Sometimes Bad Nick just has enough, and he has to rear up on his hind legs and raise a little bit of hell. It’s therapeutic, if nothing else, and sometimes it even gets results.

We had to make a run to a local branch of a nationwide office supply store to stock up on some items the other day. When we got to the only checkout line that was open (and why is there always only one open?), the woman ahead of us was one of those customers from hell that all retail clerks dread, and all other customers hate being stuck behind.

She wanted a subtotal with tax after each of her items were rung up, and then had to decide if she really wanted them or not. Once she finally got over that hurdle, the clerk asked her if she had the store’s rewards card, and she didn’t know what that was, and had to have it explained to her. Then she wanted to get one and fill out the paperwork for it. All the while we were left tapping our toes.

Okay, finally she gets her rewards card, everything is rung up, and she pulls out her debit card, which she had no idea how to use. She couldn’t remember her PIN number and had to search through her purse to see where she had written it down. Oh, here it is! No, wrong PIN number, let’s try again. And again.

By then we had people in line behind us and I was about ready to just leave our items and walk out. Then came the icing on the cake. Finally another clerk came up, opened the other checkout counter, and told the people behind us “Come over here, folks, let’s get you rung up.” 

Huh? The people behind us in line? Not us, who had been waiting forever? The people who had just gotten in line? I don’t think so! I let both the clerk at our checkout counter, and the new one, know exactly what I thought about that. Whatever happened to customer courtesy? Whatever happened to efficiency? By then the woman ahead of us had finally completed her business and left, and our clerk apologized. Then she offered us one of their free rewards cards. I told her no thanks, from now on we’d do our shopping at their competition.

She said she wanted to keep our business, and told us she was giving us a 20% discount on our purchase. Since our bill was over $160, I thought that was very nice of her, and thanked her and told her so. 

So we saved over $32 for our inconvenience and irritation. That was a good thing. But I have to wonder how many times things like that happen, if a clerk can just issue a discount like that without even checking with a manager. And I have to wonder how much money the store could save if they would just give good customer service instead of discounts. But since I don’t have one of those fancy MBA degrees that the guys in the corner offices wearing the suits have, what do I know?

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14 Comments on Bad Nick Gets A Discount

  1. […] read some of the comments and e-mails that have come in. I just posted a new blog entry titled Bad Nick Gets A Discount that I think every frustrated shopper can relate […]

  2. Dee Seals says:

    I’m glad to see the blog. I thing those of us who really try to be decent people need a place to vent. Last weekend while buying groceries several items rang up wrong. I questioned them which provoked the women behind me to be very rude. The sweet while slow manager solved my problem while being assertive to the women behind me. She basically told them to “shut it” or leave. She resolved my issues and then helped them complete their transactions which involved paying for their groceries with government issued monies.
    Nick, I get the lack of control for adsense, but be honest you’re trying to make a living. I do it to. I don’t like myself for it but it’s something I have to do. Why? Because everyone believes our government will take care of them. You and I know they won’t be there in the capacity we need them to be. So we get up everyday and do what we have to do.
    Why are we so scared to admit that both democrats and republicans have let us down?
    I am tired, disgusted, and I was better educated and a lot smarter.
    Thank you for your time.

  3. Nick Russell says:

    I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I write my blogs as part of my business. Profit is not a four letter word.

  4. Nick, customer service often is crappy,we all know that, but sometimes it is great. I bought a few items at Safeway last Saturday. When I got home I realized I had been charged $2.49 a pound from broccoli crowns when it should have been 79 cents a pound.

    Tuesday we had a few more items to pick up. I double-checked the display price for broccoli crowns, yes, 79 cents. We stood in line at Customer Service behind the inevitable person with long, involved transactions. Soon the Assistant Manager showed up, asked if he could help us. We explained what had happened (didn’t have the receipt with us), and he immediately refunded the full amount I had paid for the broccoli. He smiled and explained that the checker had probably inadvertently entered the UPC code for full-stem broccoli, which for some reason costs more than crowns, which have the stem already cut off. No problem, and a very polite assistant manager.

