I'm either lying, or I'm stupid.

I'm sure everybody's played this game from one side or the other at some point. Customer comes up to you and asks for a somewhat specific thing. This thing is not carried in your store, and you know this for a fact. You may even be aware that this never existed in all the time you've been there. You relate this experience to the customer. Now, the reasonable response to expect would be something like "Okay, thank you." or maybe even "Do you know who does have it?" But no, more often than not, customer responds by saying "No, I get this here all the time." At this point both parties are thinking the same thing: You're either lying, or you're stupid. Customer is either lying to me to perhaps cover up that they're misremembering something, or is possibly stupid in thinking that there is a magic phrase, a secret code word even that will make me suddenly produce additional items from a secret location that only the select few in-the-know can purchase from. This is of course not the case. And with exception of items that are truly out of stock, what's on the shelf is all we currently sell. Meanwhile, customer thinks the same of me. I'm either lying because I'm maybe lazy and don't want to help (probably goes along with the thought that we have all kinds of stuff in back that we won't bring out for anyone), or I'm stupid and don't know what's in the aisle I'm working.

This tends to come up pretty frequently to some extent, especially when someone does ask if we have more of something in back. If we do have stuff, and I can get to it, I'll usually happily go and grab one for somebody, especially if they're reasonably polite about it. I don't have a problem with that, and it is my job and all. On the other hand, most of the hours I work they're unloading trucks at the same time, and it's not actually possible to get stuff out from the Pets bin in back. I explain this fact to people, though I know they don't always believe me. Still, the incident that really set me off here was a couple nights ago when a woman simply refused to believe me when I told her we did not carry a certain variety of Ol' Roy dog food in the 22 ounce cans. What she wanted was what's called Chopped Meaty Combo - a revolting combination of beef, chicken and liver products (I'm almost curious as to what this liver component comes from, since if it's a cow liver wouldn;t that also fall under the extremely vague definition of "beef" that dog food is constrained to?) that we only sell in boxed six-packs. We don't have it in single units in either 13 or 22 ounces, and we have not for as long as I've worked at this Wal-Mart. But no, the guy working in Pets doesn't really know anything about the goods he has to work every day, and the woman maintains that she buys that flavor in that size at that store "all the time", and since I'm really not allowed to say to anybody that they're out and out wrong or whatever, I just have to stop talking by then since I'm not going to be able to convince this woman of anything within the bounds of conduct I have to follow. Eventually she settles on a few cans of just beef and just chicken, and a third kind that I don't remember. And it probably wouldn't have bugged me except that she had such a bad attitude about something she was entirely mistaken over. And yet, I can remember more than one instance where I've done the same thing. Oh, true, I may not have treated the poor retail slave so badly over it, but I can't say I didn't think the person was either lying or an idiot, and I start to feel bad about it. But then, that's why the saying is true: Everyone needs to work retail at least once in their life. Until you do, you just have no clue what these poor people have to go through every single day of their working lives.


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