many happy returns

yesterday a customer came in wanting a refund for a mug she'd "recently purchased".
when she pulled the mug out of her bag and set it on the counter i instantly knew i was going to get a blog post out of it.

"ma'am," i said politely when i saw she was returning a christmas mug - from LAST year, "i'm sorry but i can't give you a refund for that."
"but i have the receipt right here!" she informed me and pulled out piece of paper.

it was one of those moments where you don't know whether to laugh or be insulted. the piece of paper she handed me had the words "ONE MUG - 5 DOLLARS" sloppily scrawled on it.

"ma'am, i'm sorry but this isn't one of our receipts." i told her as i handed back the homemade receipt.
"but i don't want the mug anymore." she pushed the paper back towards me.
"i can't refund your money, i'm sorry." i was still being polite, but i could tell she was getting ready to fight me. "i can't give you store credit, either."
"but it's one of your mugs!" her voice getting higher in pitch. "look - it even has the mermaid on it!" she pointed to the bux logo on the mug.
"yes, it is a mug we sold LAST christmas, and even if you did have a reciept from one of OUR stores, i still wouldn't be able to take it as a return."
"but why not?" she was back to being clueless again. "i don't want it anymore."
"ma'am," i said slowly hoping she'd actually listen to me this time. "we only give refunds if you have a VALID receipt and you bring it back within thirty days - "
"so give me store credit!" she interrupted me.

it's at this time i pull the 'ole "blame it on the computer" excuse.

"i'd love to give you credit, but you see the COMPUTER won't let me. it doesn't recognize the sku number on the mug since
this is from last year. there's NOTHING i can do about it."

she wasn't happy, but she quit arguing with me. of course, for "her troubles" she wanted a free pound of coffee.
uh, no.

barista rant: i'm speechless. you ordered your white mocha at 180 degrees. you even reminded me twice to make sure your drink was "beyond hot". so when i handed you your extra hot white mocha, you took a sip and made a face. then you complained that i made your drink "too hot". i'm sorry? if you don't want a 180 degree drink, then don't ask for one!


Zoltar Panaflex said...

How unbelievably classic for a bad return - but in all my years in retail, I'm pretty sure nobody thought up a home made receipt! Egads!

You have some great stories, one of the best blogs I've read!

mellowlee said...

Ok, I just laughed so hard I snorted! (at the 180 degree drink thing)

Ms. K said...



Don't mind me, I worked retail hell for a long time. I'm just sitting here DYING over a HOMEMADE RECEIPT! Did she really think you were going to fall for it? Wait, I guess she did, considering she was bitching about how she wanted her money back, or store credit, or a free pound of coffee.

What an idiot.

Jennie Gee said...

A homemade receipt?????

The nerve of some people is beyond belief; I am amazed you didn't bust out laughing!

Marcus said...


the end to that story about the grandma with her grandson is so cute, specially the part where he brought back the plates... although on another level, i wonder how the kid will turn out when he grows up...

The chocolate drink doesn't really have a name... but i reckon it's similar to that chocolate drink you guys are getting the start of next year (the one people are calling a melted hershey). I used to drink something similar in Melbourne during winter, which was an Italian chocolate but that had darker chocolate whereas the bux one is milk.
you can check out the ad at www.starbucks.com.my ... the link to the poster is on the homepage...

Ben Heller said...

Wouldn't the job go a whole lot better without the interruption of customers. I'm glad I don't have to deal with the general public.

Ceetar said...

Just curious, is there a purpose to getting a drink hotter? Besides that it takes longer to be cold?
Is that all it is; the people that order them can't drink a whole venti coffee before it gets cold, so they get it hotter thinking it'll stay hot longer?

Anonymous said...

Can't believe what people try to get away with...truly! Incredible!

Kiz said...

She should've gone for broke and wrote down $50 instead of just $5. If someone's dense enough to buy the handwritten receipt, then they'll probably believe whatever amount is written on there.

Whenever you run into a crazy scheme like this, it makes you wonder if someone, somewhere has actually gotten away with something similar. Otherwise there wouldn't be folks trying it.

By the way, I see the logic in getting an 'extra hot' drink. In the winter, there's still an extra block-and-a-half walk from where I get my morning coffee to my office, and I usually drink it throughout the first hour of the day. Getting it 'extra-hot' does let it last longer without going tepid on me. But, I don't see the logic in getting an extra-hot drink you're going to enjoy right away. K

Anonymous said...

Oh my god that's awesome. That just takes pure balls! I am going to bring all my crap clothes from the GAP in with a receipt upon which I write "GAP crap - $5,000,000." Do ya think they'll fall for it?!

Also, what happened with the kid and his grandma? Was it as cute as you planned?

Beth said...

I'm gonna start carrying around a notepad and marker so that I can make up my own receipts and return old stuff. That's better than the ATM!

lighterate said...

did she take the mug away... or just the coffee cup?

Sheila said...

Oh she'll be back at another location. This time with Folger's in her cup saying she needs a new drink because this one "tastes funny."

Thy said...

are you kidding?

plain(s)feminist said...

It's probably just that I'm a philistine when it comes to coffee - and this is not at all to disparage anyone reading this who is particular about their coffee being a certain temp - but I kind of suspect that someone who orders coffee by degree (as opposed to simply saying, "extra hot") may be wound a little too tightly and maybe should switch to decaf.

And, yes, that homemade receipt beats all.

barista brat said...

zoltar panaflex - thanks for the comment!

mellowlee - glad to make you laugh!

ms k. - yeah, the phrase "not all there" describes her pretty well.

jennie gee - it's always funnier in retrospect. at the time i just thinking "oh man, here we go again."

marcus - thanks for posting that link. i haven't heard about them introducing it in my area, but of course i'm not always privvy to that information :)

ben - but my day would be so boring without them!

ceetar - yes, many people want the drink to stay hotter longer - or they're taking it back to the office.

anonymous - takes all sorts, huh?

kiz - i'm sure they figure if they try the scam long enough someone is bound to fall for it.

anonymous - haha, that's funny. oh, i wrote in the comment section of the previous post about the boy and his grandma. and yes, i was told that it was extremely adorable.

beth - haha, yeah it's like your own private cash cow!

lighterate - she kept her mug. and i kept the pound of beans.

sheila - i'm sure she will as well.

thy - oh, how i wish i were!

barista brat said...

plain(s)feminist - i tend to agree with you about the degree thing.

00goddess said...

WTF is wrong with people, really? I do NOT understand how people can be such scammers.

jehara said...

people can have such audacity at times.

and don't people realize when they order 180 degree milk that they are ordering scalded milk?

homemade receipt story was too funny. i once knew a girl that faked an out of office reply to get out of work.

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