Some customers have an unfortunate story behind their reasoning for returning an item.
Apparently, he was almost 30 years old, still lived at home, no job, and had recently outgrown his XXL pants and underwear and she needed to find some 3X. She mentioned that he didn't really leave the house much and relied on her to do his shopping because he had attempted suicide a few months previously. Since then, he had become even more of a recluse than he had before. She got misty-eyed and stopped talking rather abruptly.
I normally hate being the guy who brings up his mental illnesses in public, it just makes everyone involved uncomfortable, but I felt like she needed to hear some words of reassurance. I told her that two years previously I was in a place just like her son. That I was a shut-in with no ambition, had pretty crippling depression, and struggled a lot with self-harm. I also mentioned that I had attempted suicide a year or two previously. Her hand was on the counter so I lightly touched it and just said: 'If I could get from where I was then to where I am now, your son is going to be just fine.' She started to lose it at that. I gave her a 20% discount on all of the stuff she was buying and she left. I never saw her come in the store after that. I still think about her a lot. I really really hope her son's doing better."
"This happened a little over a year ago, a frail old woman came in to return an unopened box of a very expensive brand of cologne.
She didn't say much past, 'I need to return this' and me being the people person I am, tried to jokingly mention, did her husband not like the brand? She sighed and said: 'It was his birthday present and when I went to visit him in hospice to give it to him, he had already passed away.'
I was speechless and profusely apologized and ended up talking to her about my mom passing away a few months prior to this and we ended up crying together in the store and talking for an hour and a half. She left with a smile on her face, but the initial reaction still haunts my dreams."
"Last fall, my Dad decided to FINALLY get his hearing checked and was assessed for hearing aids. He really needed them and he wanted to be able to hear his first grandbaby (my daughter) coo and babble when she was born in January.
Unfortunately, the ones that worked the best for him were outside the budget he and my Mom could afford. Husband and I decided 'Santa' would gift them to him. He cried. His new 'ears' gave him a new lease on life. He was happy, chatty and interactive during family get-togethers because he could actually hear everyone else enough to participate.
Fast forward to January and he is the happiest, most doting of grandpas. He was the first person to hold her, after my husband.
However, Dad started feeling sick in February. He died on April 12th, 2016, when the baby was just 10 weeks old.
My Mom has been largely unable to handle things in the wake of his death. Among all of the other things that I've handled for my family (because it's just too hard on everyone else), Mom asked if I would do something with his 'ears'.
I ended up calling the hearing aid shop and asking if they knew of any donation program where someone could benefit from the use of his 'ears'. We actually ended up donating them to an elderly woman who was having difficulty communicating with her family and couldn't afford new 'ears' of her own. Dad would have liked that.
I like to think she can hear her grandbabies giggle and laugh, now. I have declined the opportunity to meet her. I don't think my heart could take it, not yet anyway."
"I was working at a large pet store in the tropical fish department. One busy weekend a very well-dressed, rather snobby woman came in and bought six baby angelfish, each about the size of a dime (plus the fins).
The store I worked in was inside a huge high-end shopping mall, so we had a 'holding' service where we would bag up fish, cash the customer out, and float the fish, in their bags, in a warm tank until the customer had finished ALL their shopping and ready to leave for home.
So I offered to hold this lady's baby angelfish. She said she was 'all good' and left. We thought nothing of it.
Four or five HOURS later, she stormed back into the store demanding a manager, and a refund. She was shaking the bag in our faces for emphasis, yelling that her gorgeous angels were all dead.
On close inspection, we discovered that the silly bimbo had put the poor fish in her car, presumably so she didn't need to carry them while she shopped for other things or return to the store to pick them up.
Unfortunately, because it was January and the temperature outside was about -15°C, the tiny babies had frozen to death. She simply couldn't wrap her head around the idea that tropical fish cannot withstand freezing temperatures, even when we took a tiny fish out of the bag and showed her that not only had ice formed on top of the once 84°F water, but the dime-sized fish was actually frozen stiff.
Some people just shouldn't have pets."