"On the other hand, they might complain anyway, even with the freshest stock."
To paraphrase the yanks a little:
"If you open, they will whinge..."
I was once, for my sins, one of those minumum wage wonks. Way back in the late 90's early 00's, for the chain wot is the subject of the article.
The tills at the time were DOS 6.22 based and the DB machine in the backroom that communicated with head office for prices & promos & barcodes ran Win3.11. Siemens PC's. Decent spec for the day, if I recall.
This was sometime circa 99/2000, so not the immense risk it would be today.
The fun story I have of that time was around the turn of the milleniumiumium... Literally!
New Years Eve 1999. I was working the checkout in the Off Licence with 2 others. We had queues just for the off licence stretching the ENTIRE length of the store - and back. This was in Ireland, so the Off Licence area had to be semi segregated from normal shopping, due to laws. This was also a branch in an affluent part of the town, so not your normal regulars...
From the technical side of things, the Powers tHat Be had decided to segregate the portions of the DB that dealt with alchohol from those that dealt with normal groceries.
So someone couldn't pay for wine & beer at normal checkouts and groceries at the licensed ones. Remember this, it'll be important in a bit...
Back to yon story!
New Years 1999! Queues out the wazoo!
I'm on the middle till, the busiest of the 3 tills there. Out of nowhere, in the face of very impatient people queuing to pay for social lubrication, this lovely* lady storms up with a basket of all groceries, no alcohol.
Said lady slams basket of goodies down in front of 18-ish year old me and began a tirade of abuse directed at me, the directors of the company and anyone around that it was **unacceptable** that she have to wait in line at the tills and ... blah blah blah, imprecations, blah, threats, blah, implications about my parentage, etc.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see our designated assistant manager attempt to become smaller and smaller behind me whiloe attempting to stack shelves quietly.
Attempting to humour said harpy; I attempted to explain that the store was quite busy, apologies, it was New Year's Eve and a new millenium would be starting soon, unless all the computers fscked up, but the particular computer in front of me simply couldn't take her goods, it wasn't "programmed**" to...
Which started another round of abuse. Again, displaying the traits that many now know and fear as "positive reinforcement" (If you're negative to me, I'll be positive to you. or your right nipple, if the jumper lead will reach...) I swung the screen around, scanned every item in her basket which flashed up big red "ITEM NOT FOUND" along with a klaxxon like sound from the buzzer. (Perhaps that's the evolutionary precursor to 'UNKNOWN ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA'?)
Not satisfied, The Greatest Customer In The World, started another round of painting the air blue.
I now recognise this moment as a step on my path to BOfH-hood, as with manager attempting to become a chameleon and look like a bottle of Huzzar, I sweetly turned to her, after interruping and said:
"I'm sorry; I'm not paid to take your abuse. There's a manager there [points back with thumb] if you'd like to complain."
She grabbed her basket and turned away. I don't recall what she muttered, but I do recall I probably rubbed salt, vinegar, lemon and chilli into the wound by shouting "Next!!" as she turned.
I have it on reliable evidence that that anecdote had made it into a "What not to do in these situations" for a few years.
I'm quite proud of that...
*she wasn't in the slightest...
**"programmed to do it" was a great term, even back then, to explain stuff to non-users...
Icon because of her reaction...