have to ID everybody.” Her: (sighing) “Fine. Why don’t you type in, oh, I don’t know, January 1st, 1900.” I just looked at her. She sneers, “What, you don’t think they’ll believe I’m 117 years old?” I type it in, and the date gets rejected. Me: “I’m sorry, it’s not accepting the fake birthday.” (She clearly did not like that I told her I knew it was fake but… come on. And it was Christmas Eve, and I already worked my other job that day so I was going to total 13 hours and have to deal with my family afterwards like everyone else.) Her: “Put February 29th, 1929.” I just look at her. Me: “It’s not going to accept that.” Her: “Then put February 28th.” I did, and it worked, although she clearly was not born in 1929, I just didn’t care. As I finish ringing up the rest of her wine, she continues: “I don’t see why you have to ask. I’m clearly old enough. It’s just insulting.” Me: “I’m not trying to insult you, I don’t control Target or the way it works or the rules. I’m sorry that you’re insulted by me doing my job. I have to ask everyone.” Her: “Most people would just put in their own birthday, it’s just so insulting. It would be so much easier if you just did that.” Me: “Well, I’m 20, so that wouldn’t work.” She finally has nothing to say, so she grabs her bag and I say “Happy Holidays” (admittedly sarcastically, but can you blame me) and she huffs out of the store. Apparently she complained that I insulted her age.
The last situation that I know of occurred today. A team member that works at Starbucks goes shopping with her mom a lot and they fill up their carts with small items and spend a ton of money (like, my paycheck) a few times a week and they usually have to adjust a few prices (which they are correct about almost all of the time) and they are annoying but usually not that difficult to deal with, just tedious. Today the cartwheel for storage bins only worked on 4 out of the 12 identical bins the mom bought, and I helped her at guest services. I was confused at first because A. she bought several types of storage bins, B. there were a lot of items on her receipt and C. I’ve never seen a problem like this with cartwheel before (I also don’t consider myself very smart). We figured out the price adjustment with few problems once I got my thoughts organized and we made small talk about organization and her daughter while I got her refund. When she got her money back she stayed to talk for a minute (I think she was waiting for her daughter) and hemmed and hawed about a pillow she bought. I said “I’m sure you can return it if you didn’t use it.” Then I corrected myself, because I forgot you can return anything even if it is used, we just defect it. “Wait, never mind. I misspoke. You know you can return it any time.” She looked at me strangely and said “I would never do that.” Me: “No, I’m sure. It’s just that some people do but it’s really not a problem, we just defect it out.” Her: “I know some people would, but *I* would never do that.” Me: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to offend you. I don’t know you. I just misspoke.” She thinks that over for a second (I’m not really sure why, she was making me nervous) and says loudly “You don’t seem very perky today.” Me: “I’m sorry, I just got over a cold. I’m doing my best.” Then she noticed one of her storage bins was missing a handle and she freaks out. I offer to help, telling her “If you find it, it should just snap back on. Or I can run back and get you a different one if you want.” She just ignores me and runs over to Starbucks and glances back at me a few times. My coworker immediately gets upset because she thought that lady was rude for telling me I wasn’t perky. I was kind of freaked out but I was going to ignore it until I saw one of my superiors bring her a new storage bin. I was confused because I just offered to get it for her, so I went over to see if there was a problem and my coworker pulls me aside and says the lady and her daughter (again, she works at Starbucks, so she is my coworker) have been talking about me. All I heard was “don’t say that to a customer” and “take the survey on the bottom”. I talked to my superior on my break and asked her what I did wrong. She told me that (coworker)’s mom causes a lot of problems and she’s had to deal with a lot from her in the past and not to worry about it.
Hours later, I’m pulled aside into the same superior’s office and told that Target’s relationship with me is ending due to several complaints, and today’s complaint against me was the last straw, apparently. Every single complaint, except the alcohol one and my coworker’s mother, were about price adjustments, which I was told not to do without proof, and most of the complaints were about Christmas clearance items that got mixed up between 70% and 90% off and were transactions that seemed unremarkable to me because most of these items rang up between 10 and 90 cents. I know I ranted here a lot and gave too much detail, but I just want to know a few things.
- Is there no policy about warning an employee or notifying them of complaints?
- Would I have been fired for adjusting every single price as every single guest wanted anyway?
I understand that as a corporation, Target needs to put its guests first and that they don’t have time to listen to my side of every story. I just think it’s unfair that there’s no warning and that even though I was told my store manager had to deal with tons of emails about me, apparently, no one had the time to talk to me about what was going on and how I could fix it. As far as I was aware, this came out of nowhere. And it’s especially unfair to me that I get fired for trying to prevent loss for the store and that I have to deal with price adjustments all the time because items are often in the wrong spot. I sincerely tried to do my job and prove the correct price to people but the amount of money complained about added up to less than $50. One complaint quoted me completely accurately and my superiors told me I dealt with the situation exactly as I should have but it still counted as a complaint. How is it possible that my superiors can agree with me and not dismiss the complaints of people that clearly have nothing better to do? How is it possible that these people spending hundreds of dollars every day care more about a few cents than the fact that I have no idea how I’m going to pay my bills for this month? How is it possible that NO ONE took the time to warn me that I was getting complaints and that there was a way to fix it? Would this have happened if I didn’t work the days that Christmas items went on clearance, since those transactions caused the most problems? Would I have been fired if I didn’t work in the front and did truck or softlines or something? Like I said at the beginning, I had a few attendance issues and I would have completely understood if I got fired for that. But this whole situation, these complaints where I was just trying to do my job, didn’t make any sense. I know there’s nothing I can do, I just wanted to vent. And I guess I want those questions answered and if you’re thinking about working at Target, don’t be a cashier, because that is where you get fucked the most.