Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gift for 9/11 (?)

A man with thinning dark hair, very tan, and wearing a white t-shirt with a faded blue collar came up to the register.

"I have a book on hold. It's for my granddaughter."

I got his name and looked on the hold shelf for his book.

"Hmm, I'm not seeing it here. I'll check in the computer and see what I can find there." I ask for his phone number, and look up his order. Sure enough, he's ordered a copy of the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records, which was just released.

"I don't know where your order is, but I'll go get you a copy of the book," I said. I walked over to where the book was displayed and got a copy of the book and brought it back to him. "Here it is," I said. "I'm sorry I couldn't find your order, but I'm glad we have the book for you."

"Yes," he said. "I'm getting this for my granddaughter, I wanted to make sure to give it to her today, on 9/11, so she'll know what day I got it for her."

"Great," I said, not quite getting the connection between 9/11 and the Guinness Book of World Records, but recognizing that somehow it was a connection for him. "Here it is, did you want to look at it first?"

"So this is the one I ordered?", he asked.

"Well, I couldn't find your order, but this is the book that you asked to be put on hold. It's the same book that you ordered." I paused. "Is that the book you wanted?"

He looked behind me. "There it is!", he said. "There's my order!" He pointed to a low shelf, near where the holds were kept.

"You're right, there it is." I picked up his order. "You can have this one," I said, since it didn't have the 20% off sticker on it, and he seemed to want the exact one that he ordered. "Is that all right?"

"Sure. What is that on the one you have?"

"It's a sticker for 20% off the price. You'll still get the discount, even though this one doesn't have the sticker. You still get the reduced price."

"But what is that orange thing on that one?", he pointed to the book I'd put aside.

"That is the sticker. Yours doesn't have the sticker, but you still get the discount."

"Could you gift wrap it? It's for my granddaughter. I really want her to remember that this is the day I bought it for her."

"Sure, I'd be happy to gift wrap it for you. I'll ring up the next people, and then I'll wrap it for you. We have two different kinds of paper, you can choose which one you'd like for your granddaughter," I said.

I finished his transaction and gift-wrapped the book.

"Thanks," he said as he left.

"Sure, have a good day," I said.

A few hours later, my manager called me off the floor. He told me that this same man had called and demanded that I give him a refund. He was furious that I'd sold him a book with bent corners. Yelling on the phone, he told the manager that if I didn't give him a refund when he came in tomorrow, he was going to come in and blow my head off.

Fear washed over me as he told me this.

The man was yelling so loudly, the manager had to hold the phone away from his ear. The manager eventually hung up on him, as he wasn't able to reason with this very upset man. After the call, he spoke with the store manager and the plan was that if this man came into the store, I was to leave the register area immediately and call the manager. He would then call the police.

We stayed alert for the rest of the shift and the next day. I know that I, in particular, was on very high alert.

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  1. Seriously what the hell is wrong with people. He sounds like he has a mental disorder and should be at a shrinks office instead of loose shopping. Sorry you had to deal with this.

  2. Thanks. It was weird, he wasn't upset when he was in the store, just kind of weird and very particular. Then he just went OFF when he called. Yep, scary.

  3. Wow! That is weird. Perhaps you need to share what happened with the police department, just so they have a record. There may be a pattern in his behavior.