Guilty of Being Right

“I want my money back! I want the battery I gave you back!”

After three long years of doing nothing but customer service, I now almost have a sixth sense for knowing when I’m needed. Sometimes my workers need someone to take a verbal beating for them, or see a man disrobe in public.

This is why I get paid the big bucks.

Sensing that such a call was imminent, I immediately turn away from the soothing sounds of the rainstorm outside to head towards the growing noise inside.

When I’m confronted by an old man waving a box in front of my co-worker.

“I gave you the battery, and now I don’t have it!,” he accused.

My co-worker defends herself with, “Sir, when you arrived you were talking on the phone I returned. That phone still has its battery inside of it, because I’ll need it in order to complete the return. I haven’t touched your other phone.”

The man is quiet for a moment before his battery tirade starts up again.

Meanwhile, I’ve walked over to our box of electronic returns, looking for his phone. I’ve found that it’s better to do this in front of the customer; so that their own eyes can alert them to the fact that they’re crazy.

I show him the box I’ve recovered, “Was this your phone?”

He nods his head yes.

I cut the box open and pull out the phone; checking inside the phone for the battery he so desperately wants. I check under the phone’s packaging to see if perhaps another battery snuck into the box when the man’s back was turned. No dice. Three manuals, a charger, and a SIM card.

No sign of a battery.

“Sir, you can see there’s no battery here,” I note, as I offer the box so he can examine it.

I then call security so that they can review the transaction from their bird’s-eye view. Perhaps the man had misplaced it on his person during the transaction.

“So, sir,” I continue, “tell me what happened.”

“I bought this phone yesterday; my other phone had stopped working. The T-Mobile guy sent me, ‘cuz this other phone is cheaper here. So I bought it, brought it home, and found that its battery is missing.”

“Sir, you were talking on this phone [I hold up phone in question] when you came in the store today, correct?”

“Yes, but I’m still missing…”

“Excuse me, Sir, I understand that, I’m just trying to walk through this with you. So you bought this in Electronics last night? Do you remember who helped you?”

“No.”

“Can you describe them? Maybe they’re here, and we can talk to them about your missing piece.”

“I don’t know his name, but I know he was caucasian. [Gestures toward me.] Caucasian.”

Running low on options, not to mention the fact that our conversation was growing increasingly circular, I hope this man is crazy enough not to notice my hail mary escape plea.

“I’m thinking they might still have your battery from yesterday over at the Electronics’ register. Do you want to go back there and see if you could help them find it?”

Thankfully,he accepted. And (finally) walked out of my life. Through the rain pouring down outside, the gentle light of sanity starts streaming back into my life…

POSTSCRIPT: After checking the tape, security found his purchase had been made at our store, earlier than his claim. This is not an unusual oversight amongst people; especially angry ones. What is unusual, however, is that his transaction was made by someone who’s assuredly not caucasian; despite his vehement claims.

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