Let me tell you the story of Mother, Daughter, and Angry Eyebrows (AE for short).
The trio walked in mid-rush one Saturday afternoon, when I was working by myself. We had expected it to be slow so I was alone for two hours and let me tell you, it was most definitely not slow.
I had one person on each of the three benches and two more walking around when they walked in with a box. The entire store is currently final sale because it's all being sold at a massive discount to basically liquidate inventory, so I really hoped they had gotten them before the sale started last week.
"Hi," said Mother, "I bought these for Daughter for Christmas but they don't fit. Can we get a smaller size?"
"Oh, let me just take a look at the shoes and receipt and I'll be happy to help you." I said.
"We don't have a receipt." said the Mother, who now seemed annoyed.
Well shit. My bosses, the owners of the company, don't allow exchanges without receipts because customers have taken advantage and walked away with essentially free merchandise or money. No exceptions.
"Without a receipt, I can't take them back. However, if you can tell me the exact date you bought them, I might be able to find it on the computer. Let me ring up these ladies and while you think on it and I'll be happy to help you." I told them, looking at the two ladies who were forming a line.
It took about ten minutes because one lady had a complicated sale to ring up, with multiple discounts that I had to put in individually and the other lady needed to know the return policy (final sale, as I said earlier) but I agreed to allow an exchange within 48 hours if it didn't work with the dress so I had to make notes of that for her and my employees.
So they leave and the trio approaches me.
"I've never heard of a store needing a receipt before. Everybody takes stuff back." Said Mother.
"This is ridiculous." Said Daughter.
"What a waste of time." Said AE.
Stop your bitching and be happy I'm taking the time to help you, when I have three other customers who will actually be spending money and are being much nicer to me. I thought, but didn't say, because I can be nice. Sometimes.
"Here, let me try these on while you look." Said Daughter. "I wear size 8."
"Let her find the receipt before she brings anything out. We don't even know if she can find it yet." Said Mother.
"No, I'll try it on while she looks." Said Daughter.
"The shoe is right by the door. I'll be right back." I was back in thirty seconds but it was a glorious thirty seconds to not be around angry ladies.
Mother demanded to know how I was searching for the receipt so I showed her how I had to individually scroll through every transaction that day because the farthest I can narrow it down is by date- not even time, payment type, employee, or style. I found it and pulled more shoes.
I also continued to help other customers and had several sales. I knew who was trying on what, but I had no idea who's personal items belonged to who or even which people were in which group (except for the heroes of our story).
I tell them, "These shoes are now discounted from the price you paid, so if you get the same style, you'll have store credit left over. You can use it now or later but it'll be roughly $12, so you may want to look at that while you try things on."
AE says, "Well we would just want a refund."
It wasn't your money. Who even are you? I think, but I don't say that either. "Our system is not set up for a refund. The buyer was told that before purchase so I can't do that."
"Why not? Just put it back on the card." Demands AE, who looks even more angry now.
"The system will not allow it. It would shut the machine down and send an alert that somebody was stealing from the company, which I am not willing to do today." I probably could have said this nicer than I did.
Mother takes the time, twice, to thank me for the trouble of looking for the receipt. I get the feeling she's not so bad and I'm having an easier time being nice to her because it's more genuine and less, "I'm just doing my job, I don't get paid enough for this".
Finally, Mother hands me a purse. "Can you put this behind the counter?"
"Of course!" I panic, wondering who the purse belongs to and how on earth I'll be able to move the purse to the safety of the back room until security can come claim lost and found. I didn't want the responsibility of it. That's too risky. I shoved it under the counter quickly because I didn't want anybody to take the opportunity to falsely claim it as there's.
"Where's my purse?" Daughter asks. AE shrugs. Mother shrugs and says, "I don't know. Did you leave it on the bench while you were walking around?"
"Did anyone turn in a purse?" Daughter demands from me.
"No, I've been near her the whole time and nobody turned anything in." Mother says.
At that point, I didn't know what to say or so. I would get accused of stealing it if I admitted that the strap was currently resting on my foot and I would get accused of stealing if I didn't speak up and they saw it.
"Do you have security cameras?" AE asked. As she was staring up, right at the camera.
"Yes, but I don't have access to the passwords or to play them back." I said. That was true but I still didn't know what else to say.
"Well you need to call security because her purse was just stolen." AE snapped at me.
Fuck my life.
"Hi! Can we get a shoe size?"
I looked to my right and took the display a little girl was holding. "Of course. What size?" I asked.
"Size 3, please."
"I'll be right back." I told her.
"THERE IT IS! UNDER THE COUNTER!" Daughter yelled.
This is it. This is the end. Rest In Peace me.
I swear she was about to lunge at me, as I awkwardly handed her the purse back. She opened her mouth and Mother let all hell rain down, "I had her hide it so maybe next time you'll keep an eye on your things. This store has been full for twenty minutes and you never even checked to make sure it was still there."
I took off to the back room to get the kid shoe but when I came back, they were still yelling. How dare she lie and move her purse. How dare she leave her things laying around. It was a mess. I avoided them as much as I possibly could.
I ended up giving them a store credit and they left. Or rather, Daughter and AE left together. I hadn't realized Mother had left first until she came back ten minutes later to ask where they had gone.
But yeah... That's the story of the time I accidentally stole a purse and also started/helped fuel a family war.
My bad, y'all.