Picture it: NYC, mid-morning, 2012. I’m approached by a male customer wanting to purchase fragrance for his sister and niece before he flies home to India.
So, I grab the fragrance keys and pull out some of the fine fragrance we have to keep locked away because thieves. He’s not happy with the prices, and wants to know what I have around the $40 mark.
I pull out some Amarige. I have that scent, and I love it. It can be strong, so a dab will do, and it’s priced at $39.99. He wants a bigger bottle at the same price.
Sir. This is not a flea market where you can haggle. Corporate sets the prices; I enforce them. That’s it. But there was no point in going to all of that as I only carried the smaller bottle.
“Oh, fine. What other scents do you have?”
I walk this man through the store, showing him different items and spraying all manner of different fragrance, and he had complaints about every.single.thing!
I tried to narrow it down: what are the ages of your family members? (old, and young, said he.) Ok. What type of things do they like? (What do all women like? said he.) Ok. I sigh. Now what?
I’m trying to keep the veneer of helpful employee up, but he’s slowly starting to piss me off. I’ve known customers to do this so that they can get what they want, but that doesn’t fly with me.
He finally decides he wants the fine fragrance again. Ok, I think. I’ve smelled almost all of these, so this should hopefully go quickly. He initially picks Pink Sugar for his niece, which leads me to ask exactly how young is she? Because this smells like cotton candy. Most popular with teenagers.
“Ah, she’s about 25. Never mind, I won’t get her a fragrance. What about my sister? She’s in her 40s.”
I’m thinking, 40s is old? But I pull out the Amarige again for him and describe it to him. Since it’s one I own, I know how good it is.
“You wear it?”
Didn’t I just say…”Yes, I do. It’s one of my favorites.”
“So people…buy it?”
…”Yes, they do.”
“Do White people buy it?”
Family, this man was not white. He was Indian and the same shade of brown as me. I could only assume his family would be around the same color so…what in all of the hell was he trying to say? At this point, the veneer cracked, y’all. The look I laid on him said:
I didn’t say it out loud, but I wanted to…
If looks could kill it would have been some slow singing and flower bringing, you hear me?
I think he realized then that a) whatever patience I had was gone and b) he done fucked up and had better remedy that quickly.
“Oh, well, you know, other people like different things, so…”
I’m still leveling my death stare at him.
“Yes, sir. White people buy it. Were you interested in this fragrance, or did you want to look elsewhere? I’ve shown you all I have.”
What I wanted to ask him was if he would like me to get someone White to give their opinion. Providing him with customer service is fine for a Black woman, but her opinion means nothing. Mhm. Got it.
An hour later, this man left my store with only one piece of fragrance and left me with a headache.
Bonus: he came back in my store two days later looking specifically for me. Why? Because he “liked the service I gave him.”
*blank face* -_-
Y’all, if you ever come across a salty customer service clerk it’s probably because they had a similar customer to mine. Please don’t hate them. It’s just trauma.
Come back next week for a new Tale from Retail!