Combating the Hordes

or Further Tales of Poor Customer Service

or or Which is worse: The Deal Hunters or Deal Makers?

The Deal Hunters:

At work I wear tan pants, a navy blue shirt and a radio on my belt with a speaker welded to my ear. I carry around a large black plastic label gun and what amounts to a tricorder. I can be found quite often either by a register or sitting on the floor mid aisle, labeling various items with said gun. Ten other folk in the building wear and do the same. The tan and blue… not a fashion statement; the labeling of products – not a cult ceremony.

So when people come up to me and ask “do you work here,” I take it as a signal for the gloves to come off! Especially now that we’re liquidating.

On such an occasion the opposite extreme was reached as a woman forwent the pleasantries of asking me if I worked here, and apparently assumed I was the CEO. She was outraged at how I, me, could charge eight bucks for a pack of 100 sheet protectors. As said product was waved in my face, I skillfully shot it with my tricorder; to which the price came up as $9.42.

Oddly enough this did not assuage her, and her outrage continued. “How can that be? That’s ridiculous. Something should be done. Why are you [me, personally], so outrageously expensive?”

Now, a few roads can be taken here. The high roads include ignoring her, referral to customer service or calling a manager. However, since I was sitting on the floor and only the low road options were reachable: leg sweep (no); reminding her she needn’t buy it (no); or: I explain that we are living in a petroleum based society rapidly loosing it’s resources. The plastic sheet protectors are merely a product of it and the price a product of manufactured shortages created by oil companies getting rich off the whole thing (YES!). She left me alone after that.

Another day, after confirming employment a guy asked “what was our best deal?”

“Well, what are you looking for?”

“Like I just said, the best deal!”

Knowing what he was consumed by blind consumerism, I played dumb. “Well, it all depends on what you’re in the market for, sir. Printer? Ram?” Turning a bit red, he proclaimed “look, bud, how much of a discount you guys giving around here?”

I just pointed to the sign above my head facing him, the sign above his head facing me and the double sided signs taped to the glass doors (which one can only assume he used) reading 20-40%.

He was suffering from buyers bloodlust. It’s frenzied shopping brought on by quote-unquote deals. It causes the consumer to put things in their basket that they would never have otherwise, just because its a good price – like 3 year old laser toner. One such consumer decided we were all “fuck heads and scammers” because she a) bought a pack of pens she didn’t need and b) didn’t read the rather large black and yellow “no returnsâ” signs that swarm the place like angry bees. “This is why your going out of business,” she yelled as she kicked the doors on her way out.

If only she had the common courtesy of just chucking the pens in the garbage, like some dude did to his $50 label maker when we informed him about our obscure little return policy. The receipt went with it in the can, and we’ve not heard from him since.

So, it was resold… opened, with no further discounts. This leads to the other faction.

The Deal Makers

You know things are bad when the liquidator – the dude in charge of selling off your excess crap, I mean, merchandise – heads over to the competitor for pricing labels because they are cheaper there even after our 30% discount! And they wonder why OfficeMax is downsizing?!

I am convinced that the guy in charge of this clearance circus is from some odd part of Canada where they replace their “eh?s” with “shoppers.” Every time this dipstick gets on the intercom with his “amazing savings” announcements, its “shoppers, we have some amazing deals for you shoppers!” “Everything is 20-40% off shoppers, shoppers, you cant pass this up.” “I was looking around shoppers…” - You get the shoppers drift…shoppers.

Come on man, the odd “Ladies and Gentlemen” never hurts, ya know. I mean, the consumer may be cattle, but they have feelings too and will graze better if they were treated with respect.

Not that I can respect some of these lunatics. You can rub two sticks together and generate more compassion than I have for some of these scavengers (who’ve never set foot in, let alone heard of, OfficeMax till this event), but enough is too much.

We have a cage in the back where all the broken and returned stuff goes. First, he sold the cage. Then he tells us to put the junk back on the shelf. It nearly took an act of congress to put warning stickers on them. Even then they merely read “previously returned.”

Vague much?

He’s selling non-functional display PDA’s, non-lockable safe displays (no keys, no combo, best of luck to you), the unused toilet paper from the back, the hand carts and pallet jacks (so now we can’t move the furniture all too well), the large CopyMax and FurnitureMax signs (we’re talking 5 foot letters), and a cardboard cutout of the Rubberband man.

They estimated 8 weeks of this nonsense. It’s been 3 so far. I looked for a job for 2 years… I no longer want it, thank you.

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Written by

Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston