8/31/2007

Hello all, John here.

Reporting from the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, in Shelby, NC. We are attending the 51st annual Shelby Hamfest.

So far the crowd looks like it will be a good one. We decided to take off work and make it a 4 day weekend, thinking of getting here early. Well, apperantly this hamfest prelude starts a week early, there was barely enough room for us to find a spot to camp, let alone sell. We got one of the last 30 amp sites left, of course the one with the weak breaker that trips at anything over 15 amps… Ugh.

We got all set up, made an inital round, then it started pouring. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.

I do want to share a story from yesterday. Call it a glimpse of my life at Advance, and just another reason why I just loath retail customers. Thursday wasn’t an overly busy day, but the fact that someone had scheduling conflicts and we only had 3 people staffed in the store I was basically running my ass off all day. About 3:30 the DM comes in with the DCSM (Phil, my boss) to interview someone. I’m on the counter with Martin, and store is full of people. Phones ringing off the hook and I am in my typical less than a cheery mood, especially since again I couldn’t take lunch.

In walks an African-American tater tot, of course comes to my counter since I am convinced retail customers must smell that the guy running around like a chicken with his head cut off because he has 3 phones on hold and tring to pull three other orders is going to be the one that is going to be the most patient and tolerant of their complete ignorance. I ask her with the last bit of enthusiasm I can muster “How can I help you Ma’am.” She responds with the typical “How are you” and “Thank’s I’m good too.” and all the other formalities I really don’t have time or patience for. I ask again, how I can solve her problems. She said “I need an Idle”. “An Idle?” I ask, with wrinkled forehead, thinking great another moron. She replies, “Yes, and Idle. for that black car”. Ugh. “Just look it up like all the other parts stores did”. I reply, “Ma’am, ‘Idle’ is a verb, and something a car does, not a noun, which means is can not be part of the car.” She snaps back, that all the other parts guys didn’t have any problem knowing what she wanted. Trying to be civil, I asked “Can you tell me what the part does, or what your car is doing?” She gets pissy and says “I just don’t understand why you don’t know what and ‘Idle’ is” and I again reply that “there are several parts on a car that have the word ‘Idle’ in them, is it a pulley?, part of the steering, what is the car not doing or doing incorrectly Ma’am?” “Come out and look” she snaps back. (another side note, it’s 100 degrees out, and the one thing I most loath, of all the things I loath about retail customers is they must share the experience of looking at the pile of shit they drive.) I walk out, and untie the bungee cord holding her hood shut, and hold the hood open since the prop rod is missing, while melting my flesh under the hood of this car she points out the “Idle” on top of her intake manifold. “That part with the cables coming out of it” “Ma’am, that is part of your air induction system, which controls the amount of fuel air mixture. I can’t get that entire part, however I think the part you want is the part on the backside of that called the “IAC Valve, or Idle Air Control Valve.” She snaps back with “the other stores didn’t have to come out and look they just knew.” I humbly replied “I am still taking my mind reading class, and haven’t quite gotten to the reading of inanimate objects class yet, so I just must not be as smart as those other part’s guys, but since you have shown me the part now, let’s go inside and see if I have one available for your car.”

We return to the counter, and I find the part number and quote her $39.88. “AutoZone has it for $29.00” “Well, Ma’am, we do have a price match policy, so I will be happy to match that price, as long as I can verify the part is the same with the same warranty.” I pickup the phone to call Michael next door. Most customer’s don’t realize that even though we are competitors, we still buy from each other all day, and hence have a pretty good relationship. Michael and I joke on the phone for a few minutes, mostly because I know it is just adding fuel to her fire since she is already pissed that I just called her bluff and picked the phone up. I click the speaker on just as he was announcing the part was $39.99. “Ma’am, I’ll happily match their price for you, but you’d be paying 11 cents more.” “Just let me see it then.” Ugh! Now, normally when a retail customer asks that, it means “Really, I just wanted to waste 15 minutes of your time, and I had no intention of even thinking about purchasing it, mostly because I have to go buy crack tonight, and can’t afford it, but you can go dig it out of the shelfs so you can just go put it back after I fondle it with my greasy hands.” In this case she did buy it, but first she has to FINALLY tell me what her freakin’ problem was (which I had already figured out by now…) and finally asked me if I thought that would solve it. Which, I explained those symptoms very well could be caused by a bad IAC valve, however, since it is an electrical part, once it has been installed, I cannot refund her money for it. This goes on for another 15 minutes with further explanation of what our warranty covers and all of that B.S…. She finally forked over $40.00 and left the store.

By now, I have the DM, DCSM, Martin, our new employee who started yesterday all standing behind the shelf directly behind me eavesdropping. Martin, tying to be cute shouts through the shelf that he is looking for an “idle”.

I HATE RETAIL!!!

Ok, Enough for tonight.

John

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