For whatever reason, many customers think that if a person works in a retail store, they've got the whole catalog of products memorized backward and forward, both current and discontinued items. Along with that, the associate must also have all technical specifications, assembling instructions, and so on memorized so that they can recall any of that information upon request.
Yeah, we don't get paid nearly enough for that kinda crap.
A guy came into the store yesterday looking for a toner cartridge. Of course, he came without any model numbers or any real useful information. I told him I wouldn't be able to give him the right cartridge without some kind of help from him.
"Where are your printers?" he asks. "I'll just show it to you."
Now, I know where this is going, but on the off chance that he does have one of the twenty printers we have in stock and not one of the hundreds that have come and gone from the shelves over the years, I had to humor him. "This way."
We get to the printer aisle, and he points to the first printer he sees. "It's just like this one."
"Just like" that could've meant any number of things. It could be close to the right one, but close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and government work. I had to try to get him to clarify. "Is it just LIKE this one? Or is it actually this one?"
"It's just like this one," he says again, "only mines black."
Yeah, that's a different model. I haven't seen printer models come in different colors since Apple had their multicolored line of printers to match the multicolored iMacs years ago. "Sir, without an exact model number, I can't guarantee I'm giving you the right thing."
"It's this one," he says, patting the machine. "Trust me."
OK then. I get the cartridge for that machine and send him on his way.
Can you guess what happened about an hour later?
Yeah, I get paged to the front of the store, and there he is with his hands spread wide apart. "Dude, you gave me the wrong one!" he says as though I'd been the one assuring HIM that he was right.
"I told you I couldn't guarantee it was right without the model of the printer," I said. He takes me back over to the printer aisle and points at the printer. "Do you have any other models like that one?"
I point to the printer beside it. "This is similar, but it has wireless network connectivity built into it."
"No, that doesn't look like it at all."
It's now dawning on me that this guy has made a second trip back to the store, this time with the wrong cartridge, and he STILL didn't bring a model number. "Did you get the model of your printer before you came back?" I asked him.
Instead of saying, "No, because I'm an idiot," he avoids the question. "I swear it looks like this one," he said, pointing again to the first one.
"If it was this one, then the cartridge I gave you would've worked. It's not this one."
"It is," he says, pulling out his cell phone. "I know it is." He dials a number, and asks the person on the other end, "Whats the model number on the printer? ....... .... Yeah, the number over the digital screen on the front."
Meanwhile, I'm standing there silently screaming, "Why didn't you do this in the first place?!"
To make a long story longer, it was indeed a different model number, and I found him the right cartridge.
Shopping tip of the day for 10/2/09: If I'm wearing a shirt with the store logo on it and a nametag with the store logo on it, there's a pretty good chance I work there.