Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don't Stiff a Stiff

by Annette Dashofy

Last week I spent a day helping my Avon District Sales Manager at a job fair. While it was my first event of this type, I have worked booths at health fairs in the past, and as I expected, it wasn’t much different. Except, of course, for the focus being on employment.

I had two goals for the day. First, I hoped to sign up some new recruits to my sales team, since that’s my next step in Avon. I help them earn money, and as a result, I earn money. Win win. My second goal was to sell a few products. I had a nice display of fragrances set up and I had a few odds and ends in my bag…stuff left over from visiting customers.

For the most part, it was fun.

Key words there: FOR THE MOST PART.

One gentleman (and I use the term loosely) came bustling through and stopped at our table. Wearing a snazzy, expensive-looking suit, he obviously was not one of the college kids looking for a summer job. He scanned our wares, told us he had two secretaries he wanted to get gifts for, and asked if we had anything. I put on my salesperson smile and launched into a pitch about the great deal I was offering on this fragrance gift set.

He cut me off with a question. “Is it free?”

“Err. Well. No.”

“Don’t you have anything for free?”

My manager and I exchanged puzzled looks. She pointed out that all we had were some samples, but they weren’t much for a “gift.”

I dove into my bag and pulled out a travel sized hand lotion and a couple of lip balms and told him these were the only inexpensive items I had and they cost a dollar each.

That price appealed to the cheapskate…err… “gentleman.”

“Don’t you have another hand lotion?” he asked.

“No. Sorry. I only have one of those.”

“I take all of them,” he said, pointing to the three items in my hand. He pulled some ones from his wallet, stacked them together VERY neatly, and laid them on the table. Then he snatched the three items from me and started to leave.

But you see, I’m a crime writer. I have a suspicious mind. And something didn’t look right about the neatness of that stack of one dollar bills.

I picked them up and fanned them out. And discovered there were only TWO.

Now, if the guy had been at all nice… if he weren’t wearing a super expensive suit while trying to find some cheap trinket for the secretaries who labored for him...I probably would have kept my mouth shut, allowed myself to assume it was an error. But instead…

“Ah, sir,” I called after him. “You only left two dollars.”

He froze in his tracks. Busted. He turned around and sputtered, “Oh, I thought you said these were two for a dollar.”

“No. Everything was a dollar EACH.”

At that point he basically winged one of the lip balms back at me and made his escape.

You will never convince me this chump believed those lip balms were 2 for a dollar. Not only was he a tightwad…he was trying to stiff me out of a buck.

My sales manager and I just shook our heads and agreed we were thrilled that we didn’t work for that guy.

If this sounds like your boss, you have my sympathy. And come see me. I’ll GIVE you something from my Avon stash. Just don’t try to stiff a Stiff!


Joyce said...

Maybe the guy worked for Goldman-Sachs. That would explain a lot.

Gina said...

Good point, Joyce.
Annette - Perhaps you could stock a demo lotion spiked with itching powder, and offer to apply a small amount to such folks' skin . . . or have a colleague standing by to film such transactions and post it on Youtube. Or start a site called RIPOFF SLIMEBALLS and post his photo there. Or . . . put him in a novel and have another character kill him very, very slowly, while his secretaries stand by and cheer. Or maybe that other character can put a tattoo on this fellow's forehead that reads: ?I am scum."
OK, it was only a dollar, but he demonstrated such a blatant disregard for you and honesty in general that I can't help wanting to smack him down.

Annette said...

Gina, that was my thought, too. Yes, it was ONLY a dollar. But it was the guy's attitude that got me. Otherwise, I'd have let him walk. In fact, afterwards, I expected my sales manager to chastise me, but her reaction, like mine, was "What a cheapskate!"

Joyce, yes, that might be it. Hmm.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Perhaps the poor guy was out of work for a long long time. It was a job fair after all. Maybe those were the last two dollars he had to his name. Maybe it was his anniversary and he needed a gift of his poor dying wife before she left this world forever.

Or maybe he was just a huge cheapskate Jackass.

That is why I HATE having a garage sale. These type of people come out of the woodwork. Last time we tried a garage sale some of the people either tried to take advantage of us or cheat us by underpaying.

Joyce said...

I haven't had any problems at garage sales I've had, but I went to an estate sale once where someone stole all the CDs.

