There are few jobs more maniacally frustrating than retail – especially in the wireless industry! Acquainting millions of employees to new, wondrous habits such as liberally excessive cologne/perfume application, hair product delusion, and tobacco product consumption, wireless retail can be the nadir of stress for many.
For three years I
suffered persevered as the general manager of a small AT&T franchise store. Other than my wits, the real victims were my feet after having to stand all day in dress shoes because, God forbid, a customer somehow got outraged at a salesperson for wearing sneakers. To this day I can’t quite comprehend why wearing sneakers in retail is analogous to cursing at customers while playing death metal – you’d get sent home either way. “I was about to start a new family plan with 5 iPhones and all the accessories but then I saw that you were wearing Nikes,” is a sentence you will never hear without the influence of an illegal substance.
On the other hand, the sentences you would hear could be equally, if not more, perplexing. I could never quite get used to the insanity of some of the questions or statements people made there, such as:
1. So if I give you my [insert random antiquated flip phone here], can you get me the latest iPhone for free?
2. Why the hell can’t I pay my Verizon bill here? Aren’t you all really the same shit anyway?
3. CUSTOMER: This is an AT&T store, right?
ME: [As I stand there wearing an AT&T shirt surrounded by AT&T fliers, banners, video displays, etc.] God, I hope so.
4. CUSTOMER: I want to buy a new phone but not one of them smartphones. They’re too complicated.
ME: Well we still have a small selection of flip phones over here.
CUSTOMER: Perfect. Can they take high quality pictures?
ME: Not really.
CUSTOMER: How about 4G Internet?
ME: This is really primarily a phone.
CUSTOMER: Oh. How many “jigs” of music can I store?
ME: It sounds to me like you really should look at a smartphone.
CUSTOMER: I don’t want no damn smartphone! Can it play “Hungry Birds?”
5. So if I got home Internet installed, can I take the modem with me to the grocery store so I can get online?
6. CUSTOMER: Can you guys fix my broken television?
ME: No sir.
CUSTOMER: But I’ve got your TV service!
7. Do you guys sell discount tires?
8. CUSTOMER: My phone’s not working.
ME: It’s because it’s not charged sir.
CUSTOMER: You mean I’ve got to plug these damn things in?! To hell with AT&T! I’m going to MetroPCS!
9. CUSTOMER: I want to return my iPhone!
ME: How come?
CUSTOMER: Because I can’t beat Angry Birds and that’s the whole damn reason I bought the phone!
[I saved the sale by beating the level she was stuck on…level 2…in the first world….]
10. CUSTOMER: You look like Tony Danza and Tony Danza wouldn’t charge anyone $200 for no goddamn iPhone!
ME: Well I’m not Tony Danza because over here, I’m the boss. [Insert mic drop.]