I have to say I'm more than a little proud of myself today.
I actually stood up for myself at work, and I don't mean to a customer. (I do that all of the time.) I stood up to a coworker, and I claimed what was mine.
I generally try not to make waves at work between myself and my coworkers. I've been with the company for three and a half years as of August 6th, and it's a fairly pleasant working environment despite the obvious imperfections and the lack of structure. (And even I have to admit that expecting a lot of structure is ridiculous since we all are first and foremost musicians, and a general laid back attitude is common in the music world. Though I still don't see why everybody can't just get their asses to work on time if I can do it.) Things do happen sometimes that are unfair, but I believe in picking my battles. The past inconveniences and cheats have been minor, small, relatively unimportant.
But today...today was different.
I don't know why she did it.
Actually, I do know why she did it. I just don't understand how she thought she'd get away with it.
About a month ago, I had a family come in looking to find out about flutes and clarinets. A clarinet for the son, and a flute for the daughter. The son, they knew, was definitely in band, and so they purchased a clarinet from me. (And my commission was freaking awesome, just for the record.) They didn't buy the flute because there was a scheduling conflict, and while they were almost sure the band and athletics schedule would work out, they didn't want to purchase until they knew for sure. So after I sold them the clarinet I gave them my card. (You know, the cards I got with my name on them and my business e-mail address that are all professional and awesome looking that I was so very proud of and I wrote a whole post about them.) I told them when they decided to come back, they just had to give my card to whoever was at the counter, and they would get me and I could give them a super awesome deal on a flute because they got the clarinet. (Clarinets cost also twice what a student flute costs.)
They came back today.
With my card. They had stapled it to the list with the flutes the school required.
I didn't see them come in. I was answering questions about a clarinet rental and had my back to the door. I was standing next to Raver. I wasn't listening to her. I only heard a few words and then she left, came back with a flute, and started ringing it up. I got off the phone, happened to catch the list out of the corner of my eye.
And saw my card stapled to the list she was looking at as she was ringing up this flute. I looked at the customer, saw the little girl who I had talked to for an hour, who had charmed me with her desire to learn notes and her general knowledge of woodwinds. I saw the family I had worked so hard to find a perfect clarinet for, and when they saw me the girl said, "Hi, Miss Chanel! Look, we came back for my flute just like we promised! And we still have your card!" And she waved the list.
Raver was ringing it up. She heard this conversation take place. And she rang it up under her numbers.
My hard work. My customer. My commission.
I work really hard to keep my customers coming back to me. You establish a good relationship with a customer, and then they keep coming back. They recommend you to friends. You get a web of people who will only shop with you. Keeping your customers is how you make your money. God knows I don't get enough hourly to keep me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed. My sales matter.
Well, I wasn't entirely sure how to handle the situation. Like I said, I always pick my battles, and a forty some odd dollar commission was entirely too big a sale to let slide. And they were my customers.
First I said something to B-Money. As the assistant manager, he knows the protocol better than anybody else. I told him what had happened, and he got very quiet for a second, then told me point blank, "Wait until she goes on lunch, then go to Manager Man. She does that kind of thing all the time, and it was your card. That means the sale was your's, and he'll fix it."
Well, I waited until she was on lunch and then I went up to Manger Man and said, "When you've got a moment, I need to talk to you privately."
Ten minutes later we were at his desk.
I was so upset I nearly cried. Because it hurts my feelings. That she would be so sneaky, try to take my repeat customers and a sale that I worked hard for just to try to make a little more to make up for the fact that she calls in twice a week and shows up thirty minutes late without so much as a phone call, it was beyond my ability to bear it.
I said, "Raver sold a flute today to a customer who came in my with card." I told him about how I'd sold them the clarinet, about how I'd worked with them on flutes, and how I'd told them I'd get them a really good deal when they came back for the flute because of the clarinet. I told him about how the family recognized me, about how I knew it was mine because they had my card and showed it to me.
Then he said, "Okay. We'll get this taken care of."
Then he talked to Raver.
And he called me back at about six o'clock and said, "Chanel, Raver says they never showed her a card. She didn't see it."
And I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Manager Man, the only reason I know they came in was because I happened to see my card stapled to the list they handed her. And then they greeted me and we talked about it! You can call the customer and ask if they had my card!"
"No, that's not necessary."
Then he went to talk to Raver again.
After the store closed, he pulled Raver and me back to his desk and gave each of us a chair, saying, "Chanel, Raver says she really didn't see your card and they didn't mention you."
"We had a conversation!" I repeated it.
"I didn't hear that. I didn't even see you talking to them."
Are you fucking stupid or do you just thing I am?
And then she had the audacity, before I could respond, to open her mouth and say, "I worked really hard on this sale. They had questions, I told them all about it. I even showed them how to use the rod! It took a lot of my time!"
Bull. Fucking. Shit.
First of all, Raver doesn't even know the proper name of the tuning and cleaning rod, let alone how to use it.
They were there all of five minutes. They didn't ask any questions because I'd given the whole rundown to them before and showed the girl how to clean and tune and take proper care of her flute. As a flutist myself do you think I would ever let a customer leave me without a thorough knowledge of how to love, respect, and care for an instrument that I have loved and played with joy for ten years?
I would never, and I certainly have never.
I leave my customers with a thorough knowledge of whatever instrument they leave my hands with: how to assemble them correctly to prevent key bending or damage, how to clean them out, how to dry them out, how to oil the keys or valves or the rotary parts. I do not sell or rent instruments without first making sure that they can be cared for. I do this so the customer needs fewer maintenance and repairs, thereby saving them money, and also for the sake of the instruments. They are each of them beautiful, wonderful pieces of equipment that can express a wide range of human emotions and create beauty and peace without effort. They deserve to be cared for.
So I know for a fact that they didn't ask questions, not only because I was standing behind her the whole time watching, but also because I know what information I left with them, and that girl made a fine point of learning from what I had to teach.
Until that moment, when she sat there lying straight to my face, I had thought to be magnanimous and gracious and let her have half of the commission. But the second she looked me dead in the eye, with that sour look on her face, and had the nerve to feed me that load of bullshit, I decided to keep it all for myself.
And Manager Man told her, "Well, I think this is an honest mistake, but they did have Chanel's card, Raver, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to change the sale to Chanel's name. Its her commission."
"Oh, that's fine."
And then she clocked out, grabbed her things, and slammed the door behind her.
And the part that bothers me most about this is that the customers that I had liked so much thought they were getting a super deal on the flute they bought, when in fact they were getting it for the normal Sale Price. Which is still a good three hundred dollars in savings, but I would have given them an even better deal, at a lower commission for myself, to show my appreciation for their business. And Raver just treated them like the average customers when they were so nice, so polite, so kind interested in learning about their purchases and what to expect.
And there's nothing I can do about it now. It's already been rung up and paid for and finished.
Tomorrow I suspect that Raver will either call in to be spiteful, or she will come in late (as always) and be three times the bitch that she normally is, but mostly directed at me since I just claimed what was mine. I may be really laid back about the little things, but if you're going to interfere with me and mine then you had better at least be nice to my awesome customers.