April 12, 2021
Arrived to Field on Monday. Had a feeling it would be a weird Monday. Had heard rumors about weekend gatherings from the Let’s Go Get Strange Insurgency. Typically, this leads to an attack. Steeled self prior to arrival.
Dressed in Human Highlighter uniform and rode two-wheel tank in 50-degree weather. Like a refreshing morning run without any real exertion. Arrived to some busyness. Seemed a relaxed busy.
Then it began.
Customer walked to my station and began our interaction by saying, “I need to record you packing this.”
“You need to what?” I asked. Immediately wished I’d done my nails to look pretty on camera. Remembered I did not ever do my nails.
“I need to prove that what I put in the box is what I put in the box,” they responded. Waited for explanation before telling them my fee to be on television. “There has been so much fraud on eBay lately. People will receive things and then file a complaint with eBay that they did not receive the right item. So eBay will strip the seller of the money and refund the buyer and then the buyer receives a high-priced item for free.”
Sounded legitimate. Had heard similar stories from other eBayers. Remembered my innocence in 2018 when I didn’t think anyone bought anything on eBay anymore. A simpler time.
Shipment was rare sports card collection. “I need to insure it for $4000.”
“You sold these for $4000?” I said. Customer showed me the invoice to prove value. Wondered how much my Nolan Ryan card collection might be worth had my brother not traded them all for Shawon Dunston and other assorted Cubs players in 1990. Probably the angriest I’ve ever been at him. Says good things about our relationship, really. But still.
Customer added $4000 insurance to shipment. Price went from $23.00 to $119.81. Didn’t even hesitate.
Then he broke out his phone and began recording me. Asked me to present the cards a la Vanna White presents a vowel. Asked me to show the label and receipt with insurance and signature required listed. Recorded me put it in the box with the popcorn he had brought in and taping it shut. Stopped recording, thanked me, and left.
Told PFC, “I feel like a hand model.” Please check “Being recorded while packing shipment” off “The Field Bingo.” So many firsts to account for.
Shipped 120 pounds of lead. Remembered The Field is in the stained glass capital of America. Also remembered lead is freaking heavy.
“Customer” of the Day!
Woman came in and asked if we had any FedEx Express envelopes. Around Christmas in 2018, FedEx reprimanded us for giving out free FedEx envelopes by not sending us any for four months. Without these envelopes, everything is more expensive.
These are free to acquire, by the way. They punished us by taking away free products in which people can ONLY ship through them. Didn’t understand punishment.
Worked our way out of the doghouse and they resumed giving us the free envelopes. At some point, a company in town no longer needed theirs and dropped off a box of 200 of them. Since these are undocumented envelopes that FedEx Express doesn’t know about, these are the ones we give away to customers who ask us for one.
This woman asked for 20 of them.
Twenty of something is a lot so we said we would give her 10. She sighed.
We located the contraband envelopes and counted out ten and pleasantly gave these to her.
The thing about the contraband envelopes is that they don’t have a plastic sleeve on the back. What does this mean, you ask. Well, this means you either have to put your label directly on the envelope, slide the label into a different sleeve, or attach it with, like, tape.
Or, as the woman reacted, you have to give away your first-born child.
“These have no sleeves!” she exclaimed. We had already told her the FedEx punishment story.
“Those are the ones we can give away,” Private Ryan explained.
Woman slammed them onto the counter and wordlessly (but with audible huff) stormed out of the store.
So to tell the short version of this story: Woman became enraged that free thing wasn’t specifically the free thing she wanted 20 of. Sounds totally American.
Other “Customer” of the Day!
PFC relayed her tale that a man came into the store and asked if we had a blue pen. Given that all three soldiers in the field are unable to locate any pens on a regular basis, she basically told him no. (Side note: Watching us attempt to find the stapler is like watching 2-year-olds hunt for Easter eggs in the egg fridge at a grocery store.)
He was pretty adamant about the blue pen, though. So she looked around some more. He told her he needed it to go out to his car and sign some papers and then he would ship them. But they had to be signed in blue ink. (He did not explain why they needed to be signed in his car.)
She said she finally found one (and it had to be a chewed up Bic from 1947 because I don’t remember the last time I saw a blue pen around here). She gave it to him and he said he’d go sign them and be back in.
Then she watched him walk out to his car, get in, and drive away.
Either he’s pledging a fraternity or the insurgency is winning.
Got my vaccination card laminated. Say what you want to about the Covid vaccine truthers (and please, by all means, ANYTHING you want) but they are amazingly adept at launching their conspiracies into any transaction. Was having a very pleasant conversation with a customer while I shipped their eleven boxes. And at the very end, I said something wrong and laughed and said, “Oh – sorry – I got my second shot this morning. Must just be a little off.”
Customer went from affable and relaxed to full-on debate mode in less time than I could say, “Science is real.”
“Well, I hope it doesn’t rot your brain,” they began. “My daughter-in-law got hers and broke out into a rash that landed her in the ER for nine hours. ER nurses said they’d never seen anything like it and this is why they themselves won’t take the vaccine. Just gotta do your own research and not believe what they want you to believe.”
Another customer asked if I’d gone to some restaurant and I said, “Not yet. Should be good in a couple of weeks.”
They looked at me and said, “Oh so you’re taking all of this pretty seriously then?”
Feel fortunate to have a resting giddy face instead of a resting bitch face because apparently, my eyes alone never look like they’re going to kill someone.
Will eventually go full-blown agreement with someone just to see how far they’ll take it before saying, “You do know how dumb all of that sounds, right?”
Also I will launch my customer service trainings next month for the low low price of a new job if I say any of that.
Outpost Commander Jen and I stopped by The Field to laminate my vaccination cards. We caused her to leave all of the lights on all night because we showed up right at closing. Or so she says. I say she’s just getting old and forgetful.
Also Private Ryan informed me that Sergeant K gave him a death glare when she realized he’d eaten the last of the cookies. So her eyes can certainly kill. Cookies just have to be involved.