10.26.2011

"Can I get a pen that works, please?"

People. How do you get this far along in your life without knowing that you just have to scribble a little bit to get a pen to work?

You don't have to sign a piece of paper very often at Old Navy. The only times you have to are if we had to type in your card number, if the signature thing on the card reader isn't working, if you pay with a check, or if you do a return or exchange while our system is down. (I know this sounds like a lot of things, but it's probably less than 5% of all transactions.)

Signing on the receipt paper is a little difficult. Whatever material the counters are made of is not conducive to the pens working. But when someone has trouble, we can just throw a piece of paper under the receipt and then the pen will work fine.

Sometimes, because of how ballpoint pens work, the pen will have a little trouble getting going after we put the paper under it.

But, you know, you just have to scribble it a little. Everyone knows this, right? That's just what you do with ballpoint pens. Duh.

So here's how the interaction with the customer usually goes:

"Okay, I'll just need you to sign on here." I put the paper down on the counter and hand them the pen.

"Oh, your pen's not working."

"Oops, here, put this under it, that usually helps." I slide a piece of paper (usually the information kit about the Old Navy card) under the receipt.

"It's still not working."

This is where it becomes the customer's own stupid fault. I'll take the pen from them, scribble it around at the top of the receipt until it works, and hand it back.

Sometimes, they say even dumber things, like, "Can I get a pen that works?" This makes it even better when I easily get it to work, because I get to say, "Oh, this one does."

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