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My second most difficult customer

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Actually, there were two who tied for second place, but both for the same reason.

The first customer is when I was still working in a bookstore. I was working at Crown Books (remember them?) and each week we had discounts on the New York Times Bestseller List titles. We’d also have miscellaneous books discounted. All the titles were displayed in the front window of the store and it was a lot of work to change them out each week and hang little tags displaying the discount under each title.

Inevitably, one week someone left the wrong book in the display and it was no longer on discount. A customer walked in and wanted the book. When the clerk rang it up, it came up as full price. The customer had seen it in the window at the discounted price and demanded to get the discount. I was called to handle the situation.

I checked the front window and sure enough the book had been missed and was sitting there with the discounted price. I picked up the book from the window display and took it to the front counter with me, so we didn’t have anyone else trying to get the book at a discount.

I decided if the customer pushed I’d give it to him at the discount, but I figured I’d try a reasonable approach first. “I’m sorry but this book went off discount last week. We aren’t really supposed to sell it at that price anymore.”

Before I could continue and tell him we’d honor the mistake, he started ranting at me. He went on for five minutes or so, then walked out in a huff.

The other guy tied in second place for worst client ever was when I had moved into the web app development field. This guy called me and said he wanted to meet to discuss a project. I agreed to meet him at the nearby Starbucks to discuss his project.

I got to the meeting first, sat down and waited. The guy showed up and immediately started talking. and he DID. NOT. STOP.

He told me that I was the most recommended developer he could find and that I was great at what I did and spent a lot of time telling me about his idea and would not let me get any questions in. Or any other comments. If he was like this during the initial meeting I could not see this working if I was trying to develop something for him.

When he finally wound down, I told him I couldn’t help him but I knew several other developers that I could pass their contact information along. I left the meeting, went home, sent him the contact info, and took a nap.

I would have liked to help both of these guys. But if you can’t stop talking long enough to let me offer a solution, or even get a question in to clarify something that will help me offer a solution, I can’t help you.

I’m all for customer service but some folks are just beyond help.

If you’d like to support my efforts, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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