    We could tell some horror stories, and someday, under an awning, we probably will.

  5. Norah says:

    Did something happen to Bad Nick’s photo or do I need new glasses?

  6. Nick Russell says:

    The softwarwe uses a series of photos and one looks blurry for some reason. Try refreshing it and you an probbly see okay again!

  7. Barry Crocker says:

    Been there, done that at Wally Mart in Eagle Point, OR. Won’t go back there.

  8. Connie Braidh says:

    Yes, I know about the line from hell. Never stand behind me in line because I always seem to pick the line from hell. The people in front of me look so innocent. But just as we get about my turn, IT happens. IT could be coupons, a check won’t go through, a government subsidy transaction, a credit card doesn’t work, they want cigarettes and they are on the other side of the store, they decide they don’t have enough money and need to subtract some items, they challenge something and they need a manager who must be in the bathroom and takes his sweet time, Dad or a kid rush up with a new item, the clerk is out of something(like receipt paper)and turns on the blinking light (I don’t like the blinking light!!!!!), the clerks are changing and have to exchange teller drawers, the electricity goes out in the building and no one knows how to write a receipt or count money, only one teller and a long line of buyers who all just happen to want to check out the same time I do, the computer goes on the fritz and the teller doesn’t know what to do, Granny can’t find her change purse, bimbo can’t count (that’s both clerk and buyer), a store employee is buying something and they need a manager and he’s still in the bathroom and it goes on. Each of these has happened to me. Thankfully I am usually not in a hurry now that I am retired. But it’s hard to be patient!! So if you see me, never get behind me in line!!! It won’t be good for your day.

  9. Cal Hall says:

    I too have had several mentionable experiences with the two major “big box” hardware stores. I now will drive miles out of my way to find the local mom and pop hardware store where they know exactly what I’m looking for and right where it’s located. I don’t mind paying a little more for GOOD customer service.

    You can seem to get away with saying things I seem to get in trouble for. Keep it up.

  10. Bill Tourtillott says:

    Checkout line problems are usually a problem caused by an inattentive manager. He or she (with a few days experience) should be able to estimate how many checkers are needed immediately by glancing at the checkout area and predict the next 20 minutes’ needs by the amount of traffic in the store.

    Another peeve, How often have you found the greenest, slowest, least trained, often least trainable checker around — IN THE EXPRESS LINE!!

    BTW- Glad to see you “snarling back” at us – the rowdy crowd that pitch in replies!

  11. Orv Hazelton says:

    Nick. . . sorry, but I just don’t get it. Instead of an evil styr rearing up on his hind legs, I sense someone more like Walter Middy. You didn’t raise hell! You took it in the rear (of the line, that is). Come on, Nick. . . tell it like it REALLY is. As always, oRV

  12. Bob and Molly says:

    That’s what we call the “checkout wookalars”…..they follow us everywhere we go!!! Sorry, they found you too!

  13. Jeff Johnson says:

    Nick that situation has happened countless times to me. Just last week after always keeping my mouth shut I finally spoke up. I was directly behind a problem customer at the only register open and a new clerk decides its busy enough to open another after there are six people behind me. The new clerk said the same thing and eveyone rushed over that register. I politely said ” Excuse me Miss I have waited far too long and during that time I realised that there are OTHER stores in town”. Then I asked her to put my cartfull of groceries back after she finished checking out these folks. You could have heard a pin drop as I walked out the door!

  14. Linda Mason says:

    I have to agree with you about the problem’s that can occur. I usually just wait and sometime’s wait some more. Lately I have begun to speak up when there is a problem. They look at me like I am crazy cause I am not the right color to be raising cain. I was in nursing and can tell you from direct experience that the patient’s and family who are the most vocal will get more attention. Not meaning better care. just more attention.

    Glad you started this blog. Keep up the great work as usual. And again, great thing with the new rig.

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