98. Check Your Bags at the Store Entrance
Adrian's favorite store was the $1 Store. This store had everything, from fresh produce to birthday cards to gasoline additives. Everything was one dollar. Usually, he got very good deals; occasionally, he got ripped off.
A few days ago, Adrian bought six packages of ink for his printer. Then he found a deal on better ink at the local computer store. So Adrian went back to the $1 Store to exchange the ink for some other items.
He put the ink into a plastic bag and tied it up. When he entered the store, he immediately showed the bag to a clerk and told her that he was returning some items. She looked at him but said nothing. There were about ten people in her line. She was obviously very busy. Not knowing exactly what to do, Adrian put the bag into a push-cart and started shopping.
He was midway through shopping when a female employee suddenly stopped him. "Sir," she said sternly, "you are not allowed to carry a plastic bag of items around in this store. What's in this bag? Show me what's in the bag!"
Adrian was taken aback. There was no need for her to yell. He opened the bag and showed her the six packages of ink. "I'm returning these to exchange for some other items," Adrian said.
"You should have left the bag with the clerk when you entered this store. Let me see your receipt!" the employee demanded.
Adrian was embarrassed. He felt like a shoplifter. He looked around to see if anyone was paying attention. He showed her the receipt.
"Perhaps in the future you'll learn how to follow store policy. Leave this bag here with the clerk. You can have your receipt and bag back when you check out."
By the time Adrian had finished shopping and exchanged the items, he was angry. How dare she treat him like a criminal? He went looking for her. He wanted an apology. He found her in the produce section and asked what her name was. She mumbled something. He asked her again, and this time he heard "Ursula."
"Ursula what?" he asked. She yelled at him, "Ursula!" and stormed away.
When Adrian got home, he called the store's corporate headquarters. This rude employee was about to lose her job, he said to himself. He described his unpleasant experience to a customer service representative. She was sympathetic. "Our employees are taught to be polite. We will not tolerate such behavior. Give me your phone number and I will call you back."
Two days later, Adrian received a phone call from the representative. "I'm sorry," she said, "but there's no one at that store named Ursula. Can you describe her? I'll find out who she is. I assure you, we do not tolerate rude behavior, nor do we tolerate lying to customers."
By this time, Adrian had calmed down. He didn't really want the employee to lose her job. He told the representative to forget about it.
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