Someone went to buy one, opened the case, and found it was empty. When the person running the sale checked the other 20 or so CDs, all the cases were empty. She said it happened a lot.

Annette said...

Will, if I believed that, I'd have given him the stuff. He didn't even attempt to come up with a sob story. If you want stuff for free, at least come up with a plasibly lie!

Mason Canyon said...

I do feel sorry for the people working for that guy. Or worse, can you image what it would be like living with him. Okay, I'm off to take a shower.

Thoughts in Progress

William Simon said...

Evidently, you were in the presence of a Genuine Master of the Universe, and as such, you were supposed to be so awed and humbled that he would even deign to speak to you that you were to simply hand him everything with a smile and a deep sense of gratitude of being able to give him what he wanted.

I run into people like this almost daily. The fact that most of them are attorneys is, one supposes, a coincidence of cosmic proportions....

Laurissa said...

Oh, my goodness. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone being that cheap before. I'm doubting the existance of two secretaries.

Annette said...

Mason, I don't even want to think about it. My hubby has been known to be cheap, but he woud never dream of stiffing someone like that. And he knows that a "gift" is something more than free handouts from a job fair!

William, you may have nailed his profession. He sure looked the part.

Annette said...

Laurissa, someone made that same comment over on my Facebook page. You may very well be right.

Susan said...

That kind of story never fails to shock me!

Anonymous said...

I am picturing a nasty suit trolling for freebees. Would you remember him if you saw him again? Because that kind of slime needs, at the very least, to have a nice heel mark down the back of his ankle. Just saying.

Looking forward to catching up with you at the Festival - are you coming early to set up? Let me know.

xo Kathy

Jay Speyerer said...

If he's like that with a buck, he's like that in his other dealings. Good guy to avoid.

Gina said...

William! Annette! Such stereotyping. I'm a lawyer, too, remember and, like most of my profession, I am very, very honest.

Annette said...

You're absolutely right, Gina. My bad. More likely he was a CEO of some large financial institution.

Becky said...

I've never had a customer that bad but I get a few now and then that no matter how many times you tell them one coupon per transaction they just don't get it. Now we do split their sale so they can use what they have, each coupon has a minimum sale to satisify but some will still continue to ask to add a second to the sale. Then there are the ones that come in with 4 or more coupons with any purchase so I'm doing 5 transactions with $1purchases. By the way most coupons tend to be a free item up to $13.

Oh I forgot I had a customer back in 1975 say she gave me a $20 when she in fact gave me a $10. The manager counted my draw it was right on the money. Two days later the lady called me and said she was going to sue me. Where did she get my phone number, from my manager. I started looking for a new job that day I wasnt going to work for them anymore.

Does getting cussed out and I mean F this and F that the whole time I'm doing a return count?

Gina said...

Wow, I hate to escalate things, but a wonderful response to the cussing a**h***s is, "Thank you. I suspected you were an a**h*** but I really appreciate you going to so much trouble to prove it. That way no one can have any doubtl" This should, of course, be said with an appreciative smile. [But be prepared to run like hell . . ]

Becky said...

Gina thank goodness I didn't hear her I was concentrating on what I was doing. The girl next to me filled me in after she left. Actually my response would of been to say I'm not going to finish this, ask someone else to take over and walk away. Of course I would have had a hard time trying not to cry.

Gina said...

I must be defective. I never feel the urge to cry in situations like that -- I'm much too busy suppressing the urge to kill.

Patg said...

Unfortunately, this kind of person is seen in every business. The con artist at work. The suit is a ploy, there are no secretaries and you should have checked the bills you got to see if they were conterfeit.
Wordless staring into a mirror with a face that suggests violent actions should be practiced. Keep mouth firmly shut, no twitching, but a slight up curve does allow for an even more sinister suggestion. My favorite over the years also included a heavy sigh and a direct stare eyes to eyes.
One full minute is recommended--they usually backdown first, but if not suggested comments are:
I'm sorry to hear that.
Let me call my manager.
I think I should contact security.
Maybe you would feel better taking your business elsewhere.
Something like that.
Oh, and never hand over merchandise before you have money in hand. And always look at the money. Don't you see clerks in stores twisting the dollars to line them up in their cash registers? Do you think they are really that neat?

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